They say free agents out there aren’t worth having, but have Grimsby just pulled off a master stroke ahead of the Lincolnshire Derby?
For the first time in years, City are outright favourites to triumph in the battle of Lincolnshire, with Grimsby currently without a win since November. City, having brushed aside a poor Chesterfield last week, need points to keep the pressure on the top seven and on paper, go into the game as overwhelming favourites. They say the game isn’t played on paper, which is absolutely correct.
If it were, Grimsby’s new forward would be ripping it up from the get go on Saturday lunchtime. Gary McSheffrey has over 561 senior appearances to his name and 124 goals. He’s usually deployed out wide, although as he’s now 35 he may shift into the centre to combat any loss of pace. Most recently, he’s been at National League side Eastleigh, playing 11 times and scoring twice. That move ended as he’s based up north and wanted to be closer to home.
McSheffrey was once the youngest player to play in the Premier League and when he left Coventry, the agreed fee was £4m. He later played for Leeds, Stockport, Scunthorpe and Doncaster as his promising career turned into that of a journeyman lower league player. His last Football league goal came in March 2016 as he grabbed a consolation for Doncaster in a 4-1 loss at Colchester.
Debut players have been known to have an impact in the derby, none more so than Jamie Forrester who notched a brace as we hammered them 5-0 a few seasons ago. Whilst McSheffrey doesn’t look a threat on paper, he will bring a fresh dimension to Grimsby’s attack and he could write himself into their folklore if he bags on his debut at Sincil Bank.
All I see when I look at Saturday’s fixture is the words ‘banana skin’. New manager, former Lincoln City staff member and currently unbeaten (albeit in one game) looking to haul the club away from the bottom of the table. What better way to sign on than smash your local rivals and dent their own promotion bid?