Rovers travel to Grimsby Town this Tuesday evening for their fourth pre-season game ahead of the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One campaign.
The trip to Blundell Park comes after Friday night's 1-0 defeat away to a strong Birmingham City side, with Rovers recording a 1-0 win at Alfreton Town and a 5-0 victory over Frickley Athletic prior to that.
Brief history of Grimsby Town
Grimsby Town play at the 9,052-capacity Blundell Park stadium.
The Mariners became only the fourth club in history to compete in all top five divisions of English football following their relegation to non-league in 2010. The club’s most successful season came in the 1934/35 campaign as they finished fifth in Division One, which at the time was the top division in the country.
However, Grimsby’s recent history has not been as glamorous. Following their relegation from League Two in 2010, they endured a frustrating six-year spell in the Conference National before eventually being promoted via the play-offs at the fourth attempt in the 2015/16 campaign. They have remained in the fourth tier ever since.
Despite this, their Football League status season did come under threat last season as they flirted with relegation. However, a good run of form towards the end of the campaign ensured that they finished five points clear of the drop zone in 18thplace as Barnet and Chesterfield dropped into non-league.
Who’s in charge?
The club’s hierarchy surprised many people in March when they announced Michael Jolley as their new manager. He was given the task of maintaining the Mariners’ Football League status following Russell Slade’s dismissal in February after a 12-game winless run.
The Mariners were able to secure their safety with a 2-1 win over Notts County at Blundell Park at the end of April. Jolley was in charge for the final 10 games of the season, winning four, drawing three and losing three.
His only previous senior managerial experience before joining the Mariners came with AFC Eskilstuna in the Swedish Premier Division, following a spell in charge of Burnley under-23's. He was successful during his time in Sweden, producing good results under difficult circumstances. He even managed to guide his side to shock wins against IFK Göteborg and Malmö FF.
Ones to watch
The 37-year-old is a very experienced centre-back and is a key player for the Mariners. He has played for the likes of Sunderland, Stoke City, Ipswich Town, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest throughout his career which highlights his ability. He signed for the Mariners in 2016 on a free transfer and has since gone on to make over 70 appearances for the club.
The 24-year-old midfielder was born in Doncaster, but came up through the ranks with Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United. After five years with the Millers, Rose briefly dropped down into non-league with Ilkeston, before Mansfield Town came calling in 2015, with Rose spending two years in League Two with the Stags. A short stint with Newport County then led him to Blundell Park, where he scored eight times last season, including three penalties in the last four games to secure their EFL status for another year. Rose is also the younger brother of Tottenham Hotspur and England international full-back, Danny.
The 24-year-old can either be utilised as a striker or a winger and joined the Mariners in August last year. He only managed to find the back of the net seven times in 35 appearances for the club last season, although his form did improve under the management of Jolley. This was evident as he scored a hat-trick on the final day of the season against Forest Green Rovers.
Last time out
These two sides last met in a 1-1 draw in August last year in the Football League Trophy at Blundell Park. The Mariners took the lead through Harry Cardwell in the first half but Andy Williams equalised for Rovers within 10 minutes. Rovers went on to win the resulting penalty shoot-out to ensure that they took two points away from the game.