Grimsby Town manager speculation affected team in disappointing draw with Sutton, Davies says

Grimsby Town’s players were drawn-in to speculation around a new manager ahead of their 1-1 draw with fellow League Two strugglers Sutton United, interim head coach Ben Davies has conceded.

The Mariners were not at their best on Saturday – nor at the level they had previously shown during the interim period under the tutelage of Davies and Shaun Pearson. The duo extended their unbeaten run to five games, but not in the fashion they would have hoped.

Grimsby have had no issues scoring in recent weeks, with 13 goals in their previous four games, but they were almost completely shut out by the bottom side in the division. Town had a 0.88 xG (expected goals) for the game, despite holding 62 per cent of the possession, whereas Sutton had an overall xG of 1.4, with a big chunk of that coming from two golden opportunities they created in the second half for Ben Goodlife and Harry Smith.


With almost a month having passed since Grimsby dismissed Paul Hurst, the expectation of an imminent appointment is rising among fans, who continue to grow restless at the team’s current position. Rumours have been flying around, but that seems to be all they are at this stage, with a couple of deals reported to have fallen through.

Following the game, Davies conceded that the speculation and general “outside noise” had potentially started to affect the group, with the team’s performance suggesting the concentration was not completely there across the whole game. “Hand on heart, I think the last couple of days we’ve seen that the speculation surrounding the new manager has affected the players a little bit,” he said.

“In terms of the performance, we were miles off what we wanted from them. There were little things that turned into big moments in games where we missed one or two chances late in the first half and then they broke and we conceded just before half-time. In the second half, they do what they do and I felt we got sucked into the way they play.

“We didn’t do anywhere near enough to break them down, we didn’t play with enough energy or desire to break them down and get a result out of the game and ultimately it ended up fizzling out. The players have been absolutely brilliant with us in terms of their attitude and application with the way they have gone about things, but you can’t hide the fact that they’re hearing things like everyone else.”

Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/

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