Grimsby Town to meet a familiar face in Walsall clash

Grimsby Town’s manager and assistant duo of Paul Hurst and Chris Doig will encounter a familiar face in the opposing dugout when they take on Walsall at the weekend.

The Mariners travel to the Bescot Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to get their first points on the road this season at a place where they won in dramatic fashion last term at a similar point of the campaign.

Almost exactly a year ago Harry Clifton scored twice in the final 15 minutes to see Town through to a 2-1 away win over Michael Flynn’s Walsall, but it is now Mat Sadler’s Walsall, with the rookie head coach being given the job permanently this season after an interim spell to end last term.

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Sadler played under Hurst during his time at Shrewsbury Town and was given the armband by him, leading the team to an EFL Trophy and League One play-off final in the 17/18 season. Now, they come face-to-face as managers and Hurst is looking forward to a unique challenge.

He said: “They’ve got a manager that we know well, me and Chris [Doig], from him being our captain at Shrewsbury where he was extremely good for us, He had some games last year [as Walsall manager] but in his first full season he’ll be looking to try and put his stamp on the team.

“They score goals but have conceded more than I know Mat will be happy with because I know they have done a lot of work on trying to avoid that, but it is not always the set up that causes those issues.

“We know they’ll be an extremely hard-working and organised team but I want us to put in another good performance and come away with the same result we got there last season.”

Sadler admitted that he has looked to Hurst and Doig for advice as he navigates his first foray into management with regular catch-ups over the phone, but there will have been fewer of those calls over the last week as their teams face off.

“We’ve both got a lot on, Hursty’s got a lot on with what he’s trying to put together there, I try not to pester him too much,” Sadler told the Express & Star.

“Those are guys I hugely respect, they’re fantastic people, they played at really good levels and have coached in this league and the next two above. They are extremely experienced with what it takes to get results in this division.

“Most definitely, [Chris Doig] and I speak regularly, they are people I love to pick the phone up to, they are my go-to people to speak to for that bit of advice or after an event. I’m lucky to call them pals.”

Both teams have won just one of their opening four league matches of the season, so there is already enough riding on this meeting with both teams hoping to stop the early pressure from mounting.

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

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