Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst reveals why he thinks ‘all National League teams want Wrexham to beat his side’ on Saturday afternoon.
Whoever wins this playoff semi final tie goes to within one victory of earning promotion back to the English Football League.
However, Grimsby go into the National League playoff semi-final in the greater form having edged out Notts County in the quarter-finals earlier this week.
Mariners boss Paul Hurst said ahead of the game: “All the talk at Wrexham has been of getting promotion.
“They’ve clearly spent the money to try and achieve that and I’m hoping it won’t be this season because we might obviously profit from that, but I think the rest of the league wants Wrexham to get promoted, as they’ll feel it’s a bit more of an even playing field going into next season.
“I think it will take a greater effort to beat Wrexham than it did Notts County (in Monday night’s play-off eliminator),” Hurst said, as reported by Grimsby Live. “I’m not trying to be dramatic about that but, ultimately, we are coming into the game having played extra-time and, as the table says, we will be playing the team that finished second in the league, so we know we are the underdogs.
“But being the underdog has always sat quite comfortably with me and it would be a fantastic win for everybody concerned if we could win. It’s a big if, but we’ve got a chance and that’s what we wanted after Monday and that’s what’s in front of us now.
“Most people will be expecting them to win but we’ve got to go there and do all we can to make sure that doesn’t happen. We certainly know the size of the task in front of us but the level of expectation on that football club and group of players is huge.
“That’s just a fact – it’s not me trying to put pressure on them. We’ve had it before at Grimsby Town and we have not had the backing or coverage that Wrexham have had.
“That expectation is something that they will ultimately have to deal with and I’m not saying they can’t. But, if we replicate how we performed on Monday night, we will give ourselves as a chance as well.”
He adds: “I think they’ve scored 14 from long throws. We managed to stop a big part of that on both occasions we played them this season but, sometimes, it only takes one moment and that’s what happened when they beat us at their place.
“The front two are both League One players or could have been, so it’s no surprise that they have scored as many goals as they have done and they will be right up for being promoted because they will want to play in the League, so our defenders will need to be on their mettle, as will all the team when we’re defending.”
Grimsby Town defender Shaun Pearson reveals that he’d like to transition in to a coaching role at the club.
Watch (sound on) ⤵️
— Matt Dean (@mattdeanbbc) May 27, 2022
Shaun Pearson pointed out: “It’s not just him – there’s (Paul) Mullin and (Jake) Hyde, as well, and they have so many different options, but he was very good for us. He scored a lot of goals and he’s done the same at Wrexham and you’ve got to be aggressive in the air because he’s obviously a big lad.
“You also have to try not to get too tight either because he’s clever with his body and they are strong on set-plays so we will have to stand up to that challenge. He scored at their place, but we limited them to only a few chances and their goalkeeper was the man of the match so, hopefully, we can do that again and keep him off the scoresheet this time.”
“It will be a cracking atmosphere but, without a doubt, there’s massive pressure on them. I imagine they’ve got probably the biggest budget ever in Conference football and, if we can go ahead and dampen their spirits early on, the fans might get a bit nervy and edgy and that can help us.
“If we can also replicate the Notts County performance and control the emotions, we will give ourselves the best opportunity. It’s pretty obvious that they are clear favourites – they have got home advantage and more rest than we have had after playing extra-time.
“I had four wonderful years there and I love the football club and loved playing for them, but I’ll be totally honest – I really hope we can get one over them.”
Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson reflected on Grimsby’s 2-1 extra time victory over Notts County at Meadow Lane on Monday night: “It was a very competitive game, Grimsby shaded it and the game went down to the wire. Grimsby were very similar to the side we met at the Racecourse a few months back.
“They’re a hard-working, well-organised team. Like ourselves, from day one their expectations have been high.
“It’s going to be a very competitive game. You expect it in the play offs, it’ll be a tight game similar to what they had at Notts County.”
Parkinson adds that he wants his side to go into Saturday’s game with a high tempo display.
He said: “This week has been about focusing on us and getting our performance level back to where it needs to be. We want to put in a performance to reflect how good we’ve been at the Racecourse this season – that’s the aim this Saturday, to put in a high-energy, aggressive performance.
“We got knocked last weekend, we got knocked together. We come out fighting this weekend, everybody is going to play their part on Saturday.
“Since day one there’s been a real unity in the town and the club. We’re looking forward to seeing that again this weekend – there’s another chapter to be written yet in this season’s story.”
Wrexham National League form:
Wrexham form (all competitions):
Grimsby Town National League form:
Wrexham 2-1 Grimsby Town
“While Wrexham have had the greater rest ahead of this contest, all of the momentum is with the visitors, who will relish the tag of underdogs. Nevertheless, we still expect the Welsh side to use their home advantage, potentially prevailing at the Racecourse Ground by the odd goal in three.”