EFL Cup first round: Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers


The 2019/20 English Football League Cup gets underway this Tuesday evening, with Grimsby Town of League Two hosting Darren Moore’s League One side Doncaster Rovers at Blundell Park.

Michael Jolley’s Grimsby have made a very solid start to their league campaign, winning their opener at Morecambe 2-0 before settling for a point against pre-season favourites Bradford City last time out.

The Mariners have made some key additions over the summer, with the likes of James Hanson, Matt Green and Moses Ogbu giving a new dimension to a Grimsby side who have created plenty of chances in their opening fixtures.

Doncaster have made a slightly underwhelming but unbeaten start to the season, coming from behind on both occasions in 1-1 draws with Gillingham and Rochdale respectively.

Rovers have been hit by the departure of prolific striker John Marquis to League One rivals Portsmouth just before the start of the season, and will be looking to find someone to fill the void. Kieran Sadlier has stepped up to the mark temporarily, scoring both of his side’s goals so far this season.

Darren Moore’s side aren’t short of creative options, with the evergreen James Coppinger, Alfie May and Madger Gomes capable of providing an incisive supply line to the striker.

Team news

With both sides in the middle of a hectic start to their league schedule, both may opt to use this as an opportunity to rotate their lineups a little and give minutes to squad players.

Grimsby will be definetely missing Jamaican forward Akheem Rose, who felt his hamstring in the weekend draw with Bradford and requires a scan to find the extent of the damage.

The Mariners will be hoping commanding Swedish defender Ludvig Öhman passes the regulatory concussion test after also coming off at the weekend following a clash of heads.

Meanwhile left-back Liam Gibson, on loan from Newcastle could feature after returning from an abductor issue, while striker Harry Cardwell is probably still a week away from full fitness.

Doncaster’s squad looks a little light on numbers, especially in the striker department, though their only key absentee on Tuesday will be experienced defender Alex Baptiste who suffered a bad ankle injury in last weekends clash with Rochdale.

Grimsby manager Michael Jolley told grimsbytelegraph.co.uk that he expects to make changes to the cup clash, stating the importance of keeping his squad fresh and available:

“It’s fair to say that we will be giving opportunities to one or two other players tomorrow night, but we don’t want to make wholesale changes to the team either.

“We are very focused on the importance of our league programme. We need to know that everyone is ready to take part in that.”

While Rovers boss Darren Moore confirmed his desire to add to his attacking options in the coming weeks, telling doncasterfreepress.co.uk:

“We’ll push hard again, we really will.

“Take nothing away from the boys and what they’re doing for the team. We can’t complain on that.

“We’ve come through the two opening games, two very difficult games.”


Though Rovers are currently in a higher division, it is The Mariners who hold the historical head to head superiority, with 19 wins to Doncaster’s 16 along with ten clashes ending level.

However, the more recent encounters have invariably gone in Doncaster’s favour, who have won three of the last four meetings, including a comprehensive 5-1 victory at Blundell Park on their way to promotion in 2017.

Possible line-ups

Grimsby Town – McKeown, Ring, Hendrie, Davis, Pollock, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Hewitt, Wright, Cook, Ogbu

Doncaster Rovers – Lawlor, Halliday, John, Anderson, James, Sheaf, Whiteman, Gomes, Coppinger, May, Sadlier


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