Football: Buckley hoping Grimsby's best side wins out

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The Independent Online
Alan Buckley takes his Jekyll and Hyde side Grimsby to Sheffield Wednesday tonight not knowing which character will emerge.

Buckley has been left perplexed by the Mariners' inconsistency this season, particularly after outplaying David Pleat's team at Blundell Park two weeks ago for a 2-0 win in the Coca-Cola Cup second round, first leg.

Grimsby then suffered a home defeat against Millwall, followed by Saturday's 1-0 success at Bournemouth - only their second win in the Second Division this season to leave them in 20th place.

Buckley is convinced his side can give Wednesday a run for their money in the return at Hillsborough to set up a third-round home tie against the holders, Leicester.

The Town boss, in his second managerial spell with the club after six years at the helm between 1988 and 1994, said: "We had a terrific result in the first game. I'm sure David Pleat would acknowledge we deserved it.

"I know we can't play any better than we did then, but I just hope we can achieve that same level again. But they've got to chase the game, so we are expecting a bit of a blitz.

"We will set our stall out to play well, although we are very inconsistent at the moment. It doesn't worry me but it can be a bit difficult to understand."

Peter Handyside is Buckley's main injury doubt with badly bruised ribs, while John McDermott and Steve Livingstone are expected to play despite ankle and knee problems respectively.

Pleat, under pressure after Wednesday's poor start to the season, is hoping his side can build on Saturday's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

"I just hope we can continue to work and improve and pass the ball like we did on Saturday, because I want people to do well. If they can do that then I'll be delighted."

Andy Booth and Graham Hyde are still sidelined, while Kevin Pressman, Peter Atherton, Patrick Blondeau and David Hirst remain doubtful.

Dave Linighan, Blackpool's captain, faces another late fitness test as his side aim to complete their Coca-Cola Cup giant-killing of Coventry City.

Linighan played with a sore ankle two weeks ago to score the only goal of the first leg at Bloomfield Road and now the 32-year-old centre-back is doubtful after he broke his nose against Southend at the weekend.

The Coventry midfielder Paul Telfer looks certain to miss out with an ankle injury suffered at Blackburn on Sunday.

Derby take a 1-0 lead into their second leg against Southend at Pride Park, but their manager, Jim Smith, is taking nothing for granted.

"We all tend to be a little bit apprehensive by nature as managers and we don't want to say that we will have no problems because football is not always like that," he said.

Derby bring in Dean Sturridge and Aljosa Asanovic to sharpen their match fitness and rest their Italian pair Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano.

Everton's task against Scunthorpe at Goodison Park looks easy as they lead 1-0 from the first leg, but their manager, Howard Kendall, urged caution.

"I've selected many good sides on paper, but it all depends on how they play when they go out there," he said. "It's important that we go out with a professional attitude."

Duncan Ferguson is still out with a calf problem so Nick Barmby deputises while Tony Thomas replaces Earl Barrett in defence.

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