MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) tackles the final FA Cup second round tie from the weekend as League Two Shrewsbury head to National League Grimsby.
Grimsby v Shrewsbury | Monday 19.45 | BT Sport 2
Shrewsbury boss Micky Mellon has said he is “100% focused” on his current job after being linked with Walsall’s vacant managerial position ahead of Monday night’s FA Cup clash at Grimsby.
Mellon, who took over from Graham Turner at Shrewsbury in January 2014, is reportedly in the running to succeed Dean Smith as Saddlers boss but reaffirmed his commitments to the Salop side as they prepare to take on a Mariners side that’s 33 places below them in the pyramid.
Despite the gap, Grimsby come into this fixture as 6/4 favourites having lost just once in their last 18 matches. However, the hosts haven’t beaten a club from a higher level on the way to the second round.
Nevertheless, Paul Hurst’s men are flying in the National League, winning six of their last seven matches and are once again part of the competitive promotion race. The hosts have hit at least three goals on 10 occasions already this season with front pairing Omar Bogle and Padraig Amond boasting 29 goals between them.
Defender Danny East is the Mariners’ only injury doubt and plenty of pundits are suggesting a cupset could be on the cards. Grimsby have W28-D13-L13 of their Blundell Park league games under Hurts with their 2015/16 exploits returning W7-D3-L2.
But look closer and the home side have managed just W1-D2-L2 when welcoming top-half teams. Exclude the National League bottom-two and Grimsby have failed to record a clean sheet in 10 in front of their home supporters so whilst their attack might be firing, their unreliable backline puts me off the non-league outfit.
Instead, I’m happier taking 10Bet’s 10/13 quotes on both teams scoring. Shrewsbury have only W3-D2-L5 away and kept a solitary clean sheet but they have managed to find the back of the net in seven of those 10 contests bar trips to Wigan, Coventry and Port Vale.
Only last week Salop tore Sheffield United apart at Bramall Lane, their second success in three on the road, and the Shropshire club have also held second-placed Gillingham in their most recent League One fixture.
Current captain and top scorer James Collins has led the side with aplomb and is well capable of adding to his seven-goal tally whilst Ian Black’s suspension in central midfield certainly softens the visitors up a little too.
I’m never normally comfortable chasing a cup upset and for the reasons above, I’m not interested in 6/4 quotes on Grimsby here. However, I do fancy them to score in what could be an enjoyable Monday night contest.
Grimsby v Shrewsbury – Both Teams To Score (10/13 10Bet)
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