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Diary - Monday 3 August 2009

3 August 2009

As more astute Town fans learned from the experience of the 2003 pre-season, the results of friendly matches should not be imbued with any great significance. Just a few weeks after the Mariners beat Boston United, Halifax, Barton Town, Lincoln, Hull and Middlesbrough, drew with Sunderland and won the Copa Ibiza, they were being annihilated 8-1 at Hartlepool en route to the most crushing demotion in the club's 130-year history. The lesson we must not forget is that these summertime kickabouts tell you absolutely nothing at all about what's going to happen when the season actually begins, and that we must never, ever, ever - on pain of death, or worse still, relegation - read anything at all into their outcomes. Unless of course you win 12-1 away at Winterton Rangers.

The down side of Town's weekend walkover, in case you've not seen, is an injury to Nathan Jarman which will keep him out for the first six weeks of the new season. The Cod Almighty favourite went off in the first half at Winterton, when not under challenge, after doing something nasty to his foot and an x-ray has since shown one of those broken metatarsals that have been all the range since the turn of the millennium. With no specialist right winger in the squad, many would have expected that position at Cheltenham this Saturday to be filled by the Jarm, whose absence opens a door for new forward Chris Jones or, more likely, old and much-abused utility player Jamie Clarke. Clarke, incidentally, rounded off the scoring on Saturday with one of those 20-yard free kicks that he always scores when nothing depends on it. Does anyone know how much Winterton were charging to get in, by the way?

If there are plenty of candidates to replace Jarman down the right, Mr Re-Newell is still looking for cover along the opposite flank, preferably in the form of one player who can fill in at left-back or left midfield. With Lewis Emanuel having seemingly turned down a (relatively) big money offer from the Mariners to remain in the Conference with Luton, the Town manager is giving a trial to Louis Lavers of Watford, who played left-back at Winterton. "He (Lavers) is only 18 but he has got bags of enthusiasm, so we are just having a look at him," said Mike. "We feel we need maybe a bit more cover down the left-hand side, and a few more options, but we won't be rushing into anything," he added, as Paul Groves shuffled awkwardly around a statue of Marcel Cas and Willie Falconer.

Whoever else might come in to join the Re-Newell re-volution, they won't be playing in the first round of next season's Dulux Cup. Nor will any of Town's existing players. Oh, you say, why is that? Have the Mariners' backroom staff - who caused the club to miss out on a transfer fee for Danny Butterfield because they didn't know how the Bosman ruling worked - forgotten to send in the entry forms? No! The club has received a bye, so our narrow defeat at the hands of plucky Scunthorpe will have to take place in the second round, not the first.

Thanks for emailing last week when I was really bored, Al Wilkinson and Jeremy Baily - we'll run your emails tomorrow. Bye for now!