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Cod Almighty | Diary

Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

6 November 2019

Miss Guest Diary writes: It seems appropriate that Harry Clifton is the featured player for November in this year's calendar as he has received another call up to the Wales Under 21 squad. This time for their UEFA Championship qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina next week. It's the fourth time he has been in the squad for this competition and he even made it onto the pitch for 15 minutes in the 5-1 defeat to Germany in September.

Unfortunately, despite this international recognition, Clifton seems to have fallen out of favour at Town. He is 'one of our own' but he hasn't been featuring much in Mr Jolley's plans lately. Last season he and The Hess seemed to be forging an effective midfield partnership but, after starting the first three league games this season, little Harry has made only one start and two substitute appearances in the league since the middle of August.

Is he going the way of that other promising local lad, Danny North, who made a bright start after progressing from the youth team but never really sustained a career in league football?

In my early days of watching Town in the 90s there were several former youth teamers who were regulars in the first team: Peter Handyside, Mark Lever, Tommy Watson, Gary Croft and, of course, John McDermott. And slightly later in that decade came Jack Lester, Danny Butterfield and John Oster. All were trainees at Town and all went on to have decent league careers even - in the case of Croft and Oster - earning the club a nice payday when they were bought by top flight clubs.

Of course, none of these players were from the Grimsby area so not, technically, 'our own'. To find a successful locally born player you have to go back to the 1980s, to the likes of Gary Lund and Paul Wilkinson, who both played for teams in the top division. Both of them were also capped at Under 21 level, so maybe that does bode well for Harry Clifton's future.

Turning away from Town for a change, I was pleased to see that common sense has prevailed and the Premier League have overturned the red card awarded to Tottenham's Son Heung-min at the weekend. That it was the pusillanimous Martin Atkinson who bowed to the pressure of the moment and changed his initial yellow card to a red, based on the nature of the injury to Gomes rather than the tackle itself, would come as no surprise to any Town fan.

I have not, and never will, forgive Atkinson for changing his decision on the colour of the card awarded to Andrew Fox in January's game at Selhurst Park. The on-field referee may choose whether to accept the advice of the video assistant referee and should change his mind only where he has made a 'clear and obvious error'. Was that the case in the Palace game? Was it hell. It takes some terrible refereeing to get a minus score from Cod Almighty's match reporter, but he managed it.

If we make it to the third round of the Cup this year, let's just hope we're drawn at home.