After making history by becoming the first side ever to beat five higher division opponents from the First Round onwards, the Mariners head to the south coast to take on Premier League high-flyers Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday in the Emirates FA Cup.
The match will be our first Quarter-Final since 1939 and our second consecutive match in the tournament against Premier League opposition. Gavan Holohan’s brace in the Fifth Round against Southampton put Town into the last eight for the first time in 84 years and over 4500 supporters will travel to the Amex to support the team.
Paul Hurst’s men come into the fixture off back-to-back wins in Sky Bet League Two – the first time the Mariners have managed that since October – with 1-0 victories at home to Rochdale and away to Sutton United in the last week. Added to that, Town have lost just one of their last five matches and the squad will take that form to one of the best teams this season in the Premier League.
As with the previous round, loanees George Lloyd and Mikey O’Neill are unavailable for selection after playing for their parent clubs in earlier rounds. Stephen Wearne is also ineligible having represented Torquay in the tournament during his loan spell there.
Midfielder Kieran Green continued his comeback from injury on Tuesday when he played 74 minutes in victory over Sutton. That follow up the full ninety against Rochdale last Saturday.
Josh Emmanuel, Gavan Holohan and Otis Khan were joined by John McAtee on the bench for Tuesday’s win and could all see returns to the XI for Sunday’s match.
Owen Gallacher remains absent with a calf issue.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Currently sitting in sixth, the Seagulls have been one of the shining stars in this Premier League season. After losing manager Graham Potter to Chelsea in the Autumn, Italian Roberto De Zerbi arrived in September and has seen the further progression of the club.
His attacking style of football has seen Brighton emerge as genuine contenders for the European places and his squad come into this match off the back of a strong run of form, including a 1-0 midweek win over Crystal Palace.
To get this far in the competition, they have overcome Championship sides Middlesbrough and Stoke City (Third and Fifth Round, respectively) and eight-time winners Liverpool in the Fourth Round.
Brighton’s squad boasts plenty of quality, including a number of players who participated in the 2022 World Cup. Japanese star Kaoru Mitoma is one of those and he is currently enjoying a breakout season in the Premier League where he has become one of the form players. Moises Caicedo – one of the most highly regarded young midfielders in the world – is another along with Alex Mac Allister, the Argentinian who played in seven of his country’s eight matches en route to winning the trophy.
The two clubs have met 36 times in the past with the Mariners winning twelve of those. The last time we met was in February 2004 when Town won a Division Two match 2-1 at Blundell Park with Isaiah Rankin and Phil Jevons scoring our goals.
Jarred Gillett will be the man in the middle for Sunday’s match and this will be the first time he has ever officiated a Grimsby Town match.
He will be assisted by Simon Long and Derek Eaton. The VAR official for the match will be Michael Salisbury.
The match will be televised live on BBC One with the coverage starting from 1:50pm.
Due to broadcast regulations, the match isn’t available on Mariners TV but subscribers will be able to listen to the live coverage from BBC Radio Humberside.