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Passengers not required for Mariners challenge — Burr
KIDDERMINSTER Harriers boss Steve Burr has told his players they must rise to the challenge of Saturday’s title clash at Grimsby Town.
The manager is under no illusion over the difficulty of the encounter at Blundell Park (3pm ko), describing it as the Aggborough outfit’s ‘toughest test of the season’.
Harriers go into the game in second place but looking to bounce back after Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to Gateshead.
The Mariners, who have three games in hand, are pushing hard on their heels in fourth-place after a fine win at Forest Green Rovers.
“This is without a doubt going to be our toughest test of the season,” Burr said.
“It’s a big challenge for us but that’s what you want at this stage.
“We’re going to need everybody playing at their best — all 16 of them in the squad — it’s going to have to be at least eight out of 10 scores.
“Grimsby are a top side but we’ll be going there trying to win the match.”
The Mariners boast one of the best home records in the Blue Square Bet Premier but Harriers have won the last two matches in Cleethorpes, edging thrilling encounters in the league last season and the FA Cup in October.
Striker Greg Pearson will miss the weekend’s titanic tussle as part of his loan from Grimsby.
The loss to Gateshead ended the Reds’ seven-match winning streak, which has turned them into championship contenders in the Conference Premier.
The Harriers boss was named manager of the month for February last week, while striker Anthony Malbon scooped player of the month.
He was disappointed to see his side taste a rare defeat on a foggy night in front of a sparse 273 crowd on Tuesday.
He said: “The fog was so bad at times I could not see the other side of the pitch and I wasn’t sure the game could be finished.
“But it kept lifting and then drifting in so we managed to play on.
“I was disappointed to lose, we were not at our best.
“Saying that we had chances to score, if Marvin Johnson had put away his early opportunity it would have been a different story.
“We’ve played a lot of games of late and I think one or two looked like they were feeling that, so we might make some changes.”
Meanwhile, Harriers have seen their strikeforce undergo a reshuffle over the last seven days.
With Amari Morgan-Smith recalled early last Friday by parent club Macclesfield, they have drafted in Cambridge United’s joint-top-scorer Michael Gash on-loan until the end of the season. The deal also gives the Reds the option to sign the 26-year-old in the summer.
Going the other way was rookie hitman Nathan Blissett for a month, who marked his debut with a goal in 17 seconds against Southport.
“I think this is a good move for both clubs,” added Harriers’ manager.
“We’re really pleased to have Michael in as he’s a very good player.
“I thought he did extremely well when he came on against Gateshead and had a good chance to score.
“We didn’t start him because he only joined the team on Monday and it will take time to settle.
“Nathan has gone out for a month, will play some games and then come back to us.”