Hatters striker McAtee scores on his Grimsby return but the Mariners fall to Rovers defeat

Forward finds the net after lengthy absence with shoulder injury
John McAtee was on target for Grimsby once more at the weekendJohn McAtee was on target for Grimsby once more at the weekend
John McAtee was on target for Grimsby once more at the weekend

Grimsby boss Paul Hurst believes that the goalscoring return of Luton striker John McAtee can only boost his side during their League Two campaign this term.

The 23-year-old had moved to the Hatters for an undisclosed fee back in August after netting 16 times as the Mariners won promotion back into the league via the National League play-offs last season, immediately loaned back to his former club.

However, having picked up a shoulder injury during the opening game with Leyton Orient that required surgery, he stayed at Kenilworth Road for treatment, recently netting twice for Town’s’ Development squad in a 3-3 draw with Stevenage.

Fit-again to resume his loan spell, McAtee was then named on the bench for Grimsby at the weekend, coming on for the final half an hour against Doncaster Rovers.

He didn’t take long to get back on the scoresheet either with a low strike 11 minutes from time, the goal proving to be a consolation in a 3-1 defeat.

Speaking to Grimsby Live, Hurst said: “As soon as he was named on the bench, everybody probably wanted him on in the first minute.

"We know where he is; he wasn’t supposed to be with us at this point, so it was a bonus that we got him for this game, but it’s my job to manage that situation now.

“He is a good player, and we all know that, but in one sense, and I was saying this last season, we can’t nor do we want to be a one-man team, but if you take near-enough anybody's best player out of their team they will struggle, and the same goes for us.

“I think the players, and as a club, we’ve coped well in the absence of McAtee; would we have been higher up the table with him?

"Who knows. There are no definites in football, and sometimes the dynamics change as a result of players dropping out of the team.

“Saying that I would imagine every team in this league would like a John McAtee in their team, and while he is still our player, we would like him to be in the team.

"I don’t think he struggles with confidence, but the minutes he got under his belt, along with the goal, can only be a positive for him and us in the long run.”

Following his return, McAtee himself tweeted: "Result not good enough we need to be better!

"Besides that glad to be back on the pitch after 3 months and get myself off the mark with a goal!

"Special mention to the fans for the reception on my return yesterday, that really meant a lot UTM.”