It has been confirmed that Grimsby will not be reinstated into League Two if Stockport fail to exit administration.
The Football League have confirmed that Grimsby will not be reinstated into League Two if Stockport fail to exit administration.
The consortium bidding to buy Stockport - The 2015 Group - are edging closer towards buying the Hatters after being given the green light at a Football League meeting, but the deal has not yet been completed.
But Grimsby, who were relegated from League Two this season, will be playing in the Conference next term even if Stockport's takeover was to fall through.
A league spokesman told the Grimsby Telegraph: "According to Football League rules, we would operate with 23 clubs in League Two next season."
Mariners chairman John Fenty was left reeling by the news, adding: "Stockport have been in administration for virtually two seasons. You would think the Football League would look at it knowing the situation for so long.
"Rules are rules but you would hope common sense would prevail rather than play with one less team next season. If that is the case, then it's rather surprising - it's something of a joke really."