EVENING POST PREVIEW
TIME FOR PLAYERS TO MAKE AMENDS
Evening Post, 04 April 2003
The last seven days must have been like no other week in the short managerial career of Keith Curle.
For, perhaps the first time since he took over from Stuart Watkiss in December, the heat has been on. A 5-1 home defeat against Peterborough United, a side who were on the same number of points as the Stags at the beginning of the afternoon, sent shudders through the Mansfield faithful.
They streamed to the exits early and booed at the final whistle.
A fans forum had already been organised on Tuesday night ad Curle made sure the first-team were in attendance to demonstrate they were equally concerned and determined to make up for it in tomorrow's clash with Port Vale (3pm).
He said: "It wasn't a punishment to take them but now they know a bit about my job and the questions I had to answer.
"It gives them a sense of what it means to people and I'm sure they will take that with them into the game on Saturday."
After tomorrow's game, Stags will have just five more to secure their Division Two status and Curle realises that the time for talking is over.
And, he believes that they will have learned plenty from their defeat against Barry Fry's outfit.
He said: "We are now going to be judged on our results.
"I do always try and look on the positive side and one thing that did come out of the game was that every single one of our weaknesses was exposed.
"Had we played like that and lost 1-0, then we might have looked at the game and thought that is was only a single goal and we were a bit unlucky.
"But that wasn't the case on Saturday because there was nowhere for anyone to hide because we were battered."
Despite the heavy nature of the loss, a look at the table shows that the Stags are still only two points away from a place above the drop zone, as Stockport have 42 points.
However, Stags' win over the Hatters on Boxing Day is the only victory they have managed to gain against a team in the bottom six.
From their matches against Stockport, Huddersfield, Cheltenham, Northampton and tomorrow's opponents, they have only managed to claim four points.
With only a solitary point from a game against a side in the top six, that being the 2-2 draw at QPR, Stags have claimed 35 of their 40 points against teams that currently occupy the middle 12 positions in the table.
But Curle says he is not paying too much attention to statistics as he prepares for a game against a side that beat the Stags 4-2 in November, just a couple of days before Curle was handed the job at Field Mill as Stuart Watkiss's replacement.
He said: "I have got all sorts of charts and things in my office and we look at all sorts of statistics from our games and you can read anything into them.
"You can get them to say whatever you like.
"Now is the time for the players to take responsibility for their jobs.
"They have to make sure they are professional, responsible and adult, which is what I told them when I first came into the building.
"That hasn't changed. It is still important and I am looking for the right response."
Stags do have a couple of injury worries with Iyseden Christie suffering a slight hamstring injury and Rhys Day is still recovering from the knee injury he received towards the end of the Peterborough game.
Curle, who is likely to play at the heart of the Stags defence, will have to do without the services of Liam Lawrence.
He is suspended for the first of two matches after his post-match sending off following the 5-4 defeat against Bristol City in November.
Junior Mendes is likely to play after recovering from a calf injury.
MANSFIELD (from): Welch, Doane, Curle, Day, Eaton, Hassell, Mendes, Curtis, Williamson, Disley, Corden, Mitchell, Christie, A White, Gadsby, Pilkington.
Latest | April 2003