PILKS: WE CAN AVOID DROP
Evening Post, 17 April 2003
Defiant Stags goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington believes Mansfield can turn the relegation fight back in their favour with two wins against Barnsley and Blackpool this weekend.
But he said staying up would be a greater achievement than gaining entry to the Second Division at the end of last season. Pilkington came back into the side for the 1-0 defeat against Port Vale the week before last after recovering from a rib and lung injury picked up in the Stags' 3-2 win over Notts County in February.
But, since Stags have lost their last four games, including five-goal horror shows against Peterborough and Bristol City, he says the players owe it to the supporters to produce the goods.
He said: "I'm feeling good at the moment and everything feels fine so it is great to be back playing again but it is a shame the results have gone the way they have recently.
"At the end of the day, all 11 of us have got to do our jobs and we have got to stay on the ball, because the whole thing could go wrong because of what happens in a second.
"It was great at the end of last season when we managed to get promoted but this will be an even bigger achievement if we pull it off."
"The last three defeats have been very disappointing and, in that run, we have had two really bad performances against Bristol City and Peterborough.
"Saturday is an excellent opportunity to put things right."
A visit to Blackpool on Monday follows the Barnsley match and then the remaining fixtures of the season will be a trip to Tranmere followed by a home game against bottom-of-the-table Northampton on the final day of the season.
The Cobblers are the only one of the four that the Stags haven't beaten this season and the former Manchester United keeper vows that Keith Curle's side have nothing to fear.
In Curle's first two league games, the Stags saw off Steve McMahon's Tangerines 4-0 at Field Mill and then went on to record a 1-0 success at Oakwell, courtesy of a goal from Andy White.
But Pilkington knows the Stags have their work cut out to stay in the division but maintains that six points from the two fixtures would put a different slant on the bottom of the table.
"It's a big weekend and we have got to go out and get two wins," he said.
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