SUMMER ON HOLD FOR STAGS
SUMMER has been put on hold for the players of relegated Mansfield Town this week.
Player-manager Keith Curle has decided to give them a taste of pre-season training for the next three weeks.
And many of them will also be sweating over their Field Mill futures as he has decided to keep his retained list under wraps until the third weekend in May when he is obliged to release it.
Stags at least avoided the ignominy of finishing bottom when they came from behind to beat Northampton Town 2-1 at Field Mill on Saturday with a performance that at least offered encouragement for next season.
"I will have them in for the next three weeks to prepare them mentally and physically for next season," said Curle.
"It will give them an insight into pre-season training which will be the hardest many of them have ever had.
"It will test their inner desire. I want to be surrounded by a team of winners here next season. To do that I need a foundation.
"This club's foundation was not a solid one when we took over. We need something to build on to put this club on a more professional footing. Everything has to be right and there is a lot of work to be done.
"As far as I am concerned it is not the end of the season. For me the new season started on Saturday and I wanted players to go out there and show their intentions.
"I picked the team to give players the opportunity to show the penny has dropped with certain things."
Stags will stay in training until the end of May during which time Curle will be working on individuals' goals for the new season.
"I want to set a lot of the physical foundations in place and players need to grow up quickly," he said.
"It won't be a boot camp. I will be working out programmes for players to improve their build, strength and power in the gym. Some players need building up, others are overweight. We will sort it all out and then they can take five or six weeks off from June to reflect on it. I want people to set their standards now which will stand us in good stead."
Mystery surrounded the absence of top scorer Iyseden Christie from the 16 players to face the Cobblers on Saturday.
Christie was givent the all-clear to play in midweek after visiting a doctor over dizzy spells.
All Curle would say was that Christie's absence was: "Due to a situation that has gone on which is being kept within the football club."
With clubs as far down as ninth place expected to be involved in the Third Division play-offs next year, hopes have to be high.
And with Stags ending Saturday's win with four promising teenagers on the park - Dean Hankey came on for his debut as the 40th player used by the club this season - at least there are pointers to a brighter future.
"It was a decent performance on Saturday with a lot of young lads playing above their age," added Curle.
Players like Alex John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton began this season as boys but ended it as men.
"I think you do learn more about your players individually and coll3ectively through tough times. And this relegation has reaffirmed my belife that my standards have got to be met from Monday to Friday which will give players a better chance of meeting them on a Saturday as well.
"We need to educate the players not only how to win games but also how not to lose games.
"It has been a very young dressing room and also an immature one. A lot of them need to grow up very quickly."
There is certainly a positive vein running through the players.
Club captain Kevin Pilkington said: "We will come back, work hard and try to bounce back. It will be very difficult but I know we can do it."
Liam Lawrence, who landed several Player of the Season awards on Saturday, added: "We have got a good squad at the moment, though it maybe needs to be bigger.
"I am sure the gaffer will add some quality to it in the summer and hopefully we can build on things and get straight back up again."
Striker Colin Larkin is back at the National Rehabilitation Centre at Lilleshall for another three weeks after his problematic hamstring went yet against Tranmere last week.
"I thought he looked somehting like the old Colin Larkin against Blackpool at Easter so this is another setback," said Curle.
"No one has seen the best of Colin this season and it is important over this next three weeks that he gets himself in a position to come back fully fit next season."
STAGS TICKET PRICES ARE FROZEN
After discussions between Keith Haslam and the Stags Supporters Association on Tuesday, it has been agreed season ticket prices for the 2003/04 season will be frozen.
In addition a pilot scheme is to be introduced at the start of the season whereby students can purchase tickets in advance of a game (on production of a student card) with a £4 discount.
An SSA spokesman said: "We are delighted to see the loyalty of the fans has been rewarded with a freeze in the prices and also pleased to see the club taking steps to accommodate the large body of students within the club's catchment."
Members of SSA will again be able to purchase voucher books (details to be announced shortly) that will allow £2 discount to the North Stand.
SSA members will also qualify for a £20 discount on North Stand season tickets and Junior Stags will be able to buy a season ticket for anywhere in the ground for just £50.
In addition, car park season tickets will be available for £50 for the season. Season Ticket Prices are:
West Stand (Upper) Adult £300, OAP/Student £150, Junior £60*. West Stand (Lower) Adult £280, OAP/Student £140, Junior £60*.
North Stand - Adult £280*, OAP/Student £140, Junior £60*.
*SSA discounts applicable
A £20 discount will be applicable for any adult season tickets purchased up to 5pm on Monday, June 16th.
Matchday Prices - West Stand (Upper): Adult £15, Student £11, OAP/Junior £7. West Stand (Lower): Adult £14, Student £10, OAP/Junior £7. North Stand: Adult £14*, Student £10*, OAP/Junior £7*
*SSA discounts applicable
Details of SSA membership will be announced next Tuesday.
Latest | May 2003