STAGS TO UNVEIL NEW DEFENCE AGAINST SKY BLUES
Evening Post, 30 July 2003
Keith Curle will be hoping his Mansfield Town side can continue their impressive pre-season when Coventry City visit Field Mill tonight.
Stags have already beaten Premiership Manchester City 2-1 as they prepare for the coming campaign.
And they continued their good form with a comfortable 3-1 win over St Blazey, in Cornwall.
Goals from Lee Williamson, Wayne Corden and Colin Larkin sealed a comfortable win over their hosts.
Stags arrived back from the south-west last night to prepare for tonight's game.
Fans could have a chance to witness Stags' new central defensive partnership, with former Forest man Tony Vaughan set to feature in the squad.
Vaughan and Welsh under-21 international Rhys Day have played together before (comment from Martin : this is incorrect, Day was brought in when Vaughan left), when the 27-year-old enjoyed a four-game loan spell at Field Mill last season.
Former manager Stuart Watkiss initially signed Vaughan, whose loan was only terminated after he picked up an injury in the 2-2 draw at Notts County in November 2002.
But now current boss Keith Curle is close to agreeing contractual terms with the player, who has been on trial at the club for the last few weeks.
And he, along with several trialists - Maltese international Luke Dimech, who had previously interested Notts County, Sheikh Kamara and Chris Howard - could play a part against the Division One side tonight.
Coventry defender Keith O'Neill is also hoping to use the match to get his career back on track.
The transfer-listed player completed his first 90 minutes in 18 months in a friendly against Worcester City.
He is now hoping to feature again against the Stags - and to persuade the club to take him off the transfer list.
"It was great to get 90 minutes under my belt," he said. "I have worked hard over the summer and, bar a slight groin strain, I am fit and ready to go.
"The gaffer has said that if I do well he will bring me back into the first team picture. So I don't feel like the door is closed at Coventry. I am in an unfortunate situation in that the decision to put me on the list is nothing to do with ability.
"But the way I see it is that if I am still at the club they might as well play me, and if I am doing well I am confident I can do a good job."
Coventry's squad should have an international flavour, with an Algerian, two Cameroon internationals and a German likely to be included.
Midfielder Macel Mahouve is hoping to join Cameroon international team-mate Partick Suffo, who has signed from Sheffield United, at the club. And Algerian Yarid Mausouri and German full-back Emanuel Weneart are hoping for contracts.
FIRST Division giants Coventry City roll into Field Mill tonight (Wednesday)for the second of Stags' prestigious home pre-season friendlies.
And Mansfield manager Keith Curle expects Gary McAllister's side to show his young side some quality passing football they will be hoping to emulate in Division Three this season.
"Coventry are a big club with a big tradition," he said.
"They will be disappointed with their finishing position last season and doubtless they won't be far away from the line-up they will start the new season with.
"Gary McAllister has had a great career, playing the game in the right way, and hopefully he now has a great managerial career ahead of him as well.
"It will be a good test for our lads and hopefully they can learn something from the game."
The match will reunite Curle with one of his former Sheffield United team mates following City's signing of Patrick Suffo last week.
"It will be nice to see Patrick again," he said. "He still doesn't seem to have found a stamping ground for himself where he can perform consistently."
Following tonight's game, the Stags head for Conference club Scarborough on Saturday.
There will be a sprinkling of first teamers involved in next week's trips to Worksop (Monday) and Arnold Town (Wednesday) but they will essentially feature the club's younger stars.
Stags go into tonight's game buoyant after producing some excellent football in Monday's 3-1 win at St Blazey.
Mansfield spent the weekend at Trethorne Golf and Leisure Farm before returning home yesterday.
"It was a very worthwhile trip," said Curle.
"Mentally and physically it will be the hardest pre-season most of them have ever had and it will have done them good to take them out of that environment for a few days.
"It gives them a chance to get to know each other and myself and John Gannon a chance to get to know them better as people and not just footballers.
"The facilities were superb. I know many clubs go abroad or to Scotland or Ireland. But I have been to Trethorne twice with Sheffield United and know the facilities well.
"St Blazey have a great facility as well. The result is always secondary at this time of year, but what we wanted was a game played at the right tempo which is what we got on a good surface.
"All in all it was a pleasing display.
"The lads' attitudes have been magnificent. I have pushed them to the point where they might have thrown in the towel. But they have carried on without asking the whys and wherefores which promises much for the new season."
Former Forest and Manchester City central defender Tony Vaughan has signed a one-year deal with Mansfield Town.
Vaughan (27), who briefly showed his capabilities at Field Mill during four games on loan last season before suffering an injury, signed on the dotted line on Friday.
"I am very pleased to get Tony on board," said manager Keith Curle.
"He is the type of quality player you want to have around you at a football club and he also provides the experience I have been looking for.
"This is a chance for Tony to start finding his feet again as a player as well. He is an infectious sort of person in the dressing room as well as on the field which I hope will rub off on the other lads as well."
There was more good news for Stags this week with last season's injury-stricken pair Adam Eaton and Colin Larkin getting football under their belts at St Blazey on Monday night.
Eaton turned in 45 minutes and Larkin 20 minutes and Curle said: "Having Adam back is like signing a new player.
"I wasn't sure about playing him as we don't want to push him too quickly and he has missed out on five weeks of pre-season .
"But he did well and even wanted to stay on longer but we erred on the side of caution. He is very tired which is to be expected but otherwise doesn't seem to have had any reactions from his hamstring or groin.
"Colin also did well and scored a good goal for us. It gives us a wealth of riches up front."
Tony Vaughan (ankle), Tom Curtis (ankle), Rhys Day (hamstring) and Liam Lawrence (tight calves) were all rested on Monday with minor knocks and niggles but should all but fit to play tonight or on Saturday.
Stags youth side drew 1-1 at home to Northampton Town, Dean Hankey netting for them from the penalty spot.
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