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Archived News from August 2003

29th August 2003 23:23

Evening Post, 29 August 2003

Stags boss Keith Curle is confident his defenders can make it a hat-trick of clean sheets tomorrow - and steal all three points.

Mansfield only managed to keep a total of three clean sheets all last season before being relegated after conceding 97 league goals.

But since Rhys Day and Tony Vaughan were brought back into the defence last Saturday, the Stags have not conceded a goal in two games.

Curle has been impressed by the contribution the pair have made and is set to keep Vaughan at left-back and Day partnering the impressive Dave Artell in the middle of the back four.

Curle said: "Both Rhys and Tony are solid characters, both on and off the pitch and have a positive effect on the other players. They are quality players and they have a strong physical presence that is daunting for other clubs. We are defending well and I want to keep getting clean sheets."

And with the goals flying in at the other end, after hitting five against Scunthorpe in midweek and three at Southend last Saturday, the manager is in confident mood his side can chalk up their third victory on the bounce.

He said: "Somebody asked me whether we would be happy settling for a point down at Swansea, but I think looking at our last two games it is a question you should be asking them. At the moment. I think they will be happy to settle for a point.

"The players know that was a great performance in midweek but repeating that level does not guarantee us anything. Everything we get we are going to have to earn and that means matching them physically - something we will do."

Swansea started the season with three straight victories before crashing 3-0 away at Oxford on Bank Holiday Monday. But although they have already leaked eight goals, they are the league's highest scorers with 11.

"We will show them respect," Curle added. "They like to break and attack quickly, like ourselves, and are dangerous from set pieces. But I am confident we can continue to get the results. There continues to be a buzz around the place and we are keeping a high tempo when we train, just like when we play.

"But the results have led to the banter rising and you find successful clubs have that in the changing room. This club is no exception."

One disappointment for Mansfield is that Swansea have only allowed the club 280 tickets for the match, although the Stags could have taken at least double that.

Curle added: "My message to those who do travel is be even louder. The support has been absolutely magnificent, phenomenal in fact.

"They have enjoyed the way the side has tried to play football and the commitment the players have shown, and I know the players really appreciate that support."

MANSFIELD (from): Pilkington, Hassell, Artell, Day, Vaughan, Lawrence, Williamson, MacKenzie, Corden, Mendes, Christie, Larkin, J White, A White, John-Baptiste, Disley.

Evening Post, 29 August 2003

The future of two of Mansfield Town's key defenders is still in the air as discussions continue into whether their short-term contracts will be extended.

Dave Artell has been an ever present this season and Maltese international Luke Dimech had been outstanding before picking up a knee injury playing for his country ten days ago. Both signed a month-long contract before the start of the season but they are due to expire shortly after the Macclesfield game a week on Saturday. Curle would like to see them stay but is still in discussions with the chairman.

He said: "They have both done a great job and I'm still in discussions with the chairman. I have to see what is available, but if the money is not there, I cannot offer them deals. If the money is there, I will spend it."


Latest | August 2003