STAGS ARE ON THE MEND
Stags are on the mend
MANSFIELD Town's injury crisis appears to be easing as they prepare for two tough away games in four days.
Stags, who had 20 players in the treatment room last Wednesday, were missing seven first choice players for Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by promotion rivals Yeovil Town and even had five teenagers on the bench.
But for Saturday's trip to Cambridge United (3pm) and Tuesday's trip to Bristol Rovers (7.45pm), things are thankfully starting to look brighter.
Lee Williamson and Iyseden Christie have both completed their three-match bans.
Williamson used the time to have a cartilage operation and, not wanting to rush him back too soon after having stitches in the wound, it is more likely he will figure on Saturday week.
Christie has aggravated a knee while out jogging but should be fit by Saturday.
And Dave Artell (hamstring) is expected to be fit as is fellow central defender Luke Dimech (knee).
Sharpshooter Colin Larkin could also be available again after completing a course of injections in his hamstring and back.
Of the other walking wounded, Tom Curtis (back), Craig Disley (back) and Tony Vaughan (ankle) should be much improved after all three faced Yeovil on Saturday at less than 100 per cent fitness and mobility.
Bobby Hassell has a torn muscle in his abdomen which he initially did in training last Thursday and aggravated in training on Friday. A decision on him will be left until late.
"We were very disappointed with the result on Saturday, but I would defy any top seven side to lose seven of their first team players, face another side from the top seven, and get anything out the game," said manager Keith Curle.
"Thankfully we should have some bodies back this week.
"No disrespect to the lads who came in on Saturday. They gave a good account of themselves against a very well-organised side and I believe we did enough to deserve something out the game.
"Yes we were short on bodies and down to the bare bones. But we still could and should have got something out of the game.
"Certain players were out there carrying knocks.
"But, even though they were not at 100 per cent, I would not have picked those players if I didn't think they could do me a job.
"It wasn't a lack of effort or a lack of spirit in the camp. We just couldn't do the simple things well so we tried to do the difficult things.
"It's important we don't let our heads drop. We are training with a skeleton squad at the moment and keeping our fingers crossed.
"Losing so many players at once last week, it was always going to be difficult to play the sort of fluent football I want to see week in, week out.
"Maybe if we could have just got one or two back from injury in time things might have been different."
Saturday's opponents Cambridge sit just one place and one point behind Mansfield in the table with Tuesday's opponents also a point behind and just two places behind them.
Latest | September 2003