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Archived News from October 2003

24th October 2003 17:27

Mansfield are hopeful that defender Bobby Hassell will return after picking up a severely bruised ankle.
Flu victim Neil MacKenzie may also return to the squad while defender Adam Eaton continues to make steady progress from long-term groin problems.

Cheltenham will be without midfielder Richard Forsyth (hamstring) and defender Shane Duff (ankle).

Goalkeeper Steve Book and midfielder Mark Yates are suspended but John Finnigan could be back.
Evening Post:
BY STEVIE RODEN, 24 October 2003

Mansfield will be looking to put an end to their three-match losing run against troubled Cheltenham tomorrow.

Stags boss Keith Curle has told his players to forget the past week after going down at Doncaster and Torquay. His side also lost to Stockport in the LDV Trophy the week before.

But Curle believes getting back to league action at Field Mill will be a great chance for his team to start winning again.

They performed better in midweek in Devon after an abysmal showing at Doncaster but still failed to find a breakthrough.

Curle says the players now have to make the most of having three of their next four games at home.

And he believes they can recapture the form they showed earlier in the month against a struggling Cheltenham, where boss Bobby Gould resigned a week ago.

Curle said: "At Torquay, it all fell apart in the final third, although we had a lot of the possession.

"We put in a good display but now we have to put those games behind us and in training the lads have been looking sharp and ready for the game."

But the Stags boss knows that Cheltenham will not be an easy team to brush aside, especially after their midweek victory against Darlington under caretaker manager Bob Bloomer.

He said: "We had them watched on Tuesday. They have got a good shape and are good at set pieces.

"They have had an upset with the departure of Bobby Gould but as a footballing side they are solid and it's up to us to get the ball down and play our game."

Stags full back Bobby Hassell is a 50-50 chance to return from an ankle injury and Neil MacKenzie is expected to be over the flu which kept him out of the midweek clash with Torquay.

Stags (probable): Pilkington, Clarke, Vaughan, Dimech, Artell, Curtis, Williamson, Corden, Lawrence, Mendes, Christie. Subs: Hassell, J White, Day, Larkin, Disley.

Western Daily Press

Cheltenham Town's caretaker-manager Bob Bloomer will turn to Michael Duff to skipper the side in the absence of the suspended Mark Yates at Mansfield tomorrow. Yates misses out at Field Mill after accumulating five yellow cards and receiving a one-match ban.

And Bloomer had no hesitation in turning to Duff, who captained Town on several occasions last season.

"I look around the players and he's one who stands out as someone who will lead from the front," said Bloomer.

"I had a chat with him this morning and he's happy to do it.

"I told Michael that I just want him to do what he's been doing all season.

"He's been playing well and leading by example and I don't want him to do anything different at Mansfield."

Duff should again be partnered by Darren Jones in central defence after Jones' loan was extended by a further month yesterday.

After Jones' Bristol City team-mate Kevin Amankwaah returned to Ashton Gate earlier this week it was assumed Jones would follow him.

But it appears that the Welshman's greater defensive strengths persuaded Bloomer to keep him at Whaddon Road.

"Darren is a solid defender who appears to enjoy the defensive side of things," said Bloomer.

"Hopefully he can strike up a good partnership with Michael Duff at the back."

Bloomer will be forced into one change tomorrow due to Yates' ban.

And he will be hoping John Finnigan can overcome a shin injury to take Yates' place in the engine room.

Finnigan would be an ideal replacement for the combative skipper and returned to training yesterday after missing the win over Darlington.

Bloomer is also without substitute keeper Steve Book, again through suspension, tomorrow.

Book is banned after his sending off in the defeat at Boston United earlier this month.

Youngster Craig Humphries - who has yet to make the first team squad - has signed Football League registration forms and could be included on the bench as cover for Shane Higgs.

"Craig will travel with us and I'll decide whether he's on the bench on Saturday," added Bloomer.

The only players definitely ruled out by injury are defender Shane Duff and midfielder Richard Forsyth.

Forsyth is expected to return to training on Monday after a hamstring injury, while Duff faces another week of rehabilitation.

Fellow defender John Brough is fit to play after completing 90 minutes for the reserves this week but is likely to have to wait for his chance from the bench.


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