Stags ready for in-form Boston
MANSFIELD Town prepare for in-form Boston United's first ever League visit to Field Mill this Saturday (3pm) with renewed confidence.
After that blip of two successive away defeats to promotion rivals, Stags hit back in perfect style with a 4-0 success against Cheltenham Town last weekend.
"The difference on Saturday was that we put the ball in the net and looked lively and inventive in the final third," said manager Keith Curle.
"The mindset of the players was right. I told them to be disciplined but entertaining. The goals did all comes at the right times but I thought we looked a threat throughout.
"Some people seeemed to think we were in freefall because we'd lost two very tough away games. But we never felt that here.
"Saturday's win was just another stepping stone towards out ultimnate goal. I keep saying this is a long jouney and, as I see it, for two games we stopped and did our laces up!
"Now we are back on that journey and, along the way, we will go past other teams whose laces have come undone!
"Some people also have the view that we could fail as they feel we haven't got a 25-goal a season man.
"But here we are joint top goalscorers in all four divisions along with Plymouth and Hull. We have goals in all departments which has to be better than relying on one individual who could be injured.
"Looking back on those two defeats now I asked myself if I should have gone five across the middle in both, one up front, and played it safe. If we went back now I believe we could do that and probably get a couple of points.
"But I wouldn't play it like that. I believe taking the game to the opposition is the way we should go, even at Hull next month
"We want to play football. Playing like that, sometimes we will come unstuck as we will leave gaps at the back which other teams can exploit.
"But I know we have enough in that changing room to win more games than we lose playing that way."
Curle decided to leave out Iyseden Christie on Saturday and bring in Colin Larkin who looked more like his old self and netted his first two goals of the campaign.
"I was delighted for Colin," he said. "The way he managed to stay in the air to head that first goal was down to the time he's spent working on his upper body strength in the gym and he hasn't been given enough credit for the way he finished that or his second.
"He's the best one-on-one finisher at the club and I see daily what Colin is capable of.
"He was the perfect foil for Junior on Saturday who didn't have things go his way in front of goal, but showed his work ethic is absolutely superb. If someone is not quite on their game but are still having a go, our fans stick with them."
Much-improved Boston should provide a stern test on Saturday.
After a poor start to the season they have now won four and drawn two of their last six and haven't conceded a goal for 225 minutes following Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Torquay.
"All credit to Neil Thompson," said Curle.
"I am aware of some of the in-fighting that's gone on at Boston to do with the previous regime and Neil has been very dignified in his comments and gone about a difficult job well.
"He is on the same Certificate of Applied Management course as myself and I know he will have them well organised.
"They will come here to nullify our strengths and, if we give them time and space, they will play football if we allow them to.
"Boston can mix their game up well but really come alive in and around the box.
""They have some decent players with decent pedigrees and are not scared to have a shot from anywhere."
Nevertheless, November - on paper - offers a fantastic chance for Stags to set themselves up for success.
After Boston comes the FA Cup tie with Bishop's Stortford, followed by a trip to bottom club Carlisle, a home clash with Huddersfield and a trip to struggling Northampton.
Defender Bobby Hassell is back in full training and should be in the squad to face Boston United.
Issue 53 of Stags fanzine Follow The Yellow Brick Road will be on sale, priced £1, for this Saturday's game with Boston United.
Highlight is a bumper, exclusive interview with Paul Holland. There is also a look back at Stags strikers down the years as well as a feature on Stags' continental imports and exports. Tte content includes work by Stags authorities Martin Shaw and Paul Taylor.
Latest | October 2003