LINCS ECHO PREVIEW
WHO WILL PROVE SWOT IN CLASSROOM CLASH?
Lincolnshire Echo, 31 October 2003
Mansfield Town boss Keith Curle is keen to pit his wits against fellow student Neil Thompson when Boston United travel to Field Mill tomorrow (3pm).
Curle and the Pilgrims manager are current pupils on a Certificate of Applied Management course, and the Stags chief said he has done his homework to achieve top marks over his classroom rival.
"I know Neil will have them well organised and will come here to nullify our strengths," said Curle.
"But 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.
"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.
"They have some decent players with decent pedigrees and are not scared to have a shot from anywhere."
That reference could well be directed at well-travelled Pilgrims assistant manager Neil Redfearn, who blasted home a 25-yard wonder strike to kick-start the 4-0 rout against Torquay last week.
Redfearn, who denied in yesterday's Echo he had applied for the vacant managerial position at Macclesfield, is now joint top-scorer with four goals, alongside Simon Weatherstone.
The Stags themselves hit Cheltenham for four last Saturday after two successive away defeats.
Curle said he was pleased with the upturn in fortunes, but insisted supporters had no cause to lose faith in the side's success anyway.
"The goals did all come at the right times but I thought we looked a threat throughout," said Curle, who is fighting his own way back to fitness after knee surgery.
"Some people seemed 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 our ultimate goal.
"I keep saying this is a long journey 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."
The Stags dropped down from Division Two last season after a single campaign at the higher level, but Curle thinks he has a squad that can jump straight back.
"I know we have enough in that changing room to win more games than we lose," he said.
Curle left out Iyseden Christie on Saturday and replaced him with Colin Larkin, who netted twice.
Defender Bobby Hassell is back in full training and should be fit to line-up against the Pilgrims.
Striker Andy White, who recently spent an unproductive loan spell with Boston is unlikely to figure.
The 22-year-old had lined-up another short-term move to Conference side Northwich Victoria after returning from York Street, although that fell through at the final hour.
"Andy needs to increase his match fitness so his time at Boston was very important to him as competitive football is what these young players need to bolster their career," said Curle.
Curle, who is 40 next month, may extend his playing career when he has recovered from his operation.
REDDERS LIKES PILGRIMS' STYLE
Lincolnshire Echo, 31 October 2003
Boston United assistant manager Neil Redfearn believes a change in the Pilgrims' style could reap further rewards when the side travel to Field Mill to take on Mansfield tomorrow (3pm), writes Julian Turner.
United have turned their Division Three season around with three wins and two draws in their last five outings, and the Boston number two is confident they can continue the upsurge in results against the Stags.
"We didn't get off to the best start this season but we have made a few tweaks and have made marked improvements," explained evergreen Redfearn (38). "We have been more aggressive and have tried to get the ball into the box quicker,
"It's been all about going out there and imposing ourselves, and the results speak for themselves."
Boston have now scored five goals and enjoyed two clean sheets in their previous two outings, with Redfearn netting the first in last Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Torquay.
The former Premiership midfielder believes the Gulls victory might also provide the blueprint for another win tomorrow.
"Torquay are renowned as a decent passing side and we managed to get among them and cause real damage," added Redfearn.
"We have to hope we can do the same thing against Mansfield because they are also a side who like to move the ball around.
"They've been scoring for fun this season (36 goals) so we have to make an impression against them if we are going to come away with anything."
Redfearn's fellow central midfielder Tom Bennett will miss the clash as he serves the second of a three-match ban imposed for his red card against Cheltenham earlier this month.
Defenders Simon Rusk and Daryl Sutch could both be fit for a return to action.
CURLE'S RETURN IS LAUGHING MATTER
Hull Daily Mail, 31 October 2003
Is ageing Mansfield Town manager Keith Curle serious?
He has undergone surgery to clear up a knee injury and is considering extending his playing career - at the age of 39.
Curle, who is 40 in November, has not selected himself for his promotion-chasing side so far this season.
However, the former England international expects to start training again next month after having some knee bone trimmed.
"I am still a little sore but should be fit to return to training in about two weeks or so," said Curle.
"Who knows, I may even play again later in the season."
Take my advice Keith, don't bother.
You may have played for England but you're well past your sell-by date and shouldn't even be considering a return.
However, if you do make sure let me know and I'll come to watch ... I haven't had a good laugh in ages.
REGULAR readers of my column will not have been surprised to see Sunderland lodge a £1m bid for the Huddersfield striker Jon Stead.
Stead - a previous champ of the week - is a little bit special and was one of my "ones to watch" a couple of weeks ago.
Although the Wearsiders had their bid rejected it won't be too long before someone snaps up this prodigious talent.
The promising 6ft 3in forward has scored 11 goals in 17 games this season.
It is understood Sunderland offered a £500,000 down payment plus the same amount again dependent on appearances.
Huddersfield-born Stead, 20, is Town's most valuable asset and it would be little surprise if Premiership sides tabled bigger bids once the transfer window reopens in January.
I say good luck to him.
If you've got talent (as he and myself have) it deserves to be on a bigger stage.
IT'S good to see Kidderminster manager Jan Molby has got big ambitions.
He has gone on record to say that staying in the League is his top priority. Wow!
Molby's side have had nine defeats so far this season and he is in no doubt as to the size of the task facing him.
"There is a tough job ahead of us and the target is to stay in the League," said pie-loving Molby.
"We have to work hard on all aspects of the game to do that."
Mansfield v Boston
Mansfield player-manager Keith Curle is on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee operation.
But apart from himself and defender Adam Eaton, the Stags' boss has no other injury worries for the match.
Boston manager Neil Thompson will be without Matt Hocking, Mark Angel and Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Hocking and Angel are struggling with knee and hamstring injuries respectively, while Akinfenwa has a chest infection.
Latest | October 2003