EVENING POST PREVIEW
CURLE HAS EVERY FAITH IN THE STAGS
Stags boss Keith Curle believes the confidence is back in the dressing room and has backed his players to be firing on all cylinders against Swansea tonight.
Mansfield have put in some poor performances of late. But, before Saturday's match against Oxford was abandoned at half-time because of high winds, they were playing good football.
And with the players looking for revenge against Swansea after they were reduced to nine men at The Vetch in the 4-1 defeat last August, Curle has asked them to carry on where they left off at the weekend.
He said: "The pleasing thing about the weekend was that the players had a smile back on their faces.
"We looked like our old selves and the confidence was there, with the players getting the ball down and playing football, despite the atrocious conditions.
"There is a real buzz around this place again and the lads are in high spirits and ready to go.
"The last time we met it was a game where we came away feeling let down. It was intimidating and we did not get what we deserved.
"The occasion was too big for the referee and, hopefully, we will get an official who will make sure the game is played on a level playing field.
"It is a massive game but the players will be in the right frame of mind. The intention will be to get the ball down, entertain the crowd and play attractive football that is going to get us the result. We are confident we can do that."
Neil MacKenzie came off on Saturday after taking a knock to the head. But he is fit and in the squad, with only long-term injury victim Adam Eaton not available for selection.
And Curle could stick to the 4-5-1 formation he adapted on Saturday to try to ensure his players stick to his footballing ideals.
Curle said: "I think tactically it was the right thing to do as we have been going a lot more direct in recent games than myself and John Gannon would have liked.
"It is an easy option when things are not going right to go long and do things too quickly. This formation allowed us to put three players in the midfield and gave them an opportunity to pass and play football.
"The old Mansfield had returned and there was a confidence around the place.
"We know Swansea have their strengths and weaknesses and they know we will be upset by last time.
"But we have to focus on this match and as far as we are concerned there is three points to be won and we want to get them."
Iyseden Christie and Lee Williamson both saw red the last time the teams met and Mansfield were fined £2,000 by the FA for their part in a 21-man melee.
But Curle has urged the supporters to get down to Field Mill this evening and make it a good atmosphere.
He added: "What we want now is for the supporters to be like an extra player for us. We need their backing."
Stags (possible): Pilkington, Hassell, Vaughan, Day, John-Baptiste, Corden, Lawrence, Curtis, MacKenzie, Disley, Mendes. Subs: J White, Artell, Williamson, D"Jaffo, Larkin.
Latest | March 2004