IT`S WIN OR BUST, SAYS PILKINGTON
IT'S WIN OR BUST, SAYS PILKINGTON
BY STEVIE RODEN, Evening Post, 16 April 2004
Mansfield captain Kevin Pilkington believes the third automatic promotion place is still in sight - but says they must win at Boston tomorrow to keep the dream alive.
The former Manchester United goalkeeper is relishing the Stags' first trip to York Street and believes the two days the players were given off this week have helped refresh the squad.
They had played five midweek matches in as many weeks and by Monday they were beginning to look weary, with Pilkington in fine form to keep the score at 0-0 against Bristol Rovers.
But despite trailing Huddersfield by four points and the Yorkshire outfit having a game in hand, Pilkington feels if the Stags can beat Boston and then get a result against Carlisle, they will keep the heat on before the two teams clash on May 1.
He said: "We are still positive and if we win all the remaining four games, there is a chance of automatic promotion.
"It is all about confidence and we have had a lot of games in recent weeks. Admittedly against Bury and Cheltenham we were shocking but after that we have been playing well and we all still believe we can do it.
"We have had two days off this week to help refresh ourselves physically and mentally and now we are ready for the trip to Boston and we know we have to get a result.
"All we can do is win our next four games and if that does not get us automatic promotion, we will take the play-offs."
Huddersfield lost on Easter Monday while other clubs in the promotion frame also slipped up. It meant that, had the Stags won both games last weekend, they would have moved into third place.
"That was disappointing, because we know we could have made progress," said Pilkington. "But if we look at it in a positive light, it means we are still in touch and they have not pulled completely away.
"The next two games are massive and if we perform, which I'm sure we will, we will get the results. And if we can be within touching distance of Huddersfield going into that match, it will be like a cup final."
The Stags will be looking to build on their 2-1 victory against Boston earlier in the season and have been boosted by the return of Tony Vaughan from suspension. Bobby Hassell is also expected to return after injury.
Pilkington added: "Everybody has had a chance to recharge their batteries and we are ready for the final push.
"Tomorrow, like all the others, is a must win game and we are all buzzing again and ready for this one."
Stags (probable): Pilkington, Hassell, Vaughan, John-Baptiste, Day, Curtis, MacKenzie, Corden, Lawrence, Mendes, Larkin. Subs: A White, Artell, Williamson, Disley, Beardsley.
GAME IS OFF
Evening Post, 16 April 2004
The Ex-Mansfield XI v All Star XI game set to take place at Field Mill on Sunday to help launch the club's new kit has been cancelled.
The club was unable to arrange enough players to compete at short notice, although the kit launch by Italian legends Franco Baresi and Filippo Galli will still take place.
The former AC Milan stars will unveil the new home and away strips at the ground at 1.45pm and the shirts will be available to buy from the club shop, priced at £36 adults, £30 children.
The executive sponsors' lounge will be open for drinks between 12.30pm and 3.15pm and the current squad will attend to sign autographs for fans.
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