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PREVIEWS FROM TWO HUDDERSFIELD SITES
29th April 2004 21:23


Match Preview: Mansfield
downatthemac.com

By Geoff
Date: 29/4/2004

It's the last home league game of the season and there's bound to be a lot of tension. Both clubs desperately need the points for different reasons.


DOWN AT THE MAC
Match Preview

Huddersfield Town
v
Mansfield

McAlpine Stadium
Sat 1st May K.O. 3.00 pm
Football League Division Three

Another important match on Saturday in a second half of the season that has seen more crunch times than a Lineker crisp advert. The fans will most probably turn up in large numbers for the last home league game of this season. They will all be hoping that all their promotion wishes are granted and the Terriers take all three points and Torquay slip up. If that happens then the good times will roll. But visitors Mansfield need the points as well for their playoff push so they're not going to roll over and concede. All the pointers seem to indicate that it's going to be a very tense ninety minutes for all at the Mac both on the field and off it.

The ups and downs continue for Town with automatic promotion dangling ever closer but vital players missing threatening the dream. Both Efe Sodje and Danny Schofield will miss the last two games because of an ineffective referee. The talk amongst the fans is about their replacements for this big game. Last week against Hull it was Abbott who wasn't available the match before it was Booth as well. But with both players now available does McAliskey lose his hard won place in the side? Or will it be less disruptive if Abbott merely comes into the team in Schofield's position?

The bigger dilemma for Jackson is who will replace Sodje. Both Scott and Hughes are available for the position. Hughes would give some experience but Scott would give more youthful energy. I would be tempted to put Scott in and have Hughes on the bench. Talking of the substitutes, will Newby get a place there now that he is back from being on loan at relegated York.

Earlier in the season at the end of November it was honours even at Field Mill with a 3-3 draw. Stead and Schofield were amongst the goals that afternoon. Even though it was only five months ago there will probably only be Lloyd, Carss and Worthington playing on Saturday who played in that first game. Mind you, it's no surprise to the Town fans because this season has been one of change and change again. But for all that it's been a cracker so far and could get even better.

Mansfield are one of those clubs that have, for the most of their history, been anchored in the bottom two divisions of the league. They won promotion from this division in the 01/02 season finishing 3rd. But, unfortunately, it only lasted the one season in Division Two before they joined Town in the relegation dropping places. This season they have been in the higher end of the table for most of the time. However a poorish spell in February/ March time dropped them to the playoff fringe. They only picked up 8 from a possible 27 points available. A win at home to Torquay put them back on track but they were just hanging on in there until now.

Two of the players to watch out for are Liam Lawrence and Junior Mendes. Lawrence is a midfielder who is a local lad who came up through the club's youth development system. He broke through into the Mansfield first team about three years ago. This season he seems to have found his feet at last. He has also found the goalscoring touch with 21 goals so far this season. He tends to 'win' quite a lot of penalties one way or another so he's not a player to dive in on when he's in the area. He's not squeaky clean as he has collected nine yellow cards this season. Mendes is a striker who, although starting at Chelsea, spent some time in Scotland at St Mirren and Dunfermline. He has contributed 11 goals to Stags campaign. He can create problems for opposing defenders with his pace.

Bookies odds: Home 4/5 : Draw 12/5 : Away 10/3

Geoff's prediction:
A match that the Terriers must win and I think they will so I'm going for a 2-0 victory for the home team.
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Raise the roof says, Oh Frankie Frankie …

Flamboyant former Town striker Frank Worthington has urged everyone from every walk of life to back the Terriers in their final home league game against Mansfield Town this Saturday. Although the Stags have sold few tickets, Town are expecting a crowd of around 15,000 as interest in the game from Town fans as been phenomenal.

The McAlpine Stadium which could witness them 17 victories at home this season with manager Peter Jackson delighted with the home form. Jackson calls the home form the key to the success this season.

Appeal to the Terriers fans!

Town have issued an appeal to all Town fans to stay in the stands and not come onto the playing area despite the result on Saturday. A victory for the Terriers could almost guarantee the Town promotion, but Jackson has asked supporters to stay in the stands - or risk the end of season lap of honour been cancelled.

Jackson who has on many occasion's this season praised the Town fans once again expressed how fantastic they were at home against Scunthorpe United and at Hull City last week.

Jacko must make changes

Although it is no surprise that changes are required to the starting line-up for Town on Saturday, Jackson is keeping the side firmly under wraps. With Danny Schofield and captain Efe Sodje suspended, Jackson needs to make three changes. Two to playing personnel and one for the captain.

It is likely that the returning Pawell Abbott will replace Jon McAliskey in the starting line-up with the young striker dropping to the bench. Andy Booth could take the captaincy of the team. However it is likely that Rob Edwards will start the game for Danny Schofield in midfield so should acquire the captain's armband.

Paul Scott could return to the starting line-up to replace Efe Sodje in the centre of defence, although Ian Hughes could also be pushing for the berth left by the instrumental Nigerian.

Senario's for promotion on Saturday, Torquay "big club" slur

If the Terriers avoid a defeat and Torquay United lose on Saturday the "Town are going up!". A victory for both Town and United would mean Town would require one point from the match at Cheltenham Town.

So Town need to do their job and that is to secure a victory then hope that Kidderminster Harriers can take something from Torquay United. United are also hoping to stop one of the Yorkshire sides going up and have been quite critical of Town and Hull City in the Devon press.

It is small club mentality shown by Torquay United, who state that the resources at Town and Hull are riches the Devon club envy. The Gulls seem to forget Town nearly went under last summer and that Peter Jackson had just 9 professional players last June when he returned has manager. And despite Torquay's claim that Town have 32 professional players - they only have 30!

Mike Bateson said that he was envious of Town's supporters and claims this division is "the have's and haves' not!" - Town last summer had very little and Bateson would do well to remember that. Torquay United are also not discounting catching Hull City and making the Tigers play in the play-off's, with United claiming that beating Hull to automatic promotion could be the option that happens for them.

But a defeat for the Terriers and a victory for the Gulls, would leave Town sweating!

Black Shirt goes on sale!

The current black away shirt which will be used as the third shirt next season is on reduced sale in the club shop. Town can get a quarter of the original price off the price of a brand new shirt. The 25% saving includes goalkeeper jerseys and also training apparel. There is 15% off away and goalkeeper shorts.

Player of the Season Poll

Former striker Jon Stead still leads the vote in This is The Barmy-Army player of the season poll. Stead who scored 18 goals for the Terriers before making a big money move to Premiership Blackburn Rovers came through the ranks at the McAlpine Stadium.

There is a new player in second spot with battling midfielder Jon Worthington securing 11% of the total votes so far. With Stead on 59% of the total votes so far, it looks likely that the former Town striker will take the player of the season vote.


 

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