Players sign as Stags prepare for Leeds
LEEDS United provide the first of two big tests this week for Mansfield Town as manager Keith Curle continues to sign new faces.
The United friendly at Field Mill tomorrow night (7.45pm) is followed by the visit of another relegated premiership outfit, Wolves, next Tuesday (7.30pm).
With striker Derek Asamoah's signature already dry on a two-year contract, right-sided midfielder Alex Neil signed a one-year deal yesterday morning and Curle is hoping full back Scott McNiven will have also put pen to paper on a one-year contract by tonight while striker Chris Tate has been offered a short-term deal in which to show what he can do.
French defender Leebibi Moham has also had his trial period extended after impressing so far.
All four are expected to play against Leeds tonight while Curle is hoping one or both of his other striker targets might be in the club in time for the Wolves game.
"Everything is going well and we are looking forward to these games," said Curle.
"I hope to have Chris and Scott signed before tonight's game.
"The two strikers I am chasing are back from trips with their clubs this week and I am hoping we can get one or both in the building short term or long term.
"I will know exactly what my budget is this week and, believe me, I will use it to the very last penny!
"It's a case of other clubs telling these players they are either not ready for their first team yet or are surplus to requirements. We will have to see what happens.
"I am pleased to sign up Alex. It would be unfair to compare him to Liam Lawrence as to get another Liam we would have to shell out £400,000 which we don't have.
"But, even though I doubt he will score us 22 goals, Alex can offer the side something different. For his age he is experienced at a higher level and is technically and tactically very astute.
"He has great awareness and is the right age.
"I expect Scott and Chris to sign today and I have extended Leebibi's trial period to see if he can adapt to the English game as he certainly has pace, aggression and a willingness to get forward."
But four other trialists - Floran Granir, Couthell Thabut, Jon Stevenson and Michael Gordon - have all been told there is nothing for them.
Glasgow-born Neil (23) was pleased to sign for the club after being released by Barnsley and said: "I knew Keith Curle from when he played at Barnsley and he invited me to come down and train here and I soon took a liking to it.
"I watched the play-off final on television and that was another reason I wanted to come here.
"Mansfield were so unlucky and I believe they can improve on it and go all the way this time.
"I felt I was unlucky to be released but it was a new manager and a new chairman and that's football. There are not enough clubs, not enough money and too many players out there so I am delighted to get fixed up.
"I like to move the ball around and create chances and it would be nice to improve my goalscoring record as well.
"We are already looking quite strong and hopefully we will add a few more players before the season starts and make a serious challenge."
Before Barnsley, Neil plied his trade in Scottish football at Dunfermline and Airdrie.
Curle was pleased with Saturday's work-out at home to Stoke City which ended in a 1-0 win for the Championship club.
Curle gave his entire squad a run-out, including his youth players, and said: "From a coaching point of view, the purpose of Saturday was to keep the ball away from a side that had ability and to keep a solid formation when the opposition did have the ball.
"It was also a chance to give everyone an outing. Now fans will know who the young players are when they hear their names."
But supporters will see far less changes when the big guns roll into town, starting tonight.
"The visit of Leeds is an opportunity to see a great football club at Field Mill," said Curle.
"Their recent struggles epitomise the financial ills football has suffered. Like us, they have released a lot of familiar faces. But, with the new manager and new signings, I am sure they can restore their former glories.
"Then next Tuesday Wolves will give us another good test.
"Knowing the people at Wolves as I do, they will be desperate to get straight back up again and their preparations for the new season will be spot-on."
Last night (Tuesday) a Stags XI, including a sprinkling of first teamers, were due to play at Teversal.
Tomorrow (Thursday) Curle will send a full first team squad to Worksop Town (7.45pm) while a similar squad will travel to Alfreton Town on Monday (7.45pm).
After a hectic summer in which he had to deal with 21 of his 26 players being out of contract, Curle is to extend skipper Kevin Pilkington's contract by another year to the summer of 2006, while hot defensive prospect Alex John-Baptiste has also been offered a two-year extention to his current deal which was due to expire next summer. Curle hopes both players will agree by the end of the week.
Curle is still hoping he may get a chance to bring striker Martin Carruthers in for a trial. But Carruthers has refused a pay-off by current club Macclesfield and remains under contract at Moss Rose until a deal can be settled.
Former Stags striker Chris Beardsley is on trial at promoted Doncaster Rovers.
Keith Curle has denied terrace rumours that striker Iyseden Christie may return after being released last month.
STAGS fans have the chance to be an 'executive supporter' for the Leeds game tomorrow night and when Wolves visit town next Tuesday.
Stags' new Commercial Manager Clare Kenworthy will be opening the doors of the executive sponsors lounge to the public for both games, offering a chance to experience a matchday from the 'executive' point of view.
For £20, you will receive a parking space in the club car park, entry to the game, a complimentary matchday magazine, watch the game from the executive seating and get a meal thrown in as well.
There is also a pay-bar facility before and after the match and coffee and tea will be served at half time.
Fans are asked to note that the Wolves game is a 7.30pm kick-off.
Stags stage their popular annual Field Mill Open Day on Sunday, 1st August.
The new West Stand bar will be open to the general public and players will be in there between 2pm and 4pm for photographs and autographs.
There will also be a fun fair, ferret racing, and tours of the ground as well as the Chad Roadshow.
Latest | July 2004