O`NEIL JOINS STAGS ON TRIAL
Preston North End's 21-year-old front man Joe O'Neill arrived at Field Mill today to begin a trial with a view to signing and will play some part of Saturday's game.
The Blackburn-born 6ft striker has come through the ranks at Deepdale and last season went out to Bury on a season-long loan where he made 26 appearances, including 10 starts, and scored three goals.
However, he spent much of the campaign sidelined with ankle injury and is now raring to go again.
He had hoped to get a look in at Deepdale this season. But with names like Ricardo Fuller, Richard Creswell and David Healy ahead of him and fellow youngsters Simon Lynch and Andy Smith also in the frame, competition is fierce.
"I have seen Joe several times and he has a very good pedigree," said Curle. "We will have a look at him and, if we think he is the right one for us, then we will take it further."
O'Neill was a substitute for the Shakers at Field Mill last season when Stags won 5-3 in a thriller.
Joe's brother, Matt, plays for Lancashire rivals Burnley.
Of the four trialists involved over the past few days, Darren Barnard will still be involved this weekend as Stags have decided to have a longer look at him.
"Darren wouldn't be first choice here right now but he is a quality player and we will help him get fitter and have a better look at him at the same time," said Curle.
But continental trio Hugo Henriques, Antonio Valente and Maceo Rigters have all been told there is nothing on the table for them and have been released.
"They all did well and showed at times what a good upbringing they'd had at good clubs," said Curle.
"But I don't think Henriques is better than Alex John-Baptiste and we have already got cover in Luke Dimech.
"Of the three I was particularly impressed by Valente who I think has got something.
"But I think he would do better playing at a higher level. I think the hurly-burly of our division would cause him and us problems. But I wish all three the best."
Trialist striker Marvin Robinson's ankle injury looks unlikely to recover in time for Saturday, though there is an outside chance he could figure in the final friendly at Alfreton Town on Monday (7.45pm).
Stags will send a predominantly youthful side to Glapwell tomorrow (Friday) night with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Name: Joe O'Neill
Date of Birth: 28/10/1982
Height: 6' 0" (183cm)
Weight: 10st 5lbs (65.83kg)
Previous Clubs: Bury
Latest | July 2004