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Archived News from August 2004

24th August 2004 14:36

Evening Post, 24 August 2004
Keith Curle believes a cup shock is well within Mansfield's grasp at Field Mill tonight if Preston don't perform to their full capabilities.

Stags host the Championship outfit in the first round of the Carling Cup (kick-off 7.45pm).

Mansfield secured a second win in a row for the first time this year on Saturday with a 2-1 success against Kidderminster, as they emulated last season's start of two games without victory followed by two wins.

Curle won't be able to start with the same 11 for a third match running because Preston will not allow loan striker Joe O'Neill to play against them.

But the Stags boss still believes his side have what it takes to earn a second-round spot.

"If Preston come here and don't give it 100%, we can cause an upset," he said.

"Preston have got quality players and there is a gulf between the two teams, but we go out with big players for big games and we will perform."

Curle does not believe Saturday's second win in a row has made any difference to the players' confidence and belief that they can beat Craig Brown's side.

"I don't need a confidence-booster," said the Mansfield manager.

"I know the players will make Preston work very hard and we will create chances against them

"We need to earn the right to play our football, but if Preston are not at 100% they could come unstuck.

"I've got a lot of respect for Craig Brown and the players and coaching staff there, and we will certainly be giving it 100%."

The Stags boss is not concerned that O'Neill is unavailable.

"It's one of those things. Knowing our luck Joe would probably have scored if he could have played," he added

"But it would be exactly the same if we were playing against a team who had one of our players on loan. We wouldn't let him play against us."

Lee Williamson and Wayne Corden are among the players in contention for starting places, and Rhys Day could make his first start this season.

Curle is still hoping to add a new striker to the squad.

Stags (probable): Pilkington, McNiven, Buxton, Artell, John-Baptiste, Murray, MacKenzie, Curtis, Williamson, Larkin, Asamoah, Tate, Corden, Neil, Day, White, Dimech, Eaton.

Evening Post, 24 August 2004
Winger Wayne Corden says Stags can cause an upset against Preston because they will get a chance to play their own way.

Mansfield performed well in pre-season games against the likes of Leeds and Wolves, and Corden said: "Perhaps Preston will let us play a bit more than the League Two sides.

"It should be a good test for us. They're doing well in the Championship and they should be a strong side.

"I think we've always got a chance against any team.

"We've proved in the past we can play against the better teams so it's anyone's game on the night."

And midfielder Adam Murray believes Stags have enough about them to go through tonight.

"It's going to be a tough game but we'll give it our all," he said.

"If we take the game to them and play the way we want to play, I think we've got a good chance."

Evening Post, 24 August 2004
Tom Curtis believes the form of strikers Colin Larkin, Derek Asamoah and Joe O'Neill has been a major factor in the side's two straight wins.

'"We've got three sharp lads up front and our game plan is to get the ball to them as quickly as possible," said Curtis.

"On another day against Kidderminster we could have had five or six."

The former Derby and Tranmere player says there is more to come from the new-look Stags this season.

"We've got a lot of new players in the squad and it will take time for us to gel.

"We played a lot of pre-season games against higher division opposition and we've done well against them, but it's not the same as the hurly-burly of playing in the league or cup."

Evening Post, 24 August 2004
Mansfield Town have lined up a reserve game at Doncaster Rovers tomorrow.

Manager Keith Curle had been hoping to arrange a game against Nottingham Forest, but Forest could not accommodate his side.

Evening Post, 24 August 2004
Craig Brown is another manager already under pressure as he prepares to bring his side to Field Mill.

The Preston boss was criticised by supporters after consecutive defeats to Gillingham and Sheffield United.

A repeat of last season, when Preston bowed out of the League Cup at the hands of Notts County, would only add to his problems.

To make things worse, Brown has a trio of injury worries.

Defender Graham Alexander, midfielder Eric Skora and influential striker Richard Cresswell are all doubtful for the trip to Field Mill.

And front man Riccardo Fuller was sold to Portsmouth for £1m last Friday.

This could mean a full debut for striker Andrew Smith, who was signed from Glentoran over the summer.

The forward, who turns 24 tomorrow, will be more than familiar with his likely partner in attack - as he plays alongside David Healy for Northern Ireland.

PRESTON (from): Loneigan, Mawene, Lucketti, Davis, Alexander, Skora, O'Neil, McKenna, Lewis, Smith, Healy, Ward, McCormack, Langmead, Brown, Daley, Cresswell.
Enforced change as Stags face Preston
CHAD website
AFTER two successive wins, Stags boss Keith Curle has an enforced change when Championship side Preston North End visit Field Mill tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm).
Striker Joe O'Neill is in the first of three months on loan from Preston and his parent club do not want him cup-tied.
Ironically, the only other player unavailable to Curle is former Preston full back Adam Eaton who is still a few days away from fitness.
After narrow defeats by Derby County and Sunderland at Field Mill in the last two seasons, Stags are hoping for third time lucky against quality opposition tomorrow in a game which must be settled on the night with extra-time and penalties if necessary.
"I have a lot of respect for Craig Brown, both for his footballing credentials and as a man," said Curle.
"I was lucky enough to meet him when he came to watch a pre-season match here recently and he has a wealth of knowlege.
"He's probably forgotten half of what I am trying to learn. Most of the situations I have or will deal with in my job, he has probably faced several times and come through them. He is a genuinely nice man.
"He has a belief in playing attractive football. But I am sure Preston will show us the respect we deserve and they will have to be mentally and physically 100 per cent righ or they know we could cause an upset.
"I will have to make changes because of Joe. But I now have 19 quality players here and I could put any 11 or 16 of them out and it would not be a weakened side as such.
"Any combination could go out and do me a job."
Curle and assistant John Gannon were at Preston's televised Friday night defeat against 10-men Sheffield United.


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