CURLE AND HODGSON REACTION
Stags wait on fitness battles
MANSFIELD Town are waiting on several players' fitness before manager Keith Curle can pick a side to take on Lincoln City at Field Mill on Saturday (3pm).
On-loan Bristol City defender Craig Woodman is available again after missing last night's penalties victory over Darlington in the LDV Vans Trophy.
But Jake Buxton has flu and nine players - including Dave Artell, Derek Asamoah, Alex Neil, Wayne Corden and Tom Curtis - are all trying to shake off niggling knocks before Saturday's big game.
"We will just have to see how they all respond to treatment by Friday," said Curle.
City took six valuable points off Mansfield last season when they followed a 2-1 win at Field Mill with a 4-1 romp at Sincil Bank.
"We certainly owe them one after last season," said Curle."But we are full of confidence and belief right now."
Only 1,651 fans braved a chilly evening to watch last night's penalties success against Darlington with just 47 hardy souls making the long journey down from Darlington which left them with a very late return home.
Extra-time and even the first four penalties each couldn't separate the sides. But Scott McNiven proved the eventual hero with the winning penalty and Curle said: "The people that attended the Darlington game will haave enjoyed it.
"It had thrills and spills, culminating in extra-time and penalties and was certainly value for money.
"I had to make a few changes and I know some people will think I only rested certain players. But I had nine of them with injuries, one ill and one unavailable.
"But the young lads who came in were not fazed. They have had the right education and know how we want to play football. So they fitted in well.
"I have told my players they might just be surprised where playing against Darlington in midweek in October in this competition can eventually lead."
The next round is due to be played during the week commencing 1st November with the draw live on Sky TV's Soccer AM programme this Saturday.
And the winners of that next round game will be in the area quarter-final when things start to become a little more serious.
But before that one, Mansfield will have full attention focused on beating Lincoln this Saturday.
Stags slipped a place to fifth when they were held at leaders Scunthorpe.
So Yeovil, who Stags saw off 4-1 on August Bank Holiday Monday, went top on Saturday by winning at struggling Shrewsbury.
Stags were leapfrogged in the table by Swansea City - their next away opponents on Friday week.
But a win at Lincoln, coupled with results elsewhere, could see Mansfield go top.
Keith Alexander's Imps went down 1-0 at home last night in the LDV to a goal from former Stags Chris Beardsley for Doncaster Rovers.
'NO RUSH FOR NEW STARS'
Evening Post, 29 September 2004
Keith Curle has stressed again that he is in no rush to bring new players into the Mansfield squad.
The Stags boss had 11 players unavailable for last night's game, but still has the option of getting more players on loan.
"I will only bring in the right players for this club," he said.
"We won't bring in players for the sake of it. They've got to be good players to come in."
Curle was pleased with his side's performance last night and says the match was good experience for the young players.
"We were stretched to the bare bones, but I was proud of the players who went out there," he said.
"They set about it in the right way, we played at the right tempo and had the right mental attitude to win the game.
"The young lads who were involved adapted well. They train with us every day and they knew their jobs and did them well."
Curle insisted he only had nine first-team players available, and was not resting anyone simply because it was an LDV Vans Trophy tie.
"Some people might have thought I was resting players and playing a weakened squad, but we had eight players with injuries, one ill and two unavailable," he said.
Darlington boss David Hodgson believes his side were unlucky not to sneak a victory.
"We missed opportunities to win the game," he said.
"We played well and I thought we should have nicked it. There were some bad misses, one in particular near the end.
"We had influential players missing and our entire back three were out, but I'm pleased with the performance because it's the best we've played for some time.
"In the last third you just need that crucial pass and little individual things cost us."
CURLE PAYS TRIBUTE TO YOUNGSTERS AFTER WIN
Evening Post website
Mansfield manager Keith Curle felt his depleted side had given the crowd their money's worth after a penalty shoot-out win against Darlington.
Neither side found the net in 120 minutes but Scott McNiven netted the crucial spot-kick after Craig Russell had hit the bar for the Shakers.
Curle said: "The people that came here will have enjoyed this game. It had thrills and spills, culminating in extra time and penalties and was certainly value for money.
"I had to make changes to the team. Some say I've rested players but I had nine with injuries, one ill and one unavailable so we were really down to the bare bones.
"But the young lads that came in were not fazed. They've had the right education and know how we like to play and they fitted in well.
"I told the players that they might be surprised where games like this at home to Darlington in midweek can eventually lead to."
Despite the defeat, Darlington manager Dave Hodgson was pleased with the performance.
He said: "That's probably the best football we've played for some time. We've been waiting for a penalty for a few weeks then we get a chance of five and made a mess of them.
"It's a horrible way to go out but I've told them to forget the penalties and the result as we played so well overall.
"We had enough chances to win it and there were some bad misses. We are having a lot of bad luck at the moment but life deals you cards like this every now and again and you've just got to get on with it."
Curle: "It was pleasing to give Value For Money..."
"It was very pleasing to give value for money" were the words of Keith Curle when reflecting on Tuesday Evening's LDV win against Darlington. "We had complaints last time from some people after the Carling Cup saying the team didn't try hard enough and it wasn't this or that. This is one thing they can't say about Tuesday's game a full ninety minutes then the drama of a penalty shoot out - that was real value for money. But more than that there was some good attractive football, goal mouth incidents and a little bit of fatigue from both sides all made for an entertaining evening. All the lads who took place in the game are fine and this is real testament to the work we put in during the pre-season, that's what it is all about keeping up fitness levels and I think all the lads who played gave a great account of themselves including the two youngsters on the wings." He added.
Latest | October 2004