PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
OUR SPIRIT EASES INJURY HEADACHE
Evening Post, 08 October 2004
MARK ROACH FINDS THE DEPLETED STAGS ARE STILL UPBEAT
Keith Curle has only 15 fit senior players to select from for tonight's game at Swansea, but Jake Buxton and reserve goalkeeper Jason White are available again following injuries.
Chris Tate (ankle) and Adam Eaton (groin) are still missing, while Adam Murray and Luke Dimech are unavailable.
Murray is suspended after collecting his fifth booking of the season in the LDV Vans Trophy clash against Darlington - and Dimech is in the Malta squad for their game against Iceland tomorrow.
Tate, who saw a specialist on Wednesday, needs a keyhole exploratory operation to determine the extent of the damage to his knee.
With his three-month deal at Mansfield about to expire, Tate could have already played his last game for Mansfield.
White and Buxton could be joined on the bench by youth team striker Dean Hankey, who has international clearance following his spell on loan in Sweden.
Danny Heron is one of the other youth team players who could be involved.
Curle is not expecting as fiery a contest as last season's game when his side visits Swansea tonight.
At least referee Lee Probert, who sent off two Mansfield players in last year's game at the Vetch Field, won't be taking charge this time, after Curle requested a switch.
He is now officiating at Notts County's game at Macclesfield on Sunday instead.
For a third weekend running, Stags could go top if they win.
"I'm expecting a good, entertaining game," said the Stags boss.
"All the events of last season have gone, it's just another game in our quest to get promotion.
"I think it will be a great atmosphere, the Friday night games and Sunday games are fantastic.
"There's a different buzz with evening games. Tonight in Swansea will be a cracking atmosphere and it will be a good game of football.
"I know we'll be well supported in numbers and vocally.
"The players are up for it, theres no doubt about it - the players know they have to give 100% to stay in the side."
The Stags boss is pleased that goals have been scored from players in all positions.
Defenders Dave Artell, Alex John-Baptiste and Buxton have all found the net this term and Curle said: "With a lot of set plays we create different opportunities for different players.
"But there's a togetherness in that changing room. We score together, we defend together and we are going to be successful together."
MANSFIELD: Pilkington, McNiven, Woodman, Artell, John-Baptiste, Curtis, Mackenzie, Corden, Neil, Larkin, Asamoah, O'Neill, Day, Buxton, White, Hankey, Heron, T Curle.
WALES WIN WILL MAKE RHYS' DAY
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12:00 - 08 October 2004
Rhys Day hopes Wales can do him a favour against England tomorrow - so he doesn't come in for an earbashing from his team-mates.
Mansfield Town's former Welsh Under-21 captain is in the Stags squad for tonight's game at Swansea, and the Bridgend-born defender will watch the game in Cardiff tomorrow.
"I've had to put up with quite a lot of stick this week," he said.
"It hasn't really come from the players though, it's the fans who have given me a hard time. I think the players know we've got a chance of beating England."
Day believes Ryan Giggs will be a key player. "We've definitely got a chance and I won't be surprised if Giggs comes up with something special.
"There's a lot of quality in the Welsh squad and England can't afford to be complacement."
The 22-year-old meanwhile says that a successful Stags promotion push can only help his ambition of graduating to the Wales senior squad.
For now, Day is backing Wales tomorrow.
"I've had to put up with plenty of flack after England won the Rugby World Cup, so it would be good if we can put one over them tomorrow.
"I'm confident we can do it. I'm going for a 2-1 win to Wales."
'WE ARE BEST IN THE LEAGUE'
Evening Post, 07 October 2004
Midfielder Alex Neil believes Mansfield Town have the best team and players in League Two.
He said one of the big hurdles they face is that they are a skilful outfit playing in a division full of physical sides.
"We've got better players than anyone else in this division," said Neil.
"On our day, when we play our game, we're better than anyone else in this league."
Mansfield have already beaten League Two leaders Yeovil Town 4-1, followed by another 4-1 triumph in their next game against Northampton.
Keith Curle's side, who sit just three points behind table-toppers Yeovil, take a six-match unbeaten run into tomorrow night's game at second-placed Swansea.
"We're going there looking for three points," added Neil.
"It's the same in every game because we don't want to play in this league, we want to play in the higher league."
The Doncaster-born 23-year-old, who joined Mansfield following spells with Ayr and Barnsley, is under no illusions that Stags will need to work hard to be successful this season.
"Every game is hard. You've only got to look at teams like Lincoln and Rochdale, who came to Field Mill and made it tough for us.
"We beat Yeovil 4-1 and they are top of the league, but you get the lower teams who come to try to stop you playing."
Neil's high praise for the quality of players at Field Mill certainly applies to Colin Larkin, the club's leading scorer this season with seven goals, and young defender Alex John-Baptiste, whose second-half header earned the Stags a 2-2 draw against Lincoln on Saturday.
But Curle's small squad has been hit by injuries and unavailability in recent weeks.
Of the 19 senior players in his squad, two (Joe O'Neill and Craig Woodman) are on loan, four (Chris Tate, Jake Buxton, Adam Eaton and reserve goalkeeper Jason White) are injured and Adam Murray is suspended for tomorrow night's game.
Defender Luke Dimech also misses out as he is in the Malta squad for their game against Iceland on Saturday.
With no official reserve side, that means at least two youth-team players will be in the squad for tomorrow night's game - although Curle still has the option of bringing in further loan players.
Mansfield Town youth team's Midland Youth Cup first round game against Nuneaton Borough has been rearranged to tonight at Field Mill (7pm). Admission is £3 for adults and £1 concessions.
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