TEAM NEWS AND PREVIEWS
MANSFIELD PUSH FOR TOP THREE
Evening Post, 19 October 2004
Kevin Pilkington's side must not lose their momentum at Whaddon Road this evening.
The Stags captain was delighted with the performance in the 3-1 win against Notts County on Saturday. But he stressed it was important to build upon it tonight.
He said: "The Notts County match was up there with the victories against Yeovil and Northampton at home this season. We cannot let it slip against Cheltenham and we have to keep that positive attitude.
"The confidence is very high and that showed in the performance on Saturday.
"It is now vital that we keep the momentum going and play the football we are capable of. We have got to push on."
Mansfield created a hatful of chances only to be denied by the Notts impressive 'keeper Saul Deeney. But Pilkington believes the Stags can build on their fourth place position.
He said: "We have just got to keep the chances coming. The pleasing thing is that we have been playing well all season and always look a threat going forward.
"And with the likes of Colin Larkin and Derek Asamoah up front, they will always get goals if we create the chances."
Mansfield could start with the same team that beat the Magpies. Striker Guy Ipoua, on loan from Doncaster, will be looking to net his first for the Stags after an impressive debut at the weekend. Top scorer Colin Larkin
would prefer to start up front, but is happy to play on the left if it benefits the team. And with only three points separating the top nine, he believes the Stags can put themselves firmly in the top three in the next two weeks.
He said: "We have got to look at the next four games as a chance to get some good points on the board. That starts with Cheltenham and we have a good chance to put ourselves in a nice spot in the table.
"I had gone a few games without scoring so to get back on the score sheet was pleasing. Everybody is full of confidence and we need to continue moving forward."
Manager Keith Curle hopes to have Alex John-Baptiste in the squad after he missed Saturday's match with a hamstring strain.
MANSFIELD: Pilkington, McNiven, Woodman, Artell, Day, Curtis, Murray, Neil, Larkin, Asamoah, Ipoua, MacKenzie, John-Baptiste, O'Neill, White, Dimech, Corden.
Cheltenham v Mansfield
Cheltenham manager John Ward has no new injury problems as he prepares for the game with Mansfield at Whaddon Road.
Michael Taylor (ankle) and Kayode Odejayi (knee) are out for Town, who moved to 18th by winning on Saturday.
Stags head to Cheltenham in high spirits
MANSFIELD Town head south for the first of two tough away games at Cheltenham Town tonight (7.45pm).
But, after a few days basking in the glory of Saturday's local derby trouncing of Notts County, manager Keith Curle said: "This week is a great opportunity for us.
"With some of the other sides around us at the top playing each other, if we can pick up the points at Cheltenham and Wycombe, it would set us up nicely for two successive home games.
"The Notts game is in the memory bank now and we are focused only on the Cheltenham match.
"They are disciplined and well-organised - a reflection on their manager, John Ward, who I worked under for two years at Wolves.
"We are certainly due a result down there. I still have nightmares about our suicidal defending there last season."
Stags have no injuries, though Alex John-Baptiste (hamstring) has only down light training and, although he will travel, will have a fitness test before he is risked.
Ward: We have to build on Rochdale result
Cheltenham Town manager John Ward interviewed before the Coca-Cola League Two match against Mansfield Town, due to be played on Tuesday 19 October, 7.45pm:
"We have been unbeaten for a number of games now and have been difficult to beat even in the games we've lost. We want to build on it but we warned the players after the game at Southend that even though we won that one we lost the two home games straight after it. I think we are better than that now and have to prove that to people. There should be no complacency just because we have won a game because Mansfield are a good side, they are fourth in the league and have scored a lot of goals this season. We've got to be on good form - like we were against Wycombe and Yeovil when they came - and that's something we have to repeat on Tuesday.
"You could say that we played with one up front at Rochdale but the idea was for the wide men and also for JJ Melligan to get up front alongside Steve Guinan when we were attacking. It meant that we had three or four people at the front of the team at times. It also allowed Ashley Vincent to play facing the goal and to attack people. We have a few different options within the team and that is one of them, although I do insist that is not just one up front because we get those numbers forward when we can.
"The Rochdale game and the previous one against Chester were completely different types of football match. We've shown that we can mix and match it when we have to be tough and strong. Chester won at Rushden on Saturday and that did not surprise me because they would have battered them a bit. We withstood that and stayed strong against them. Then on Saturday Rochdale were willing to play and we were willing to play against them. I'm hopeful and pretty certain that both Mansfield and Cambridge United will be the same. We will put ourselves up against them and give them a game.
"I have added Graham Fyfe to the 16 who played at Rochdale. He has always been in my thoughts and knows how to fit into the first team. He has been unlucky not to get a shirt but now perhaps we can integrate him back into the first team. Michael Taylor and Kayode Odejayi are still out and we must wait a bit longer before we see them fit again.
"It surprises me that we are only six points behind Yeovil when people think we have had a poor start to the season and they are the best team we have seen so far. There have been a number of surprising results in this division and anybody that can be consistent has a real chance of getting into the top part of the league and staying there right through to the end. We have got a lot of work to do as far as that's concerned but I'm looking for the consistency that I think we've shown over recent games. We are only looking at a number four in the losses column and for a team in the bottom half of the league that's pretty decent. So we are looking to build and add some positive home results to that away win on Saturday."
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