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Archived News from December 2004

17th December 2004 14:18

Evening Post, 17 December 2004
Carlton Palmer says he will start with the same 11 players who lined up against Rushden when his side meets Shrewsbury at Gay Meadow tomorrow.

Jason Talbot and Dave Artell miss out again and although Fraser McLachlan is available, he will have to settle for a place on the bench.

The Stags' caretaker boss was delighted with the performance against Rushden and says Luke Dimech and Alex Neil - who were told they could leave the club - have earned the right to stay in the side.

"I've told the players already that the team will be the same and Alex and Luke are in on merit," said Palmer.

"Luke has taken his chance very well and we wouldn't let him go at the moment - and Alex has slotted in very well at right back.

"I'm looking for exactly the same as last weekend at Shrewsbury. We have to find a level of consistency.

"We're not getting much luck at the moment and it takes time to build a team, but our performances and fitness have been improving."

Palmer was concerned that his side's failure to turn their superiority into victory against Rushden last weekend would affect player morale.

The 0-0 draw means Mansfield have won only once in 17 games.

Palmer said: "I was obviously disappointed we only got a point, but I just told the boys to get their heads up and start again.

"We played exceptionally well and that was a one-sided game.

"I wouldn't have liked to have been their manager watching that game, that's for sure.

"All that was missing was a little but of luck, but we didn't get it and we just need to keep plugging away."

Palmer was grateful to the fans for cheering the players against Rushden - rather than booing him and Stags chairman Keith Haslam, as has happened in recent games.

"I want to say a big thank you to the supporters for getting behind the team and long may that continue.

"The lads felt much better, and hopefully the fans thought the lads gave them a really good performance."

The former England midfielder says tomorrow's game will be tough, despite Shrewsbury's lowly position in the League Two table.

"It's is a difficult place to go to. Swansea are at the top of the table, but they went to Shrewsbury and got beaten 2-0.

"You take each game as it comes and you don't underestimate teams, whether they are above you or below you."

Palmer is pleased with the way Derek Asamoah responded against Rushden, after being substituted at Darlington.

"I was delighted with Derek - and I have to give a special mention to Wayne Corden, who has been struggling for form and confidence. That was his best 90 minutes for a long time.

"You have to accept the manager's decisions and the only way you can do anything about it is answer everybody with performances on the pitch and they did that, they played really well."

Stags: Pilkington, Buxton, John-Baptiste, Dimech, Neil, Curtis, Murray, Corden, Warne, Barker, Asamoah, White, McLachlan, Brown, Maxwell, McIntosh, Wood.

Stags youngster Tom Curle is off to Chelsea for a week-long trial.

Watch out for the speed trap

Police in Shrewsbury are certainly football fan-friendly.

They have warned Stags fans to watch out for a speed camera en route to the Shire Hall car park!

The police suggest Stags fans should park there to avoid problems closer to Gay Meadow.

The Shire Hall car park is ten to 15 minutes' walk from the ground.

To get to the car park, Stags fans should carry on to the end of the M54 and turn left at the roundabout, then take the fourth exit off the roundabout (signposted to the crematorium).

Carry on along this road to the next roundabout, then take the fourth exit, then almost immediately turn left into the car park at the side of the Shire Hall building.

Swansea's progress to the third round of the FA Cup means that the League Two game at Field Mill on January 8 will be postponed.

A new date has yet to be confirmed but the fixture will probably be rescheduled for February.
Stags unchanged for Shrews test
CHAD website, 16 Dec 04
MANSFIELD Town will be unchanged for Saturday's tough trip to Shrewsbury (noon kick-off) where the Stags are aiming to end their run of 10 games without a win.
Dave Artell has been suffering tendonitis in his Achille's tendon and caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer is hoping an injection may ease the problem to bring him back into the squad for Boxing Day.
But Palmer added that, fit or not, Artell would not have got back in for the Shrewsbury game.
Midfielder Fraser McLachlan is fit again after an ankle injury - but he, like new signing Simon Brown, will have to be content with a place on the bench.
"After last weekend's performance, the team remains the same," said Palmer.
"I know Simon Brown is disappointed as he is ready to go. But Derek Asamoah played ever so well on Saturday so it's more of the same please.
"The off-the-field problems continue which is disappointing, but the lads are in great spirits and we couldn't do much more than we did last Saturday, apart from hit the net.
"I have watched the match video twice now and I still can't believe we didn't score.
"I have been very pleased with Alex Neil and Luke Dimech. Since I told them I didn't think they would figure in my plans, they have gone out there, got their heads down and played well which is what Neil MacKenzie should have done.
"I think Alex is enjoying his football right now and Luke has also risen to the challenge. I couldn't leave him out to bring in Dave Artell at the moment."
But Palmer is aware Saturday will be a far from easy trip.
"Being an early kick-off it certainly gives you more time to celebrate the win," he smiled. "But I won't let the players go there and catch a cold.
"Shrewsbury are a different proposition at home to away and the pitch is not good.
"It will be a battle - they had two men sent off last week - and they are fighting for their lives. We have to keep our discipline and win the battle."
Palmer has explained to the players their programme for the next month, which now includes a 11-day break from action, with the Swansea game being cancelled, after a tiring five games in 17 days over Christmas and New Year.
That will give Palmer even more time to work on the fitness of his squad.
"There has already been a massive improvement in fitness levels which we saw last Saturday," he said.
"Once we get injured players back we will start to look a strong, solid squad.
"The lads know when they are off and when they need to be in training. I have given them all Christmas Day off to spend with their families - something I was never able to do as a player."
Palmer must make a decision on injured Bolton full back Jason Talbot before Saturday.
The youngster's loan period needs to be extended before then if he is to stay.
But, while not wanting to waste a precious loan, Palmer does not want to continue it if the player is not close to a return to action.
Stags are also on the look-out for a new physio.
Palmer has told current part-time physio Derek french he needs someone full-time but French is unable to commit any more time due to his own clinic week away from Field Mill.

Curle off to Chelsea
CHAD website, 16 Dec 04
STAGS teenage winger Tom Curle is off to spend a week on trial with Premiership title-chasers Chelsea.
A cloud has hung over the 18-year-old since his father was suspended as manager and Stags caretaker-boss Carlton palmer decided the best thing for Tom was to have a break from Field Mill.
"I have spoken to Tom's mum Geraldine, who I have know for a long time, and she is concerned how the whole situation here has been affecting him which is understandable," said Palmer.
"So we decided the best thing for Tom right now would be to get him out of the building for a week. It will be a change of surroundings and give us a chance to clear the air and clear his head.
"Any suggestions Tom would be victimised because of who is father is are very wrong.
"And when he comes back here he will need to fight for his place and show us what he can do.
"I have known Gwyn Williams at Chelsea since I was a kid and they are happy to have a look at him and play him in a game against QPR.
"Tom knows his attitude needed to improve and he had to come back here and put this whole thing behind him and show me, or whoever is the manager here, that he is good enough to be in the team.
"It is always difficult if your dad is manager and the only pairing I can think of that has really worked is Brian and Nigel Clough.
"There were times when Tom was only substitute for the youth team and then was being made substitute for the first team which I can see could get people's backs up.
"Obviously Tom is upset over what has happened here. But I treat everyone fairly and since I spoke with him his attitude has been first class."


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