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Archived News from December 2004

30th December 2004 0:36

Evening Post, 29 December 2004
Carlton Palmer is hoping to secure a left-back on loan from Blackburn Rovers in time for the Stags' game at Northampton on Saturday.

If the player he wants to sign doesn't join Mansfield, he has another full-back, currently employed by Swindon, lined up to come in.

Palmer was hoping to talk to Blackburn boss Mark Hughes today to clinch a deal. He also plans to talk to chairman Keith Haslam about a permanent deal for yesterday's match-winner, Paul Warne.

Mansfield's caretaker-boss is pleased with the way the new-look squad is playing and praised his players' attitude as they ground out a highly-creditable victory at Roots Hall.

"Our fitness levels are improving and we dug in when we had to," he said.

"That's seven points out of nine now and I'm really pleased with the players. They are sticking together as a group and we totally deserved the win.

"We were nice and solid at the back and defended set-pieces brilliantly.

"At times I was a bit frustrated because I would have liked us to pass it a bit better, but we competed well.

"We can cope with any team in the league at the moment."

Nevertheless, with five defenders and stand-in full-back Alex Neil missing for yesterday's game, Palmer is short of cover and feels an extra defender is essential.

"I'm hoping to get it sorted out today, but we'll keep going. I won't bring in anyone for the sake of it but if we get another injury it will be a big problem for us," he said.

Palmer maintains that getting fitness right has been his main priority since he took the helm.

"It's enjoyable to win but when I came in there was a problem with fitness," he said.

"Fitness levels have improved and we've brought some quality players in. There was never any question that we would turn things around.

"We were disappointed with the Cambridge game being called off, but we came to Southend to win the game. The team spirit and work ethic were very good and I was absolutely delighted with the attitude of the players."
Stags search goes on
CARLTON Palmer will continue his search for a left back today.
"I am speaking to Mark Hughes at Blackburn today as he has promised me he will let me have a player if his injury situation is clearing up," said Stags caretaker-manager Palmer.
"It is a difficult time of year with so many games over Christmas and clubs are reluctant to let players go out on loan.
"I would like to bring in a left back or left-sided player as it is important to have the ability to play two systems and I could then look at playing three centre backs and wing backs if I needed to.
"With the defence I have at the moment I know they are capable of coping with any team in our league. But if I get an injury then I have a problem.
"If one of the defenders had been injured during the Southend game God knows what I would have done. I just prayed they wouldn't.
"The longer it goes without me getting someone in, I know that Jason Talbot is due back in training at Bolton next week so we'll have to see what happens."
Field Mill on flu alert
STAGS players have been told to stay away from Field Mill today amid fears of a flu epidemic.
Four players had already gone down with the bug yesterday with two of them forced to play in the magnificent 1-0 win at Southend United.
"I have told everyone to stay clear of the building today and we will have a roll call tomorrow," said caretaker manager Carlton Palmer as he prepared for two big games over the New Year weekend ahead.
"We were giving everyone tablets at the hotel before the Southend game and now we've run out of Paracetemol!
Alex Neil was confined to be while Wayne Corden was sent home from the team hotel ahead of the Southend clash. But Adam Murray and Simon Brown, despite being under the weather, were both asked to soldier on and play.
"With players out and other players forced to play, it was very, very pleasing to get the win," he said.
"We were all very disappointed when the Cambridge match was called off as, with no disrespect to them, looking at their League position, I fancied our chances of getting the three points.
"Before the Southend game I would have been happy with a point down there. But they are fourth in the table and yet we totally deserved the result.
"I told the lads at half-time to do what they didn't do at Darlington. I said if they could match Southend for the first 15 minutes of the second half then they would win the game.
"Southend did have one clear cut chance with a header, but we dug in and played some good football at times. I know we can pass the ball better, but it was a hard game for us."
Although Neil was out ill, Palmer admitted he was planning to bring in Joel Kitamirike for his debut at right back anyway.
"I just thought Southend's height might cause us problems at set pieces and so I brought in Joel. In the end we defended the set pieces absolutely brilliantly," he said
"I was really deflated when I thought Southend had equalised at the end as they had huffed and puffed all afternoon without ever really causing us much problem. But I think, overall, we deserved the points."
Chad (transcribed by carole):
Adam Eaton is being given four weeks to get himself fit or caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer intends bringing in another left back full-time.

Eaton has suffered three seasons of injury nightmare over problems with his hip and groin.

He managed to return to action at the end of last season, playing in the Play-off final at Cardiff and winning himself a new contract in the process.

But he has only played two games at the start of this season and Stags' patience with him is wearing thin.

“We can't wait forever for Adam and if he is not fit and playing in the next four weeks then I will have to look elsewhere,” said Palmer.

“He is a good player for this division and he is on good money – too much not to be playing.

“It may be that, if he is to carry on playing, he will have to accept a certain amount of pain.

“Look at John Sheridan. He was told he should stop playing due to a knee injury 10 years ago.

“But he decided to carry on through the pain barrier and he was still playing last year at the age of 39.”
Evening Post, 29 December 2004
Mark Roach gives his verdict on an unlikely victory

Prior to Mansfield Town's League Two clash against Macclesfield in November, former Stags boss Keith Curle confidently predicted his side would gain revenge and collect maximum points.

His comments backfired - Macclesfield won 1-0 and Mansfield's run of games without a victory was extended to five.

In his programme notes for yesterday's game, Southend boss Steve Tilson told Shrimpers fans a home game against Mansfield was one he expected to win.

He had every reason to feel confident that high-flying Southend would make it 12 points in four league games.

Tilson's side had won all three of their previous games 1-0, a run which included wins at Bury and Wycombe.

Leading scorer Freddy Eastwood was looking for his 11th goal of the campaign, and four other Southend players had bagged four or more goals going into the game.

The Shrimpers were up against a Mansfield side who, before the 2-0 win at Shrewsbury, had won just once in 17 games.

Even the most optimistic of Stags fans would probably have settled for a point before kick-off.

And caretaker-boss Carlton Palmer was without eight players through injury or illness, with Alex Neil and Wayne Corden dropping out with flu.

Adam Murray and Simon Brown were in the side, despite suffering from heavy colds.

But the 232 travelling fans were warmed by a stirring performance by their side, as Palmer's patched-up Stags made Tilson eat his words. Suddenly, a woeful run of results was a distant memory.

Palmer had insisted that no wins in his first six games in charge was nothing to worry about. He stated his main priority was improving player fitness levels.

The Stags looked fit at Roots Hall and that was a key factor as they secured a second successive away win. Palmer's team are unbeaten in three games and talk of promotion has returned among the fans.

Brown did well on his full debut, despite feeling below par, and former Chelsea defender Joel Kitamirike performed well enough in his first game in a Stags shirt.

Perhaps a morning walk along the Southend sea front did the trick for Mansfield's players, who had stayed in the town the night before.

And it was clear that Derek Asamoah had benefited from a dose of Essex fresh air.

He fired an early warning in the fourth minute when he galloped down the left flank, cut inside and forced Southend keeper Bart Griemink into a smart save at the near post.

And Southend's run of clean sheets was always under threat as Asamoah constantly tormented the Shrimpers' defenders.

Stags striker Iyesden Christie notched a hat-trick in the same fixture last season and Asamoah's contribution yesterday was just as valuable, with good work from the former Northampton man on the right setting up Warne's late winner.

Another major factor for Mansfield was the side's gutsy defensive display, and a spirited performance throughout secured a third away win of the campaign for the Stags.

Southend enjoyed some good spells of pressure in the first period. Kevin Pilkington saved well midway through the first half to deny Mark Bentley, then Bentley failed to convert from close range after a great cross by Tesfaye Bramble.

But Mansfield finished the first half strongly, with Asamoah denied by a last-gasp challenge and Jake Buxton firing against a post.

Stags got better after the break, with Asamoah's low strike well saved by Griemink and another shot by the speedy striker held by Griemink on 50 minutes.

Another Asamoah shot was deflected over as the Stags took the game to the hosts.

Southend's play was becoming increasingly ragged, their supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and Mansfield were looking more likely to pinch a goal as the game went on.

Bentley headed wide, then picked up a caution for a challenge on Murray, before Asamoah carved out the winning goal.

He cut the ball back to Tom Curtis, who set up Warne, and the midfielder side-footed low into the corner from the edge of the box.

There were panic stations in the Stags defence on more than one occasion late on.

Former Stags man Adam Barrett headed wide and, as the Shrimpers pressed for an equaliser, Asamoah broke away and squandered an opportunity to add a second goal.

There is no doubt that Southend were unlucky not to grab a stoppage-time equaliser, but there's a well known football phrase about making your own luck.

And, when defenders are determined enough to keep the ball out, luck can be earned.

A clearance off the line by Luke Dimech, a great save by Pilkington and an offside decision in the space of a few moments made sure Southend's final push failed to produce a goal.

And Palmer seems to be more popular with the Field Mill fans now than when he first took over.


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