PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
BUXTON: STICK TO WINNING FORMULA
Evening Post, 11 February 2005
STEVIE RODEN TALKS TO STAGS DEFENDER AHEAD OF HOME CLASH WITH CLOSE RIVALS CHELTENHAM
Stags' last two victories will count for nothing if they fail to beat Cheltenham tomorrow, according to defender Jake Buxton.
Mansfield beat Notts County last weekend and Swansea on Tuesday to put themselves back in the play-off race.
But Buxton said they must maintain their momentum tomorrow and make it a hat-trick of wins.
"We beat Notts County 1-0 and if we would have lost against Swansea in the week it would have meant nothing. We would have been back to square one again.
"It is the same tomorrow. Cheltenham at home is a game we should be winning. But then people say it is the same old Mansfield - they are not going to win.
"Hopefully the manager has turned it around and we are a changed squad and a different set of lads.
"I think we have got more go about us and more belief to go on and win against your Cheltenhams and your Burys, to get back up there where we should be.
"Before the Notts match, we were ten points off relegation and the same off the play-offs. It could still go one way or the other.
"We have now done well to get back-to-back victories and we can push on. We are heading in the direction of the play-offs and hopefully we can get back to the Millennium Stadium."
The defender is in fine form this season and has established himself as a regular under caretaker-boss Carlton Palmer, making 23 appearances already this campaign.
He has been switched from full-back to central defence with fellow 19-year-old Alex John-Baptiste for the past two matches while Luke Dimech has been suspended.
The partnership has produced two clean sheets and two wins and Buxton is confident they can make it a memorable week with a victory tomorrow.
He said: "That is two clean sheets in two matches and we don't look like conceding at the moment.
"The first line of defence is up front with Richie Barker and Derek Asamoah. They are working hard and the midfield is doing the same, and we are keeping it clean at the back.
"The gaffer is bringing in young lads and because we are young, he is trying to teach us the way he was brought up and it is working.
"People will start questioning it when it is not working but there is no point questioning it now because we are keeping clean sheets. At the moment, nobody can moan."
Palmer is without Simon Brown for tomorrow's match. The midfielder starts a three-match ban after being sent off for head-butting a Swansea player in midweek.
Shane Smeltz is likely to replace him on the right.
And Palmer said it is vital the Stags build on the last two games.
He said: "We have got a massive game tomorrow and I know the players are absolutely tired.
"But I have given them time off: they have had to rest. They have got to prepare properly.
"It would be criminal now if we let it slip.
"We set out to get a point against Swansea and three against Cheltenham. Having got the three points in midweek, it is set up nicely now to have a right good go at Cheltenham.
"Momentum has been built up before these two victories. We have got the best defensive record of late and another clean sheet on Tuesday so we must be doing something right."
MANSFIELD (from): Pilkington, Neil, Jelleyman, Buxton, John-Baptiste, Curtis, Murray, Rundle, Smeltz, Barker, Asamoah, McIntosh, White, Larkin, McLachlan, Lambu.
WARD WON'T RING THE CHANGES
Evening Post, 11 February 2005
Cheltenham boss John Ward is likely to name an unchanged team from the one that beat Rochdale 2-0 last Saturday.
Midfielder Martin Devaney got both goals and the club are desperate to tie him up on a new and improved deal.
The 24-year-old midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and is attracting interest from other clubs.
He will start tomorrow along with ex-Nottingham Forest striker Steve Guinan.
The 29-year-old forward spent the last two seasons with Conference side Hereford.
His 28 goals helped them to second in the league last season and earned him a move to the Robins.
CHELTENHAM: Higgs, Gill, Caines, Duff, Victory, Wilson, Finnigan, Bird, Devaney, Guinan, Spencer, Gillespie, Odejayi, Taylor, Brown, Melligan.
BOSS PALMER'S PROBLEMS ARE MOUNTING
Gloucestershire Echo, 11 February 2005
Mansfield Town will be down to the bare bones when they host Cheltenham Town tomorrow. Carlton Palmer's Coca-Cola League Two side have two players suspended and a host of injuries.
Right-sided midfielder Simon Brown became the latest player to join the unavailable list when he was sent off in the 1-0 win over Swansea City on Tuesday.
Central defender Luke Dimech is also suspended after being shown a straight red card in a 2-0 defeat at Lincoln City.
Mansfield, who have lost only twice in their past 11 games, have been fielding a patched up back four for much of the season. Right- back Scott McNiven has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Left-back Adam Eaton has a fractured hip, central defender Rhys Day has an ankle injury and Dave Artell's comeback from an Achilles tendon problem was halted when he found out he had deep vein thrombosis.
Central midfielder Alex Neil is likely to play as a makeshift right-back tomorrow, with Jake Buxton shuffling across to the centre, alongside 19-year-old Alex Baptiste, who has been made captain by Palmer.
His left-back is recent signing from Peterborough United, Gareth Jelleyman.
With Brown suspended, striker Derek Asamoah is expected to shift to the right of midfield.
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz, who joined Mansfield last month after a trial with West Ham United, is the favourite to start up-front, alongside former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Richard Barker, who has scored the only goal in both of Mansfield's last two games, the wins against Swansea and at Notts County.
Former Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Colin Larkin, who has been told he can look for another club by Palmer, is expected to be on the bench.
Both central midfielders, former Derby County player Adam Murray (ankle) and Tom Curtis (knee and shoulder) are playing through injuries, with Palmer (pictured) likely to be down to his last 16 fit players tomorrow.
Left-sided midfielder Adam Rundle, 20, has taken the place of Wayne Corden, who has also been told he can leave the club after four years at Field Mill.
Mansfield Town: Kevin Pilkington, Alex Neil, Jake Buxton, Alex Baptiste, Gareth Jelleyman, Adam Rundle, Tom Curtis, Adam Murray, Derek Asamoah, Richy Barker, Shane Smeltz, Jason White, Fraser McLachlan, Colin Larkin, Austin McIntosh, Goma Lambu.
MEET THE REF . . .
Gloucestershire Echo, 11 February 2005
Paul Robinson is the referee for tomorrow's match between Mansfield Town and Cheltenham Town. Robinson, from East Yorkshire, allowed Grimsby Town substitute Ashley Sestanovich just four minutes on the pitch before sending him off in his last match.
Sestanovich had gone on as a 79th-minute substitute for Grimsby in a 2-1 Coca-Cola League Two defeat against Northampton Town and he was shown the red card in the 83rd minute.
It was the fifth red card Robinson has shown in his 21 games this season, and he has shown 55 yellows.
Robinson refereed Cheltenham Town's 2-0 win over Swindon Town in September 2002.
In May 2001 he sent off Cheltenham's Neil Grayson in a 2-1 win over Southend United at Whaddon Road and in January 2000 he took charge of a 2-1 win at Macclesfield Town.
His assistants tomorrow for the League Two match at Field Mill will be David Benton, from South Yorkshire, and Mick McDonough, from Tyne and Wear.
WARD: SPENCER DESERVES START
Gloucestershire Echo, 11 February 2005
Damian Spencer will be given the chance at Mansfield Town tomorrow to show that he can be as effective over 90 minutes as he has been over 20.
The 23-year-old will make his seventh start of the season for Cheltenham Town - he replaces departed loan player Steven Gillespie - and will partner Steve Guinan in the Coca-Cola League Two game at Field Mill. He has been used for most of the season as an impact player, going on as a substitute late in games to unsettle tired defenders.
"I've tried to get another striker on loan, but they are not easy to come by and part of me says Damian needs to be given an opportunity," said manager John Ward.
"He does very well going on for 20 minutes but he needs to know, and I need to know, that he can do it for 90 minutes.
"I don't see why he shouldn't, and I've still got Kayode Odejayi and Ashley Vincent on the bench as attacking options."
Spencer has made only one League Two start since the 0-0 draw with Chester City at Whaddon Road on October 8 and that lasted barely five minutes, because he limped off against Notts County on New Year's Day with a hamstring strain.
Despite his lack of starts, Spencer has a good goalscoring ratio of 21, including five this season, in 51 starts since he signed from Bristol City in July 2002.
Ward has to decide whether to recall central midfielder Grant McCann after serving a three-match suspension.
"He played 65 minutes for the reserves on Wednesday and for the first 20 minutes, he looked as though he needed the game," said Ward. "He'll be there somewhere tomorrow.
"I've got McCann, John Finnigan and David Bird and I have to see who I think will do best.
"Bird has improved considerably as a player and is an important member of the squad, which is why I will give it my fullest consideration."
Defender John Brough has learned he will have an operation on his painful ankle during the next fortnight.
He had been hoping to play through it until the end of the season, but his return for the reserves against Reading was not a success.
"It's a bony problem and it will be four weeks after the operation before he will be fit," Ward said.
"There's calcification there similar to what John Finnigan had, but it's a wear and tear thing and that's what makes it different."
Cheltenham beat Mansfield 2-0 at Whaddon Road on October 19, with Guinan and Brian Wilson the scorers.
They lost 4-0 at Field Mill last season but beat them 4-2 at Cheltenham on February 28, when Spencer was one of the scorers.
Ward knows tomorrow's game will be tough.
"My chief scout saw Mansfield beat Swansea 1-0 on Tuesday. It was a tough game for Swansea and a good, strong performance by Mansfield," he said. "They will be confident they can do it again, but if it is a football match, we can deal with that and if it is an ugly game, we'll have a go at that as well.
"There's one point between us and we're both a bit closer to trying to achieve something. They'll be feeling the same as well."
Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Gill, Caines, Duff, Victory, Wilson, Finnigan, McCann, Devaney, Guinan, Spencer, Brown, Bird, Odejayi, Taylor, Odejayi.
Leo Hoenig and James Young have been appointed joint chairmen of the proposed Cheltenham Town Supporters' Trust.
Bryan Jacob was named secretary at a meeting at Whaddon Road last night. The new body will be named The Robins Trust.
Latest | February 2005