WARNE LATEST, PLUS RESERVES DRAW
Stags continue to wait on Warne
CHAD, 17 February 2005
PAUL Warne is unlikely to join Mansfield Town in time for Saturday's trip to Bury (3pm).
Warne, who can play midfield or up front, enjoyed a successful loan spell at Field Mill before being recalled by Rotherham United, whose injury crisis has eased and have subsequently told Mansfield they can speak to the player.
However, Warne has been suffering with a back injury and, although he played part of a Rotherham reserve game on Tuesday, Stags caretaker manager Carlton Palmer said: "Paul is an honest lad and he's told me he still doesn't feel 100 per cent right.
"I will speak to him again later today but, if he is not going to be fit for Saturday then I may go with what I've got and see how he is on Monday.
"There are alternatives and the chairman has told me there is money for me to bring a player in, but Paul is the one we really want here if possible.
"I know him, the players know him and we know what he can do. I like the kid and he is a good footballer.
"Paul is a great character on and off the field and it is important we have those sort of people around our young players. They train right, prepare properly and are great role models to have."
Maltese international central defender Luke Dimech has completed his three-match ban but has since been suffering from tonsillitis. He was due to return to training today and Palmer said: "After missing three games and then a week's training I won't be putting Luke straight back into the team.
"The two boys who have been in the centre of defence have done well together anyway."
McNiven booster for Stags
CHAD, 16 February 2005
CANCER victim Scott McNiven gave Mansfield Town a big boost this week when he declared: "I could be back within a month."
Stags, depleted by injury and illness, had continued to pull off results against the odds until Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Cheltenham Town.
But, as they prepared to face Bury away this Saturday (3pm), the news arrived that everyone had been waiting and hoping for.
The 26-year-old right back has been undergoing radiotherapy treatment since his personal nightmare began when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October.
"I have to go back on 18th May for further checks and blood tests, but the consultant said I can start back so I am as clear as I can be at this moment," he told Chad.
"Everything is going OK. I hope to be back in the club on Monday and hopefully back playing in a month or so - touch wood!"
Assistant caretaker-manager Paul Holland said: "We are delighted to hear that.
"The sooner we can get Scott back in the club the better for everyone. It's been a hard time for him and he has been a credit to himself."
With Saturday's trip to Bury followed by the visit of Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday (7.45pm), the Stags squad should be further boosted this week.
Defender Luke Dimech has completed his three-game ban and, although he is currently recovering from a bout of tonsillitis, he is expected back in the squad.
And caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer is also hoping to bring Rotherham United's Paul Warne back into the club.
Hope of having Warne in last Saturday were dashed by a back injury to the Millers man, who did so well at Field Mill on his recent loan spell before being recalled.
With Simon Brown starting a four-game ban, Stags could have done with Warne as they crashed 2-1 at home to Cheltenham Town.
And with games coming thick and fast again, Palmer said: "I would love to bring Paul back.
"But if he isn't going to be fit this week I may have to look elsewhere before the weekend."
Warne remains first choice but Palmer has another right-sided player waiting in the wings.
The other player, who is not being named, is on the books of a League One club but has had a successful loan spell at a League Tow club already this season and is keen to come to Mansfield.
Paul Holland added: "Paul Warne went to see a specialist about his back problem last week and was hoping to play in a reserve game at Rotherham yesterday.
"If he came through that and the specialist is happy, then we have permission from Rotherham to talk directly to him.
"It will all depend on whether it's a loan or permanent deal and if we can come to an agreement. But we are optimistic."
Stags had a frustrating afternoon against Saturday's opponents Bury at Field Mill back on 30th October - one of the last games of the Keith Curle reign.
Colin Larkin had a penalty saved and both Wayne Corden and Derek Asamoah hit the bar as the Shakers escaped with a 0-0 draw.
But the injury-hit Lancashire club are still struggling at the wrong end of the table.
They have not won any of their last four games and at Gigg Lane, since beating Notts County there back on 20th November, they have only won one of their subsequent seven home fixtures.
However, they did show resilience last weekend when they came back from 2-0 down in the first 12 minutes at Boston United to earn a 2-2 draw.
Manager Graham Barrow bolstered his injury-hit squad with the arrival of Reading striker Bas Savage for a month's loan last week.
Saturday's clash is the start of a tantalising run of nine games against sides in the lower half of the table.
But Palmer warned fans: "No game is easy and you can never assume you will get three points.
"Saying we should beat Cheltenham, Bury and Rushden is like saying the home game with Swansea was an automatic defeat.
"When I came here fans were talking about being in a relegation dogfight. Now there is talk of play-offs. Let's not kid ourselves - it is still a tall order. But I am not saying it can't be done because it can.
"We have to respect every team we come up against and the fans have to get behind us like they have been doing. Then anything is possible.
"By and large you get what you deserve. And I still don't think we have been getting our slice of luck which you deserve. Hopefully that's left in the bag for later on."
Stags have only lost once to Tuesday's visitors, Wycombe, in their first-ever meeting back in the 1993/94 season. Since then Stags have played the Chairboys six times in League and Cup action and won two and drawn four others.
This season, Asamoah netted in a 1-1 draw at the Causeway Stadium on 23rd October.
Despite being one place below Stags, Wanderers have a formidable away record this season, the 2-1 success at Rushden last Saturday being their seventh win on the road this season.
It ended a spell of only one win in eight games and followed a win at Shrewsbury and a draw at Swansea in their previous two awaydays.
Latest | February 2005