PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
LUKE EAGER TO GET BACK
Evening Post, 18 February 2005
LUKE DIMECH SAYS STAGS' RECENT DEFEAT IS JUST A BLIP, REPORTS STEVIE RODEN
Luke Dimech is eyeing a return to the Stags starting line-up after completing a three-match ban - but needs to shake off illness first.
The Maltese international was back in training today after suffering from a bout of tonsillitis earlier in the week.
The defender is desperate to get his place back in the heart of the Mansfield defence.
But he knows it is a tough task after three inspired displays by 19-year-olds Jake Buxton and Alex-John Baptiste in his absence.
He said: "It has been quite hard having to sit out the last three matches, especially as I had been playing quite well.
"But the other two have done well which is not good for me but great for the team.
"The sending off against Lincoln was something I could have prevented but hopefully it will not keep me out of the team for too long.
"I just want to get back in, continue playing well and keep clean sheets so we can move as high up the table as possible."
Dimech was told by caretaker manager Carlton Palmer, after he first arrived, that he could find a new club.
But injuries meant the 28-year-old got a run in the team and his displays have impressed Palmer so much that he is set to offer him a new deal.
Dimech now wants to concentrate on the future and is optimistic that Mansfield can still reach the play-offs in League Two.
Two wins in the three games while he was out has resulted in a six-point gap from their goal but he thinks that can be closed very quickly.
Dimech said: "We are turning the corner although the defeat on Saturday was a slip. We have two games in quick succession, with Wycombe on Tuesday, and most of the next few games are against teams below us.
"It is a perfect chance to pick up a lot of points and get a run going.
"Everyone is still very upbeat, that has always been the same, but it is very important that we get a run together now because these are teams we should be beating.
"We also have two games over Easter so they are all coming thick and fast. We have more belief now although it has been an injury-hit season, especially in terms of defenders.
"But we have not let anything get us down and that will help us out on the pitch."
Last season the midweek trip to Bury ended with a 3-0 defeat and it looked as though Mansfield could slip out of the play-off places.
It was a game Dimech played in but it provided the spark to kick-start their season.
Dimech said: "It was a bad day at the office, a bad performance and result.
"But in a way it proved to be a turning point for us and we pushed on from there.
"Hopefully we can perform better tomorrow at Bury and get the win."
STAGS: Pilkington, Neil, Jelleyman, Buxton, John-Baptiste, Curtis, Murray, Rundle, Lambu, Larkin, Barker, Asamoah, White, Dimech, McIntosh, McLachlan.
SAME AGAIN, SAYS BARROW
Evening Post, 18 February 2005
Graham Barrow's Bury side are 18th in the League Two table and trail the Stags by six points.
But Barrow is set to stick with the side that drew 2-2 with Boston last Saturday.
It will mean former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Andy Marriott will play for the Shakers.
And Bas Savage will start his second game up front after signing on loan from Championship side Reading.
Midfielder Gary Hawkins, on loan from Premiership Blackburn, will make his third appearance in a Bury shirt.
Meanwhile, Matt Barras is still out with a knee injury.
He is waiting for the results of tests to determine whether it could end his playing career.
BURY (from): Marriott, Fitzgerald, Challinor, Woodthorpe, Unsworth, Flitcroft, Harkins, Barry-Murphy, Kennedy, Savage, Newby, Kazim-Richards, Garner, Whaley, Moore, Cartledge.
Preview: Bury v Mansfield
BURY boss Graham Barrow could have the luxury of deciding who to leave out for tomorrow's visit of Mansfield.
Jon Newby is expected to have recovered from the groin strain he picked up at Boston last Saturday while Chris Porter, who hasn't featured since scoring at Scunthorpe on January 15, is also available.
On-loan marksman Bas Savage, who gave a man-of-the-match display at York Street, will make his home debut.
The Reading reserve had a hand in both goals at Boston and has added physical presence to the attack.
Mansfield have been inconsistent this season and could provide Bury with one of the three victories that would probably ensure League status for another season.
LAST SEASON: Bury 3 Mansfield 0
KEY OPPONENT: Colin Larkin - top scorer who ended a 15-game goal drought last weekend
PREDICTION: Bury 2 Mansfield 1
Latest | February 2005