GAME ON AFTER MORNING INSPECTION
Stags game is ON
CHAD website, 22 February 2005
MANSFIELD Town's League two clash with Wycombe Wanderers tonight has survived a morning pitch inspection today.
Stags brought in a local referee to check out the Field Mill surface with the match referee awaiting news down in Essex.
But the conclusion was that the pitch simply had a coating of snow on it and was playable underneath.
The club will now be hoping there is no drastic change in conditions later on today.
DON'T LET THE HOME FANS DOWN
Evening Post, 22 February 2005
Kevin Pilkington says Mansfield cannot let their fans down tonight as they did against Cheltenham in their last home match.
Mansfield recently beat Notts County and Swansea and could have made it three victories in a week against the Robins.
But they lost 2-1 a week last Saturday after conceding a last-minute goal.
The Stags rediscovered the winning touch with a superb 2-0 victory at Bury at the weekend and Stags' keeper Pilkington said it is vital they perform well against Wycombe tonight.
He said: "We bounced back from the disappointment of defeat against Cheltenham which was very good to see.
"Wycombe are doing really well, especially away from home.
"But we are also in form and it is a good chance for us to get back to Field Mill in front of our own fans and put right the defeat against Cheltenham.
"If we can do that, we put ourselves into the play-off picture and have to keep going from there. We have a good chance to get six points in the next few days and we have to take them."
Pilkington said he was happy that Mansfield kept another clean sheet at Gigg Lane on Saturday.
And with Scott McNiven and Rhys Day returning to training yesterday, he believes the defence will get even stronger.
"It went well at the weekend and we worked really hard as well as scoring a couple of good goals," he said.
"We have got three clean sheets in the last four games and are conceding less than a goal a game at the moment on average, which is not too bad.
"The squad is getting bigger and we are still looking to get in the play-offs, that is the aim.
"It is a massive boost to have two defenders on their way back, especially for Scotty after the problems he has had. And Rhys has been out for a long time, so it is good news for them.
"It is making us stronger and we are already doing well at the back, so having these players back will only go to strengthen that.
"We had a few games at once and it was tiring, but after the week break-up until the Bury game, everybody is fine.
"It will not affect us having another game tonight because we know we have another week off after next Saturday."
And Pilkington has been impressed with winger Adam Rundle, who was brought in from Dublin City a month ago and scored on Saturday.
He added: "Rundle has done really well since he came here. He is getting better and better and his quality is improving on the ball.
"Adam has set up a few goals and got on the score sheet on Saturday, so he is well up for it."
Midfielder Simon Brown is still suspended for Mansfield as he serves the third of a four-match ban.
MANSFIELD (from): Pilkington, Neil, Jelleyman, Buxton, John-Baptiste, Curtis, McLachlan, Murray, Rundle, Barker, Larkin, White, Asamoah, Dimech, Lloyd, Smeltz.
CLARIDGE PULLS UP THE CHAIRS
Evening Post, 22 February 2005
Wycombe have improved under boss John Gorman and are now one point above Mansfield in the League Two table.
They have signed veteran striker Steve Claridge who has scored two goals in their past two games.
The Chairboys have not lost in the last three matches on their travels and have a strong squad for tonight's match.
Defender Roger Johnson was sent off in the match with Scunthorpe a week ago but his appeal against the red card was successful.
It meant he could line-up against Darlington in the 1-1 draw and against Mansfield this evening, instead of serving a one-match ban.
Former England international Steve Guppy has recovered from an Achilles injury and after completing 80 minutes on Saturday, is expected to start tonight.
WYCOMBE: Talia, Senda, Easton, Nethercott, Johnson, Uhlenbeek, Ryan, Bloomfield, Guppy, Stonebridge, Claridge, Dixon, Williamson, Perpetuini, Silk, Martin.
Stags hopeful on winter weather
CHAD website, 21 February 2005
STAGS are optimistic that tomorrow night's home clash with Wycombe Wanderers (7.45pm) will beat the bad weather.
Weather forecasts look pretty grim but groundsman Rob Sprigg said today: "Hopefully we will get an inch of two of snow on the surface to protect it from the frost tonight and keep it nice and wet."
Visitors Wycombe are one place and one point above Stags and have given themselves a chance of joining the play-off battle with only one defeat in their last eight games.
Their away record is the second best in League Two with seven wins and four draws in their 16 to date, taking seven away points in their last nine.
But Stags have the best defensive record in the division and after three wins and three clean sheets in four matches, have no fears about tomorrow's opposition.
"It's all about what we do - not Wycombe," said caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer.
"We know they have some quality players like Steve Claridge, Steve Guppy and Stuart Nethercott. So we are under no illusions how difficult it will be."
Veteran Claridge has just scored twice in as many games.
"I have told our lads to take each game as it comes and not undo all the good work we have done by worrying about play-offs," added Palmer.
"If we keep it solid at the back and don't concede goals, we know we will get chances at the other end, And if we win more than we lose between now and the end of the season and it proves enough to get in the play-offs then that would be great.
"But I don't want us chasing to win points in a way that leaves us wide open at the other end.
"We know Wycombe will come here organised and disciplined and are dangerous at set pieces.
"But if Nathan Tyson is out injured and they don't bring in Jonny Dixon or someone else, they could be short on genuine pace.
"We need to inject pace and tempo into the game. Both sides are on a good run and we have to make our home advantage count."
On the Arctic weather forecasts, Palmer said: "With the weather so uncertain we have to prepare as if the game will take place.
"Right now we would love to play it as the lads can't wait after recent results. But we were desperate to get the Cambridge game on and, with the conditions and them getting a new manager, it backfired on us.
"So it doesn't worry me if we do get called off either."
Stags are likely to stick with the same 11 who won 2-0 at Bury on Saturday with Simon Brown still suspended.
Skipper Alex John-Baptiste missed training today with a slight knee injury but should be fine for tomorrow.
Rotherham United have changed their minds yet again about allowing Paul Warne back out to Mansfield and Palmer has told Warne to sort it out at his end by Wednesday or he will look elsewhere.
Scott McNiven and Rhys Day were welcome faces back in training this morning after illness and injury. But, naturally, both are some way off a first team return.
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