Palmer aims to lift fans with home win
MANSFIELD Town manager Carlton Palmer says he wants to give fans a win in the final home game of the season against Boston on Saturday.
There will be at least one change to the 11 who started against Macclesfield after he admitted he would be handing a debut to yet another youngster as they look to sign off their home campaign in style.
He also wanted to give a couple of other young players their first-team debuts, but they were not eligible to play because they were on the wrong contracts.
The team have been preparing for the match by watching a video of last weekend's defeat against the Silkmen so they could learn from their mistakes.
And Palmer hinted he could revert to a 4-4-2 formation for the game at Field Mill, but stressed he was delighted with how the three youngsters in midfield had been playing.
"Against Macclesfield we played ever so well and had great chances in the game but unfortunately it has been a little bit of a problem putting away those chances," he added. "We've also been missing a little bit of luck.
"We talked about the game - about how well we did play but also the instances that have cost us.
"For the free-kick, the wall wasn't particularly brilliant and the keeper was beat goalside. The other two goals were poor as well when we were dominating the game.
"But that's the point of putting the youngsters in to learn and get some experience.
"We've just got to keep trying to do the right things and address the problems we have."
As Stags prepare for the match, memories are brought back to the reverse fixture in November when, once again, their single point return could easily have been the maximum three after the home team were reduced to 10 men after just 37 minutes.
And Palmer admitted that had been a frustrating theme throughout their season.
He said: "We have had too many of those 'should haves'. As I say they are young lads and lack a bit of experience but they are improving.
"I am giving these young guys the chance to play and see what it is like in the first team .
"It is important to win games but it is also important to perform well and see how these players can perform in the first team."
The recent first-team performances of rookie keeper Jason White, who has been in goal for the past two matches, have also left Palmer pleased.
"I've thought he's done well," he said. "We had a chat about a couple of the goals on Saturday but it is all about experience. His kicking and handling have been competent and his talking.
"When you are a young goalkeeper you have got to be patient. Not very many young goalkeepers get the opportunity to get into the first team.
"Obviously if we had been within a shout of the play-offs, injuries permitting, 'Pilks' would have been in goal."
And Palmer said he would be looking for his players to continue playing in the same vein.
"On the hour mark we tend to start conceding. Generally we have got a few players in the side who are not as fit as they should be.
"We are in the game to win but we have to be prepared to win. I am trying to prepare the team to win football matches next season.
"That means giving the young lads the chance to play in the first team. I've told them I am pleased but obviously I have got to be critical as well.
"All the young lads have done very well. They are improving but it takes time. It is difficult when somebody comes in and says your not match fit.
"We are nowhere near the fitness and tempo I want to be at, but they are aware of that and we will be working very hard over the summer to get that right."
l Stags beat a strong Rushden and Diamonds team 2-0 in a reserve game last Tuesday that was organised to give Tom Curtis and Luke Dimech a run out.
But Palmer said despite a good performance from Curtis, he did not expect him to start the game on Saturday unless Fraser McLachlan fails to fully recover from a knock he picked up against Macclesfield.
He added: "I didn't go myself because I was doing training here but from what my staff said the youngsters along with Tom Curtis and Luke Dimech did very, very well. I am pleased with what I heard about the performances.
"Tom Curtis is back quicker than I thought which is good news. He wants to be fit for the programme we have got in the summer.
"But he's still only played one game.so he won't be starting the game on Saturday I wouldn't think.
And Palmer said although there had been no action on the transfer market, he was still looking to line up deals over the summer.
"No club really signs players until the end of June so I'm just lining up deals, speaking to players I'm interested in and trying to see if we can agree terms within the budget of what we can pay," he said. "Whether pre-contracts are done or not, nobody will be coming into the club before June time."
LAWRENCE NETS A £100,000 BOOST
Evening Post, 29 April 2005
Mansfield Town have profited from Sunderland's promotion to the Premiership, with the club set to receive a £100,000 cash windfall as part of the deal which saw Liam Lawrence join the Black Cats.
But Stags boss Carlton Palmer says he has not discussed with chairman Keith Haslam how the money will be used.
"I have identified players I want to bring into the football club and now it is straightforward negotiation with the club and those players if they want to come to Mansfield Town," said Palmer.
"We've now got the nucleus of a good young side. But we need four or five new players and it is about what those players will cost and whether we can afford them and get in the quality I want."
Palmer is using the end of season run-in as an early pre-season campaign, with young players like Giles Coke and Callum Lloyd gaining valuable first-team experience.
And the Stags boss has secured friendlies against Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United.
Stags visit Sheffield FC on Wednesday, July 13 - then Field Mill plays host to Derby on Saturday, July 16, Huddersfield on Friday, July 22, Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday, July 27, and Rotherham on Saturday, July 30.
Palmer believes his young side deserved more at Macclesfield on Saturday.
"We have young, inexperienced players but I am disappointed that, after Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town and Darlington, it's another game we have dominated and not won.
"We let them back in it by trying to be too clever. After scoring we should have consolidated for five minutes or so, instead of going all gung-ho.
"We have shot ourselves in the foot again from set pieces. We gave away silly free kicks.
"For all our good play, if you don't defend re-starts you are going to get punished.
"There were still a lot of positives and it was hard to look around that dressing room and say anyone played badly.
"But we've let them score from two set pieces and our own corners and free kicks were poor.
"Again, we've created a load of chances but not been able to put them away. That is a problem I will be addressing in the summer."
Fraser McLachlan is expected to be available tomorrow after picking up a knock against Macclesfield.
Tom Curtis is set for at least a place on the bench after playing in a midweek reserves friendly.
But Gareth Jelleyman could miss the final two games of the campaign with an ankle injury, sustained in a heavy challenge on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Palmer is waiting for a decision from Alex Neil after offering the midfielder a new contract.
"He has convinced me to offer him the contract with the way he has played since I told him he could go," said the Stags boss.
"He has shown he can play in a variety of roles and has given a very good account of himself."
Mansfield from: White, Neil, John-Baptiste, Day, McNiven, Brown, Lloyd, McLachlan, Dimech, Coke, Rundle, Barker, Curtis, Heron, Lonsdale, McIntosh.
Evans aims to fend off Stags
Boston boss Steve Evans paid tribute to his friend Carlton Palmer - but revealed that a win is the only thing on his mind when the two meet this weekend.
The Pilgrims take on Palmer's Mansfield side at Field Mill on Saturday before the two managers take a break together at the end of the season.
"I have a great amount of time for Carlton Palmer. I believe that he will make Mansfield a real force next season so I know we will have a really difficult test on Saturday.
"Whatever happens, I will be spending a weekend in Spain with Carlton shortly, so you could say that I would want to go to Spain with a victory over Carlton's team," he told the club's official website.
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