PALMER ON WARNE, PLUS PILKINGTON LATEST
STAGS LINE UP SEVEN PLAYERS
Evening Post, 11 May 2005
Carlton PALMER is talking to up to seven potential new signings this week - including Rotherham United midfielder Paul Warne.
The Stags boss had meetings lined up with four players and their agents today and is set to meet others tomorrow and Friday.
He said: "I'm trying to get my squad for next season assembled as quickly as possible - although it depends on contracts as to when I can bring certain players in.
"I'm in competition with Ronnie Moore at Oldham for Paul but, hopefully, he enjoyed it when he was on loan here."
One player who looks certain to be leaving is midfielder Alex Neil.
Evening Post, 10 May 2005
Mansfield goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington insists he has not refused a new contract at Field Mill.
Stags boss Carlton Palmer said yesterday he was waiting to hear from the former Manchester United man, whose three-year deal is due to expire.
But Pilkington said he was considering an offer made last week.
He said: "I was told on Wednesday there was an offer for another year but they couldn't afford me on the money I am on now.
"I was only offered it a few days ago so I haven't had time to sort out the figures. I have not refused it and, hopefully, we will be able to work things out and take it from there.
"I want to stay. It is just a case of whether we can sort a deal out."
Palmer starts rebuilding job
CHAD, 10 May 2005
IT is all-change at Field Mill now the season is over.
Scott McNiven and Luke Dimech both played their last games for Mansfield Town in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient.
It seems that Player of the Year Alex Neil will also be departing after refusing a new contract offer and, along with McNiven, was hit with a verbal volley by Palmer for their displays on Saturday.
Luke Dimech and Colin Larkin have also been shown the door while goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington is reported to be unhappy with the new contract he has been offered and could go.
And there will be a change on the coaching staff too with Sheffield Wednesday legend Peter Shirtliff coming in as assistant manager.
Palmer is hard at work this week with his players shopping list. But he admits he will be a tall order to find the right players to mount a serious promotion challenge.
"We have some good young players here already and I know exactly what we need to bring in," he said. "But fans must remember that Mansfield have enjoyed only one promotion in 13 years so it is not an easy thing to achieve.
"I do have money to spend but we are capped by the 60 per cent income limit. So even if we wanted to spend over that we couldn't.
"Look at Darlington. Their wage bill is about £250,000 more than ours, yet they couldn't even make the play-offs.
"And Northampton only just got there and their wage bill is £500-600,000 more than ours. You have to be realistic in your aims and ambitions.
"If players I am offering contracts to turn them down then there are plenty of other players prepared to come dwon from bigger clubs and take a drop in salary to play for us. It's up to them.
"If people say there has been no improvement here since I took over then that is completely unfounded. We have ended up with a respectable League position considering all the rubbish that has gone on."
(comment from Martin: Stags were 12th when Palmer arrived, after 17 games; 2 points behind play-offs and 5 points behind top 3. Interestingly the top 3 at that time were finally promoted, and the bottom 2 at that time were finally relegated.)
Palmer praised his youngsters for their battling second half display at Leyton Orient - but he slammed some of his senior pros for their displays in what was likely to be their farewell game for the club.
"I paid the price for being too honest," said Palmer. "I asked these players if they felt mentally right to play in this game as it was a chance for them to say goodbye to the fans.
"I was trying to be right and fair to them, but I really should have done what was right and left them out.
"Once I had taken Scott McNiven and Alex Neil off we dominated the game and I think in the end we deserved at least a point out of the game.
"We had a 17-year-old kid out there at right back in Austin McIntosh making his debut. He did well but he needed a bit of protection from Alex Neil.
"But he got none and I ended up having to bring him off as I didn't want to get him killed. It seems Alex doesn't want to stay here and obviously he didn't want to get injured.
"But I think Austin is a good player and I am looking forward to working with him next season. I think by Christmas he could be ready. After Saturday, there is no way I will offer Alex a penny more than we have already offered him.
"We were very poor in the first half. But we dominated the second half, created some great chances we should have taken and had a definite penalty turned down. So overall I was very pleased with the players who are staying here next year."
McNiven's departure is a sad one after the 26-year-old right back missed a large chunk of the season fighting testicular cancer and, although he has played seven times since that, he is still short of the fitness he had before his problems.
"I decided to release Scott and the football club wishes him all the best," said Palmer.
"But the decision has been taken purely on footballing grounds. He is a smashing kid who loves his football and I know I have not seen the best of him since he came back.
"He has been through a very tough time and it was a tough decision, but one I had to make.
"Scott has done magnificently well to come back and play. But he would not be my first choice right back and I cannot pay the sort of money he is on to have him sat on the bench. I can't let sentiment come into my decision."
Palmer confirmed that Peter Shirtliff is to be his new assistant manager.
But current assistant Paul Holland is to remain on the coaching staff.
"Peter is someone I trust and respect and will be a huge asset to this club," he said. "He is an organised, disciplined person who believes in structure.
"We are having a bit of a shake-up and, although Paul will be staying on the coaching staff, we have yet to finalise how it's all going to be.
"I played with Peter for a number of years and I know what he is.
"I need someone here I know and trust and Peter is a diligent, thorough person who has experienced promotion with Barnsley and Leicester City.
"He has also done all his coaching badges and will be a very big addition to our staff."
"I will now be spending most of this week talking to players and agents and trying to convince them to take a drop in wages and join us.
"Two or three have intimated they are very interested already."
Latest | May 2005