SHIRTLIFF: BACK THE PLAYERS
Shirtliff calls on fans to back not protest
CHAD website, 06 October 2005
CARETAKER boss Peter Shirtliff is urging Stags fans to forget proposed protests and get behind their team for tomorrow night's crucial clash with Shrewsbury Town at Field Mill (7.45pm).
The Coca-Cola League's bottom club are desperate to start winning matches and Shirtliff believes possible protests against chairman Keith Haslam could be an unnecessary distraction for his players.
"It is disappointing, with the club in the position it is, that some fans may be planning protests," he said.
"We could do with their backing rather than their protests.
"I have to say the supporters have been fantastic to me - as good as gold - and I have no qualms about them.
"They have got behind the players and their backing, with our position in the leeague, has been excellent.
"I know it is difficult for them to stay patient and, in the current climate, I can understand their frustrations. They expect results. But it could be totally counter-productive if they start barracking the players.
"I am sure they will come here tomorrow and give the lads the encouragement they need to spur them on to get a result."
Despite only being caretaker boss Shirtliff has been told he can bring in some new faces to strengthen his team and, with no midweek game this week, he has been out watching players every night.
"I have identified some players I think would fit the bill and I have made enquiries with their clubs," he said. "Whether I can get them in before the Shrewsbury game is unlikely as, with many clubs not having a game this weekend, everyone seems to have gone away and it is difficult to contact people.
"But sometime next week I hope to have certainly one if not three new faces here.
"The lads I have looked at this week all did well - particularly one of them who I think would fit the bill exactly for what we require."
Shirtliff remains on tenterhooks over whether or not he will get the job full-time, but said: "Credit to the chairman for saying he is not panicking and won't be rushed into making an appointment.
"He wants to consider all his options, and rightly so.
"So it is commendable he is allowing me to bring in players. he realises, like everyone else that a couple of fresh faces could give the club the boosts it needs."
He added: "We have had a hard week on the training ground and, hopefully, Friday night will provide us with the icing on the cake.
"Shrewsbury are a well-organised workmanlike side who will be hard to beat. But, hopefully, so will we.
"Having watched the video again, I thought our performance at Leyton Orient was pretty good.
"We were more than in the game and it is just the errors and situations we put ourselves in that are costing us."
Shirtliff took a mixed side of first team squad members and youth players to Chesterfield for a behind-closed-doors friendly of three 30 minute periods with the Spireites eventually winning 4-2.
But there was an injury blow with right back Gavin Peers suffering a slight hamstring injury which will rule him out of the Shrewsbury game.
Jake Buxton stands by to replace him, though young full back Kyle Jacobs is also drafted into the squad.
After a 2-0 away win at Peterborough, the Shrews have been held in their last two home games with Barnet and Grimsby Town.
They are curently ninth, just a point of the play-off spots.
Shrews defender Gav Cowan, who has come back from a broken cheekbone, played 90 minutes of reserve football this week and could be in line for a return at Field Mill.
But midfielder Jamie Tolley will miss out as he serves a suspension.
Manchester City have been linked with a possible £1m move for Shrews keeper Joe Hart.
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