THREE PLAYERS TURN DOWN STAGS
Triple blow for Shirtliff
CHAD website, 11 Oct 05
CARETAKER boss Peter Shirtliff has suffered a triple blow ahead of this weekend's long trip to Carlisle United.
Three potential loan signings have all turned down the chance to play for the Coca-Cola League's bottom club.
But Shirtliff, lifted by Friday night's comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Shrewsbury Town, was immediately back to the drawing board this week and still hopes he could get one or more in for the weekend.
Shirtliff did his ambitions of geting the job full-time a power of good on Friday as his players hit the goals trail and lifted themselves off bottom spot for a day.
But, off the field, he discovered the harsh reality of being in charge of the bottom club.
"I had identified three players I wanted to bring in - one, in particular, who really fitted the bill of what we want -so I was disappointed to be knocked back by al three," he said.
"Their clubs were happy for them to come but the players just didn't want to come here.
"To be honest, I did anticipate this might be a problem.
"It is an ongoing search and I will work hard again, watching games this week and see if we can get someone in for Saturday.
"But I am still hamstrung by our position in the league and agents telling their clients that they can do better than coming here.
"We are a bit thin on the ground right now. We began the season two strikers short through whatever circumstances and, to be honest, we have done fantastically well to score the number of goals we have done.
"Thankfully Adrian Littlejohn is looking good in training and looked quite sharp when he came on last Friday. So he is coming into contention.
"But, with Chris Bearsdsley out long-term, Gavin Peers injured and Adam Birchall away on international duty, we didn't have many options outside the 16 who were involved on Friday."
Peers has a chance of returning from his hamstring strain for the Carlisle trip.
But Birchall is still away with the Welsh U21s until tomorrow (Thursady) when a decision can be taken on his fitness.
Shirtliff was delighted with Friday's display though knows one swallow doesn't make a summer.
"We still have a lot of work to do but I was very pleased with our performance," he said.
"They had an edge about them in training all week which I think was an anger at being bottom. I told them to take that out there with them into the game which they did.
"The crowd really helped us. They were fantastic with the players and have been good with me. I told the lads before the game that if the crowd saw them having a go, being competitive and trying to win the game they would get behind them. And that's exactly what happened.
"I asked them to be more competitive. It's not all a 'beautiful game' and you have to fight for things which we needed to do better.
"The longer the game went on the more I felt we grew in confidence, though the goals obviously settled us down.
"The clean sheet was also a confidence booster.
"But we know it will be tough on Saturday. And, let's be honest, if you can't keep your feet on the ground when you are bottom of the League, then you never will!"
Shirtliff denied reports that free agent Clyde Wijnhard was heading for Field Mill.
He said: "I know Carlton Palmer enquired about him but he didn't want to come here. I have no reason to think that view has changed."
BBC Nottingham online
Updated 18:32pm, 10.10.05
Mansfield Town's caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff has received a triple blow in his bid to add to his squad. Shirtliff had hoped to sign up to three players on loan this week, but could not convince any of them to move to Field Mill. The Stags boss will continue his search, and remains hopeful that he will be able to bring someone in within a week.
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