PREVIEWS, PLUS LAWRENCE INTERVIEW
TOON ARMY INJURY WOES BOOST STAGS
Evening Post, 06 January 2006
Jake Buxton reckons Mansfield will never have a better chance of a giant-killing at Newcastle.
Newcastle United-Mansfield Town
FA Cup third round, St James' Park, Saturday January 7
The Mansfield defender believes the absence of Michael Owen, Scott Parker and Keiron Dyer will give Peter Shirtliff's men a glimmer of hope in tomorrow's FA Cup third round clash at St James' Park.
But he admits he will still be sorry to miss out on the chance of facing Newcastle's biggest stars.
Buxton said: "When you get older, you want to say you've played against Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Scott Parker, but with players getting injured there is more of a chance to get a result or bring them back to Field Mill."
The 20-year-old believes this will be the biggest match he'll ever play in, but insists Mansfield intend to pile the misery on under- fire Newcastle manager Graeme Souness.
"You'd be stupid to say you can't win," said Buxton. "It depends how seriously they take it.
"They've got to put on a good performance for their manager. He's under pressure and people are saying he's got 72 hours before he loses his job. I think it's make or break for them.
"The pressure will be on and it will be a hard day. But the top players respond and if they like Graeme Souness they will work hard and try to win for him.
"We've got to prove we are not pushovers and get the fans on their back."
Stags midfielder Giles Coke insists the chance to run out at St James' Park won't be the highlight of his fledgling career. He is adamant
his greatest achievement is managing to hold down a first team place at Field Mill.
PRESSMAN AIMS TO FOIL SHEARER'S RECORD BID
Evening Post, 06 January 2006
Kevin Pressman will never forget his last appearance at St James' Park.
By James Robson
The veteran Stags goalkeeper suffered one of the lowest points in a career spanning 20 years.
It was September 1999 and Pressman was part of a Sheffield Wednesday side hammered 8-0.
A certain Alan Shearer scored five of his 199 goals in the black and white of Newcastle.
"It wasn't a good day - it was a bad day at the office," recalls Pressman.
"It was one of those things. We went up there and prepared for the game and nobody envisaged that heavy defeat."
The score changes depending on who you talk to - and even Pressman, it seems, has become confused over time.
"By Saturday it will be 10-0," he said, before incorrectly claiming that the score was actually 7-1.
For the record it was definitely 8-0 - but Pressman also has much happier memories of Tyneside.
"I always remember going up there and winning 2-1 at the start of one season.
"We went to the top of the Premiership and I think we were up there for about five or six games and we finished high that year.
"So there was that game that we lost heavily, but there have been other times when we've won as well. It evens itself out.
"Tomorrow is a level playing field and we want to get something out of the game."
At the age of 38, Pressman is hardly expected to renew old rivalries with Shearer.
The Magpies skipper is hoping to break Jackie Milburn's record of 200 goals for Newcastle.
Two against Mansfield would do it, but Pressman is determined not to let Shearer repeat his heroics of 1999.
"He's got the Jackie Milburn record, he's two away and he'll want to get it, but I'll be there to try to stop him.
"I've played against him a few times and I've been in the England squad with him.
"He's a great pro and a great bloke - you don't achieve what he's achieved by not being so. It's great to be able to play against him again."
Newcastle boss Graeme Souness's injury crisis means he will be without a host of star players like Michael Owen, Scott Parker and Keiron Dyer.
But Pressman has warned his Mansfield team-mates not to be complacent.
"There are the ingredients for a cup upset," he said. "But there are players out there who wouldn't be playing if not for injuries so they will want to make a name for themselves.
"There will be 11 players who are capable of wearing the Newcastle shirt and representing the club.
"We will have a hard game, regardless of who's playing."
DON'T WRITE OFF THE STAGS - 'KILLER'
Evening Post, 06 January 2006
Former Fa Cup winner Brian Kilcline has warned Newcastle they must not take Mansfield lightly in tomorrow's FA Cup third round tie.
Nottingham-born Kilcline, who played for both the Stags and the Magpies, lifted the FA Cup as Coventry skipper in 1987 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2.
But two years later, the Sky Blues were knocked out of the competition in the third round by lowly non-leaguers Sutton United.
Kilcline, affectionately nicknamed 'Killer', remembers that 2-1 defeat at Sutton as clearly as collecting his winner's medal.
So he knows better than anyone that Mansfield are capable of causing an upset at St James' Park.
"It's going to be hard for Mansfield, there's no doubt about it, but you can never say never," he said.
"The FA Cup can always throw up a surprise or two as I know only too well.
"Newcastle have to be careful because if they go out with the wrong attitude, then they could come unstuck.
"That is what happened when we were at Coventry and we played Sutton.
"We thought we only had to turn up and we ended up getting our backsides smacked.
"If Newcastle guard against complacency then their class should tell but, if they don't, Mansfield have a chance."
Kilcline, 43, is no longer active in football on a regular basis, limiting himself to the occasional media work.
Instead, he renovates properties in Portugal and rarely returns to the UK.
But that will not stop him taking a keen interest in tomorrow's tie, especially as one of his old pals will be taking charge of Mansfield.
Kilcline said: "I did my coaching badge with Peter Shirtliff and he is a really good bloke.
"I know he will have his team well organised and I have seen that he has done well with Mansfield since taking over.
"But this is a big step up and my advice would be to go out and enjoy it.
"They will get a taste of what it is like to play against a Premiership outfit and it will be a great experience for them."
"It will also be a chance for some of the younger players to gauge where they are and show how much they can still improve."
Kilcline was on the playing staff at Newcastle the last time the two sides met in a competitive fixture 13 seasons ago.
The Geordies reached the second round of the Coca-Cola Cup after a 0-0 draw at Field Mill following a 2-1 victory in the first leg.
Newcastle went on to win the First Division Championship that season.
Pressman and Mansfield determined to ruffle Magpies' feathers
Friday January 6, 2006
The memories of Kevin Pressman's last visit to St James' Park are still fresh in the veteran goalkeeper's memory. The 38-year-old, who hopes to produce a giant-killing when League Two's Mansfield Town take on Newcastle United tomorrow, is desperate not to see a repeat of his visit to Tyneside in 1999.
Then at Sheffield Wednesday, Pressman was thumped 8-0 as Newcastle - and Alan Shearer in particular - ran riot. Shearer hit five goals that day and the Newcastle striker will no doubt fancy his chances of getting two more tomorrow to see him overhaul Jackie Milburn's all-time record of 200 goals for the Geordies.
But Pressman insists Mansfield are in no mood to roll over again against Graeme Souness's much-maligned side. He said: "The last time I played at St James's Park I think the manager got sacked shortly after. Shearer got five - it was just one of those days. But there have been other times when we've won as well. It evens itself out.
"Saturday is a level playing field and we want to get something out of the game. I want to win. I think everybody else should want to. We're not going up there to make up the numbers. We want to draw or win and I won't accept anything else.
"They are a big club, but it is the FA Cup," Pressman added. "The league goes out of the window and we're going to give 90 minutes of hard graft and see where that takes us. Hopefully we'll get something out of it."
Michael Owen, Scott Parker and Keiron Dyer are just three of the high-profile players the Newcastle manager will have to do without tomorrow and Souness, who has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks after a string of bad results, would be unlikely to survive another setback.
The absence of such names only adds to the sense of expectation in Mansfield that they could be on the verge of one of the famous FA Cup upsets. But Mansfield's manager Peter Shirtliff insists it was England's World Cup hopes, rather than his team's Cup chances, that were the first thing that sprang to mind when he heard of Owen's broken metatarsal.
"I thought that might be a problem for England next summer," he said. "If he's going to be out until April he won't get the sharpness you would have liked him to have going into the World Cup. That said, the rest might do him good. In terms of Newcastle, it is a massive blow. But then you've got Mr Shearer and you've got numerous other players who are top class.
"Their problems have nothing to do with me. Newcastle's problems are their own - I'm just concentrating on Mansfield. We're not expected to win, but we weren't expected to win at Rotherham. There's always a shock in the third round and who knows?
"I've played in numerous occasions like this so I know what's coming. They are tricky fixtures and you've got to be concentrated and committed to get through. We're not going there for a holiday, we're going to apply ourselves for the job. It's either daunting or you relish it and I'm going to tell my players to relish it and play to the best of their abilities.
"It's a one-off occasion and we are massive underdogs. It's a Second Division team against a Premiership team. The gulf is massive, so what have we got to prove?"
However, Shirtliff does spare a thought for his Newcastle counterpart, adding: "It's a difficult time for him. A lot of players are injured and there's a lot of pressure on Newcastle. But that comes with the territory. I don't know whether it's justified or not, it's immaterial, the fact is when you're a manager of a big club like that and don't get the results the fans expect or require, you're going to get pressure."
Pressman's Newcastle nightmares
CHAD WEBSITE, 05 January 2006
STAGS veteran keeper Kevin Pressman has nightmare memories of his last appearance at St James' Park.
It was on 19th September 1999 and the Magpies romped to an 8-0 success with Alan Shearer bagging five goals.
On Saturday the two will meet again with Shearer just two goals way from Jackie Milburn's 200-goal all-time Newcastle scoring record and Pressman said; "It was just one of those days.
"But we did go up there and win 2-1 at the start of one season which put us on the top of the Premiership so it all evens itself out.
"Saturday is a different game. We start with a level playing field again and will go there to give a good account of ourselves.
"Make no mistake. We are going up there to win the game. We are not going there just to make up the numbers.
"We will give 90 minutes of hard graft and see where it takes us.
"It doesn't matter who is out injured for them. Newcatle will select 11 players who are capable of wearing the shirt. They wouldn't be there otherwise.
"It will be a great day and everyone is looking forward to it. The chance to play at Newcastle doesn't come around very often.
"We have a lot of young lads in the side and this is a great chance for them to see where they are in their carrers. Going up there against players like Newcastle have will give our lads a chance to really test their ability.
"It is a fantastic stadium, even when empty there is something about it. The biggest problem the lads might find is communication as one player shotuing to another player can be drowned out.
"But if we are doing well then maybe we can quieten the crowd!"
Rundle relishes homecoming
CHAD WEBSITE, 05 January 2006
SATURDAY's game will be a special homecoming for Stags' Geordie winger Adam Rundle.
The 21-year-old was on the Magpies' books from the ages of 11-16 and said; "As soon as the draw came out myself, my family and my girlfriend were all ecstatic.
"It will be great to go back there. I used to play with a couple of the first team squad, Peter Ramage and Steven Taylor, so it will nice to see them again.
"When I was there Newcastle were stalling on who they were keeping and Darlington came on to me early at Christmas time and offered me an apprenticeship.
"So I decided to take my chance and I got in their first tem within the first season. I have had a good career so far since then so I have no regrets.
"But I am looking forward to going back and playing at Newcsatle. Everyone in the area just craves football and what's why they always sell out."
And Rundle is hoping Stags can pull off a shock.
"We fancy our chances and I know we can give them a game," he said.
"Every year there are cup shocks so why not us this year?
"It will be great to play against a legend like Alan Shearer in his final season. Their manager is under pressure and the fans will demand a win. So they won't be taking us lightly."
Brown misses Stags' dream tie
CHAD WEBSITE, 05 January 2006
STAGS go into their big FA Cup third round tie at Newcastle United on Saturday without livewire striker Simon Brown.
The youngster has an appointment with a specialist tomorrow after failing to shake off a hamstring problem and will definitely miss out on the club's big day in the spotlight.
On-loan Joanthan D'Laryea will also miss out as Manchester City do not want him cup-tied and midfielder Callum Lloyd has sprained an ankle in training and won't be involved.
But Richie Barker is continuing to regain his fitness in training and could start.
Manager Peter Shirtliff said: "Simon is giving us concern as he doesn't seem to be able to shake off this hamstring injury so we are going to have to investigate it further."
But he said he was looking forward to Saturday and that the game was a day out to relish with no pressure on his underdogs to get a result.
"We are not expected to win so we can go out there and have a go, totally relax and see what develops," he said.
"It something unbelievable happens, then it happens. The third round always throws up a shock result and no one can predict where it will be.
"I have played at St James' Park and it is an incredible place. It is up there with the best.
"You can tell players about it. But you cannot replicate what it is like and they will just have to wait until 3pm to experience it.
"The noise is deafening and you can either find it daunting or you can relish it. I want my players to be relaxed about it and enjoy the day.
"Having said that, we are not going up there on holiday - we have got to apply ourselves to the job in hand. I won't be changing our tactics or anything like that.
"It has finally come round after what has been a very busy period and we can now look foward to the weekend. The excitement levels will increase as it gets nearer.
"It is a one-off for a club in League Two and is a nice one for us.
"The gulf between the clubs is massive terms of players and finances. But we will just go up there and give it a go."
Stags will be backed by an army of 5,500 supporters in what should be a 50,000+ attendance on a very important day for Magpies boss Graeme Souness.
Only two wins in nine games at a club that is one of the highest spenders in the division and where fans demand success is piling on the pressure for the former Blackburn boss.
Some rumours suggest he won't even be in charge by Saturday. But in the modern game it would be hard to see him still in charge next Monday were Stags to pull off the unthinkable.
Away from Souness, much of the talk on Tyneside is about who won't be playing as opposed to those who will.
Michael Owen's broken foot grabbed most of this weeks' headlines while star keeper Shay Given is troubled by a bruised thumb. Although he played in the 2-2 drw with Middlesbrough, chances are he could be left out to give Steve Harper a game against Mansfield.
Midfielder Amady Faye was expected to play but has been called off to Eygpt to play with Senegal in the African Nations Cup.
Lee Bowyer is suspended and the horrendous injury list includes Scott Parker, Emre, Keiron Dyer, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr and Craig Moore.
Souness only has two centre halves available and Titus Bramble needs a groin injection to get him through the game on Saturday.
RUNDLE OUT TO STUN HIS EX-HEROES
Evening Post, 05 January 2006
Mansfield Town are preparing for their glamorous FA Cup third round trip to Premiership big guns Newcastle United on Saturday. And, as Matt Halfpenny discovers, one Stags player in particular cannot wait ...
When Adam Rundle turned out for Newcastle United juniors, he dreamed of one day running out in the famous black and white stripes in a Premiership game.
But now, just a few years later, he is poised to line up against them in a third round FA Cup tie.
Winger Rundle is part of the Mansfield squad who travel to St James' Park on Saturday looking to pull off one of the shock results of the round.
The money-spinning draw was one of the best Mansfield could have hoped for - and one players and fans alike are eagerly awaiting.
But it will mean that much more to 21-year-old Rundle after being on the Magpies' books between the ages of 11 and 16 - and because many of his family and friends have season tickets at St James' Park .
"It was the best draw I could have hoped for. To play Newcastle in Newcastle in front of 20-or-so people close to me is something extra special," said Rundle.
"Add to that the fact that three of the lads I played with at Newcastle - Peter Ramage, Steven Taylor and Michael Chopra - could be involved and you can see why I am looking forward to the game so much."
"When the draw was made all the lads were excited about it and the fans have obviously been talking about it a lot too.
"But the gaffer (Peter Shirtliff) reminded us that we had four league games to play before the Newcastle game and emphasised that was the priority.
"We have come through those Christmas games quite well, with only one defeat in the four games.
"It means we can now go and enjoy the Newcastle game whatever the result.
"There are shocks every year - Doncaster have beaten three Premiership teams in the Carling Cup this season - so it is possible to get a result.
"But whatever way you look at it, it is a great experience and the type of game that many of the players may never get the chance to play in again."
Perhaps a little surprisingly, given that Rundle's career is still in its infancy, St James' Park will not be the biggest ground he will have visited as a player.
He played as a teenager at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for Carlisle United in their 2002/03 LDV Vans Trophy final defeat to Bristol City.
Rundle realises that this trip could also end in disappointment, but he still expects the Stags to put up a good show.
He said: "We have just played four games in eight days but there will be no need to motivate the team for this one."
"We've had a couple of days' rest to recover before we were back in training.
"I'm sure our approach will be to go for it rather than go there to defend - it's not the manager's style. He instills the mentality that we shouldn't be scared of other teams - and I don't think we will be."
On a personal level Rundle is pleased with his own form and feels Shirtliff has helped bring out the best of him.
"He seems to believe in me and I'm happy about that," he said.
"I have scored four goals so far this season and I'm looking to get ten before the end of the season.
"I've also set quite a few up but I think the biggest improvement to come into my game is that I now track back and help out in defence."
Rundle will just be hoping he doesn't have to help out his defence too much on Saturday.
Peter Shirtliff looking forward to Newcastle trip
Now the festive rush of games has been and gone Stags Boss Peter Shirtliff is looking forward to his trip to St James Park.
"It has been a busy time and I have banned the lads talking about the Newcastle game but now that Christmas is over we can start looking forward to our trip to SJP. The lads haven't shown any signs of being over excited yet but I know what's coming having played in some big games in the past. They will start to get excited as the game draws closer. For some all the interviews this week will already be bringing the reality of the game home to them.
"I believe though, the players will adjust to the expectation levels of the fans. It will be a big crowd and will be a bit strange at first but we are looking forward to it."
The fact that the Stags have been drawn away at one of the biggest stadiums in the UK against a Premiership club is beyond Shirtliff wildest dreams:
"This sort of thing doesn't happen everyday. To get a premiership club and play at a stadium like Newcastle's in my first year as manager is more than my wildest dreams could have come up with. We will be going up there and having a go a competing and get stuck in we have nothing to prove so all the pressure will be on them."
Both Newcastle and Mansfield have got injury worries for this game. Newcastle have almost as many injured as the Stags have in their squad but Shirtlif's main concerns are his injured players. Chris Beardsley who has been out of the picture since his clash with former stags keeper Kevin Pilkington in the local derby against Notts County and more recently Simon Brown is looking doubtful with his recurring hamstring problem. And, to compound Shirtliff's selection headaches Jonathan D'Laryea has not got FA clearance from his club Manchester City and Callum Lloyd has twisted his ankle in training.
From an interview in the Times (via Soccernet), 05Jan06
"We've only got two centre-halves and, in Titus Bramble, one of them is having injections in his groin before he plays. We're even struggling to get a midfield together for the Mansfield game.
'We're in desperate trouble, but it's at times like this that you find out most about yourself and the people around you."
CASKEY'S IN LINE TO SIGN
Evening Post, 04 January 2006
Peter Shirtliff is considering making former Notts County midfielder Darren Caskey his first signing of the transfer window.
The ex-Tottenham and Reading player has been training at Field Mill over the festive period.
And Shirtliff reckons the 31-year- old could add the touch of creativity his side have been lacking.
The Mansfield manager is looking to add to his squad this month after Gavin Peers asked for his contract to be terminated.
And with Shirtliff having a wealth of options at full back, he is looking to strengthen his attack.
He said: "Gavin has gone and we wish him well. But that is another of the squad gone.
"That allows me to put another member of the squad up front or in midfield - something a bit different. We haven't got something a bit different.
"We've had Darren Caskey training with us and he's looked sharp and creative so that is probably an option we can investigate.
"I just think we need a little bit of pace through the middle of the pitch."
Caskey was training with Conference South side Weymouth at the start of December. But despite being offered a short-term deal, has not signed a contract.
He played under Weymouth manager Gary Hill at Hornchurch last season.
Meanwhile, Mansfield have sold all their allocated tickets for this weekend's FA Cup third clash at Newcastle United.
The club had taken the risk of purchasing all the tickets without the usual buy or return clause to get an allocation of 5,500.
Reserved tickets not claimed by 5pm today will be on sale from 9am tomorrow.
The Black Cat who's cheering on Mansfield
By Paul Gilder, The Journal (Newcastle), Jan 7 2006
Liam Lawrence is hoping there will be an FA Cup upset on North-East soil this weekend. But the Sunderland winger is determined to ensure it does not occur at the Stadium of Light.
With the Black Cats not in action until tomorrow when they face Northwich Victoria, Lawrence will spend this afternoon at St James's Park watching former club Mansfield attempt to add to Newcastle's problems. The 24-year-old has been in contact with Stags defender Rhys Day this week and knows that Peter Shirtliff's League Two strugglers will arrive on Tyneside determined to spring a shock.
And although he scored a spectacular goal for Sunderland on his last trip to United's home, Lawrence's keenness to watch his former side's efforts means he will brave a trip into the heartland of his club's greatest rivals to support the side with whom he launched his career. "I might have to wear a Balaclava," joked the in-form wideman, a Nottinghamshire native who joined Mansfield as a 14-year-old having been released by Nottingham Forest. "But I will be there, I will be watching with the Mansfield lads.
"I have been in touch with Rhys and he is looking forward to it, he is buzzing for it. They are all up for it. They have a chance, they are just going to go and enjoy it. It is a big occasion for them, to play against a Premiership side will be great. Who knows what might happen?"
Having been part of the Mansfield side which almost humbled Leicester - then of the Premiership - on home soil four years ago, Lawrence understands the determination of lower league players to upset esteemed opponents. But, while he hopes Mansfield can do it this afternoon, he is keen to make sure Northwich's efforts fail tomorrow.
"When you are at a lower league club , these are the kind of games you want to play in, you want to play against all the big teams, especially when you are a young lad like I was then," he said. I'm sure it will be the same with Mansfield and Northwich this weekend. They will want cause an upset.
"You don't get a lot of exposure in the lower divisions and these games are the ones you want to play in, you want to perform on the big stage. I have done it and Northwich's players will want to do it."
Meanwhile, news on former loanee Matt Piper:
LOAN DEAL WILL SUIT FIT PIPER
Leicester Mercury, 09 January 2006
Former City favourite Matt Piper is to team up with Micky Adams again in a loan move to Coventry.
Piper was sold to Sunderland for £3.5million in the summer of 2002 after scoring the last goal at Filbert Street - in a win over Tottenham.
But he has had a horrendous record of injuries since going to the North-East and is.training with Coventry for a fortnight with a view to joining the Sky Blues on loan.
Piper, who is still only 24 years old, has suffered knee, groin, hernia and ankle problems in the three-and-a-half years since leaving City and has made just 29 appearances for Sunderland - and only 15 starts.
But he has worked his way back from an ankle ligament operation in the summer.
Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "Matt is fit and has been in full training, but I have let him go down to train with Coventry for a couple of weeks.
"What he really needs to do is go and get games somewhere.
"I asked Micky Adams if he would have a look and Matt was happy to go there.
"This way they can see first-hand that he is fit. If he stayed here for two weeks' training then before anyone took him on loan they would want to see him for themselves anyway.
"I thought it was important that Coventry should see for themselves.
"It is also important for Matt as well to get out of the place, train somewhere else and, hope-fully, he can stay fit and get games now.
"Depending on how it goes, it would be with a view to taking him on loan.
"If he went there in the middle of January then he could spend three months on loan, which would virtually take him to the end of the season."
Only recently Piper had been talking of the prospect of a loan move in an effort to get a run of games under his belt before returning to Sunderland.
"'I've talked to the gaffer about going on loan and it could happen in the new year," he said. "We have agreed that I just need games."
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