PRICE IS REET AS STAGS RECRUIT A TEENAGE STRIKER
TREVOR GREEN, SPORTS WRITER,
12:30 - 13 January 2006
While Grimsby Town boss Russell Slade was busy capturing the signature of Ben Futcher this week, his Mansfield counterpart was beavering away behind the scenes to clinch the transfer of frontman Danny Reet.
Stags boss Peter Shirtliff snapped up the teenage striker from Sheffield Wednesday for £25,000. Reet scored four goals in eight appearances during a loan spell at Bury in November and December, including two against Mansfield and the opener against Town.
Now Shirtliff is expected to throw the 18-year-old straight into his side to face the Mariners at Blundell Park tomorrow - and he is likely to come into direct opposition with Slade's new signing, centre-back Futcher.
Reet agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Field Mill, after turning down the chance to return to Gigg Lane.
His new side take on Town on the back of a narrow FA Cup defeat to Premiership big boys Newcastle at St James' Park last weekend.
Alan Shearer grabbed a goal in the second half to equal Jackie Milburn's club record and edge his side into the next round - to the relief of under-pressure boss Graeme Souness.
It was also Shearer who ended Town's cup adventure earlier this season - his solitary strike was enough to knock Slade's men out of the Carling Cup at Blundell Park.
Stags boss Shirtliff now wants his men to forget about last week's exit and get back to the 'bread and butter' of League Two.
He said: "I'm hoping it won't be a case of after the lord mayor's show at Grimsby, and I'm confident it won't be.
"I've had a meeting with the players and have told them what I want from them and I think their minds will be fully focused again on the league programme.
"The players have been in the spotlight at Newcastle but now they are back playing League Two football and they will have to adapt quickly."
"It is a lot more frenetic at this level, especially early on in games, but I expect us to cope.
"It will be a tough game at Grimsby. They have lost a few at home but I still think we will have to be at maximum performance level to get a result."
REDDY BATTLES TO FACE STAGS
TREVOR GREEN (SPORTS WRITER)
13 January 2006
Town hitman Michael Reddy is hopeful of being fit to face Mansfield at Blundell Park tomorrow.
The in-form pace ace picked up a knock to his shin this week and has sat out training sessions. But the 25-year-old, who is rumoured to have attracted the attention of a number of other clubs this season, is on the mend and should be back in contention for tomorrow's 'Stag-hunt'.
A week ago, manager Russell Slade was scratching his head after the rigours of four games in eight games left a number of his squad unavailable.
But the subsequent signing of defender Ben Futcher and the possible availability of Reddy have eased his worries.
Slade said: "Redds trained for the first time yesterday and hopefully he will be okay.
"Crofty (Gary Croft) also trained and may be available.
"John McDermott is making progress and may be back for Tuesday's game against Darlington - but Mansfield will come too soon for him.
"Justin Whittle and Simon Ramsden are longer-term casualties while Jermaine Palmer (back), Tommy Taylor (groin) and Nick Hegarty (ankle) are also unavailable."
Mansfield have had a disappointing first half of the season, and are currently 20th in the League Two table.
But the Town gaffer isn't taking them lightly.
"Mansfield are probably capable of better than their position in the table suggests," said Slade.
"They have been in or around the play-offs for the past few seasons and perhaps they are underachieving this season.
"They have scored a lot of goals and have got some good strikers - but they have conceded a lot as well.
"Adam Rundle is a good left winger and Giles Coke has been attracting a lot of attention.
"They did well against Newcastle last week and were unfortunate to lose."
With a crucial period ahead, Slade is seeking to further bolster his squad to boost his promotion ambitions.
He said: "January is a massive month for us. We play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday now, and our aim is still to be in the top three at the end of the month.
"I am still looking for reinforcements. I hope to bring in a wideman or a frontman sooner rather than later."
Grimsby v Mansfield
Grimsby will hand late fitness tests to defensive duo Justin Whittle (groin) and John McDermott (ankle).
Simon Ramsden is hoping to overcome a badly sprained ankle to ease Grimsby boss Russell Slade's worries.
Mansfield are sweating on the fitness of three players, Alex Baptiste, Rhys Day and Richie Barker.
Baptiste has suffered an ankle knock, while fellow centre-back Day has bruising around the stomach and Richie Barker has reported an ankle problem.
REET SIGNED UP TO BOOST STAGS STRIKE FORCE
Evening Post, 13 January 2006
New signing Danny Reet can be the spearhead around which a future Stags attack is built, says his new boss Peter Shirtliff.
The 19-year old was expected to complete a £25,000 move from Sheffield Wednesday yesterday afternoon, subject to a medical.
Mansfield are hoping to get the player registered in time for tomorrow's visit to Grimsby Town, especially as ten-goal Simon Brown is still out with a hamstring injury.
But even if Reet does not make it onto the team sheet at Blundell Park, Shirtliff is still excited about capturing the teenager on a two-and-a-half year deal.
"Danny is strong, has a good physique, is mobile and scores goals - he will be a real asset to this club," said Shirtliff.
"It's pleasing to get someone with Danny's talent in on a long-term deal because I am looking to build a side for the long-term, not just the short-term and he is the type of player I want."
Reet has already been out on loan this season, scoring an impressive four goals in six league games at Bury.
Two of those came against the Stags when the Shakers were 3-0 victors at Field Mill in early November.
Shirtliff admitted that performance caught the eye - and he has been following the 6ft youngster's progress ever since.
"Bury were interested in signing Danny too but as soon as Wednesday recalled him to Hillsborough, we made a bid for him," he said.
"When Matthew Tipton left, it left a void up front and that was made even worse when Chris Beardsley broke his leg.
"But now we have more competition in that area with Danny signing."
Shirtliff also praised his new player for being prepared to drop down to League Two level.
He said: "I think Danny is looking for a challenge.
"Paul Sturrock has just signed two new strikers (Deon Burton and Marcus Tudgay) at Wednesday and he realises that he isn't likely to get a chance in their first team.
"He's said to himself that he'd rather play for Mansfield than sit on the bench."
The Stags are still buzzing after the memorable trip to Premiership giants Newcastle in the FA Cup third round last Saturday, where they were unlucky to go down 1-0. But Shirtliff is adamant his players' feet will be firmly back on the ground at Grimsby.
"I've had a meeting with the players and have told them what I want from them and I think their minds will be fully focused again on the league programme."
Aside from Brown, Callum Lloyd (ankle) will miss the Grimsby trip and is expected to be out for a couple of weeks.
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