BROWN TO START?
Brown set for Stags start?
CHAD website, 26 January 2006
SIMON Brown looks set for a first team return as Stags head north to seventh-placedDarlington on Saturday (3pm).
With skipper Richie Barker sitting our a one-game ban for his two red cards in Tuesday night's 2-1 home defeat by Chester City, Brown is almost certain to partner Danny Reet up front.
Brown has been struggling with a hamstring injury for the last couple of months but came on for the last 17 minutes on Tuesday.
"Simon is looking sharp and so far has had no reaction so we are hopeful he will be in contention on Saturday," said manager Peter Shirtliff.
"He was on top form when he suffered his injury and we have missed him.
"We will certainly miss Richie on Saturday. He has done well for us and not got the credit he deserves at times.
"He has also not been given the service he deserves at times as well.
"But we have to carry on without him like we did over Christmas."
Barker was sent off for two yellow cards in as many minutes against Chester in midweek. But Shirtliff has watched the video back and said; "I can see why he got the first booking but the second time there was no contact made and I have watched it time after time.
"It's a shame there's no appeal allowed.
"I am frustrated and annoyed we have gone 1-0 up and then lost 2-1 at home. And I am frustrated and annoyed at the circumstances and incidents that contributed to that defeat."
He added: "We are starting to find some consistency but can't afford to throw points away.
"It's not something I can sort on the training pitch. A lot of it is down to personal attitudes of mind.
"At least we are only losing by the odd goal now. We were winning 4-0 and then losing 3-0. But we still keep taking two steps forward and one step back. We need to find a bit of momentum."
Darlington are formidable on their own turf and have not lost at home since September and only twice all season.
But Shirtliff said: "That means nothing. Chester had lost seven on the trot when they came here on Tuesday and still managed to beat us.
"If we play like we can we are capable of beating any team in this League.
"I have never been to Darlington's new ground but I understand it is a nice stadium and, if it is a decent surface, hopefully it will inspire our players to get the ball down and play."
Shirtliff will certainly be without central defender Rhys Day who this week had a hernia operation.
"Apparantly it was quite a bad one and Rhys has been playing on in some discomfort," he said.
"He has been battling through which is great credit to him. We hope to have him back before the end of February."
Shirtliff has spoken to Manchester City again about midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea who recently completed three successful months on loan at Field Mill.
Stuart Pearce has promised to have a chat with the lad but there is no immediate rush as D'Laryea is nursing a calf strain.
Stags put Chester disappointment behind them
After the disappointment of the defeat against Chester in mid Week Stags' boss Peter Shirtliff says that the mood in the changing rooms is relatively upbeat.
"Of course we were disappointed not to get anything out of the Chester game and even more so about having to leave Richie Barker out at the weekend but the general mood is quite upbeat. Danny Reet is obviously feeling very confident after getting two goals on the spin and I think the back four have been playing reasonably well so I believe if we can get the midfield performing we should start getting back on track.
"Danny is starting to look like a good prospect which is the reason I brought him to the club. I believed that he would be a goal scorer and he is starting to show signs of that. He is showing a great stat two goal in two games and two in three and half games, things are definitely looking good for him" said Shirtliff.
Another person singing the youngster's praises was Stags' legend Phil Stant who feels that Reet could be our twenty a season man. An accolade modestly shrugged off by the nineteen year old:
"I am pleased that I have been scoring. That is what I have come here to do but it is too early to start talking about that yet you just have to get out there and take one game at a time and hopefully the goals will come but my main priority is to help the team win games so I am equally as happy if the team are scoring even if I am not"
Meanwhile looking forward to the trip to Darlington Shirtliff has identified a few areas that he wants to work on in training but says that the general mindset going into the game is one of confidence;
"The lads have done well in training this week. But I have identified certain areas that I would like to see an improvement and although some things can't be put right in training because I believe that they are down to personal attitudes I will be working on one or two things this week.
"I think Adam Rundle in particular is looking forward to the trip to Darlington having spent some time up there and is a North East boy. I understand that their ground is a nice surface to play on and great facilities so I think the rest of the lads are looking forward to the game as well"
Rundle added "Tuesday was a disappointment to us all and Saturday can't come quick enough for the boys who want to get it out of their system. I am looking forward to Darlington for other reasons, my family still live up North so there will be a few of them up there. It is a big stadium and they are not attracting really big crowds. Speaking to a couple of the boys I still know at Darlington they say playing their home games there sometimes feels like playing a reserve game and they find it off putting so it could be an advantage to us to go up there and hopefully get a win. The Stags' fans that travel away are great and usually sing through out and this will help as well.
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