BAP FITNESS LATEST + STAGS KEEP LOAN OPTION
Stags sweat on John-Baptiste fitness
CHAD website, 09 February 2006
MANSFIELD Town are sweating on the fitness of central defender Alex John-Baptiste ahead of Saturday's tough trip to title-chasing Wycombe Wanderers (3pm).
John-Baptiste suffered a groin strain in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Macclesfield Town and will not train until Friday at the earliest.
"Knowing Alex he will be desperate to play if he can, but we will just have to wait and see," said manager Peter Shirtliff.
"He definitely has a chance. But if there are any doubts I won't risk him."
Fellow central defender Rhys Day will still be another three weeks after a hernia operation. But Jon Hjelde is available again after a one match ban and Jake Buxton played well in the heart of defence last weekend after switching across from right back.
Two other Stags ruled out are strikers Simon Brown and Allan Russell.
Brown has a strained abdominal muscle and may have to see a specialist while Russell has had an inconclusive scan on a big toe for a suspected stress fracture.
Stags have only won once in eight games as they travel to meet the division's second-placed team.
But Wycombe have stuttered in recent matches, winning only once in six games and before last weekend's defeat at Wrexham had drawn three on the trot.
To rectify that they may well give a debut to new striker Jermaine Easter - who has already scored three times against Stags this season for Stockport County - and a home debut for fellow new striker Dean Bowditch.
With Matt Duke's early return to Hull City this week - the third time a loan keeper has gone back early from Wycombe this season - Frank Talia is expected to keep goal for the Chairboys.
"Wycombe are a good side," said Shirtliff. "They beat us by the odd goal at our place after we went in 3-0 down at half-time due to poor defending.
"We do concede too many goals. But if we can cut out those mistakes and go down there and play as we can then I think we can get a result at Wycombe."
Wilson joins Stags at last!
CHAD website, 09 February 2006
LAURENCE Wilson finally arrived at Field Mill today after last week's frustrations at his loan move missing the midnight January transfer window deadline.
The promising 19-year-old Everton left back/left midfielder was hoping to be involved in last week's home clash with Macclesfield, but the paperwork for the start of his month's loan was not processed in time and Stags have had to wait a compulsory seven days before trying again.
Now Wilson, who has played for England at every level up to last year's European U19 Championships, will go straight into the squad for Saturday's trip to Wycombe.
"I was gutted when the move fell through last week," he said.
"I had packed and was on my way when I got the phone call and I was back in training up there the next morning.
"David Moyes has told me to come here and get some experience and show people what I can do.
"I have pace and I like to tackle. I think I am good going forward and I hope I can help the team. I just hope I can get a couple of first team games under my belt. It would help make me a better player.
"I prefer to play left back, though I am not too fussy as long as I am playing. I can play left midfield as I like to get forward, but I think my defending has definitely improved at left back.
"I have no idea if I am playing on Saturday. I am taking nothing for granted. And if I am not starting on Saturday then I hope I will be on the bench and can come on and do well."
Wilson said he was not too concerned about Stags' recent run of only one win in eight.
"It just makes it a bigger challenge for me to help get the side further up the table," he said.
"If I can help them do that then I could make a good impression. From what I have been told they are a good side."
Although he supported Liverpool as a boy, Wilson is happy at Goodison Park. But he has not idea where his long term future lies.
He said: "I am just here for a month at the moment. But I don't know what is happening contract-wise at Everton. This would certainly be a good place to come if I didn't stay up there."
STAGS KEEP LOAN OPTION
Evening Post, 09 February 2006
Mansfield Town may make another loan signing before the end of the season - but only if injuries dictate one is needed.
Last week's transfer deadline day - when the Stags snapped up midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea - closed the window when clubs can make permanent signings.
But boss Peter Shirtliff can still bring players in on loan until March 23.
He used that rule to complete a one-month deal for Everton left-sided player Laurence Wilson yesterday.
And more new blood could be introduced if injuries and suspensions begin to mount up.
"It is possible I will be looking to sign someone else on loan if we require it," he said.
"Rhys Day (hernia) is out for a while and Chris Beardsley (broken leg) is still coming back, while Simon Brown (stomach strain) is hit and miss at the moment.
"Baptiste has also picked up a groin strain, but he should be OK for Saturday.
"The fact is we need to box clever and try to keep players fit between now and the end of the season."
The Stags are six points clear of the Division Two trap door with 15 games to play ahead of Saturday's trip to second-placed Wycombe.
But Shirtliff knows that if his side cannot get a result from a tough game with the Chairboys - or from the rest of February's games against Grimsby, Wrexham and Torquay - that advantage could soon be cut.
He said. "There is no doubt they are important games coming up. I'm confident that if we perform like we can, we can pick up the points.
"Every game in this league is hard. We can give Wycombe a game on Saturday, just as no one is going to come to Field Mill and hand us the points."
Mansfield will be keen to make a return to form on the road after a weakened side crashed 4-0 at Darlington last time out.
They last won away on New Year's Eve, beating Oxford 2-1.
Latest | February 2006