INJURY WORRIES FOR STAGS
Bare bones for big game?
STAGS could make the long haul south for their important game at Torquay United (Saturday, 3pm) with their squad down to the bare bones.
Last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Wrexham - a fourth game unbeaten - opened the gap between Stags and Torquay in the relegation zone to six points.
Mansfield know how important a win at Plainmoor could be to easing their own fears.
But Giles Coke and Gareth Jelleyman are suspended for the game while Rhys Day, Chris Beardsley and Allan Russell are already out with long term injuries and the treatment table currently has a queue comprising Alex John-Baptiste, Adam Birchall and Simon Brown.
Even more worrying is that exciting on-loan midfielder/left back Laurence Wilson is also back at Everton for treatment on his leg.
"It's not ideal but we will monitor them all this week and see how they are," said boss Peter Shirtliff.
"Simon has a 'sportsman's hernia' and it is sore after last weekend. He can play with it for a certain period of time and we hope he can play a part until he needs it doing.
"Alex is feeling his groin injury again and Adam has been playing with a sore ankle for a month now and needs to get back to being 100 per cent fit.
"Also Laurence has gone back to Everton for treatment. He took a bad kick on Saturday and it is very sore.
"The tackle on him was the worst I have seen this season. How was that not a sending-off if Gareth Jelleyman was sent off for two yellow cards for nothing?
"But I am sure whoever starts the game at Torquay will do us a good job."
He added; "We are going down on Friday which is the right and proper thing to do and we will break up the journey with a training session. We will be as well prepared as we can possibly be and we will go down there and enjoy the game.
"Torquay are scrapping for their lives. But I have seen them at Stockport and had them watched in another couple of games and will put together a game plan.
"As far as I am concerned we will be treating this game exactly the same as any other and trying to get the maximum points from it.
"Torquay's results have nothing to do with us, apart from Saturday. All we can do is what we can do.
"No one will give us anything and we don't expect it.
Stags went 2-0 behind at home to Wrexham last weekend before hitting back for a draw with two Richie Barker goals in three minutes.
Shirtliff said: "I was not happy with that at all. We conceded two hopelessly ridiculous goals and gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
"To be fair to the boys - congratulations to them, they did it.
"Their effort has never been in question. It's their concentration at times.
"I was disappointed with both goals we conceded. That's why we are where we are.
"We were not on the front foot. If we had stepped up a gear we could have gone on and won the game.
"We were a bit lax and didn't get hold of the game by the scruff of the neck as it was there for the taking in my opinion.
"Simon Brown came on showed us a bit of spark.
"The lads seemed to be waiting for someone to spark them off instead of doing it themselves.
"We had about seven players aged under 21 out there which makes a difference. It makes it difficult for the experienced players to get a grip on the game."
Evening Post, 22 February 2006
Mansfield face a selection headache down their left flank for Saturday's clash at Torquay if Laurence Wilson fails to recover from a shin injury.
The teenager - who is on loan from Premiership side Everton - picked up the knock in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Wrexham.
The left-back/left midfielder is in a race against time to be fit for the trip to Plainmoor, where Mansfield will be looking to make it five matches unbeaten.
With Gareth Jelleyman suspended, it could leave the Stags short of options.
"Laurence took a heavy knock to his leg and he's been having treatment and will continue to do so," said manager Peter Shirtliff.
Should Wilson be absent, a likely solution would be to switch Jake Buxton to left back, put Alex-John Baptiste into the middle and recall Kyle Jacobs at right-back. Giles Coke is suspended for the Gulls clash.
A positive sounding Peter Shirtliff remarked on his thirty games in charge that he knew it would be hard but does feel that his young and relatively inexperienced squad have mede a marked improvement.
"It's difficult for the experienced lads sometimes. Especially when you have so many teenagers on the pitch it is sometimes hard for the more experienced players to get a grip on the game but having looked at the stats since I took over as manager I do think we have made a small improvement. We have reached the third round of both cups which not teams in this division have managed and I think that when I took over we lost something like five games in thirteen whereas now we have lost five out of seventeen.
"The players know what I expect of them and I believe they will give me 100% effort. After all my demands are realistic. We will be going to Torquay with a four games unbeaten which will be giving the lads some confidence. And will be approaching it in exactly the same way as every other game - we will try to get three points and if we can't do that we will be trying for at least a point, just like any other game.
Torquay are scrapping for their lives, I have them watched a few times, the last at Northampton so I have a pretty good idea what my game plan is going to be" he added
Injury Struck Stags prepare for Torquay
The Stags have suffered a lot of knocks and niggles throughout the season and only being a small squad it is starting to have an effect. The players who have been missing the longest, Chris Beardsley (Leg) and Rhys Day (Hernia) are both reported to be making good progress, but Stags boss Peter Shirtliff is not prepared to risk bring them back too early.
"I am very pleased at the way Rhys Day and Chris Beardsley's rehabilitation work Is going. Rhys in particular is looking fit and ready for his return as soon as his rehab work is finished but I wouldn't like to say when he will be back. I am not prepared to bring him or Chris back too soon, that is until he is 100% fit. He played through a lot of pain so I would like to see what he can do when he is fully fit.
Beardsley Is also coming on in leaps and bounds but again I would not like to say how long it will be before he returns."
Meanwhile Simon Brown, Alex John-Baptiste and Laurence Wilson have all picked up knocks over the weekend.
"Browny is suffering from what is commonly known as a 'Sportsman's Hernia' and it is a complaint that we will have to monitor carefully but I hope that he will be playing some part in Saturday's game against Torquay" Shirtliff said.
Alex John-Baptiste has had a re-occurrence of his leg injury but again is expected to be well enough to take part in the trip to Torquay.
Laurence Wilson on the other hand became the latest victim when a crunching challenge saw the young Evertonian hobbling of the pitch against Wrexham at the weekend.
"we are treating it like a kick at the moment but Everton have asked for him to go back there for treatment so at this time we do not know how serious it is. The tackle was probably the worst I have seen all season and how the player wasn't shown a red card I will never know especially as you consider Gareth Jelleyman getting two yellows in the previous game for challenges not on the same scale as the one that sent Laurence to ground." Shirtliff Added.
As if this is not enough for the Manager's small squad Adam Birchall has been conspicuous by his absence after picking up a knock to the ankle. This has kept him out of the team for the last two outings but Shirtliff is hoping to be able to a part for the young front man.
Richie Barker to Swansea...
There has been some speculation in the written press lately that some movement is afoot at Mansfield Town with Richie Barker making the move to Swansea City and Matt Hamshaw would be making the move south to Field Mill.
"Richie going to Swansea, that's news to me. I haven't heard a thing about this it's absolute rubbish he is going nowhere. Why would he?
"Richie is settled in Rotherham has a wife and three kids and is under contract here next season. Why would he leave a club where is enjoying his time as captain? And besides that I am trying to build a squad here and I wouldn't let my best players leave the club that easily.
"regarding Matt. He is playing at Stockport therefore it would not be fair for me to speculate on that matter." He told the official site this afternoon.
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