CHAD LATEST: LINCOLN TESTER
Lincoln tester as Mansfield chase Play-offs
CHAD, 05 April 2006
MANSFIELD Town head to neighbours Lincoln City on Saturday (3pm) with just a five-point gap between them and the Play-offs.
Such has been the tranformation since new boss Peter Shirtliff took over the relegation-haunted Stags, a May trip to Cardiff is suddenly an outside possibility after three wins in the last four and only one defeat in 10 matches.
Saturday's 1-0 win over Oxford United was achieved by a controversial Danny Reet goal which the visitors claimed never crossed the line and which sparked crowd trouble at Field Mill.
But it was three more points and manager Shirtliff said: "This season has still got a long way to go.
"You never know in football. Anything can happen and we have given up nothing yet.
"There are points available and it's there for us.
"You can't write off the Play-offs when there is only a five point gap. It is a tall order with only six games left but we will go for it.
"We have nothing to lose and we have a reasonably fit squad in terms of numbers right now. It's there so let's give it a go.
"We have some decent games left against teams above us like Lincoln on Saturday, Cheltenham, Leyton Orient and Carlisle United.
"Putting in good performances against those will still be a benchmark for next season, whatever happens."
Shirtliff is waiting on the fitness of defenders Gareth Jelleyman and Rhys Day and striker Simon Brown for the weekend.
Day suffered a dead leg in training last Friday and missed the Oxford game. But it had settled down by Monday and he was due to play some part in a reserve friendly at Derby County yesterday.
Jelleyman has tweaked medial knee ligments while Brown's hernia has been sore and both will be reviewed later in the week.
Lincoln were beaten 4-2 at Darlington on Saturday - their third defeat in four games as they stutter in clinching a Play-offs spot.
"It was a tight game down here when we drew 0-0 and I expect it to be just as tight at their ground," said Shirtliff.
"They may have lost last Saturday but let's not forget they recently beat Grimsby 5-0.
"We might have nicked it near the end at our place as we put on some good pressure and created good opportunities.
"But we do need to be a bit more resolute away from home and stop conceding so many goals."
Latest | April 2006