EARLY PREVIEW AND TEAM NEWS
Cheltenham bring down season's curtain
Chad, 03 May 2006
Mansfield Town end an eventful season with a home game against Cheltenham Town this Saturday (3pm).
With Stags safe and Cheltenham already in the Play-offs, this game holds little significance for either side.
But Stags boss Peter Shirtliff said; "We want to win this and end the season on a high note.
"We look like we could finish with mid-table respectability which is good after being bottom for the first quarter of the season.
"But I won't settle for that next season. I want to do better and am instilling that in my players.
"We came so close to getting into the Play-offs recently. There is so little in this league it is ridiculous. Look at Torquay's win at Carlisle.
"I have known for a little while now what I want to do next season if I am allowed to do it.
"Obviously there are budgetary restrictions. But I have one or two things in mind and I want to make this club more professional from top to bottom.
"If I can do that then we have a chance next season."
Shirtliff paid tribute to injured pair Jake Buxton and Alex John-Baptiste who both declared themselves fit to face Bury in the 0-0 draw at Gigg Lane last weekend. "Jake told me he was fit to play as did Alex. That's the sort of character I like," he said.
"It was probably the right result on the day. Neither side did enough to win it and it was a poor quality game.
"We showed good endeavour. But our quality on the ball was poor. They will probably blame the pitch but we just couldn't pass it to a yellow shirt. Excuses won't wash with me and I am looking for a better performance against Cheltenham on Saturday. I want to finish the season on a good note."
Gareth Jelleyman is to have keyhole surgery to tidy up his injured knee while Simon Brown is recovering from his successful hernia operation last week.
They join Danny Reet (suspended), Chris Beardsley (broken leg) and Jon Hjelde (hamstring) on the sidelines this weekend when youth team midfielder Danny Sleath could be added to the squad.
SSA are to hold an end of season party for all Stags fans, combined with a race night and the Follow The Yellow Brick Road presentations from 7.30pm on Saturday.
The event is an adults only evening out and will be held at the Pheasant Inn on Chesterfield Road, Mansfield (directly opposite the Civic) and admission is free.
SSA would like to hear from anyone keen to sponsor individual races or horses, contact via e-mail at email@example.com or phone on 07967 689597.
SSA member only have a couple of days left to vote for their SSA Player Of The Year.
You can vote on the internet at http://www.stagsnet.net, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning and leaving a message or texting to 07967 689597.
Please remember to include your name, the player you are voting for and your membership number.
I WON'T CHANGE MUCH - WARD
02 May 2006
John Ward has ruled out making wholesale changes for Cheltenham Town's final Coca-Cola League Two game of the season away to Mansfield Town on Saturday. With a place in the play-offs now booked after the 2-0 win against Notts County there is a line of thinking that Ward might take the option to rest some of his key men ahead of the end-of-season finale.
While his small squad would rule out huge changes Ward could have looked giving players like Brian Wilson, John Finnigan, Grant McCann and Kayode Odejayi a breather before the play-offs kick off on Saturday May 13 and give a run-out to likes of Adam Connolly, David Bird, Ashley Vincent and Damian Spencer.
While Ward admitted he hadn't yet finalised his team for the weekend he admitted he was veering against making changes for two reasons.
"I think the players will want to go through to the play-offs in good form, " said Ward.
"To rest four or five of them means they would not have played for two weeks and that might not suit all the players.
"So we will discuss that with my staff before picking the team for Mansfield. Also I would like to win the last game and have the second leg of the play-offs at home." Skipper Finnigan has already stressed that the team want to stay in fifth place because that would mean they play the first leg of the semi final away on May 13th with the home fixture on either the following Tuesday (May 16) or Thursday (May 18), depending on the demands of TV.
"Having the home leg second is better especially if the tie goes to penalties, " said Finnigan.
"Taking penalties in front of your home crowd is an advantage." While Ward is clearly not thinking of making big changes he revealed he is hoping that Steve Gillespie will play a part in the match at Mansfield.
The former Bristol City striker is due to make his comeback for the reserves against Swindon Town today following six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury that he suffered in training.
"I would like to give Gillespie an hour on Tuesday and if that goes okay I would like him to figure at Mansfield, " added Ward.
"Whether he would start or not I'm not sure, I'll talk to my medical people first but it would be a big plus to get him involved in the play-offs.
"Having him back is a big lift for everyone at the cl u b. " With Gillespie back in contention and Ashley Vincent reminding Ward of his ability with a goal against County, Cheltenham are not short of striking options as Steve Guinan admitted.
"Ashley has been banging them in for the reserves for fun and when he came on Saturday he looked bright, " said Guinan.
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