STAGS OUT TO SPOIL INCE WELCOME PARTY
Stags out to spoil Ince welcome party
CHAD, 24 October 2006
MANSFIELD Town are confident they can spoil Paul Ince's welcome party and gain their first away win of the season at Macclesfield Town this Saturday (3pm).
The former England and Manchester United star took over as player-manager at Macclesfield on Monday and faces the unenviable task of kickstarting a side that have not won all season and are already seven points adrift at the foot of the league.
Ince's arival has inevitably caused a buzz at the Moss Rose which is not the best timing for Mansfield's visit.
But Stags boss Peter Shirtliff knows it is hard to work immediate miracles in football, whatever your playing pedigree.
"When a new manager goes in, it usually it does have an effect and galvanises the place a bit - but not every time," he said.
"And, while we will be wary of that, Macclesfield will still be the same team that have struggled so far this season.
"I am more interested in us. We have got to be competitive and up for the game.
"If we play like we can then I am sure we can get a result. We have kept our confidence levels high this season and must continue in that vein.
"We worked so hard against Wrexham - the effort was fantastic and that is now our benchmark.
"But Saturday has gone now and we are looking forward to going to Macclesfield with the same enthusiasm and determination."
Macclesfield's hard-earned 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers last weekend earned only their fifth point of the campaign - they sacked long-serving boss Brian Horton last month.
Ian Brightwell had been acting as caretaker manager and also applied for the job.
But Ince (39), who had been seen in the stands in the last couple of Macclesfield games, was announced as player-manager at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
He had recently ended a short playing spell with League Two rivals Swindon Town where he stayed on to complete his coaching qualifications alongside Dennis Wise.
As he was contracted as a player with Swindon when the August transfer window closed, he is unable to actually play for Macclesfield until after 1st January.
Ince will definitely be without defender Danny Swailes who was red-carded at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
But they will include former Stags striker Matthew Tipton who is on loan from Bury.
Shirtliff is still confident he will bring in two new signings very soon.
One is a League player who would come in on loan and the other a non-League player on a permanant deal.Shirtliff was frustrated in his efforts to bring them in last week but said: "The deals are far from dead.
"One of them was delayed as the lad's club have had a few injuries and are hesitant to let him out. I am hoping for better news on him this week.
"And the other lad is all about a question of timing and he could be here in time for the Grimsby game with a bit of luck. If not I am sure it will be sorted soon"
Simon Brown continues his comeback from his knee and hernia operations though no date has been set for his return.
"Simon is doing very well," said Shirtliff. "He has stepped up his training while continuing his rehabilitation and I think he is quite pleased with himself. There is a bit of a smile on his face which is important."
But Shirtliff is very hopeful he could have Michael Boulding back in the squad.
Boulding's comeback from a knee ligament injury suffered a setback last week when he started the week looking sharper in training before feeling the injury and resting up again.
But Shirtliff said on Monday: "He came through training quite well today and I am hopeful we will have him back this weekend.
"He just needed a little more strengthening work on the knee which he has done and some more fitness work.
"We are very much taking it day by day with him, but we can see an improvement and he is feeling more confident in himself which is a good sign."
Also Stephen Dawson, stretchered off against Wrexham last Saturday, is likely to be fit in time for the Macclesfield trip.
"Stephen didn't train on Monday but he is feeling much better and I am sure he will be fine," said Shirtliff. "It was a jarring incident rather than an ankle twist.
"It is very painful when someone stands on the back of your heel and it was very sore. But it should clear up quickly."