STAGS TRIAL FOR WEDNESDAY'S DI PIEDI
WATKISS RUNS RULE OVER OWLS STRIKER
Evening Post, 02 August 2002
After seeing target Wayne Allison sign for Sheffield United, Mansfield Town manager Stuart Watkiss has turned his attention to the other side of the Steel City by taking Wednesday's Michele Di Piedi on trial.
The 21-year-old Italian striker still has two years left on his Hillsborough contract but Owls boss Terry Yorath is looking to let players go so that he can bring in a central defender.
Di Piedi, who was signed on a free transfer by then Wednesday boss Paul Jewell two years ago from Perugia, has been unable to force his way into a regular first-team place.
He has had to be content with just nine starts, although he has been used 33 times as a substitute and scored seven goals.
Both he and former Stags striker Iyseden Christie, who is searching for a club after spending most of the summer training with Rushden and Diamonds, are likely to take some part in tomorrow's friendly at Lincoln City (kick-off, 3pm).
Colin Larkin, who completed his move from Wolves on Wednesday, is also set to make his first appearance in a Mansfield shirt.
With the friendly against Alaves on Monday in mind, Watkiss will be giving as many players as possible the chance to play at Sincil Bank.
He said: "Originally, this was going to be our last game of pre-season and I was going to try and play my best team and keep changes to a minimum.
"However, now the other game has been organised, I will be looking for most of the players to get 45 minutes under their belts.
"All of the available players are set to get a run out and there will be a chance for three or four of the scholars to get some action in the first team.
"There are a couple of things we want to look at and this game will give us that opportunity ."
Danny Bacon, who has been missing with a thigh injury, is back in full training and should feature, meaning that Watkiss does not feel he has to rush bringing in another striker.
He said: "With Larkin coming, the situation is not as desperate and, apart from Danny Bacon and Andy White, I have also got Liam Lawrence and Scott Sellars, who can do a job for us up there.
"It was a disappointment to lose out on Wayne Allison but Sheffield United were able to offer him Division One football.
"I think he would have been the perfect foil for Larkin so the search will continue."
Latest | August 2002