INJURY CRISIS AT FIELD MILL
Injury crisis hits stags for big kick-off
CHAD website, 8 Aug 2002
Mansfield Town's side will virtually pick itself for their Second Division opener against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday due to an early injury crisis.
Despite building up one the club's strongest and biggest squads for years, manager Stuart Watkiss has seven players out injured for the first game which leaves him with just 15 fit outfield players and youth team keeper Jason White.
"Different season, same old story," he smiled.
"It's not the ideal way to start the new season but we just have to get on with. I am confident the players I send out there against Plymouth are capable of getting us the result we want."
Of the seven on the treatment table only midfielder Liam Lawrence (groin) has an outside chance but is rated very doubtful.
Defender Bobby Hassell (knee) did look to be winning his battle but has since suffered more discomfort and will now be sent for a scan to check the extent of the problem.
For keeper Michael Bingham (knee), defender Allen Tankard, and striker Shayne Bradley (ankle), Saturday will come round too quickly to be fit.
And new defender Dion Scott joined midfielder Michael Sisson on the long term injured list after his shoulder dislocated for the third time this summer on Monday and now faces an operation to have it pinned which will sideline him for three to four months.
There should be League debuts for striker Colin Larkin, midfielder Neil MacKenzie and defender Neil Moore while former Stags striker Iyseden Christie is also likely to be involved if he comes through his medical and signs his one-year contract today (Thursday).
Plymouth did the double over Mansfield last season and Watkiss added: "Plymouth were by far the best team in our division last year and were deserved champions. It is a very tough opener, but you look down the fixture list and they are all tough.
"We are up against better teams and better players week in and week out. But if we enter the season with fear and trepidation we will be in trouble. I want my players to go out there and enjoy the experience. All we can do is make sure we stick together, good or bad, and give it a right go.
"Players will make mistakes and management will make mistakes as we are all on a learning curve. But, like the fans, all we all want is for Mansfield Town to be successful.
"I would imagine we are the youngest squad in the division. But I am confident in their ability and we have to believe we can be successful."
Former Sheffield United skipper Lee Sandford continues to train with the club and could be an option to replace Scott short-term or long-term.
Another candidate is Costa Rican U23 international defender Jorges Jiminez who also begins a trial period today after three weeks at Forest earlier this summer.
Latest | August 2002