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Archived News from August 2002

28th August 2002 20:24

Jervis out for The Stags
Barry Statham has confirmed that David Jervis will be out for two weeks after suffering a foot injury on Saturday.
The defender was stretchered off during the 2-0 home defeat to Chesterfield.
Statham told the club's website: "The injury could be a lot worse, but it is one of those that you can't really do anything with."
The Stags are hopeful that he will return for their Worthington Cup clash with Derby on 10 September.

Honeymoon over as Stags Suffer
MANSFIELD Town learned a few harsh facts about life in Division Two as they slumped to successive 2-0 defeats over Bank Holiday weekend.
And they now need to quickly get back on track against visitors Crewe Alexandra this Saturday (3pm).
Last Saturday's bitterly disappointing 2-0 home derby defeat by Chestefield was at least followed by a fabulous display at Stockport on Monday - but the outcome proved the same as County stole a 2-0 success.
“My lads have got to wise up quick,” said manager Stuart Watkiss.
“The honeymoon is definitely over now and it's welcome to life in Division Two.
“Saturday was definitely the lowest point in my football career. But on Monday I thought we were outstanding and I was proud to be manager of this club. The two performances were chalk and cheese.
“What I have told my players is that they need to be more ruthless in both penalty areas as that is where games are decided.
“Maybe we need to be a bit nastier too. I don't mean silly nasty but sometimes we are far too nice out there. If we don't change we could start to become a bit of an easy touch.
He added: “But if we play like we did at Stockport on Monday we will win way more than we lose.
“We played some superb football there and had Stockport chasing shadows. With all due respect to them we were absolutely miles in front of them with our passing and movement.
“They really did rob us on the day and it sometimes happens in football. We will play far worse than that and win games.
“Stockport's first goal was very fortunate and their second a great finish.
“Their manager, Carlton Palmer, said afterwards that Stockport should have been dead and buried by half-time and thought we were excellent. He knows they got out of jail It says a lot when the home keeper gets man of the match.
“We are only on four points yet I think our performances merit us being on 10 points. In Division Two we would have 12 or 13 points by now with those displays.
“But that is the step up in class we are facing and it's worrying we are playing so well, the Chesterfield game aside, and are still not picking up points.”

Stags now have two successive home League games, starting with this Saturday's visit of Crewe.

“We ae all looking forward to Saturday,” said Watkiss. “Crewe are renowned for their pasing game and I think it will be a super spectacle - very pleasing on the eye.
“The way Crewe play may suit us and we want to get a win and get back on track. A clean sheet would be nice!”

Watkiss admitted he gave his side a real 'facts of life' talk at training on Sunday after the Chesterfield capitulation.

He said: “I was absolutely gutted we had let the fans and ourselves down on Saturday. No excuses, Chesterfield deserved their win and we were poor. We fell well short of the standards I expect and to do it in such an important game for the fans as that was a massive let-down. We really were lucky to get nil!
“But, to be fair to the lads, I got a very good response from them on Monday and we now have to make sure that the Stockport performance was not a flash in the pan.”

New signing Mark Lever, who joined Stags on a free transer from Bristol City last week, made his debut in the Chesterfield game.

And, even though the goals have continued to go in against them, Watkiss is confident he has made the right signing.

“Mark will only get better as he is a little rusty still,” he said.
“But I think the defence has looked better since he came and every manager I have spoken to has told me we have made a great signing. I am sure I have got the right man.”

Lever (32) has signed a one-year deal on a free transfer from Bristol City and said: “I am delighted to come here.
“I have heard Mansfield have been playing really well in games and defending well and then losing concentration at set pieces.
“I am not saying I am going to defend every set piece well and I am not the club's surefire fix. But I will give it 100 per cent and do my very best.”
Lever had a lengthy spell out with a knee injury before finding himself listed in the summer.
“I have wanted to get back north for while as I still have a house in Grimsby and my parents live in Hull so this is ideal for me.”

Watkiss added: “Like Larkin, it has taken a little longer than we would have liked but we have finally got our man.
“Mark was on our shpping list in the summer and we are delighted to get him in. He is the sort of player who will dominate centre forwards rather than let them dominate him.”

There was another defensive blow for Watkiss when David Jervis limped out of the Chesterfield game with a damaged Achille's tendon which will keep him out for a couple of weeks.

But Bobby Hassell and Allen Tankard are both on the mend and there is an outside chance that one or both will be involved in this afternoon's (Wednesday, 2pm) home reserve game against Hull City with one eye on the weekend.

Scott Sellars has now begun a three-game ban for his red card at Wigan.

Watkiss did take some stick for leaving out Neil MacKenzie against Chesterfield to play Sellars behind the front two.

But he said: “Neil is a class act but I don't thnk he is as effective in a flat four-man midfield as he is in a five when we can play him deep and get him on the ball.
“Maybe I got the formation wrong but I had a game plan and I don' think the lads carried it out for me on the day. We got what we deserved.”

Watkiss will also have to resolve who will be penalty taker following Wayne Corden's crucial miss at Stockport.
MacKenzie was brought down and wanted to take the kick. Corden eventually did the honours but offered Lee Jones a comfortable save.
“Wayne was last year's penalty taker and so took it for granted he would carry on this year,” said Watkiss.
“It is nice to have two players with the bottle and nerve to want it. But Wayne knows it was a poor penalty and if that had gone in we would have had a whole different ball game.”


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