STAGS SIGN WILL ATKINSON, PLUS LINCOLN PREVIEWS
Lincoln v Mansfield
Imps midfielder Lee Frecklington is not expected to be fit in time and defender Gary Croft (calf) is injured while midfielder Shane Clarke is suspended.
Striker Mark Stallard should be included in the squad while Dany N'Guessan has recovered from injury.
New Mansfield signing Will Atkinson goes straight into the squad but manager Billy Dearden is expected to name an unchanged line-up.
Defenders Martin McIntosh and Alex John-Baptiste remain sidelined.
Billy gets a new player at last!
CHAD.co.uk, 28Jan2008, by John Lomas
BILLY Dearden is hoping promising Hull City youngster Will Atkinson could be the player to fill his problem left side of midfield slot for Stags' battle against relegation.
The 19-year-old arrived for the start of a month's loan this morning and is expected to go straight into the side for tomorrow night's 'six-pointer' at relegation rivals Lincoln.
Dearden has two other irons in the fire and hopes he may sign another player by the middle of the week, one free agent coming in for training with them today.
Although Atkinson's League experience is restricted to four games while on loan at Port Vale in October, he has been on Hull's bench this season and came on as a second half substitute in their FA Cup tie at Plymouth.
But Dearden has watched him play four times for Hull reserves and feels he can do him a good job.
"Will has been playing mostly on the left but he has two very good feet and can play anywhere across the midfield which is where we need to strengthen," said Dearden.
"I have watched him a few times in the reserves and have always liked him.
"He was at Port Vale on loan but it didn't work out for him there as they weren't playing him so Hull dragged him back.
"He has been on their bench and came on at Plymouth and I know they think a lot of him.
"I have been pestering them for over a month but they wouldn't let him out until now and I am grateful they have. Hopefully him playing here can benefit us and Hull.
"Will is a slim lad, very young and enthusiastic and he just wants to play football.
"He takes players on and works very hard and he is also capable of scoring goals from a wide position.
"He will give us that left hand side balance.
"Some people may say he has not got the experience but he has looked experienced enough in the matches I have seen him play.
"We will have to see how he trains today before I decide if he will start at Lincoln but he will certainly be in the 16.
"Most times a player goes somewhere on a month's loan there will be three or four games for him to play in. But Will comes here in a month in which we have eight games!"
Atkinson knows exactly what he is coming into with Stags in the bottom two but said "It is a challenge and I like challenges.
"I didn't know much about it until the manager told me Mansfield were in for me and Steve Parkin (former Stags boss and Hull first team coach) spoke very highly of the place and said it was a good club to come to. So it seemed like a good idea.
"I have been at Hull since I was eight. But first team opportunities have been limited and this is a chance to get out and get some games."
Stags' relegation scrap is hardly the ideal situation to be walking into, but Atkinson said: "Hull have had a few years of struggling and I have been with that and know what it is like so I am up for the challenge here.
"I just to play some games in front of crowds. I train with some great players every day like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nick Barnby and Dean Windass.
"Sometimes with Jay-Jay you just have to stop and look in astonishment!
"It definitely brings you on as a player. I know League Two can be physical but it is still a good standard of football and what you like in physical size you make up for with your head and your speed.
"I am naturally right footed but I see left of midfield as my best position.
"I watched the Middlesbrough game on TV on Saturday and Mansfield looked a good team, not like a side down there at the bottom.
"I was introduced to the lads this morning for the first time and they seem like a good bunch.
"It is a good club and hopefully it can get out of trouble. I hope I can help to thank the cub for giving me this chance."
Injured defenders Alex John-Baptiste and Martin McIntosh are still not back in training but Stags are otherwise expected to be unchanged.
Dan Martin will play tomorrow but misses Saturday's home clash with Brentford after picking up his fifth booking at the weekend.
Fellow strugglers Lincoln pulled off an excellent 2-0 win in the first of their two big relegation battles in four days against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.
"It is a hell of a big game for us," said Dearden. "But if we perform like we did against Middlesbrough I can see us getting a good result at Lincoln.
"It is down to us not to go there and fall flat on our faces.
"Lincoln have been up there in the Play-offs the last three or four years but it is difficult to maintain and they had a bad start this season.
"Peter Jackson went in the a few months ago and changed things round. But they are still only five points in front of us.
"It is a local derby and we will take a few fans with us. The away fans have been absolutely brilliant this season, I know they will get behind us and I hope we can get a result for them."
Atkinson told Evening Post: “I have been playing on the left or right, more so on the left, and I would say that is my best position. I'm quite a creative midfielder. I like to get the ball and come inside my man to try to find holes in the defence. Tonight is a big game for me and for Mansfield. There is always a little bit of pressure and a few nerves, but it's how you deal with it that matters. That is what separates the good players from the not-so-good. Hopefully I can stay fit and get as many games in as I can while I am here. If everything goes okay then I would definitely like to stay (past one month), so long as Hull are fine with that.”
For full story, please visit http://www.thisismansfieldtown.co.uk
Latest | January 2008