DEARDEN MISSES OUT ON LEE BUT SIGNS BRIGGS
Stags land defender at last!
CHAD.co.uk, 15Feb 2008
MANSFIELD Town boss Billy Dearden finally landed a loan defender late on Friday afternoon.
And right full back Keith Briggs will go straight into the squad for Saturday's trip to Darlington - and the fight against a relegation, a battle he has won before.
Briggs told mansfieldtown.net: "I have been through a relegation fight before in this league with Stockport.
"We stayed up on the last day of the season two years ago.
"I am looking forward to the challenge. I am a strong character."
Briggs had joined Shrewsbury on a non-contract basis early in January after being released by Stockport - at the end of a second spell at the club.
But he was released by Shrews manager Gary Peters two weeks later after just one full appearance, scoring in a defeat at Hereford, and one as substitute.
The experienced Briggs (26), who can also play in midfield, scored against the Stags for Stockport last season - and has also played for Norwich City and Crewe.
Five years ago the full back commanded a £65,000 fee when joining the Canaries from Stockport.
Last season Briggs broke his ankle, but was offered a short-term deal by Stockport in the summer until the end of 2007, when he was released.
His capture followed midweek disappointment for Dearden when his plans to bring in central defender Graeme Lee from Doncaster Rovers fell through at the last minute.
Red card costs Stags their new defender
CHAD.co.uk, by John Lomas, 14Feb 2008
A red card for Hartlepool United's Sam Collins last weekend has inadvertently ended up costing Mansfield Town their new central defender.
For experienced Doncaster Rovers defender Graeme Lee, who was born in nearby Middlesbrough, has chosen to go there and fill in for Collins instead of completing an agreed loan move to Mansfield Town, leaving Stags boss Billy Dearden back to square one.
And Dearden will now have it all on to find someone to shore up Mansfield's leaky defence ahead of Saturday's trip to promotion hopefuls Darlington.
"Everything was agreed and I was banking on Graeme coming here, he said.
"We agreed everything last Friday and everything was going through for this week. Then Hartlepool had Collins sent off and they came in for Graeme on Tuesday.
"He comes from that area and has now gone back on his word and decided to go there instead.
"Their manager Danny Wilson is a good friend of mine and he told me he didn't know we were in for him.
"I am disappointed, having agreed everything for him to come here but it's just one of those things. That's football and it's just our luck right now.
"Graeme would have been ideal. He is a leader and very experienced which our back line needs just now. He is good in the air and, although not the quickest, he reads the game very well.
"If the lad had not been sent off last weekend, Graeme would be have been here this morning."
Dearden immediately set about looking for another centre half and was given a no by his next target.
But he does have other irons in the fire and is waiting phone calls today.
"We will just have to wait and see how quickly things materialise," he said.
Stags head for high-flying Darlington on a bizarre run of four straight away wins and a club record of six consecutive home defeats.
The Quakers have only lost once at home this season and have only conceded 19 goals in their 30 League games this season – the best defensive record in the division.
But Stags ran them close at home last month before they went home with a 1-0 win, courtesy of a contentious penalty.
"Hopefully they will think Mansfield Town are coming, it's an easy three points, and then they may get a rude awakening," said Dearden.
"Hopefully we can surprise them. We need to defend better and then catch them on the break.
"Dave Penney is a bright manager and he has done very well. They have given him the financial backing and he has made good signings and has a good back-up squad and that has kept them up there."
Penney has just taken Blackburn midfielder Bryan Hodge on loan, the youngster performing so well on loan at Stags last season before his well documented alcohol problems curtailed his stay.
"Apparently Bryan was Darlington's Man of the Match last week," said Dearden. "We know what he can do and we will have to keep an eye on him. Let's hope he has a bad one! But they have plenty of other good players too.
"They don't concede many goals and we know it will be very tough up there. But we are looking forward to it and hopefully we can carry on our away form."
CHAD.co.uk, 14Feb 2008
Stags boss Billy Dearden has missed out on another transfer target last night when experienced Doncaster defender Graeme Lee joined Hartlepool. He had been tracking the 29-year-old for several weeks, he revealed this morning.
Full story here -->
'Bap' nearing comeback
CHAD.co.uk, by John Lomas, 14Feb 2008
ALEX John-Baptiste is hoping to be back in action and 100 per cent fit for the first time this season in two or three weeks.
Stags' star defender has suffered with a back problem for much of the season and last played a first team match on 22nd December and has only started 14 matches all season.
But he had an injection in his back last week and has been doing some light running this week.
"I can't wait to get back," he said. "When the lads get a good result you feel a bit of an outsider to it all.
"The worst thing is getting to the ground and, with not many other injuries, find yourself on your own.
"It is hard. I have been doing some swimming and going down the gym trying to get myself in the best shape possible for when I come back.
"Hopefully that is not too far away now. I have done a bit of running this week and I am running tomorrow Saturday and Monday.
"Towards the end of next week I will start sprinting and doing everything and, if there is no problem, I hope to start back in full training a week on Monday."
He added: "I will then need games to get match fit but I can safely say that when I do come back I will be 10 per cent fit. I have not been that all season and I have been playing in agony at times."
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