STAGS BOSS TALKS TOUGH OVER CRISIS
STAGS BOSS TALKS TOUGH OVER CRISIS
by IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 17 September 2002
Mansfield Town manager Stuart Watkiss today said that some of his players are too comfortable because of the club's injury crisis.
On-loan full-back Peter Clark is the latest player to join the injured list as a knee problem rules him out of tonight's all-ticket match at Luton Town.
Mark Lever is expected to be fit after missing the last three games with a hip injury.
Watkiss reiterated his pledge not to resign after his side conceded 15 goals in their last three league games.
He said: "I can shout and bawl but, because of the injury situation, I cannot make many changes and so some of the players are too comfortable.
"The fact there is such a queue at the door of the treatment room doesn't only mean that we are missing their talent but also the competition for places.
"I have no intention of resigning or walking away. I realise we have got a massive challenge in front of us but I am going to give it my best shot."
Watkiss has told the players he is not impressed with their recent showings and had them training on Sunday and all day yesterday.
"I told them what I thought and I told them that what I expected and what we've been getting are two very different things," he added.
"I can talk until I am blue in the face but I cannot go out and play the game for them. I can only do so much.
"We are not in an ideal situation and the injuries have been well-documented but the team that took to the field on Saturday should not have lost 6-1 to Oldham.
"We were the better team after we equalised and we were the better team in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. There's no excuse or reason why we threw in the towel after the fourth goal went in.
"Afterwards, I watched the Spanish football on television and the Spurs v West Ham game and saw people playing at the top level putting their foot through the ball when they had to.
"But here, I have got players who want to play their way out of ridiculous situations."
Stags' only win of the season came against Plymouth Argyle, who won Division Three last season and, after their visit to Kenilworth Road, they take on bottom-of-the-table Cheltenham Town at Field Mill.
That is the start of a six-week period that Watkiss believes will be crucial if Stags are going to turn their season round.
"Luton have had a slow start but they are now slowly turning the corner.
"They had a good win at Watford in the Worthington Cup and will be confident but it would be interesting to see what happened if we scored the first goal.
"The next six or seven weeks could determine the rest of the season.
"It is imperative that we start getting points. I think we need 44 or 45 points from our remaining 38 matches.
"There is still a lot of football to play this season."
Chairman Keith Haslam backed his manager's plea to the players.
He said: "We need to battle to get out of this situation and that means that we have all got to work hard.
"We have all got to do our bit.
"There is no need for a knee-jerk reaction to the situation but we don't want this run to go on much longer.
"I want to see us give something back to our supporters who I thought were magnificent on Saturday.
"They got right behind the team and you couldn't ask for any more."
Meanwhile, Former Forest striker Lee Glover has left the club as it is hoped Colin Larkin will be available for Saturday.
Luton's goalkeeper, Ben Roberts, is rated as doubtful for tonight's match after a bout of flu, and striker Tony Thorpe is unavailable because of an eye infection.
LUTON TOWN (from): Emberson, Bayliss, Perrett, Coyne, Davis, Brkovic, Nicholls, Hughes, Robinson, Howard, Crowe. Griffiths, Spring, Fotadis, Leary, Holmes.
MANSFIELD TOWN (from): Pilkington, Clarke, Lever, Moore, Delaney, Lawrence, Williamson, Mackenzie, Sellars, Disley, Corden, Christie, Reddington, J White, A White, Bacon.
Latest | September 2002