CHRISTIE NOT FIT AFTER ALL FOR COBBLERS TRIP
...but Tankard back in training on Monday.
WATKISS: THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE... AWAY
Evening Post, 27 September 2002
They may be bottom of Division Two with a host of injury problems but Mansfield Town boss Stuart Watkiss is still confident his side can get back on track with a positive result at Northampton tomorrow.
Despite having gone 383 minutes without scoring a goal at Field Mill, Watkiss believes his side can approach the game positively and hopes they will reproduce the form that brought them a 3-2 success at Luton Town last Tuesday.
Stags will be without Lee Williamson, who begins a three-match suspension for his Worthington Cup sending off against Derby County, and Kevin Pilkington misses the game after breaking his wrist in last week's 2-0 defeat against Cheltenham.
Watkiss has ten players out injured and two suspended, with Danny Bacon also sitting the game out as a result of being sent off.
However, Watkiss hopes a step away from the Field Mill pressure will help his side to get a result.
He said: "I think, at this stage, the players prefer playing away, which is strange considering how good we were at home last season.
"Our away performances this season have not been to bad and, even in the first 70 minutes at Oldham, we were doing alright before we fell apart at the end.
"We had a good result at Luton and hopefully we should be able to build on that."
Arjan van Heusden, who was signed on Wednesday on a short-term deal to deputise for Pilkington, is set to make his Stags debut after keeping a clean sheet in the reserves' draw with Chesterfield.
However, Watkiss's hopes that Iyseden Christie would be fit to feature in the squad look to have been scuppered as his ankle injury, although not as bad as first feared, has not recovered in time.
Watkiss said: "Arjan did alright in the reserves game and, really, we couldn't have hoped to have got a better keeper with more experience.
"There won't be many changes as no-one else looks like getting back.
"That includes Iyseden as the game will probably come too quickly for him.
"But the reserve game allowed some of them to get some football under their belts, as Colin Larkin and Andy White both played for 80 minutes and Wayne Corden played the whole game.
"With the injuries we have at the moment, it is really just a case of having a head count and taking it from there."
Watkiss will have the opportunity to meet Mark Kearney, who was his predecessor as Billy Dearden's assistant manager at Field Mill.
Kearney is now first-team coach at the Sixfields Stadium.
Watkiss said: "Mark was on the bench with Kevan Broadhurst when I went to see Northampton myself and it will be nice to see him.
"He did a lot of good work at this club and it shouldn't be forgotten."
NORTHAMPTON (probable): Harper, Gill, Sampson, Burgess, Carruthers, Rickers, Harsley, Trollope, Hargreaves, Gabbiadini, One. Subs (from): Abbey, Forrester, Asamoah, Lincoln, McGregor, Hope, Morison.
MANSFIELD TOWN (probable): Van Heusden, Clarke, Lever, Moore, Delaney, Lawrence, Disley, MacKenzie, Sellars, A White, Larkin. Subs: J White, Reddington, Corden, Holyoak, Hurst.
Stags striker Iyseden Christie will make a sooner-than-expected return to the injury-hit squad for Saturday's trip to Northmapton.
Christie was expected to be out for at least a month following a training injury last Friday but was back in training this morning after a fast recovery from the foot damage he sustained.
Also included for the trip to Sixfields Stadium is temporary contract keeper Arjan van Heusden who made a commanding debut in the reserves' 0-0 draw with local rivals Chesterfield in the Avon Insurance Cup at Field Mill on Wednesday.
The Dutchman pulled off three excellent saves and commanded his box well and looks to be first class cover for Kevin Pilkington who has begun a six-week lay-of with his broken wrist.
There was more good news for manager Stuart Watkiss as an injection into the back of the knee for Allen Tankard seems to have settled his problem down and he will be back in training on Monday.
Posted by Martin Shaw, 27 Sep 2002
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