ONE WIN IS ALL STAGS NEED
ONE WIN IS ALL STAGS NEED
Evening Post, 02 October 2002
Mansfield Town boss Stuart Watkiss believes it will take just one good performance to end his side's woeful run at Field Mill.
He wants to see his team show the same level of commitment demonstrated in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Northampton when they take on Tranmere Rovers this weekend.
Stags have gone 383 minutes without a league goal at home - 13 minutes more than the duration of the original three Star Wars films - since they beat Plymouth 4-3 on the opening day of the season.
But Watkiss believes his side can produce just the sort of performance that can convince their following that they do have a chance of Division Two survival.
He said: "Tranmere are one of the bigger sides in the division, but I want to see the players show the same level of commitment and endeavour they did on Saturday. Then, I have no doubt, if they can do it consistently, we will be alright."
Watkiss believes his side owe the supporters a performance in their own back yard but is confident they can provide it on Saturday.
Peter Clark, who is currently on loan from Stags' Second Division rivals Stockport County, is set to join the squad if he comes through tonight's reserve match at Boston United.
"Obviously, the majority of supporters only see us playing at Field Mill and our home performances have not been good," Watkiss added.
"The away fans have seen more than the home supporters and they must be wondering what people are talking about when we play away form home."
Their form at Field Mill, where they lost just three games last season, was the mainstay of the Stags' promotion push but, following the success over the Pilgrims, they have lost to Chesterfield, Crewe, Stockport and Cheltenham on their own patch.
Stags told to lose Field Mill fear factor
STAGS boss Stuart Watkiss has called on his side to lose their fear of playing at home when Tranmere Rovers visit this Saturday (3pm).
Watkiss, who is looking to get players out on loan to bring in fresh faces as soon as possible, knows his side desperately need a home win after four successive Field Mill League defeats without scoring a single goal.
"We seem to have come full circle since last season," he said.
"Last season we felt we were invincible at home and had the beating of any visiting team.
"Now there seems to be a fear factor of playing at home and we are only turning in the performances away from Field Mill.
"We need a good home performance to get the fans believing again. All it takes is a good passage of play or us scoring first to get the crowd going and we could turn it round.
"It will be tough against Tranmere as they are one of the bigger teams in this division."
"My players need to be stronger mentally to get over this. Away from home I can't fault them this season, apart from the last 20 minutes at Oldham.
"Yet, fans who don't travel away with us must wonder what the away fans are talking about as we can't seem to do the same at Field Mill."
He added: "Our fans were absolutely brilliant again at Northampton on Saturday. They know the lads had a right go and couldn't be faulted for their commitment and attitude. We were 200 per cent better than against Cheltenham.
"If we carry on playing like that then we will be all right. We just need to start putting in back to back performances and results will come.
"But, we have had too many 'what ifs' and fans will only take so much."
Mansfield certainly deserved something for their efforts in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Sixfields and Watkiss said: "All we were lacking was that ruthlessness in front of goal which other teams are showing.
"We made the worst possible start with conceding the penalty and were fortunate the keeper was not sent off on his debut."
There was brighter news on the injury front with Allen Tankard and Peter Clark both back in training this week, Clark possibly in contention for Saturday, Tankard two weeks away.
Bobby Hassell, Michael Bingham and Shayne Bradley could all be back training next week and David Jervis the week after.
Leicester City defender Damien Delaney's loan ends after Saturday and Watkiss is hoping to extend it.
He is also chasing a Premiership reserve striker to come on trial and wants to get two or three players out on loan to enable him to freshen things up and shuffle his pack.
The first could be central defender Stuart Reddington with Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough hoping to take him for a month.
"It would do Stuart good to play some regular football at that standard and get his confidence back up," said Watkiss. "But I won't let him go until we have the cover to do so."
Stags reserves travel to Boston United tonight (Wednesday, 7pm) for an Avon Insurance League fixture.
Posted by Martin Shaw
Latest | October 2002