TANKARD SETS SIGHTS ON QUICK RETURN
TANKARD SETS SIGHTS ON QUICK RETURN
Evening Post, 16 October 2002
Allen Tankard today said he is desperate to help Mansfield Town in their Division Two campaign but realises he must wait for his chance.
The former Southampton, Wigan and Port Vale defender has been forced to sit on the sidelines with a knee injury while Stuart Watkiss's side have found their feet in the higher division.
But, after successfully coming through his second set of 90 minutes in a specially-arranged reserve friendly against Port Vale, he is ready to stake a claim for the first team.
Stags lost the match 3-1 with Danny Bacon scoring their goal.
Tankard, who earned a place on the bench for Saturday's 0-0 draw at Peterborough, doesn't expect Watkiss to make way for him for this week's visit of Huddersfield Town.
He said: "I got through another full game so I am pleased about that but the improvement in the team's results might have done me a favour.
"Hopefully the lads have turned the corner and if results like the Tranmere win had not happened, I might have been back too early.
"But, with the team playing well, I have the chance to get more games under my belt.
"But it's been a nightmare because I trained all the way through the summer and I don't think I have ever been as fitness for the start of the season.
"I had a hamstring problem but got over that and then, as I started training again, I felt a problem in my opposite knee while I was in the gym and had a tendonitis.
"I eventually had an injection in it and it shouldn't be too long now."
Lee Williamson also played 90 minutes in the match and he will be available again on Saturday after serving a three-match suspension following his Worthington Cup sending off against Derby.
Meanwhile, last night's FA Youth Cup game against Rushden and Diamonds was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
It has been re-arranged for October 24 and will kick-off at 7pm.
Former Stags boss Steve Parkin became the third Nationwide League manager to lose his job in the space of a week when he was sacked as manager of Mansfield's Second Division rivals Barnsley.
Parkin, who left Field Mill in 1999, took over at Oakwell in November after a spell in charge at Rochdale and was unable to maintain the Yorkshire club's Division One status last season.
Early return for Clark?
MANSFIELD Town could turn their attentions to boosting their strike force this week if defender Peter Clark is forced to return to Stockport early.
Clark's loan spell could be cut short as a knee injury is threatening to sideline him for two to three weeks with only three weeks left on his two-month loan.
"We are having a close look at the situation," said manager Stuart Watkiss.
"But if Peter goes back early then I will need to speak to the chairman to see if that will free up some money for us to bring in a striker.
"We have three names on a shortlist and we will just have to see what happens."
One player who will not be coming is St Johnstone's former Sunderland striker Craig Russell.
Having been told he could not move from Scotland to England due to the transfer window, the Scottish FA subsequently changed their minds and said he could.
But the English FA have refused to accept that view and have told him he must stay put.
Full back Allen Tankard put himself into contention for a first team return when he came through 90 minutes of a specially-arranged reserve game at Port Vale on Tuesday, Danny Bacon scoring in a 3-1 defeat
Lee Williamson, who has also been resting a slight hamstring injury during his three-match suspension, also came through and will be back in the squad for the weekend.
However, after last Saturdays' first clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw at Peterborough - the first time Stags have gone two matches unbeaten all season - manager Stuart Watkiss is unlikely to change his starting XI this Saturday when Huddersfield Town visit Field Mill (3pm).
Stags enjoyed a memorable 4-0 FA Cup success over the Terriers last season.
But Watkiss warned: "We have had reports from several managers on Huddersfield and they all firmly believe they are a decent team and find it hard to believe they are not higher in the league.
"Billy Dearden said they played very well gainst them last weekend and we know it won't be easy on Saturday.
"It is important we maintain the work ethic and tempo of the last three games.
"We should have Tanks and Leroy available but they face a battle to get back in. With players coming back from injury we are suddenly getting competition for places back again which is very important."
Striker Shayne Bradley is also ready to make a return though missed the game at Port Vale due to a family funeral.
Watkiss was pleased with a point from Peterborough but admitted: "The over-riding feeling at the end was one of disappointment as we were the better team over 90 minutes and created enough good chances to have taken all three points.
"Yes, Peterborough had a couple of good chances themselves which you would expect going away from home.
"But, overall, we defended well. Barry Fry said to me afterwards that we were the better team but we have heard that too many times from managers without us getting the points this season.
On Tuesday (7.45pm), Stags have a revenge mission when Crewe Alexandra visit in the LDV Vans Trophy first round. The Railwaymen humiliated Mansfield 5-0 at Field Mill on 31st August.
Stags' FA Youth Cup first round proper home tie with Rushden and Diamonds was postponed on Tuesday night due to a waterlogged pitch. It will now take place on Thursday, 24th October (7pm).
Stags defender Stuart Reddington continues to earn rave reviews on loan at Conference club Burton Albion who are now keen to keep him for a three-month period.
Posted by Martin Shaw
Latest | October 2002