WATKISS FIRES A WARNING
Evening Post, 18 October 2002
Last year's 4-0 win over Huddersfield will mean nothing to Mansfield Town manager Stuart Watkiss when the teams meet at Field Mill tomorrow.
The Stags boss believes the Terriers' 19th place in the Division Two table is not a fair representation of their performances under Mick Wadsworth.
And he has warned Mansfield fans not to expect a stroll in the park, after an upturn in the side's performances.
With Damien Delaney joining Hull City for £50,000 on Wednesday, Allen Tankard, who has missed the whole season so far with a knee injury, will fill the left-back berth.
Lee Williamson returns from a three-match suspension following his red card against Derby in the Worthington Cup, but is likely to be on the bench.
Watkiss said: "The Huddersfield game last year was one of the top three or four performances of the season but we have had a lot of reports done this season and none has been bad.
"Every one has said that they are a good side and anyone thinking that we have turned the corner and can relax will be very much mistaken.
"They had a good win against Notts County last week, which means they will be confident. But I think the team who starts best and is able to dictate the pace of the game will do best."
Huddersfield's players are negotiating with the club over financial problems at the McAlpine Stadium.
The Terriers, who are expected to be unchanged from their 3-0 win over the Magpies, have debts of £6m, with an annual wage bill of £3m.
But Watkiss believes they will be able to put their off-the-field problems into the background.
"Potentially, it could be the most difficult game we have faced so far," he said.
"They are a massive club with a great ground and it wasn't that long ago that they were looking at getting a place in the Premiership.
"They have a massive fan base and, despite their start, I am sure they still harbour hopes of at least reaching the play-offs."
MANSFIELD TOWN (probable): Van Heusden, Clarke, Lever, Moore, Tankard, Mackenzie, Lawrence, Disley, Sellars, Larkin, Christie. Subs: J White, A White, Williamson, Holyoak, Corden.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (probable): Bevan, Jenkins, Brown, Moses, Sharp, Baldry, Mattis, Holland, Thorrington, Smith, Stead. Subs (from): Senior, McDonald, Irons, Macari, Heary, Schofield.
Former Mansfield striker David Kelly, who scored four goals in 17 games for Stags last season, has been appointed assistant manager at Tranmere Rovers.
Tankard set for Stags start
Mansfield's Allen Tankard is set for his first appearance of the season when the Stags host Huddersfield.
Tankard (tendinitis) has been sidelined all season, but the 33-year-old is now fully fit.
Lee Williamson returns to the squad after serving a three-match suspension, but manager Stuart Watkiss says the midfielder must settle for a place on the substitutes' bench.
Bobby Hassell is still struggling to overcome tendinitis in his knee and the game has also come too soon for Kevin Pilkington (wrist), although the goalkeeper is expected to feature in next week's LDV Vans Trophy clash with Crewe.
To see a report and photos of the Stags last league victory over the Terriers, in December 1988, visit the Vintage Stags/Archived Match Report pages.
Posted by Martin Shaw
Latest | October 2002