CURLE SIGNS EATON - CURLE QUOTES
... while Bobby Hassell hoping to be fit by Saturday
Curle signs new defender for Stags
NEW boss Keith Curle today brought in his first new face at the club on Tuesday morning with the loan signing of Preston North End's 22-year-old left back Adam Eaton.
With Bobby Hassell hoping to have shaken off a slight groin strain, it gives the club the most defensive options they have had all season which bodes well for Division Two's bottom club.
Wigan-born Eaton is a former Everton trainee who was part of Preston's FA Youth Cup winning side in 1998.
A firm favourite with the Preston fans for his steady defending and willingness to join the attack, Eaton made his debut in their 2-1 win over West Brom last season and went on to make nine starts and seven substitute appearances.
"Adam comes highly recommended and we know he can do the job required," said assistant boss John Gannon.
"He fills one of the problem positions we have had this season. He is a fresh face which should hopefully give everyone a lift and he is left footed which is a big help for us as we are struggling for left footed players.
"Adam is a natural defender and reasonably quick."
Perhaps the most important appearance fans will be looking forward to on Saturday will be seeing Curle don a Stags shirt for the first time.
"I will play if selected," he smiled. "I haven't played a first team game for six or seven weeks since I left Barnsley but I have kept myself fit.
"With me needing to train as a player here, I will leave a lot of it up to John and Paul Holland and hope they don't give me too many rollickings while I'm out there.
"As far as playing myself, I will pick the best 11 players for the sytem I want to play from those players available. If I think I am the best player for that position, then I will play."
Liam Lawrence missed last weekend with flu-like symptoms but has returned to training. With the FA stil taking no further action against him or Neil Moore for their post-match 'dismissals' against Bristol City three weeks ago, both remain in Saturday's squad.
Craig Disley is expected to shake off a foot injury and Danny Bacon a knock picked up in training last week.
With Colin Little out injured for another three weeks, his loan is effectively over and he has gone back to Crewe with Andy White back at Field Mill.
Despite the Cup exit, Curle saw plenty to please him at Gresty Road from his new charges.
"My players showed exactly the right attitude and commitment and I thought we were the best side in the first half," he said.
"We worked very hard and created chances. But they had one real chance from their first attack and they scored from it.
"People have to realise Crewe are a first class footballing side and ability-wise are in the top two or three of this division.
"They had a million pound player injured for Saturday and so they just brought in another million pound player instead!
"No one folded when we went behind. But they got their penalty at the right time. If we could have just kept it at 1-0 for any 10-15 minutes then anything can happen in a Cup tie.
"When we went 1-0 down I was desperate to get on there as you can see things happening and want to stop them but can't do it as quickly from the sideline.
"I was delighted with the backing we got from our supporters at Crewe and made sure the players went over and thanked them at the end.
"We came out second best against a very good team But we made sure the opposition knew they had been in a game and that is what we will do in every game we play.
"It's been a busy first week but I have enjoyed every second so far. I have great enthusiasm for this job and I intend to change things at this football club for the better."
STAGS SET TO SIGN EATON
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 10 December 2002
Keith Curle was set to complete his first signing as Mansfield Town manager this after noon by bringing Preston left- back Adam Eaton to Field Mill on a month's loan.
The 22-year-old started his career at Everton before he was snapped up by North End on a free transfer in 1999.
He was a member of the Toffees' 1998 FA Youth Cup win ning team alongside Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers.
He has made 17 appearances in the first team at Deepdale but has not featured in Division One under Craig Brown this season.
Left-back has been a big problem area for Mansfield this season as they have suffered a host of injuries but Eaton could fill the void after training with his new team mates this morning.
Curle will leave himself out of the starting line-up against Blackpool if he does not fit into the system he wants to play.
The 39-year-old former Manchester City and England defender said he would be happy to continue on the sidelines.
He also revealed he will be training as a player this week, allowing assistant John Gannon and Paul Holland to put the squad through their paces as they prepare for the visit of Steve McMahon's Seasiders.
Stags are bottom of Division Two, six points below the safety line.
Curle said: "The best 11 players for the system I want to play on Saturday will be picked from what we have available.
"If I think I am the best in the position I want to play then I will play.
"I will be training as a player and will be leaving things to John and Paul. I just hope I don't get too many ear-bashings out there."
Curle, who has played more than 750 games, will not play for the reserves at Darlington tomorrow and has passed himself fit for Saturday's clash.
It will be his first game since he featured in a 3-1 defeat against Wigan Athletic for Barnsley at the end of September.
Curle was not registered in time for last Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup defeat against Crewe Alexandra.
"When we went a goal down, I was desperate to get on the field but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," he said.
"I was involved because I was up and down the stairs and on the phone to John, but it was frustrating.
"There were things that you wanted to be out there to stop but you couldn't do it quickly.
"The attitude of the players was right and the supporters will have seen that they were prepared to fight for everything. But they played against a very good team and, unfortunately, came out second-best."