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EVENING POST PREVIEW
13/December/2002 21:30:13

CURLE: LET'S DO A SEASIDER SPECIAL
IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 13 December 2002

Mansfield Town boss Keith Curle believes Blackpool can provide a model for the Field Mill club's short-term aims.

Curle is expected to make his Stags debut in tomorrow's clash with Steve McMahon's side and he believes that emulating the achievements of his former Manchester City team-mate could hold the club in good stead.

Blackpool gained promotion to Division Two via the play-offs last year and, after finishing 16th last season, they have managed to push towards the play-off picture this campaign.

The Seasiders currently sit tenth in the table.

Curle said: "We have got to look at staying in this division and then cementing our position in it. And then we have to look forward again.

"That is what they have done."

Curle played with McMahon at Maine Road before the former Liverpool and England midfielder took the player-manager's job at Swindon in 1994.

He believes his former team-mate's team will bear all the hallmarks of McMahon's playing style.

He said: "We have had two reports done on them and I have played against them already this season when I was at Barnsley.

"They are a very hard-working team but they have got a bit of flair in players like Bullock and Dalglish.

"Every team that Steve McMahon puts out, you would expect to be very well-organised.

"We have got a lot of respect for each other and I managed to have a quick chat with him after that Barnsley game.

"I certainly enjoyed playing with him even though he was in the twilight of his career.

"I expect his team to be very much how he was as a player.

"They will be hard-working, aggressive and they will be able to play as well."

But McMahon only has a squad of 12 professionals to pick from for the Field Mill clash and Curle, who will make his 761st senior appearance if he selects himself tomorrow, wants to get a first Stags win.

However, the weather has caused a few headaches as he prepares his side to avenge the 4-0 loss they suffered against the Tangerines in last season's LDV Vans Trophy.

He said: "I'm looking forward to my first game but not as much as I am looking forward to my first win. The sooner that comes the better.

"The weather has not helped us this week because we haven't been able to do much team work, as the pitches have been too hard.

"I have had Adam Eaton here but I haven't been able to have a really good look at him and the same is true with Andy White.

"I have got ideas about the way I want to play and I need to see what these players can do for me.

"I haven't been able to do that and it has been frustrating."

Midfielder Craig Disley is still suffering with a knock picked up against Crewe last week and Liam Lawrence is still poorly after tonsillitis kept him out of the FA Cup clash at Gresty Road.

But Bobby Hassell, who suffered a groin strain before the Crewe game, was training yesterday.

White could also come into the line-up after his loan spell at Crewe ended this week.

MANSFIELD TOWN (probable): Pilkington, Hassell, Curle, Gadsby, Eaton, Larkin, MacKenzie, Disley, Corden, A White, Christie. Subs: J White, Gadsby, Jervis, Bacon, Lawrence.

Mansfield's home clash with Stockport County on Boxing Day will now kick off at 1pm after consultation with the police.

A decision about the Wigan match that was due to be played on January 4 has not yet been made.

The Latics face Stoke in the FA Cup Third Round that day.




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