from Evening Post, Crewealex.com , ananova
CREWE V MANSFIELD TOWN PREVIEW
Evening Post, 31 December 2002
Mansfield Town will lose 2-0 at Crewe tomorrow - if mathematics is anything to go by.
Stags have played Crewe on three occasions this season, losing 5-0 in the league in August, 4-0 in the LDV Vans Trophy in October and 3-0 in the FA Cup earlier this month in manager Keith Curle's first match in charge.
Crewe have lost four home games this season, as opposed to just two on their travels, with Notts County victorious there in August.
Crewe's 2-1 home defeat to Oldham on Sunday ended a run of ten games without defeat, but they will still be a formidable proposition.
Strikers Rob Hulse and Rodney Jack have scored 32 goals between them this season and Crewe, in fifth position, are handily placed to launch an assault on automatic promotion.
1. CLAYTON INCE: Former Trinidad and Tobago international. Has kept 16 clean sheets
2. DAVE WRIGHT: Can operate anywhere in defence, but is expected to be at right-back
5. DAVE WALTON: Centre-back who has come back strongly following a knee operation during the summer
6. STEVE FOSTER: Talented defender who received his marching orders during Sunday's 2-1 defeat against Oldham
29. PAUL TIERNEY: Left-back on loan from Manchester United
4. KENNY LUNT: Creative right-midfielder who joined the club from Runcorn
8. DAVE BRAMMER: Captain, penalty-taker and formerly with Wrexham and Port Vale
12. NEIL SORVEL: Central midfielder in his second stint with the club following a spell at Macclesfield
14. DAVE VAUGHAN: Welsh U-21 international who broke into the Crewe first team last season and has subsequently held down a regular place
9. ROB HULSE: Striker with 20 goals to his credit this term. An academy graduate
11. RODNEY JACK: First came to attention with Torquay United. Has scored 12 times this season
Mike Pike, from Barrow-in-Furness, has proved himself a lenient official this season.
In 22 games, Pike has flashed 36 yellow cards and two red cards.
With heavy rain expected across the country, there is no reason to suppose it won't fall on Gresty Road.
Updated 31 December 2002
Our good old friends from the county of Notts visit again. We've already put 12 goals past them during this season, without reply, but new manager Curle has lifted them off the foot of the table with a few good wins...
The inform striker ruled out
Way way way back in August the Alex put five past hopeless Mansfield. Toe poke from Walker in the 36th minute set us on our way before Jack raced clear down the right to cut inside and smash home. Hulse had one deflected in before Foz headed home, then a perfect curing free-kick in the bottom left corner sealed the then biggest win in the English football league.
That win lifted us to fourth, a win tomorrow could do the same. But still looking back, In our second meeting at Field Mill in October saw Hulse take home the match ball with three goals. Another was hit home from Jack as the Alex marched on to the LDV 2nd Round.
The 3rd meeting was in the FA Cup where the Alex ran out 3-0 winners. A very dull game saw Rix knock home after poor defending, a Brammer penalty and a Ashton 25 yard thunderbolt seal it for the Alex.
After the annoying loss at home to Oldham we need to get back on track with a few and a clean sheet. Just as we were starting to be taken seriously as promotion contenders, some saying we're the only team who can catch Wigan, Oldham come with their annoying tactics and counter attacking football. Well Tranmere take them on on Wednesday and with them on hot form and their physical approach i would expect Oldham to struggle. Other teams around us have Swindon(Bardiff) and Wycombe(Bristol C). The best we can probably hope for there is a couple of draws. If Oldham lose we go back to 4th and oh how we will laugh at their smug faces then. We can even afford them to draw as they sit 2 points in front of us on level goal difference.
Now further down the table. Well there's 3 points between 13th, Wycombe, and Mansfield in 21st place. So a win for Mansfield could take them up a few places, but thats not what we want. Mansfield recently though have picked up form with Curle turning things around. His first game , well, they lost 3-0 at Gresty Road. After that they put 4 past Blackpool without reply, then a 1-0 scrappy win over Barnsley - former loanee Andy White scoring the goal - and a 4-2 win over Stockport saw them move up 3 places to 21st. However the fans were brought down to earth when Brentford beat them 1-0. So even though they have won 3 in 5 we beat all them teams, quite comfortabley too. So there shouldn't really be a problem if we play to our best. I will go with a good 3-0 win for the Alex.
Team news - Dean Ashton has a unknown hamstring problem and is out till after the Colchester match. It means Rob Hulse, who got his 20th goal of the season against Oldham, will stay in the starting line up along side Rodney Jack. David Vaughan will then move into the left midfield slot. It is unknown whether Dario will drop red carded Foster after his antics in the Oldham match, also Dario may answer to strong calls for Sorvel to be dropped.. I would expect and like the line up to be: Ince; Wright, Walton, Foster, Tierney; Lunt, Brammer, Rix, Vaughan; Hulse, Jack.
Ashton out for Railwaymen
Striker Dean Ashton is out of Crewe's home clash with Mansfield due to a hamstring problem.
Ashton pulled up during the 2-1 defeat at home to Oldham on Sunday and is expected to be out for two weeks.
The blow has been softened by top scorer Rob Hulse's return to action following a groin strain.
Stags wait on Larkin
Mansfield hope Colin Larkin recovers from a hamstring injury in time for the trip to Crewe.
Larkin left the field just before the hour-mark against Brentford on Saturday and is doubtful for this game.
Andy White is also a doubt having missed the clash with the Bees through injury.
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