CURTIS SETS WINS TARGET
MANSFIELD MIDFIELDER CURTIS SETS WINS TARGET
Evening Post, 16 January 2003
Mansfield Town midfielder Tom Curtis believes Stags must target nine wins to avoid the drop - starting at his old club Chesterfield on Saturday.
Curtis is confident Keith Curle's team can hurdle the 50-point barrier and maintain their Second Division status.
Stags currently sit third-from-bottom but they have won three and drawn one of the six games that Curle has been in charge.
Curits, 29, who made 284 appearances for the Spireites, is confident Mansfield can maintain their momentum in the derby clash.
They have earned 25 points from their first 26 games and are currently just two points off the giddy heights of 17th place.
Curtis, who became Keith Curle's first permanent signing when he joined from Division One leaders Portsmouth last month, said: "We are working towards a target of another eight or nine wins and, at the moment, I think we are playing well enough to do that.
"We are turning our potential into performances.
"A couple of weeks ago, we would have been delighted to find ourselves back among the pack and we now have to push on from here."
With a sell-out crowd expected for the 11am kick-off at Saltergate, Curtis said it was a game for everyone to relish.
"When the fixtures come out, I know it is the first game the fans look for and it is one of the first players look at too," he said. "It looks as if there is going to be a big crowd and there should be a cracking atmosphere. It is the sort of game you want to play in.
"I had eight great years at Chesterfield but, as it is one of my old clubs, I will be looking to do well.
"Marcus Ebdon is a good mate of mine and I also know Dave Rushbury, who has moved up from physio to manager.
"But it has been two-and-a-half years since I left. That is quite a long time and I have played for three clubs since then.
"You just have to try to be professional about it. I had a good time at Saltergate but I am a Mansfield player now and I want to help make sure we get these wins as soon as we can."
Curtis is delighted with the way things are going after starting every game since he made his move form Pompey.
He said: "When I came to the club, I had a bit of a thigh strain and that is why I went off at half-time against Barnsley.
"But, since then, I have really been enjoying it and hopefully we will be able to keep going the way we are.
"There are a lot of good young players here with a lot of potential and Keith has come in and got us organised at the back, which the team probably needed."
Stags' outstanding league fixture, at home to Brentford, has been provisionally booked for Tuesday, February 4.
The game will go ahead on that night as long as the Bees are not involved in an FA Cup replay against Burnley.
The two sides are due to meet in the fourth round at Griffin Park next Saturday, when the game at Field Mill was originally scheduled to take place.
Shayne spells out his aim
Derbyshire Times, http://www.chesterfieldtoday.co.uk
Nobody is relishing the prospect of Chesterfield FC's derby clash with neighbours Mansfield Town more than striker Shayne Bradley.
For he is now in the ascendancy at Saltergate after kicking off the season on the margins at Field Mill.
Shayne believes he was let down by the Stags and is keen to pay back his former employers.
''I'm looking forward to the game and I would love to score the winning goal against Mansfield.
''There will be no sentiment on my part I would not be bothered if I scored the goal that sent them down, to be honest,'' he said.
Shayne knows all about the rivalry between the two clubs as he was on the losing side the last time around when Chesterfield, in their promotion season, hammered Mansfield 4-0 at home before defeating them 1-0 away.
''Matches between the two clubs are always big games. They do mean a lot to people and you can see it on their faces and feel it the minute you walk out on to the pitch.
''It's the best atmosphere, full of passion and different to what you encounter anywhere else at this level,'' he said.
Bradley clearly retains little affection for Mansfield after his £150,000 move north from Southampton a Stags' record went pear-shaped.
He was signed by then-manager Billy Dearden, the former Chesterfield FC frontman, and scored on his debut but was soon laid up after turning an ankle.
''It was a badly torn ligament and since then it's never been right even now I'm not 100 per cent fit.
''Stuart Watkiss replaced Billy as manager and I don't think he liked me as a player.
''I'm still bitter towards the club because they did not treat me well.
''I've always had faith in my ability but I never had the chance to show it at Mansfield.
''I was never match-fit and because I was the record signing there were always pressures to get me rushed back into the team when I was not quite right.
''I did not feel I was getting the support I needed and towards the end I did not want to play for them any more. It got to the stage where I did not want to go in to work.''
Bradley had an ankle op to correct the problem and Chesterfield manager Dave Rushbury moved in after he was paid up at Field Mill.
''Dave rang me and gave me the chance to train with Chesterfield I really appreciate that he's given me the opportunity to kick-start my career.
''More concern was shown about my injury in the first week at Chesterfield than in two years at Mansfield.
''It's fantastic at Saltergate, I'm enjoying the training, there's a great bunch of lads and the work ethic is good.
Bradley has been given a contract until the end of the season with the Spireites and is keen to earn an extension when it expires.
And over Christmas he displayed his class, scoring a late winner at Northampton and leading the fightback against Cheltenham with a superb finish.
''I was really pleased with my first goal it was special and it gave me back my taste for scoring.
''Then I scored at Saltergate those are the easy ones to finish. I just saw a gap and slotted it home.
''It was great to score in front of the Chesterfield fans,'' said Shayne.
The former England Schoolboy may not be in the starting line-up when the match kicks off at 11am on Saturday but a place on the bench is almost a certainty.
And should the game become deadlocked, manager Rushbury knows he has a player who had the appetite and motivation and most importantly the pedigree to come on and be a match-winner.
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