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MENDES SET TO START IN PLACE OF CHRISTIE
31/January/2003 12:47:43

MENDES SET TO START IN PLACE OF CHRISTIE
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 31 January 2003

Junior Mendes' inclusion for the injured Iyseden Christie is likely to be the only change to the Stags line-up from the one that started the game against Wigan on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington has recovered from a knock he picked up in that match and will take his place between the posts,. Tom Curtis has recovered from a foot injury.

Manager Keith Curle was delighted to have had Bobby Hassell in the team on Tuesday and the right-back, who has been fighting against injury for most of the season, will keep his place after answering an emergency call when Jamie Clarke was unwell.

Curle said: "It was very pleasing to see Bobby back and he wasn't even supposed to be on the bench.

"But it is typical of the attitude around the place at the moment that he was willing to play.

"We have had to look after him this week and give him enough rest and the right treatment but it's good to see him back."

Ben Doane should also be available after his wife went into labour yesterday.

Curle said: "I was pleased that after telling me the news, he asked me what time we were leaving."

MANSFIELD (probable): Pilkington, Hassell, Day, Gadsby, Doane, Lawrence, Curtis, Disley, Corden, A White, Mendes. Subs: J White, Beardsley, Baptiste, Williamson, Mitchell.


JUNIOR CHOICE OF STAGS BOSS CURLE
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 31 January 2003
He may have yet to see him play in the flesh but Mansfield boss Keith Curle is convinced that striker Junior Mendes is an excellent addition to his squad.

Curle, who paid an undisclosed fee believed to be more than £20,000, for the St Mirren striker, saw enough in three videos to bring the former Chelsea forward to the club.

He is expected to go straight into the team for tomorrow's trip to Plymouth, replacing Iyseden Christie, who is still struggling with the knee injury he picked up in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat against Wigan.

Mendes, who played in the same youth team as Jody Morris and Michael Duberry at Stamford Bridge, becomes Curle's third permanent signing since he came to the club, following midfielder Tom Curtis and central defender Rhys Day.

Curle said: "He has got a lot of pace, good movement and an eye for goal.

"And he has got the work ethic required for the football club.

"He is very enthusiastic and wants to re-establish himself in the English game.

"He played against Celtic in the Scottish Cup last week and comes very highly recommended by chief scout Paul Molesworth.

"At the end of the day, if I didn't think he was an improvement on what we have got, he wouldn't be coming."

Molesworth worked in Scotland before joining Stags at the start of the season and was at Celtic Park to watch the new signing on Saturday.

But Curle said he is not worried by the fact he has been unable to see him play at first hand.

He added: "I have seen him on three tapes and Paul has seen him twice.

"Obviously, it was not possible for me to go up to Scotland and see him play but watching him on video is really the next best thing."

Curle said Mendes' signing was not a reflection on the way the youngsters have been playing since Colin Larkin suffered his hamstring injury.

The Stags finished the game on Tuesday with teenagers Chris Beardsley and Craig Mitchell leading the attack - a duo with only one league start behind them.

Curle said: "They have both done really well but we have been struggling in the last couple of weeks with injuries and suspensions.

"On Tuesday, we finished up with two trainees up front and they are really not quite ready for that yet.

"We looked at the bench and that was the only option we had when we wanted to change things. It would have been nice to have had other options."

Plymouth won 2-0 at Notts County last week to put them tenth in the division but they lost their last home game to a solitary goal against QPR and were also recently dumped out of the FA Cup by Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge.

Curle said: "They tend to play a more containing game away and attack more at home.

"But we showed against Wigan that we can give anyone a game in this division.

"They had to play like a team at the top of the league to get the better of us because, if they hadn't, they knew they would have been turned over.

"It was a disappointing result but, looking on the positive side, we won the second half and we will be looking to push on from there."


Ananova:
Plymouth skipper Paul Wotton ends a sequence 108 league starts as he is suspended for the Pilgrims' clash with Mansfield.
Manager Paul Sturrock has a number of defensive options with Steve Adams, Hasney Aljofree and Stuart Malcolm in contention to replace him.
Junior Mendes goes straight into the Mansfield squad after signing for the Stags on a free transfer from St Mirren.
The capture of Mendes is a boost for boss Keith Curle after top scorer Iyseden Christie limped out of Tuesday night's defeat against Wigan and is a major doubt for the trip to Home Park.
Bobby Hassell came through the game against the Latics with no ill effects from his knee injury so is set to continue.
Scott Sellars faces a further week out with an ankle injury, while Neil Mackenzie is expected to be out for four weeks following an operation on his knee.



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