DERBY DAY LOOMS
KEITH Curle is relishing squaring up to neighbours Notts County and former Stags boss Billy Dearden in the big local derby at Field Mill on Saturday (3pm).
Player-manager Curle recently celebrated victory at Chesterfield in his first local derby in charge.
But nothing would please him more right now than to make it a derby double by beating relegation rivals Notts in what looks to be a real six-pointer for both clubs.
"I have heard it described as a big game for us," he said. "But that is doing it a disservice as I think it is a massive game.
"The bigger the game the bigger the player and I believe I have enough in my dressing room to rise to the occasion and put in a performance that we can be proud of as a football club players and supporters alike as we are all part of the club.
"I know people were disappointed we didn't beat Wycombe and Brentford at home. But that is perhaps a measure of the level of expectancy here in the club now which is a good thing..
"We would have lost those two games earlier in the season - I can guarantee that. Being positive we took two clean sheets from those games and also created a host of opportunities to score goals.
"Overall we have improved since John Gannon and I took over and we need to keep it going."
County's recent form suggests they should cause less problems than the likes of Wycombe and Brentford for a Stags side that hasn't won in three games. But Curle warned: "Form goes out the window in a local derby and who adapts quickest to the atmosphere and is prepared to go that extra yard will win on the day.
"Forget the old clich s about it only being three points at stake. I and the players know it's more than that."
Although Curle, Colin Larkin, Iyseden Christie and Neil MacKenzie are all making rapid progress with their injuries, it is unlikely any will make it in time to be included on Saturday.
Stags fans are reminded the game is all-ticket and none will be available on the day. They must be bought from Field Mill by 5pm on Friday
Latest | February 2003