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Archived News from February 2003

18th February 2003 13:59


Evening Post, 18 February 2003
Mansfield manager Keith Curle aims to shore up his side's defence by picking himself for Saturday's trip to Queens Park Rangers.

Curle has been a substitute in the last two matches but has guaranteed that he will start as the Stags travel to their first league fixture at Loftus Road since 1967. Stags slipped back into the relegation zone after Friday's last-gasp 1-0 defeat at Colchester.

The players spent the afternoon looking at the video of the game at Layer Road, which was settled by Scott McGleish's goal in the 88th minute, but Curle said the session was not designed to attribute blame and criticise.

He said: "The reason we watched the game was just to highlight where we think our strengths and weaknesses were.

"At the moment, teams are scoring as a result of our mistakes and that has what has been costing us in the last couple of weeks."

He said the Colchester goal, which came about when Ben Doane was caught in possession, was a case in point and he wants his players to play a certain way in the defensive third.

"The players know that they can try what they like in the attacking third but we want them to play in a certain way when we are defending," he said.

"Ben had a chance to clear but didn't and we got caught out.

"But it gives the players a chance to have a look at things and see where we are going wrong.

"We spoke to the players after the game but that was out of frustration more than anything because we ended up getting nothing against a side I think we will finish above and that was very disappointing."

On-loan defender Adam Eaton had hit the post just seconds before McGleish's winner and Curle was left to reflect on what might have been.

He said: "I think we were six inches out all the time.

"Our passing was often six inches out and so were our interceptions and, in the end, Adam's shot was six inches out as well."

He was, nevertheless, impressed with the contribution of goalkeeper Keith Welch, who made his debut after being captured on a short-term deal as cover for the injured Kevin Pilkington.

Curle said: "He did everything we asked of him and, in fact, he was working a little bit harder than we would have liked."

Stags' second string were due to play Boston yesterday but the game was called off because of a frozen pitch.

The youth team's match against Notts County on Saturday suffered a similar fate.


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