STAGS' CHANCE TO AVENGE CALAMITY
TIM WALTERS, Evening Post, 28 February 2003
REVENGE will be high on the agenda for Mansfield Town when they take on Oldham at Field Mill tomorrow (3pm).
The Latics provided perhaps Stags' biggest disappointment of the season when they beat them 6-1 at Boundary Park in September. Since then, Mansfield have noticeably picked up under new manager Keith Curle.
And, for the first time since he took over, Curle has a full squad to choose from - minus injured goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington.
"It's nice to have competition for places all over the park," said assistant-manager John Gannon.
"Obviously there were a number of decent performances last week against Queens Park Rangers and that gives us a nice challenge in selecting a team for tomorrow."
Mansfield's trip to Oldham was marked by four goals from Clyde Wijnhard as Iain Dowie's side completely outplayed the visitors.
"Myself and Keith weren't involved with the team at that stage, but I'm sure that some of the players must remember what happened that day," said Gannon.
"I'm not sure that revenge is the right word. In many ways it's just another game and, after all, there have been plenty of changes at this club since that performance."
Wijnhard is out with a knee problem and Oldham have struggled to cope with the loss of his goals.
Despite pushing hard for promotion they have only picked up three wins this year, although two of those have come on the road at Tranmere and Stockport.
But it is their away form that has kept Oldham in the push for the second automatic promotion place, having gone through the season unbeaten away.
Ben Burgess has been brought in on loan from Stockport to replace Wijnhard but he is without a goal in five games.
Goalkeeper Keith Welch makes his home debut for the Stags, having featured in the loss at Colchester and the draw against Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.
Welch, who has now joined the club for the rest of the season, showed his shot-stopping prowess by saving a penalty at QPR.
Curle also has Liam Lawrence, Tom Curtis and Andy White back after suspensions, but none are certain to come back into a team which looked like getting three points at Loftus Road until Kevin Gallen's last-minute strike after Stags had played for more than an hour with just ten men following the sending-off of Andy Jones.
But Lawrence, the club's second-highest scorer behind Iyseden Christie, looks the most likely player to return.
Oldham haven't played in the league at Field Mill since 1977 when they went back to Lancashire with a 2-0 win.
And you have to go back to 1972 for Mansfield's last league victory against tomorrow's visitors.
But, looking at the overall picture, Mansfield have an excellent home record against Oldham having won 12 of their 23 meetings at Field Mill, losing only seven times.
Meanwhile, Adam Eaton is still negotiating personal terms with Mansfield after the club agreed a fee with Preston for the on-loan left-back.
Gannon revealed that they are still hopeful of completing the deal, but warned that "these things aren't always tied up quickly".
Stags (from): Welch, Hassell, Gadsby, Eaton, Curle, Day, Corden, Disley, Williamson, Mendes, Christie, Lawrence, Curtis, A White, J White, Mitchell, Clarke, Beardsley, Jones.
Mansfield v Oldham
Mansfield player-manager Keith Curle has a full squad to choose from for the first time this season.
The Stags boss welcomes back Tom Curtis, Liam Lawrence and Andy White after suspension.
Striker Iyseden Christie has now fully recovered from a knee problem.
He suffered no reaction to the injury last weekend at QPR, where he made an emphatic return to the side by scorimg twice in the Stags' 2-2 draw.
Oldham Athletic midfielders Darren Sheridan and John Eyre are major injury doubts ahead of the clash with Mansfield Town.
Sheridan is struggling with a torn muscle at the shoulder joint, an injury he picked up at Stockport County a fortnight ago, while Eyre is battling an ankle knock.
Matty Appleby has an outside chance of playing after recovering from a thigh problem, but Josh Low (back) has no chance of being fit.
Manchester Evening News Preview: Mansfield v Oldham Athletic
OLDHAM'S visit to relegation-threatened Mansfield should give their goal-shy strikers a chance to shine.
Third-bottom Stags have leaked 69 goals in 33 games - by far the worst record in the second division. But they can put them in at the other end and only four sides have scored more.
Iain Dowie's high-fliers are still unbeaten away, eight months into the season. Oldham have seen off 16 clubs on their travels.
'They can be dangerous'
Dowie said: "We won't underestimate Mansfield because they are in the bottom four. They had a great result at QPR last Saturday and any team in their position can be dangerous."
Latics will be without skipper Matty Appleby (thigh) and Danny Boshell (ankle) but midfielder Darren Sheridan could make a surprise return after shoulder damage.
He has trained for the last two days and Dowie added: “He is a tough little character and we will wait and see if he suffers any reaction.”
LAST SEASON: Different divisions.
KEY OPPONENT: Iyseden Christie -- top scorer with 17 goals.
PREDICTION: Mansfield 1 Oldham 2
Meanwhile from the Preston Official Site:
Manager Craig Brown has admitted that Adam Eaton could be on his way to Mansfield if the player's financial discussions can get sorted.
Adam Eaton has been dubbed 'Eminem' at Mansfield, but it will be than an eight -mile trip if the Liverpool-born full-back can agree personal terms with the Stags.
Manager Craig Brown admitted today that Mansfield were in discussion to make the left-back's loan move permanent and that if all the financial pieces could be sorted then a move would be on the cards.
"Mansfield want him so there's negotiations going on.
"I've agreed that as along as there's a sell-on clause, in case he goes to Arsenal or Manchester United, because of our left side provision, with reluctance, that if Mansfield want him they can buy him for a modest fee."
And Brown believes it is right to let him go, due to the other players in front of him here at Deepdale, preventing his development.
"We've got provision on the left and I want to have a tight squad. I think we've got too many on the fringe and everything is better in terms of tightness and efficiency in training if you have a smaller squad."
Latest | February 2003