NO NEWS FACES / DOANE LOAN EXTENDED
NO NEWS FACES FOR STAGS
STAGS will not be bringing in any new faces today as two sides smarting from bad results prepare to come face to face at Field Mill tomorrow when they take on former boss Andy King and his Swindon Town side (3pm).
This will be King's first return to Field Mill since his sacking in 1996 and the Robins arrive after two defeats in five days brought their run into mid-table safety to an abrupt halt.
Mansfield, with player-manager Keith Curle suspended for three games, had hoped to bring in some experienced central defensive cover.
But, first Rhys Day's red card was overturned by an FA panel freeing him up to play. And then none of the intended targets produced fruit leaving Curle to go with Day and Matt Gadsby.
"We will now go with what we've got and see what happens" said Curle.
"It was a massive boost not to lose Rees. We have tried for players but some priced themselves out of the market and others are not quite ready yet after coming back from injury."
Swindon's 3-0 home defeat by Cheltenham Town on Wednesday saw the other Robins leapfrog the Stags just four days after hoisting themselves off bottom spot by beating Mansfield 3-1 last weekend.
Curle and assistant John Gannon were at the County Ground on Wednesday and Gannon said: "It wasn't the result we wanted and that's just one of those things.
"But we are still only one point from fifth from bottom and we still know what we have to do.
"With Andy King coming back to his old club as well as those two defeats they will certainly be up for it.
"But we will be meeting them head-on as we feel we have the bit between our teeth as well after our defeat at Cheltenham."
There was also further good news when midfielder Bobby Hassell and striker Craig Mitchell both returned to training yesterday after injury.
And right back Bobby Hassell may also yet force himself into the squad if he can come through a training session unscathed today after improvements to his calf injury.
On-loan full back Ben Doane is back in the squad for the final game of a second month at Field Mill from Sheffield United, though Stags are hoping to get that loan extended to a third and final month today. United have already agreed and it just needs rubberstamping by Stags chairman Keith Haslam.
CURLE'S MOTORWAY MADNESS WORTHWHILE
Evening Post, 14 March 2003
After 24 hours of dashing around, Keith Curle had something to cheer when Rhys Day was spared a three-match ban at an FA appeal.
Curle drove back from Swindon on Wednesday night after watching tomorrow's opponents lose 3-0 to Cheltenham and was up at 6am yesterday to pick up chairman Keith Haslam and attend the meeting in Birmingham. Curle misses the first of three games tomorrow but was relieved at being spared "one more headache" with his Welsh Under-21 captain available to him.
He was sent off by Paul Taylor in the 1-0 defeat against Oldham a fortnight ago but his red card has been wiped out.
Curle said: "We are obviously delighted that things went our way and Rhys is available.
"It's been a great end to what has been a mad couple of days.
"Getting up at 6am to do these things might not have been what I thought management was all about.
"But I am prepared to go that extra mile and that is the attitude I want from my players."
Swindon have now lost to Stags' relegation rivals Northampton and Cheltenham in a matter of days but Curle said that would not have any affect on his preparations.
He added: "It wouldn't have mattered if they had won their last two games, we would have been looking at this match in exactly the same way.
"It's not our job to worry about what they are going to do because we have our own priorities.
"We had our own disappointment against Cheltenham last week and it is crucial that we bounce back from that."
Meanwhile, Curle has been able to extend Ben Doane's loan from Sheffield United to a third month.
"I spoke to Neil Warnock and he hasn't got a problem with Ben staying here so that is one less thing to worry about," he said.
"But it's been a bit like Dad's Army this week. We've all been telling each other, 'don't panic'."
Meanwhile, Liam Lawrence will be banned for two matches following comments he made to the referee after the 5-4 defeat against Bristol City back in November.
The ban comes into effect on March 31 and he will miss the clashes with Port Vale and Bristol City.
MANSFIELD (probable): Welch, Doane, Day, Gadsby, Eaton, Lawrence, Williamson, Curtis, Corden, Christie, Mendes. Subs: J White, A White, MacKenzie, Buxton, Beardsley.
REUNITED - KING BACK AT FIELD MILL
Evening Post, 14 March 2003
One was a young businessman who had just bought a football club for a pound, while the other was commercial manager at Luton Town.
That will be a decade ago in the summer and, six years after Keith Haslam sacked him in the opening stages of the 1996-97 season, Andy King will be making his first trip back to Field Mill tomorrow, with his new team Swindon Town. And there won't be any hard feelings from the former Everton midfielder as he arrives from the County Ground with his current outfit.
"I've got mixed memories of my time at Mansfield because I think we were only a couple of players away from having a really good team," he said.
"We had a great season, reaching the play-offs, beating Leeds home and away in the League Cup and had a cracking cup game against Wolves.
"But, at the end of the season, we had to sell Paul Holland, Darren Ward, Ian Baraclough and Steve Wilkinson and when we had a bad start to the next season, that was the end of it.
"There were lots of problems at the time and I haven't been back since, although I have driven past the ground a couple of times.
"But, when Mansfield came down to us, I made a point of seeing Keith and having a chat.
"After all, he gave me my first job in management and I have to thank him for that."
The two men's association goes back a long way to when King was learning his trade at Luton Town where Haslam's father Harry was his manager.
King said: "I remember Keith when he was a kid when I was playing under Harry, who was my first manager, for whom I had a lot of respect.
"I think that might have been one of the problems because I had known him for a long time, he was a lot younger than me and then he was my boss.
"But we did have some good times and I think that team we got to the play-offs has only just been eclipsed by the team that got promoted last season, playing some good football and scoring plenty of goals.
"We hit 112 that season and it was really memorable but I have got a job to do tomorrow."
He is looking forward to seeing Holland, who is now a member of teh Stags' coaching staff.
He said: "It will be nice to see him.
"He had a good career in the game but I think it could have been better for him.
"We sold him to Sheffield United because they were the ones who came in with the money but I think he could have had a better move elsewhere."
After losing to Northampton and Cheltenham in consecutive matches, Swindon are just casting a nervous look over their shoulders but King is confident they will not become embroiled in the mother of all relegation battles.
He said: "We had a good win in the LDV against Southend and our season moved on from there and we had a really good run.
"We got ourselves in a good position but I just wonder whether we have had a wobble knowing that a couple more wins would probably keep us up.
"I think it is going to take 50 points and that is going to leave a lot of teams needing five wins from their last ten games."
Bart aims to keep it clean
http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk, 14th March 2003
BART GRIEMINK could almost be quoting Oscar Wilde as he looks back on a
miserable few days for Swindon Town.
The Dutch stopper has seen four goals fly into his net in the last two games and he is anxious to keep a clean sheet at Field Mill.
He said: “You accept that you will have the odd bad performance but to lose two bad games in a row is not good at all.
“We just didn't get started against Cheltenham and we paid for it.
“People ask why we can beat Wigan and QPR but lose to lesser teams.
“I lay awake on Wednesday night trying to answer that question.
“Maybe we were a bit complacent. All I do know is that you're only as good as your last game.
“I think we have recovered well from a bad start to the season but there is still a lot of football to be played.”
Although happy enough with his own form this season, Griemink admits he would love to end the campaign with a few more clean sheets.
He said: “I was looking at the stats the other day and we haven't really had that many.”
But clean sheets do not tend to go hand in hand with games against Mansfield.
Griemink said: “They seem to score lots of goals but also concede a lot. Hopefully we can get the goals to win it.”
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