CURLE ON SWINDON GAME
Terriers tester starts tough week for Stags
MANSFIELD Town enter a crucial spell of two tough away games in four days when they travel to relegation rivals Huddersfield Town tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm).
And player-manager Keith Curle demanded more of the same from his players after Saturday's gritty 2-1 win over Swindon.
"That is the attitude we need to show at Huddersfield," said Curle, who misses both games with suspension.
"We got the exact reaction we wanted individually and collectively on Saturday after the disappointment at Cheltenham.
"The lads were spot on in the first half, although giving them a goal just before half time gave Swindon a bit of belief. But I was proud of us in the second half as we didn't falter.
"A lot of people probably thought we would snatch a draw from the jaws of victory again. But they defended with their professional lives."
Huddersfield won 2-0 at Field Mill back in October. But they have only won six of 18 home games at the McAlpine Stadium and Curle said: "It would be a great one to win.
"It's certainly a massive game as they are fighting for their lives like we are.
"It might not be a pretty game or a feast of football. But we need another committed performance.
"This is a big week of football for Mansfield Town. By next Satururday we will have a clearer picture of what we have to do.
"I still believe 50 points will be enough to keep us up, however we achieve it. The easiest way is three wins and two draws.
"There won't be much time between the games at Huddersfield and Cardiff on Friday. But if you are winning football matches the next one can't come soon enough."
Curle reported a full bill of health after Saturday's game so the squad will be unchanged with striker Colin Larkin added after coming through training without any ill effects on his hamstring.
"Everyone will be involved, though it may be horses for courses and a different 16," said Curle.
The only player currently unavailable is Scott Sellars who is still feeling the effects of his illness two weeks ago which saw him lost 8lbs in four days."
Eaton saves Stags a transfer move
The versaility of Adam Eaton looks like it will save Stags plunging into the transfer market for a loan central defender.
Eaton deputised there in Saturday's 2-1 win over Swindon and formed a solid partnership with the impressive Rhys Day, Eaton moving over from left back to cover for suspended player-manager Keith Curle.
Curle tried without success to get some experienced cover at the end of last week.
But, having seen Eaton play as a central defender before, he gambled on playing him there on Saturday ahead of Matt Gadsby - the club's only other available centre half - and it paid off on the day.
Eaton will continue there at Huddersfield tomorrow and Curle said: "Adam did well.
"I knew he could play there - I saw him do it for Preston reserves before we signed him. Adam is a very capable defnder who can play anywhere across the back four.
"He has the righ attitude towards defending and it looks like he will save us having to go out and get someone else in as I will be back after Friday."
However, Curle said new faces may be added to the squad before the transfer deadline a week on Thursday.
"I have three loans left and I will use them if I can bring in players if I can. But they will have to be better quality than what we have already as I will not bring them in just to fill shirts."
Pilkington ready to challenge for Stags keeper jersey
Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington is back to full fitness and ready to fight for his place again.
Pilkington suffered a punctured lung and rib damage during Stags' win over Notts County on 8th February.
In the meantime Mansfield moved quickly to bring in Keith Welch for the rest of the season - and he has turned in some impressive displays, culminating in Saturday's man of the match performance.
But Pilkington was back on the bench for the first time by his own request on Saturday and player-manager Keith Curle said: "Kevin has come back into training and looked sharp.
"He has been given the all-clear by the physio and is happy within himself about the injury. We asked him if he felt ready on Saturday, particularly if he was called on early, and he said he was.
"Now it's about competition for places. Keith Welch has done well since he came in with just that one lapse at Cheltenham when I'd blame him for the first goal. Apart from that he's been a credit to himself and I am sure Kevin knows that as well.
"At the same time Keith knows he has got to be on his toes and perform at a very high standard as he has a good goalkeeper waiting in the wings to take his place. It's just what we need at the club."
Latest | March 2003