CURLE PREVIEWS CARDIFF
Hassell hopes high as Stags face Welsh mountain
BOBBY Hassell's calf injury has responded to treatment and he looks set to keep his place in an expected unchanged line-up for Stags at Cardiff City tomorrow night (Friday, 7.45pm).
Full back Hassell suffered a dead leg early in the second half in the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield on Tuesday and was limping at the end.
He didn't train today (Thursday) but has jogged lightly on the injury under the guidance of physio Ian Pearce.
"Bobby has assured me he will be fine for tomorrow," said player-manager Keith Curle, who sits it out in the final game of his four-match ban.
"He did well to get through the second half on Tuesday but he should be fine for Cardiff."
Colin Larkin came through his first 90 minutes in the reserves yesterday and Curle added: "He suffered no ill effects though he is clearly a bit short on confidence with the injury and was not the old Colin Larkin I know who has electric pace. He still looks a bit wary.
"That confidence will return with games and time but he is available for selection tomorrow."
Larkin is again likely to be on standby to come off the bench late in the game again if needed.
Stags are certainly under no illusions of the size of mountainous task that awaits them at Ninian Park where 33-goal ace Robert Earnshaw will be looking to add to his tally and keep the Bluebirds on target for automatic promotion.
"The best thing is that a lot of people outside the club expect us to go down there and get turned over tomorrow," said Curle.
"But we will give them a game. Earnshaw has scored 33 goals so it's no mystery where their danger comes from.
"But Cardiff have no divine right to just turn up and expect to get the points. They will have to go out there and earn their wages us because you can bet our players will.
"You hope they will look at the table and think it's only Mansfield and think they can take their foot off the pedal. If they do they just might get bitten on the backside."
He added: "We will be having a go at them. It's not our style to try to contain sides. Our strength is in attack - the same as them. We have to try to find their weaknesses which have got to be closer to their goal. The more times we can get the ball in and around their box the better.
"Of course we respect Earnshaw's goals tally. But we are not going overboard on it."
Welsh U21 international Rhys Day is particularly looking forward to the game with a coachload of friends and family expected from his home town.
There will also be a reunion for Curle when he mets up again with Sam Hammam, the Cardiff supremo who was formerly his chairman at Wimbledon.
"It will be nice to see Sam again," said Curle. "He loves me you know. Not surprising when you consider he bought me for half a million and sold me for two and a half million!"
Curle is still hoping to get at least a striker in the building before next Thursday's transfer deadline.
"I will be using our free Saturday to go and look at one," he said.
"I do have one or two I have been monitoring. Ideally we want someone to come in who can score us 15 goals in our last eight games! Perhaps that's hoping for too much, though."
Latest | March 2003