EVENING POST PREVIEW
CURLE: WE WON'T BE SITTING BACK
Evening Post, 21 March 2003
They may boast international players, a bottomless pit of transfer cash and the Nationwide League's top marksmen, but Keith Curle is adamant that his Mansfield Town side have nothing to fear from their trip to Cardiff City tonight.
Stags go in search of their fourth away victory of the season and Curle, who serves the last game of a three-match ban, says his side will not be able to sit back and invite pressure at Ninian Park. Hot-shot Robert Earnshaw has hit 33 goals this season, breaking a club record that has stood for 76 years, but Curle says his team have to take the game to their opponents.
He said: "The best thing is that a lot of people outside this club expect us to go down there and get turned over.
"But we are going to go there and give them a game.
"We have had them watched and everyone knows where the danger lies.
"They have got good players and the finances in place to go and buy them but we are still going to make sure they earn their wages.
"They are not going to get the chance to simply turn up and beat us.
"The sort of commitment they showed at Huddersfield on Tuesday is what I will be demanding.
"We went to Huddersfield and dominated the game and the support we got was fantastic. It is no coincidence that they become more vocal when we appear to be more committed.
"They're not stupid. They know that we are going to give anyone a game in this division."
Curle is expected to name an unchanged team for the clash against Lennie Lawrence's men, who stayed hard on the tails of second-placed Crewe with a 2-1 success over Blackpool on Tuesday.
That means he will keep faith with goalkeeper Keith Welch despite the error that presented Martin Smith with a goal at the McAlpine Stadium, despite Kevin Pilkington's return to fitness.
Curle was impressed with the way his team fought back and earned a draw with a Wayne Corden penalty.
He said: "It was a bizarre goal to concede but Keith is an experienced player and one of those people that you don't have to say anything to.
"But I did think he was superb later on when he saved when the lad got through at the end and he made a great stop.
"When we played Cheltenham, we didn't have enough leaders on the pitch but, when we conceded at Huddersfield, everyone took responsibility and that's great.
"The whole team went all out to get their team-mate out of the mire.
"After all, he's got them out of it a few times since he has been here."
Notts County managed to come away from Ninian Park two weeks ago and Curle believes his side should have nothing to fear from facing Earnshaw in particular.
He said: "You have to give him respect because he is obviously a good goalscorer, who has electric pace and can be very dangerous around the box.
"But what we have to do is try and keep the ball in and around their goal.
"The only way forward for us is to play attacking football.
"They may well think that they have a God-given right to win but, if they go in with that attitude, they might just get bitten on the backside."
MANSFIELD (probable): Welch, Hassell, Day, Eaton, Doane, Lawrence, Disley, Curtis, Corden, Mendes, Christie. Subs: Larkin, Pilkington, Mitchell, Williamson, Gadsby.
BEN ENJOYING HIS STAGS STAY
Evening Post, 21 March 2003
Ben Doane has hinted he would like to stay at Mansfield permanently, if he is unable to force his way in at Sheffield United.
Doane is currently in the third month of a loan from the Blades and is enjoying the fact he has been able to gain Nationwide League experience with the Stags. The 23-year-old's Bramall Lane contract is up at the end of the season and he has already talked over the situation with Blades boss Neil Warnock.
He said: "We have had a bit of a chat and I think he will offer me something but he might let me go for the sake of my career if I have a better chance of getting regular first-team football elsewhere.
"I have played a few games for the first team this season but things have gone really well and you cannot complain about not getting in the team.
"But my loan will be up in the middle of next month and we will just see what happens then."
If selected, tonight's match will be Doane's tenth for the Stags and he has enjoyed his time at Field mill immensely.
He said: "I really looking forward to the match because it will be a good test for us against a side that is chasing promotion.
"It gives us the opportunity to test ourselves but if we play to our potential then I don't think there is any reason why we cannot get a result.
"Everyone at the club has made me feel really welcome and I am enjoying my time here.
"I want to get in as many games as I can and add a bit more consistency to my play and hopefully I will get the chance to do that."
Stags youth team are also in action tonight as they entertain Swindon Town in the semi-final of the Midland Floodlit Cup.
Kick-off at Field Mill is at 7pm and admission is £3 for adults and £1 for children.
MORRIS SNATCHES HOLYOAK FROM FORMER CLUB
Dr Martens League Eastern Division club King's Lynn have signed former Mansfield Town utility defender Danny Holyoak from Nationwide Conference strugglers Kettering Town.
Director of football Kevin Boon and manager Peter Morris confirmed that the 19-year-old has put pen to paper which sees him at The Walks until the end of the 2003/04 season.
The Spalding-based six foot two prospect has been captain of the Stags' Nationwide League Division Two reserve side.
"He has played 40-odd games for Mansfield's first team (er ... no - Martin) and can play anywhere across the back," said Morris.
"Danny is the right age group, and has quite a bit of experience.
"I think we needed a kick or push for the players, and we're also thinking about next season."
Holyoak was released by Mansfield in January.He recently had a short spell with Morris' former club Kettering, but has just come off a two-game ban earned when he was sent off in a trial game.
Latest | March 2003