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Archived News from December 2003

5th December 2003 15:00

Previews of the Wycombe game:

The Stagsnet report is likely to be later than normal (in fact not until Saturday, as I am doing co-commentary on 103.2, and then don't have a driver).
Mendes to star in Stags night

In-form Mansfield Town are 2/1 to defeat struggling Wycombe in the second round of the FA Cup, live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm, Friday.

The Chairboys have yet to register a league win under manager Tony Adams and are rooted at the bottom of Nationwide Two. Adams did however start his managerial career with a 4-1 win over Swindon in the previous round - 33/1 for that winning scoreline here - and has happy memories of a competition in which he lifted the cup three times.

And no doubt the former Gunner will be hoping that Mansfield boss Keith Curle suffers the usual slip-up after he received November's manager of the month award for Nationwide Three.

No surprise then to see that the Stags have been in superb form - especially in front of goal - rippling the onion bag 20 times in their last six games, (all competitions) and having hit 46 in total in their division.

Contributing 10 of those goals is forward Liam Lawrence and he rates a fair shout at 8/1 to score the first goal in the 90 minutes.

Curle though has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. One of them is the red-hot Junior Mendes (7/1) who has bagged four in his last five appearances.

Iyseden Christie recorded the first goal in the 3-0 win over Northampton last Saturday and is a 11/2 alternative, and cases can also be made for the midfielders as Wayne Corden and Craig Disley have chipped in with six and five goals respectively and are 12/1 and 10/1 chances. Corden it should be mentioned bagged a brace against Wycombe in last season's 3-3 draw at the Causeway Stadium.

Jermaine McSporran is one of the form men to be wary of in the first scorer market having hit four goals in his last five games for the Wanderers, and he is a 5/1 option.

Wycombe's other weapon has been midfielder Darren Currie who is the club's leading scorer in the league with five goals and is a 8/1 price to net first.

Last season the two teams drew 0-0 and 3-3 in Nationwide Two and a third straight stalemate occurring is available at 9/4.

Given the way that the Stags have been playing it's probably worth siding with them to win this match in 90 minutes. For followers of trends Wycombe's last two home games have ended in 2-1 defeats and they have lost six times this term by that margin as well.

Combine a 2-1 win with the in-form Mendes netting the opener could see you reap rewards at goalcast odds of 40/1.
Evening Post
STEVIE RODEN, 05 December 2003

Stags boss Keith Curle believes his players will not be fazed by the Sky TV cameras when they battle it out with Wycombe this evening.

The game against Tony Adams' side will be screened across the country as the two teams fight for a place in the lucrative third-round of the FA Cup.

It is the first time Curle has come up against Adams in management and he is determined to win - especially as he has lost two semi-finals against the former Arsenal man in the past.

And Curle is confident his Stags team will not let him down and will concentrate on their football, not the fact they're on TV.

Curle joked: "The players are excited and that is heightened by it being on television, so some of them will be doing their hair and covering up a few spots before they go out.

"But I do not think it will affect their game because the television will not add pressure. There is always a fear factor in football whenever you play and it's how you react to it that counts.

"We have got to earn the right to play and if we do our job, we will get time to play in the final third which is the key."

Curle says a few players are carrying knocks and may not make the game, although he is keeping their names under wraps. And he says there may be a shake-up in formation as he chooses his best team to beat Division Two basement boys Wycombe.

He said: "I've had them watched three times and they have changed both their players and formations.

"But we know their strengths and weaknesses and our work ethic is still the same. We are going there wanting to come away with a result.

"I have a few selection problems and the selection might surprise some people.

"But I have lost twice to Tony Adams in the FA Cup and I want to make it third time lucky this evening."

Curle was voted the Third Division Manager of the Month for November but does not believe the title is a poisoned chalice.

He said: "I don't believe in other people's superstitions and I'm confident going into the game. Everyone wants to be in that third-round draw and that is where I hope we'll be."

One selection headache Curle has is whether to stick with Craig Disley on the left or play Wayne Corden.

Disley played the full game last Saturday and impressed, scoring to take his tally to five for the season.

Curle said: "Dis' is a great player. He reminds me a bit of David Platt because his arrival and timing of runs into the box is excellent, so he will always get goalscoring chances."

Team (probable): Pilkington, Hassell, Vaughan, Artell, Dimech, Williamson, MacKenzie, Lawrence, Corden, Mendes, Christie. Subs: Disley, J White, Curtis, Larkin, Dimech.


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