NEWS ON BUXTON, BAPTISTE, DIMECH, NEIL, McNIVEN
Football Post reports:
thanks to Carole for the transcription.
Jake will be ready:
JAKE Buxton is confident he will be fit enough for Mansfield Town's pre-season campaign.
The defender feared he might need a hernia operation after suffering from pain in his groin.
But he has discovered the problem was in his adductor – and has not felt any adverse affects since returning to training a week ago yesterday.
“I trained on the Friday and I'm all right” he said.
“I had a tear in my adductor and just need to take it steady. But I will be ok for next season.”
Bap is staying put:
ALEX John-Baptiste has scorched rumours the he will leave Field Mill this summer.
The Stags defender has been linked with a move to Sheffield United who are on the lookout for a new centre back.
But he said: “I haven't heard anything like that. As far as I know I'm staying at Mansfield.
Duty calls for Luke:
LUKE Dimech is hoping to secure a move to a League One Club before the start of the new season.
The Maltese defender represents his country in a World Cup qualifier in Sweden today, with a game in Iceland on Wednesday.
Dimech, who was released by Mansfield Town, has been training in Malta for nearly two weeks.
“I've managed to keep myself fit,” said the defender.
“It was just one of those things with Mansfield. It's good to have a couple of International games and I've kept myself ticking over since the end of the season.
“I've had offers to play in Malta but I'm not ready to go back yet. I'm definitely staying in the UK.
“I've had some interest from a couple of League One clubs and a couple of League Two – but hopefully I will be playing in League One next season.”
Alex Neil says he is relieved to have secured his short-term future, after signing a pre-season contract agreement with Hamilton Academicals.
The 23-year old, who turned down a new deal at Mansfield Town as it was for less money said: “The manager rang me and asked if I fancied going to Hamilton.
“To be honest, I didn't think it was going to happen at first. But I went up to see the ground and they are an ambitious club. They are looking to get promoted next season and the ground is only two minutes from my house up there.
“My girlfriend was desperate to go back home, so things have worked out well.
“I spoke to Dunfermline and they wanted me to go there, but the deal wasn't right. Hamilton are looking to go in the same direction as I am in my career.
“It wasn't about money at Mansfield, it was a matter of principle. If you've had a good season you expect to be rewarded, not have your salary cut.”
Heat now off for McNiven as Curle moves in:
With his Stags contract set to expire in a few weeks, cancer victim Scott McNiven tells Mark Roach of his relief at getting fixed up with a new club……
Scott McNiven admits he was getting concerned about his future as a professional footballer.
But the former Mansfield Town defender was able to breathe a sigh of relief this week, as he accepted an offer from previous Stags boss Keith Curle to join him at Chester City.
McNiven had only a few weeks remaining on his contract when Chester came in for him. And until Thursday, he was unsure if he would have a job this time next month.
The 27-year old returned from a spell out of the game for treatment for testicular cancer to feature in the final few games of the season, only to be told by Stags boss Carlton Palmer that he would not be offered a new contract.
In some respects, McNiven was like many other players who are facing the prospect of being out of work. But his situation was different.
He had accepted that clubs might be wary about taking him on because of what happened to him last season.
“I was still looking for a club last week,” said the full back. “I'd had a couple of sniffs from clubs but I was still waiting until the end of the week.”
McNiven, who was given the all clear on the medical front last month, was at least grateful that he had recovered – and was able to return to action before the end of last season.
“It wasn't a nice situation when it happened. But I tried to deal with it in a positive way and I just wanted to get back playing as soon as possible,” he said.
“I went to a couple of Mansfield games over Christmas and was told I would get a new contract, but it wasn't to be. When I did start playing again, I'd only been back training for two weeks. I hadn't even played in a reserve game.
“It was nice to be made captain for my first game back against Oxford, but I was well short of match fitness. I felt fitter in the following game at Bristol Rovers, but I played the rest of the season at left back which is a foreign position for me.
“I didn't have any problems in terms of the operation and the treatment though, and everything has gone well in that respect.”
McNiven was facing a difficult month as he searched for a new club.
One of his main aims over the next 12 months is to make sure he can help pay for his wedding to fiancée Adele, set for June 18 next year.
“I'm relieved I've got something sorted out now, he added. “I've got a mortgage and a wedding to pay for. I want to be able to provide for Adele and to be able to pay for the wedding.
“My agent has been ringing around and I had rung managers I know. My Mansfield contract was due to finish at the end of the month so I only had a few weeks to get something sorted out with a new club.
“It has been a very worrying time. I didn't know where my next wage packet would be coming from. It was a daunting prospect – and it was even more daunting for me because I thought clubs would be sceptical about what's happened to me and that Mansfield released me.”
The Leeds-born Scot, who played for Oldham and Oxford United before joining Mansfield, admits he has a lot to be thankful for.
“Even when I was wondering if I would be able to find a new club, I knew there were a lot of people in much worse situations than I was in,” he said. Health is the number one priority, it's more important than money.
“I'm glad to be healthy now, but at the same time I was thinking that a bit of money wouldn't go amiss!
“I've only known football as a career and I didn't know what else I would do if I didn't find a new club before my Mansfield contract ran out. I had considered that I might have needed to find something else to do.
“I thought about doing my coaching badges, but a lot of players do that and there are only so many coaching jobs.
“I would want to work outdoors if I wasn't playing football, I couldn't sit in an office all day. “It would be great to earn a living as a golfer – the problem with that is that I'm not that good!
“There are a few building sites near me so, if it came to it, I was thinking of going down to one of the sites to ask for a job.”
McNiven remained quietly confident he would secure a deal with a new club before his Stags contract expired.
“I've only just turned 27 so I'm still young. I was hoping that managers would look at my appearance record and think of me as a good player.
“To know that players like Alan Stubbs and Neil Harris carried on playing after recovering from testicular cancer made me feel more positive. But the difference is that they stayed with their clubs, whereas I was looking for a new one.
“I've had the all clear twice now and I don't need to go back until September. It's looking good, the signs are hopeful that the cancer won't come back. I've just tried to put that to the back of my mind and get on with the rest of my life.
“I'm thankful it wasn't more serious. If you are going to get cancer, where I got it is the best place to get it as it's less likely to spread.”
McNiven said his fiancée was on standby just in case he was about to begin a spell without earning any money.
“She works as a debt recovery officer for the Nationwide Building Society, and I told her she might have to do some overtime. And the way it was going, I thought I might need her help with dealing with debt problems!
“We live in Northampton and we are quite settled, but it always looked like we would have to move. As a professional footballer you just have to accept that you could move around.”
McNiven, who is friends with Hucknall Town midfielder Roy Hunter, added: “I've been keeping fit but I've had to train on my own because Roy's too knackered after the FA Trophy final!
“I've been doing a lot of running and working out at the gym and I play golf regularly with Roy. I've had some fun giving him some stick after he missed his penalty in the FA Trophy final.”
McNiven revealed that he has had to give up on the idea of a holiday in the sun this summer.
“It's out of the window. I've had radiotherapy and I've been advised not to get a sun tan, and there was the cost issue too. I wasn't really able to make any plans until I knew if I was going to be earning money. We might just go away for a few days in the Lake District.
“I was just waiting for some comeback. There were one or two clubs interested and I was just waiting for offers. I was always optimistic I would get something sorted out - but it's a relief that Keith Curle decided to give me an opportunity at Chester.”
Latest | June 2005