Duo return to boost Stags
CHAD.co.uk, 17Jan2008, by John Lomas
Weather permitting, Stags welcome high-riding Darlington to Field Mill on Saturday (3pm) with the boost of an away win behind them and welcome returns for top scorer Mickey Boulding and skipper Jake Buxton.
15-goal Boulding has been training all week after shaking off his hamstring strain from New Year's Day while Buxton has completed a one-game ban.
"It's a big boost to have those two back and John McAliskey is also fit again, though I think he needs more training," said Dearden.
"I am hoping to organise a friendly at Loughborough University next Monday or Tuesday for those who need a game.
"I know the FA Cup is a big game for us next week. But I have told the lads to forget it until after Saturday and I don't want it mentioning.
"Darlington is a very big game for us and we can't let Middlesbrough play on our minds."
Dearden watched Darlington win 3-0 at Morecambe on Tuesday and said: "It was never a 3-0 as the Darlington keeper pulled off some great saves at 1-0 and 2-0.
"But they are a very good side, full of experience and with a bit of pace. Two of their goals were from quick breaks.
"I am sure they will be in the top three or four at the end of the season.
"But the lads are in good spirits and looking forward to it. The away win at Chester last week was a massive, massive weight off their shoulders.
"It is mid-January and we hadn't won away from home which I have never heard of at any club I've been at.
"You could see what it meant to them when they went over to celebrate at the end with the fans who were magnificent again. Chester is not the shortest trip to make yet we had three or four hundred there again."
Mansfield's biggest threat this weekend may be the weather with the Field Mill surface already soaked and more rain predicted today and tomorrow and Darlington needing to know if they can travel down.
The club will be keen the match goes ahead as they are offering FA Cup priority vouchers to fans.
Abbott set for knee operation
Darlington striker Pawel Abbott is poised to undergo a knee operation after playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks.
The 25-year-old has been playing on in recent matches but will now have surgery to trim cartilage in his knee.
Boss Dave Penney confirmed the news and is hopeful of having the former Huddersfield player back in "a couple of weeks".
Nathan Arnold told Evening Post: "It is frustrating to be in and out of the side, but I know that is my own doing. I haven't always performed well when I have started, or played as well as I'd like coming off the bench either. If I am going to stay in the team then I have to play well every game, not just some of the time. If I can't do that then I can expect to be dropped. I know if I play as well as I can then I am good enough at this level. That is why it is frustrating that at the moment I lack consistency. I always believe in myself and know I can get back in the team. Hopefully I can nail down a place in the side, rather than dribs and drabs."
Full interview at http://www.thisismansfieldtown.co.uk
Gareth worth weight in gold
BILLY Dearden hopes any new signing will prove as valuable and versatile as Gareth Jelleyman.
The left back has been a revelation in recent weeks as he has operated in a variety of makeshift positions and Dearden said: "That sort of player is worth their weight in gold.
"We are looking to strengthen in all areas as we don't have much cover.
"Gareth has shown how versatile he is in playing left back, left midfield, centre midfield and left centre half and has not let us down.
"He is a player who goes out and gives you 100 per cent in any position.
"He couldn't get back into the team as Dan Martin was playing very well at left back but has played all over and loved every minute of it.
"He has done very well at centre half recently."
Indeed, an unlikely central defensive pairing of Jelleyman and John Mullins combined to shut out Chester City last weekend and help record the Stags' first away League win of the season.
But Dearden is likely to recall skipper Jake Buxton to face Darlington this Saturday.
That could means Jelleyman misses out unless youngster Chris Wood is dropped to the bench and Mullins to right back.
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