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Archived News from March 2003

26th March 2003 12:54

Evening Post, 26 March 2003

With seven games remaining of their campaign, Mansfield Town manager Keith Curle tells reporter IAN WILKERSON that he believes 50 points will be enough to keep the Stags in Division Two...

You only have to look into a football manager's eyes when he says he is not concerned with other people's results to tell he is being economical with the truth. The we've-only-got-to-concern-ourselves-with-what-we-do argument won't wash.

Stags boss Keith Curle has been posting members of his staff to grounds far and wide to gauge the performances of his relegation rivals and he could probably quote the positions at the bottom of the Division Two table verbatim.

And Curle is still putting his faith in 50 points being enough to avoid the drop.

However, he warns Stags fans that it is not going to be pretty as his charges look to extend their stay in Division Two beyond a solitary season.

Mansfield have seven games left, four of which are at home and fall comfortably into the winnable bracket.

Tustles at Field Mill with Peterborough, Port Vale, Barnsley and a final-day showdown with Northampton will decide their season.

They also face trips to Bristol City, Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers.

Curle is confident that such a total can be achieved and today pointed to last Friday's performance in the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff as the basis of his optimism.

"We can take a lot of credit out of that performance because we set a standard and I think we achieved it," he said.

"I am convinced we will play worse than that and win this season - but it is all about results now.

"It might not be that entertaining but this is a results-based industry."

When Curle took over the reins in December, Stags were bottom of the table, six points away from the safety of fifth-from-bottom.

They had 15 points from their first 20 games and Curle, who will be available to play in Saturday's clash with Peterborough after serving a three-match suspension, is pleased that the Stags have given themselves a chance of staying up.

"It is very pleasing that we are in there with the pack and have given ourselves a good chance," he said.

"If you had said to me when I took over that we would go into the last quarter of the season in this position then I would have definitely taken it.

"We just have to get out there and do it.

"I was saying to (assistant manager) John Gannon that it would be great to get the games out of the way in a space of a week but we cannot do that.

"I'm still standing by my prediction of 50 points because I don't think everyone down there will get that total, looking at the games they have to play.

"But what we have to do is be disciplined and perform to our best.

"Our home form is going to be the key, but I am confident.

"We have had some good games here recently and I think everyone in the league would recognise that coming to Field Mill and getting a point is not a bad result.

"We have to make sure we break teams down.

"The fans have their part to play too and we want them to be shouting their heads off because that certainly makes a difference."

Curle is up for what lies ahead, anyway.

"I just love coming into work every morning and I love the challenge," he added.

"I am focused on the job and we have to make sure the players are right for every game we go into."

He then dashed out of his office, but there was still time for one last glance at the Division Two table.


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