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Archived News from March 2003

28th March 2003 13:18

BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 28 March 2003
A Football team engulfed in a relegation battle could be described as feeling the heat.
But, at Field Mill, the players appear to be keeping cool and the only thing hot was Adam Eaton's mauve shirt, set alight by the Stags fashion police and left to smoulder in the car park. Manager Keith Curle, who admitted being an accessory as he supplied the lighter, believes it is just the sort of zany team spirit that will help Stags force their way out of the drop zone against fellow strugglers Peterborough tomorrow.
Above all, he is getting his players to use the fear factor to their advantage and said they had nothing to worry about.
"We really have got nothing to be scared of and we are using the fear factor in a positive way.
"I have been playing for a long time and both John Gannon and Paul Holland have been too and there aren't many things we haven't seen in the game.
"The chances of them happening tomorrow are pretty remote so we have been stressing on them the role each one of them has in the team and telling them to stick at them."
Curle insists his players are confident as they play the first of four home games against fellow strugglers.
Barry Fry's men will be followed by Port Vale and Barnsley coming to Field Mill before Northampton Town visit on the final day.
They also face trips to Bristol City, Blackpool and Tranmere.
Above all, the manager believes they are growing up, primarily as a response to their circumstances as they mature into men.
Curle, who is available again after a three-match suspension, said: "I think a lot of them have grown up.
"When I came to the club, people like Rhys Day just seemed to be a young lad.
"But, with his performances in the last couple of weeks, you can tell he is now a young man.
"Adam Eaton is the same, before he came here, he had played fewer than 20 games but now they see themselves as first-team players rather than the reserves at other clubs and that has given them a big boost."
Curle says he has no doubts that his team can do the job, even though he was unable to boost his squad before yesterday's transfer deadline.
He said: "We inquired about a few players but one wanted to hang around for a testimonial and another wanted to fight for a new contract.
"Plenty of names were given to us but I don't think they were better than what we have and I wasn't prepared to get someone in who wouldn't boost the squad.
"But I am more than happy to go with what I have got.
"Really, I think the fact we haven't brought anyone in has shown that we got the right players before."
Colin Larkin was expected to train today after having a tight hamstring and he is likely to be in the squad against Posh, which will see Stags trying to extend their run of just one defeat in their last six home games.
MANSFIELD (probable): Welch, Hassell, Day, Eaton, Doane, Lawrence, Curtis, Disley, Corden, Mendes, Christie. Subs: Pilkington, Mitchell, Larkin, Williamson, Curle.

BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 28 March 2003
Mansfield hot-shot Iyseden Christie is desperate to get back in the goals tomorrow to help the Stags push away from trouble.
The 26-year-old striker has scored 19 goals this season but is disappointed not to have found the net in the last four games, his last coming in the 3-2 win over Luton at the start of the month. But he sees tomorrow's clash against Peterborough as the ideal opportunity to break the 20-goal barrier.
He said: "My form is not too bad at the moment but it has been better and I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't been playing well in the last few games.
"But , hopefully, I can put that right on Saturday.
"It's just something I have been going through.
"That might make people think that I am not trying, which is not the case but that feeling becomes more prevalent when you haven't scored for a few games."
Christie, who rejoined the Stags in the summer after Leyton Orient told him they couldn't offer him a new contract, believes he might have been a victim of his own success.
He said: "I don't think people really expected much of me when I came back and I knew the first time I was here, I would be all right if I had a good run in the team.
"But that is not really happened for me until this season.
"I used to do a lot of running around and not really getting anywhere but I am a lot wiser and older now and I think I have showed people what I can do this season."


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