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Archived News from March 2004

11th March 2004 23:04

Stags miss out on Thorpe
STAGS boss Keith Curle has failed to land experienced striker Lee Thorpe.
With former Stags goal ace Chris Greenacre now almost certainly not returning to Field Mill, Curle had widened his net in his search for another striker for the promotion chase run-in.
Thorpe (28) had been told by Leyton Orient that there will no no renewal of his contract in the summer and he has gone out on loan to Grimsby Town.
Curle said: "I made enquires about Lee and spoke to his agent.
"But we were simply talking too much money. But Lee is the sort of player I am after. I am looking for quality and won't take just anyone just to appease folk."
Thorpe scored 66 goals in five seasons with Stags' opponents this Saturday, Lincoln City. But it has turned sour for him at Orient this season, scoring only four times, and has been told he won't feature in the first team again at Brisbane Road.
However, Curle has already boosted his firepower with the arrival of veteran Laurent D'Jaffo and has two more weeks before transfer deadline day.
He has already confessed he would, ideally, like to bring in three players - a striker, a midfielder and one other.
One player who looks unlikely to come is Greenacre after reports suggested he was prepared to sit tight and battle for a place at Stoke.
"All I can go by are those reports," said Curle. "Stoke know of our interest and, as regulations prevent me from talking to the player directly, we have to be governed by what we are told.
"And it does seem to be the case that Chris wants to stay there and fight for his place so you have to admire his self-belief."
Confident Stags on the front foot
MANSFIELD Town will take the game to neighbours and fellow promotion-chasers Lincoln City from the off in Saturday's mouthwatering six-pointer at Sincil Bank (3pm).
Mansfield face two crucial away matches in four days and Stags boss Keith Curle has set them a minimum target of four points before they end the season with a run of seven games at home and four away.
"Lincoln need the three points as much as ourselves," said Curle. "And they have a lot of belief in their style of play which involves getting the ball and men forward quickly.
"We have to be brave enough to try to play our football against that and know when to play and when we just have to match them.
"It's not a game we need to win in the first 10 minutes, though on the times I haave seen them, the last thing you must do is start the game on the back foot.
"If you do they will make things very difficult for you. Sometimes the best form of defence is attack.
"We were going well when they came to our place and upset the applecart, winning 2-1 just before Christmas. We do owe them for that, but it's not a grudge match. We are going there believing strongly that the three points are attainable.
"Despite some of our recent results, the mood in the camp has remained bouyant. I have noticed a real extra bite in training this week with players giving me that extra yard.
"John Gannon and I are great believers in training how you play and, after some poor recent results, the lads could either have gone under or stood up and be counted.
"It's very important we get the right result in these next two games. After that it's up to us with seven home and four away.
"But we know there are no easy games in this division - ask Huddersfield. Everyone thought they had a guaranteed three points at Carlisle last week. We know that everyone is capable of beating everyone else just by our own results."
Certainly Sincil Bank holds no great fears for Stags, who have won their last two games at Lincoln and been victorious in three out of the last four.
And the Imps' excellent run of results have taken a wobble in recent weeks with a fine 2-0 home win over Hull sandwiched by a 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield and a 3-2 loss at Cheltenham last Saturday.
Curle will have virtually a full squad to choose from with Tony Vaughan (ankle) and Craig Disley (dead leg) shaking off knocks from last Saturday.
Tom Curtis has also got another full week's training under his belt after being forced back into action early as a second half substitute last Saturday following a knee operation.
Neil MacKenzie, who has also had a cartilage operation, is expected back in training next week with a view to fighting for a place against Oxford United on Saturday week. But the unlucky Adam Eaton is back at Lillishall National Rehabilitation Centre after running on the recent hard ground aggravated his long-standing groin problem.
Lincoln are hoping to bring in two new faces in time to face Mansfield.
The Imps are looking to sign 24-year-old Scunthorpe United defender Jamie McCombe on a free transfer and Stockport County's left-sided midfielder Kevin Ellison on a month's loan.
Stags fans are reminded that Saturday's game is all-ticket for away supporters and these must be purchased from Field Mill before 5pm this Friday. There will no tickets on sale for away fans on the day.


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