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Archived News from October 2004

15th October 2004 14:32

Evening Post, 15 October 2004
Kevin Pilkington admits he is surprised at how Notts County have struggled early on this season, but he is under no illusions about how tough a test Mansfield face tomorrow.

The Magpies were one of the Stags captain's favourites for promotion at the beginning of the season.

But despite their bad start to the new campaign, Pilkington is only too aware that Gary Mills's side are still top of the away form table.

And with the addition of local rivalry, he knows it will be a difficult afternoon for the Stags as they look to get three points, following last Friday's 1-0 defeat at Swansea.

He said: "Everybody thought Notts County would be straight back up there at the top but they have had a bad start.

"But away from home, they are performing and it is going to be a big test for us, but we will be up for it.

"Local derbies are always good games to play in because you know just how much they mean to the fans.

"Two seasons ago we did not lose to them. Both matches had a great atmosphere with big crowds and the same is expected tomorrow.

"But we have to bounce back from last Friday's defeat and we want the points to keep us up there at the top of the table."

Pilkington said everyone was disappointed after Swansea's last-minute winner at the Vetch and wanted to put it right.

And with everyone except Chris Tate and Adam Eaton back from injury, the Stags are in a healthy position to put one over the Magpies.

"We did not play the best football last Friday but nobody could fault our desire and commitment to do well," said Pilkington.

"Before that, we had gone on a run of six league games unbeaten and we want to start another run, beginning against Notts County tomorrow.

"It is up to us to get the ball down and try to pass it around and not get drawn into a battle.

"But with the type of game it is you cannot hold back and if the ball is there to be won, you have got to go in and win it.

"However, we want to play our football and entertain the fans and with that we will score goals.

"Colin Larkin has been looking really sharp this season.

"He has got off to a great start and with seven goals already, I think he will keep getting better and knock them in."

But Pilkington does have one vivid memory from a Coca-Cola Cup with the Magpies clash three seasons ago.

County's goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall scored when his long clearance bounced over Pilkington, embarrassing the Stags stopper as it went into the net.

"I don't really want to remember that," said Pilkington.

"I don't intend for it to happen again."

Evening Post, 15 October 2004
Stags boss Keith Curle celebrates his 100th game in charge of Mansfield Town tomorrow when local rivals Notts County visit Field Mill.

Curle played in the victory at Field Mill two seasons ago when he took charge of the Stags as player-manager.

He will be in the dug-out for tomorrow's game but is confident his side can secure all three points in front of a bumper crowd, and get into the play-off places.

Curle made the trip to Macclesfield last Sunday, where Notts County battled to an impressive 2-1 win against the Silkmen.

But the Mansfield manager believes his players have enough ability to defeat Gary Mills' side.

"Any derby game is a big game and these are the type of matches we all want to be involved in," said Curle.

"Notts looked good on the break but I believe they are beatable.

"Monday was the start of a new week. We spent five or six minutes talking about the Swansea game but now that is forgotten and we are focusing on taking all three points tomorrow.

"The crowd will be hungry for a victory and I expect it to be a full house."

Curle was disappointed with the result last Friday after a last-gasp goal condemned Town to a 1-0 defeat.

But at the same time he praised his players for their solid defensive display.

He said: "We kept them down to only a few chances but it was just one lapse of concentration that cost us in the last few minutes.

"But we should have caused them more problems with the amount of possession we had.

"The game was a great advert for Friday night football and a tight encounter which provided value for money.

"Overall, we went down there and gave a good account of ourselves, and were prepared to stand up to Swansea."

Evening Post, 15 October 2004
Striker Steve Scoffham can't wait to get his first taste of the local derby atmosphere - even though he won't get on the pitch at Field Mill.

The 21-year-old is still at least three weeks away from making a first team return, after breaking his leg at the end of last season.

But the former Gedling Town man is hoping to be allowed to sit on the bench, when the Magpies face Mansfield Town tomorrow in a vital League Two clash.

"I am really looking forward to it, it is something I have never experienced before," said Scoffham.

"I have never been to a local derby between Notts and Mansfield, hopefully there will be a good atmosphere.

"There is a bit of rivalry between the two sides, perhaps more so in recent years.

"And, though I won't be playing, I am looking forward to getting a taste of it. I won't be involved, but perhaps I will be able to get down to sit on the bench, to really taste the atmosphere.

"Either way, I will be definitely be there and I certainly hope to be involved when Stags come to Meadow Lane in February."

Despite their early season struggles, Scoffham believes Notts have what it takes to win at Field Mill.

Particularly considering their away form, which has seen them win three, draw two and lose just one of the games.

"It is an important match, if we win we could move a long way up the table," he said.

"And with our recent away form there is no reason why we shouldn't do it.

"It will not be easy, but we should be confident of getting a good result."
Evening Post, 15 October 2004
Gary Mills will tell his players to treat tomorrow's local derby "just like any other game."

But he admitted today: "I don't think it will be."

The Notts County manager is asking for more of the same from his players, after they extended their impressive away record with a 2-1 success at Macclesfield last weekend.

But while Mills believes his side are capable of recording their third consecutive win on their travels at Field Mill tomorrow, he believes the local derby atmosphere will be a significant factor in the outcome of the match.

"It is just another match really, that is how we should be seeing it," he said.

"But I don't think there is any question that it will not end up that way.

"Local derbies are always played with a bit more passion about them, with a bit more aggression perhaps.

"They tend to be games played at pace, with no lack of commitment.

"I am sure tomorrow won't be any different.

"We just have to go about things in the same manner as we have done every other away game this season.

"We have to play with confidence and belief."

After picking up 11 points from their six away matches so far this season, self-belief is a commodity Mills says his side should not be short of.

"We should have every right to play with confidence, when you look at our away form," he said.

"We have won at Lincoln, Rochdale and Macclesfield, picked up good draws at Northampton and Kidderminster and were unlucky to lose at Bristol Rovers.

"As long as we can perform to the same levels against Stags, we have every chance."

Mills says the Notts fans - who are expected to snap up all 1,850 tickets by the end of today - will have a big part to play.

"It is fantastic that we will have so many fans there to support us," he said.

"They did make a real difference to us at Macclesfield last week and having so many of them behind us again at Field Mill will be a real boost.

"The fans' backing is very much appreciated. Hopefully we can reward them with another good performance."
Evening Post, 15 October 2004
Previous records will count for nothing when Notts County visit Mansfield Town tomorrow, striker Glynn Hurst warned today.

The Magpies boast the best away record in League Two, while the Stags' form at Field Mill is also formidable.

But on-fire Hurst - who has scored six goals in the last four matches - says neither record will count for anything amid the fiercely contested atmosphere of a local derby.

"I have played for Chesterfield against Mansfield before, so I know what to expect," he said.

"I think this will be every bit as passionate as those games, because the two clubs are not far apart.

"You can say that Mansfield have a good record at home - and we have the best away record in League Two.

"But I don't think either will count for much tomorrow.

"These games are about passion and commitment.

"I don't have any doubt that Keith Curle will have his players fired up for the match. They will desperately want to win this.

"But so will we. It is going to be a real battle, a real fight to see who comes out on top.

"And I don't think previous records or relative league positions will come into it. It will be about who has the most fight."

Hurst says the fact that the Magpies will have considerable backing at Field Mill will come as a massive boost to the players.

"The fans have been superb to me all season," he said. "And the supporters generally have been very good, particularly those who do travel away.

"It is great to know that we will have good backing again in Mansfield. Hopefully we can give them something to be pleased about on the journey home."

Hurst has scored seven of Notts' 12 goals so far in League Two, making him far and away the Magpies' top scorer.

But he says he feels no additional pressure to continue providing the goals.

"I am very pleased to be scoring goals at the moment, obviously I am," he said.

"But I am not doing it on my own.

"Without the efforts of the whole team, I would not be scoring goals.

"There is no additional pressure on me at the moment, I just hope we keep playing well."

On Hurst's last visit to Field Mill, he was part of a Chesterfield side that claimed a 2-0 win. And he believes Notts are capable of repeating that feat - but warns they face a hard task.

"We can win this match, there is no question of that," he said. "But we are going to have a fight on our hands."
Curle praises true pro Pilkington
Thu 14 Oct, Teamtalk

Mansfield boss Keith Curle believes some supporters do not give enough credit to goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington.

Pilkington has been at Field Mill since arriving on a free transfer from Wigan four years ago and has gone on to record 157 appearances for Town.

Curle said: "When things are going well it's easy not to realise the good things that Kevin does for the team until he's called upon.

"He deserves the applause he gets when things are going well but he is professional enough to know if he kicks one which ventures slightly off line he's going to get booed.

"But he's totally reliable and I have complete faith in him.

"I like the way he conducts himself in and around the club, on the field of play and in the changing rooms - he's definitely a true professional."
NCM, 14 Oct
Notts County received a very bad piece of news today, learning that brilliant on-loan goalkeeper Wayne Henderson has been recalled by Aston Villa just two days ahead of the crunch derby against Mansfield Town.

Villa have recalled the Irish under-21 stopper due to a back injury to their number 1 Thomas Sorenson, which is now certain to rule him out of their trip to Highbury to take on league leaders Arsenal.

This means Villa number 3 Henderson will now sit on the bench on Saturday, while number 2 Stefan Postma takes his place between the sticks.

All this is a hammer blow to Notts County boss Gary Mills, who had been doing all he could in an attempt to keep the highly-rated keeper at Meadow Lane until the end of the season.

Henderson has been in outstanding form since joining the Magpies on-loan a little over two months ago. The keeper almost single-handedly got us a point at Northampton, and was hugely influential in the recent win at Rochdale.

In all, he is arguably one of the chief reasons for Notts' excellent away record this season. Fellow Irishman Saul Deeney is now almost certain to start at Field Mill, with Steve Mildenhall, recently training with Oldham, likely to return in order to provide cover.

All at NCM wish Henderson all the best, and hope this isn't the last we've seen of such a talent. We'd welcome you back anytime, Wayne!
Evening Post, 14 Oct
Notts were today still waiting to hear whether goalkeeper Wayne Henderson would be recalled to Aston Villa, They also await news on the fitness of Danish international Thomas Sorensen.

"We are hoping to find out whether we will have Wayne available today," said Mills. "Sorensen does have a chance of being fit for the weekend so we are hopeful."

Mills was frustrated when Oldham yesterday stalled on their deal to take Steve Mildenhall on loan for a month - which meant Notts could no longer afford to extend Craig Pead's loan spell at Meadow Lane, although they are still hopeful of retaining the Coventry man.

"It is Steve Mildenhall I feel sorry for, because he has been messed about a bit," he said.

"I was upset when Oldham pulled out, but there is still a possibility that something could happen. I expect to hear from Brian Talbot in the next few days about whether they are still going to take him.

"If that happens then we will be able to extend Craig's loan with us. In fact, with the money we could save on Steve's wages, it may give us room to manoeuvre with other players too."

Notts fans have snapped up around 1,600 of the 1,850 tickets for Saturday's big derby clash with Mansfield Town and the ticket office at Meadow Lane is staying open until 7pm tonight to allow more supporters to get their tickets. Otherwise, sales will stop at 3pm tomorrow.
High-flying Stags are ready for derby day

KEITH Curle celebrates his 100th game in charge of Mansfield Town on Saturday hoping for a special derby day win against local rivals Notts County.

The Stags' boss knows that three points against Gary Mills' struggling side will banish the disappointment of conceding a late winner at fellow promotion contenders Swansea City on Friday evening.
And with a big crowd expected to flood inside the gates of Field Mill, he knows that his side will be favourites to notch up the win which would launch Stags back inside the play-off zone, where they, of course, spent much of last season.
Curle said he was disappointed with the final result on Friday, but at the same time praised his players for their resolute and solid defending, against a Swansea side that will rarely drop points at home this season.
"We kept them down to only a few chances but it was just one lapse of concentration that cost us in the last few minutes." said the Stags boss.
"But we should have caused them more problems with the amount of posession that we had.
"Colin Larkin had a great one on one opportunity but we didn't use our posession well enough at times.
"But the game was a great advert for Friday night football and a tight encounter which provided value for money.
"Overall we went down there and gave a good account of ourselves, and were prepared to stand up to Swansea."
Curle made the trip to Macclesfield on Saturday, where Notts County battled to an impressive 2-1 win against the Silkmen, but the Mansfield manager believes his players have enough in their tanks to collect all three points on Saturday.
"Notts looked good on the break but I believe they are beatable.
"Any derby game is a big game and these are the type of matches we all want to be involved in.
"Monday was the start of a new week. We spent five or six minutes talking about the Swansea game but now that it forgotten and we are focussing on taking all three points on Saturday.
"The crowd will bne hungry for a victory and I expect it to be a full house."
This game has now been categorised as a pay on the day fixture for Mansfield Town supporters, however, entry to Notts County fans is by tickets only.
County supporters can purchase their tickets from the Meadow Lane ticket office and are advised not to leave for the game without first purchasing a ticket.
Mansfield fans can now pay on the day or they can pre-purchase their seats from The Field Mill ticket office.
As some people have already elected to pre-purchase a ticket their seat is reserved and in the interest of safety and overall comfort, the club is asking any person who pays on the day to ensure that they choose a non-reserved seat to watch the game from.


Latest | October 2004