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Archived News from December 2004

21st December 2004 23:44


Palmer chasing defender
CHAD, 21 Dec 04
STAGS caretaker boss Carlton Palmer is looking to bring in some defensive
cover for the hectic Christmas period before Sunday's Boxing Day visit of
Cambridge United (3pm).
With central defender Dave Artell now facing an Achilles tendon operation,
Rhys Day and Adam Eaton still on the injured list, and on-loan Jason Talbot
back at Bolton injured, Stags are stretched at the back right now.
And, with Alex John-Baptiste one booking away from a suspension, Palmer is
trying to bring in a left back on loan to give him added insurance during a
period that will see Mansfield play four vital games in nine days.
Palmer has already covered the central defensive position with non-contract
Joel Kitamirike.
"The inflammation on Dave Artell's Achilles tendon has been thickening so he
needs an operation to have it trimmed back," said Palmer.
"He is booked in for the operation on 6th January but we are trying to get
him in before that. Once it is done he should be back before the end of
"Adam Eaton has had some more injections in his groin and he should be back
running next week.
"Colin Larkin is still a couple of weeks away and Rhys Day will be the end
of January.
"So I am trying to get some cover, hopefully today. It is a difficult time
of year to get players out with everyone wanting to keep themselves well
After four points from two games and two clean sheets, Palmer is optimistic
about the Festive period with Stags now six points from the play-off spots.
"Sometimes your season all boils down to a crunch period and this is
certainly a cruical time for us now.
"The gap between us and the play-offs can't be too big come the end of
"We need to be down to at least three points. By then I know just how fit
these boys will be.
"I was criticised for being truthful about the players' fitness when I came
here. But they have improved dramatically since then which has shown in the
last two games.
"We've had three clean sheets, only conceded three goals in our last five
League matches and we are creating chances.
"And, with the fans behind, us this season is still very much alive. There
is still a lot to play for.
"The lads will be working very hard over the next few days. With the weather
as it is we will have to go indoors today and see how it goes tomorrow.
"But they will all have Christmas Day off. As a player I don't believe I
ever benefited from going in on Christmas Day, even for an hour on the
morning, evening or meeting in a hotel.
"I would much rather have spent it with my kids.
"The lads are already giving me their all and they will all be in on Boxing
Day ready for the game in a good frame of mind."
After this hectic schedule, Palmer has an 11-day gap without a game with the
cancellation of Swansea City's visit.
He will use this to fix up a much-needed reserve friendly.
"I have players that desperately need games right now like Joel Kitamirike,
Jason White, Layton Maxwell and Fraser McLachlan. But I cannot afford any
more injuries at the moment."
Meanwhile mansfieldtown.net reports that Stags fans may have to wait until
after Christmas before the managerial hot seat at Field Mill is filled on a
full-time basis.
Following last week's sacking of Keith Curle after five weeks suspended over
internal allegations of misconduct, Carlton Palmer remains the strong
The acting manager did his claims no harm at all with Saturday's 2-0 win at
Shrewsbury finally seeing him chalk up a win with his new-look side in his
seventh game in charge, as the new faces at last started to gel together and
look a potent unit.
But, with Curle having five days to appeal over his sacking, it is too soon
for chairman Keith Haslam to be making a new appointment and Palmer was also
needing to concentrate on the Christmas games against Cambridge United at
home (Boxing Day 3pm), and away at Southend United (Bank Holiday Tuesday
"I can't see the manager situation being resolved until after Christmas,"
said Mr Haslam.
"With Keith Curle having five days to appeal against his sacking I will have
to wait and see what he does.
"He may accept the decision, appeal against it or try to go for a tribunal.
So I can't just appoint someone else, even if I wanted to.
"Carlton will be speaking to me this week and will put his case forward. He
will tell me how he sees this club going forward and what needs putting into
"His enthusiasm makes him a very strong candidate to appoint full-time. I
know him and what he is about as well which goes in his favour. But we will
just have to wait and see."
Curle's sacking was finally announced on Friday after weeks of speculation.

For more details visit http://www.mansfieldtown.net


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