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Stags back to reality
CHAD website, 10Jan06
AFTER the glamour of the FA Cup trip to Newcastle, it was back to reality this week for the Stags as they prepared for two tough away games in four days at Grimsby and Shrewsbury.
Manager Peter Shirtliff is hoping three new injuries will clear up in time and that he can add to his squad with one or two new signings.
Stags drew national acclaim for their display in the 1-0 defeat at St James' Park on Saturday, but need to reproduce that form as they search for crucial League Two survival points at Grimsby Town on Saturday (3pm) and Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Rhys Day (stomach strain), Alex John-Baptiste (ankle) and Kevin Pressman (ankle) all joined Simon Brown (hamstring) and Callum Lloyd (ankle) in the queue for the physio's table this week, but Shirtliff is hopeful the three knocks picked up on Saturday will quickly clear up and the players can return to training.
"Saturday was a great experience, but to be honest I am really looking forward to the League programme now," said Sirtliff.
"We have 21 matches left and we are still playing catch-up on home games, even more after this week.
"But January is a very busy month and we have got to look at it as an opportunity to get some points on the board.
"The boys are in very good spirits and I hope they have taken some confidence from our performance at Newcastle and the Christmas period as a whole. We need to keep this form going.
"A Premiership side like Newcastle do give you a bit more time on the ball than you get at our level.
"But we showed good composure and kept the ball well at times up there. It will be a bit more frantic than that back at League Two level.
"It was a great day. As the manager I tried to be calm about it which is the sort of person I am anyway.
"But I felt if the players could see how I was then they would be more composed which they were.
"I was really pleased with their attitude. Not one of them froze. They all rose to the challenge and expressed themselves. That was the most pleasing thing for me.
"But I have told them that, as in the old cliché, they have now all had their five minutes of glory in which they acquitted themselves very well.
"Now we have more or less half a season ahead of us and let's see what they can do.
"Grimsby may not be Newcastle but it is still a nice place to go and play with a nice surface and a tidy stadium."
The game on Tuesday is rescheduled from the original fixture when Stags' goalkeeping coach and Shirtliff's friend Peter Wilson died in the pre-match warm-up.
Shirtliff admitted: "It will be difficult when we go to Shrewsbury for obvious reasons, but we will be professional about it."
Simon Brown continues to improve and a specialist has found nothing to worry about long-term with his hamstring problem.
But Shirtliff feels Brown will need a proper week of training behind him with a football at his feet and he is unlikly to be pressed back into action for these games.
However, the manager feels Brown's strike partner Richie Barker will benefit from playing the full 90 minutes at Newcsatle after returning from his injury problems over the Festive period.
Shirtliff is also hoping he can bolster his squad with the January transfer window now open and running.
"I am hopeful we can sort out a deal with one player today and I also have another couple I am looking at.
"I think we have reasonable cover at the back now so I would like to bring in an attacking midfielder, possibly in a wide area, and also a striker.
"And I will be talking to Stuart Pearce at Manchester City about the possibility of bringing in Jonathan D'Laryea for the rest of the season.
"Otherwise I am quite happy with my squad. I just think we could tinker in one or two areas."
Former Spurs and Notts County midfielder Darren Caskey continues to train with the Stags but no decision has yet been taken on whether or not to offer him a contract.
Keith Curle's delayed return to Field Mill with Chester City has been scheduled for Tuesday, 24th January (7.45pm).
The match should have been playd last weekend but both sides were still in the FA Cup.
Curle is still involved in High Court action against the Stags following his sacking last season.
Also with the transfer window now open the Stags boss has been getting busy looking at new players that he feels could strengthen the quad further. Talks this morning with a player is close to a deal and others are on his hit list.
"I have had talks this morning with a player and things are close to been settled and hopefully we will be able to do a deal and I have a couple of other things on the go. I would like to tie Jon D'Laryea up until the end of the season so I will be speaking to Stuart (Pearce) about it, also I have identified a couple of other players that I wanted to see this afternoon but the game was called off.
"I am mostly happy with the squad as a whole but just think I need to tinker with it in one or two areas"
Darren Caskey who has been training with the Stags is reported to be in good shape and still training with the squad but Peter Shirtliff can not make his mind up about whether there is a place for him in the squad yet.
"Normally I am usually a yes or no person with an immediate decision but with Darren I am struggling to decide he is fit and looks in good shape but I just don't know whether there is a place in the squad for him, we will just have to keep monitoring him and see what develops" he said.
For the full story, visit http://www.mansfieldtown.net.
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