LATEST TEAM NEWS AND PREVIEWS
YOUTH TEAM STAR SLEATH GETS HIS CHANCE
Evening Post, 28 April 2006
Youth team player Danny Sleath is set to be named in a Stags' first team squad for the first time for tomorrow's trip to Bury.
The 18-year-old left-footed midfielder is likely to come in because of mounting selection problems for manager Peter Shirtliff.
First team regulars Gareth Jellyman (knee), Simon Brown (hernia) and Jon-Olav Hjelde (hamstring) will definitely be missing with injury while Danny Reet is suspended.
Jake Buxton (toe) is very doubtful and Alex John-Baptiste (hip) and Stephen Dawson (groin) face fitness tests.
Sleath is likely to be joined by fellow youngster Nathan Arnold, who has already made a good impression for the Stags in League Two this season. "Danny is a very good player on the ball and he can spot and deliver a pass," said Shirtliff.
"Once he becomes physically stronger he will be able to offer us even more. He and Nathan have both agreed to stay next season so they are players who can look to make they mark if they are involved at Bury."
Shirtliff said that Jason White - who is in negotiations to stay at Field Mill next season - will continue in goal ahead of Kevin Pressman.
STAGS FACE TOUGH PITCH BATTLE
Evening Post, 28 April 2006
Danny Reet claims the Stags will have to conquer a treacherous pitch if they are to beat Bury tomorrow.
Stags' teenage striker was on loan at the Lancashire side earlier in the season and scored twice against Mansfield as the Shakers won 3-0 at Field Mill in October.
Reet will not get the chance to pit himself against his former team-mates because he is suspended for the rest of the season following his red card at Barnet.
But he has warned his boss Peter Shirtliff and his team-mates that the Gigg Lane playing surface may not be in the best condition.
"I think the pitch could be a key factor in the game if it has not improved from when I was there," said Reet.
"As a team we like to get the ball down and play, but it will be difficult if the surface is as it was during my loan spell.
"The Bury players are used to it and they know how to handle it and play on it, but for us we will have to adapt.
"If we do then I think we have every chance to go on and get a good result."
The problems with Bury's pitch stem from ground-sharing with FC United, the breakaway club of Manchester United formed following Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford.
It means Gigg Lane has often been used for two matches a week - even during the winter when the weather has been at its worst.
Reet said: "FC United try to help prepare the ground for Bury's games after they have played on it, but it is not always ideal. It can become very boggy, especially when it rains in the days leading up to a game. Hopefully it will be dry leading up to our game."
Reet had a productive loan spell at Bury while he was still with Sheffield Wednesday, notching four goals in six league starts.
So he is understandably disappointed that he is not going to be involved against a Shakers side who could leapfrog Mansfield with a victory.
"It is a blow not to be playing against them because, although they have signed some new players since I left, there are a lot of the lads still there who I know," said Reet.
"I enjoyed it at Bury because it was my first experience of league football and I have some fond memories of my time there.
"They are a hard-working team who have had to cope with losing Simon Whaley, who has gone to Preston and done really well.
"But they will still be a match for us and we have to be at our best."
Torquay's 4-0 win over Stockport on Tuesday night means the Stags - although it is highly unlikely - could still go down.
But Reet is confident Mansfield can do enough to maintain their League Two status - even if results go against them elsewhere.
He said: "There is a mathematical chance that we could still go down, but the players are not thinking about that.
"We have been very positive over the last few weeks and we will continue to be. I'm sure we can get the point we need to be safe and it would be great to do it at Bury."
BURY AIM FOR SAFETY
Evening Post, 28 April 2006
Bury boss Chris Casper says his side have their destiny in their own hands in their bid for League Two survival.
The Shakers are just three points off the drop zone - two behind Mansfield - with two games left to play against the Stags and Notts County.
But he knows one win should be enough to clinch safety.
"We are not bothering about what other teams are doing. What matters is our results and if we get them there won't be a problem," said Casper.
"It is not worth worrying about the other teams anyway, because you can't affect what happens to them.
"I would like to finish the season on a high because winning becomes a habit and if we finish well we can carry that into next season.
"The games like the ones against Mansfield and Notts County are not dead games because, aside from the fact we are not definitely safe yet, the players are playing for their futures."
Former Stag Matthew Tipton is likely to be in the Bury squad after scoring a winner five minutes into stoppage time in last week's 3-2 victory at Darlington.
But full back Paul Scott and midfielder Dwayne Mattis are battling to be fit.
Youngsters drafted in for Bury Clash
With only ten days or so remaining of the 2005/06 campaign and the Stags are looking to secure the highest finishing position possible from the remaining two games, despite being reduced to a 'bare bones outfit'.
Jon Olav Hjelde (Hamstring), Gareth Jelleyman (Knee), Jake Buxton (Foot), Danny Reet (Suspension) and Simon Brown (Hernia Operation) have all had their season's cut short through injury and suspension. But news from the treatment room at Field Mill did bring some hope when Alex John-Baptiste who hobbled of the pitch during the game against Carlisle was said to be making good progress and has a fifty fifty chance of featuring in the away trip at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon.
"Alex John-Baptiste is 50/50 at the minute for the weekend Bury game so we will have to wait and see for now" said Peter Shirtliff.
With an injury stricken squad the Stags boss has little choice than to air of some of his talented youngsters. Both Jason White and Nathan Arnold played a part in last weekend's home match against top of the table Carlisle and gave a good account of themselves. And this week's trip to Bury should see much of the same with the possibility of playing players out of position and introducing yet more youngsters.
"We may have to make some changes on Saturday but we will have to wait and see how Alex (John-Baptiste) shapes up and Stephen Dawson (groin injury) is also in doubt. We will obviously wait right up to the last minute and make decisions accordingly.
"Last week Richie Barker played in Centre half and there is every possibility that we may have to play him there again although I would rather not. I do have other options for that position but again I will leave it to the last minute before I make my final decision." He added.
The importance of the Bury has not been lost on Shirtliff who has been looking at the table and the remaining fixtures:
"The possibility of relegation is still a mathematically reality. However when you look at the table and all the fixtures it is looking highly unlikely. One point is enough for us to definitely be in the safe zone and I think that Bury really need to win to ensure the safety factor. So it is important that we go to Bury and perform well and get the points.
"We obviously go out to try and win every game so preparation is exactly the same. On the day we will most likely see Nathan Arnold play a part again after his great effort last week and Danny Sleath who has recently signed a year contract may play some part" said Shirtliff.
For those who do not Danny Shirtliff describes him as "a player with a good eye for the ball, can pass the ball well and if he works on his strengths a little more he is a player who will be able to cope with the demands of this league".
Latest | April 2006