WATKISS ASSESSES RUN-IN
WATKISS: ONE WIN WILL WORK WONDERS
Evening Post, 03 April 2002
MANSFIELD Town manager Stuart Watkiss believes it will take just one win to get his side back on course for automatic promotion.
The Stags' mission is to oust Cheltenham from the third promotion spot in Division Three.
Steve Cotterill's side have a four-point advantage over Mansfield and a game in hand.
But Watkiss believes Saturday's fixtures could really put the pressure on the team from the Cotswolds.
Stags host Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham travel to Macclesfield before Cotterill's team visit Field Mill on Tuesday.
That game will go ahead as planned at 7.45pm, despite the fact the Queen Mother's funeral will be held that morning.
Watkiss said: "Saturday is going to be a big day because I fancy Macclesfield to take something from their game against Cheltenham.
"If we beat Bristol Rovers, the pressure will be on Cheltenham for the first time and they will have to deal with that.
"If they do not get a result against Macclesfield and then lose to us, then the pressure will really be on.
Watkiss is also hopeful the race for the title could have a bearing on the situation.
With Plymouth losing at Hartlepool yesterday, he is hoping the battle between them and Luton will go to the wire as the Pilgrims host Cheltenham on the final day of the season.
He said: "Obviously, we hope Plymouth will still have something to play for on the last day because that match could be vital."
As Stags look more likely to fill one of the play-off spots, Watkiss believes a couple of injuries at the wrong time have seriously affected his side's promotion chances.
He said his squad was tired but would go all out to secure a place in Division Two.
"At the moment we haven't really got any options," Watkiss added.
"We are getting a bit better now and a few people are coming back.
"For a long time, we have had 16 or 17 to choose from and when there have been players you think need a rest, you have to stick with them."
He believes Allen Tankard's hamstring injury and Liam Lawrence's broken arm have hit the team hardest.
"We haven't filled the position on the right and it has unbalanced the team a little bit," the manager said.
"We have missed Allen Tankard at left- back because he is a steadying influence.
"Martin Pemberton is feeling tired and the season is catching up with him.
"But overall, I am very proud of them and I wouldn't swap the squad for any other in the division.
"I would like to have a bigger squad but I'm not having a go at the chairman at all.
"After all, on Thursday we lined up a £175,000 bid for Michael Proctor, at the same time as ITV Digital are having their problems and a lot of clubs are feeling the pinch.
"I know what I want to make this football club better and I know the fans have their own ideas.
"I know where we need strengthening and I know where I would like to bring players in and who might not be here.
"I've got all that planned for the future but we have to finish this campaign first."
Tankard was due to play in a reserve friendly against Loughborough Students at Field Mill this morning.
Watkiss was also running the rule over former German Under-21 defender Matthias Sellmann, who arrived at the club yesterday.
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