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Archived News from September 2002

24th September 2002 14:45

Evening Post, 24 September 2002

Mansfield Town boss Stuart Watkiss believes his side's dismal defensive record should not prevent him from bringing in a goalkeeper to replace the injured Kevin Pilkington.

Stags have conceded 32 goals in ten games and Pilkington is likely to be out of action for six to eight weeks after breaking a bone in his wrist towards the end of Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Cheltenham Town.

The 28-year-old has been one of the best Stags performers in Mansfield's poor start to their first Division Two campaign for ten years.

But Watkiss believes there are plenty of goalkeepers around who can help his side get off the bottom of the table.

He said: "I'm not worried about it at all because I am sure there are plenty of keepers out there who would like to come and join us.

"I will be looking at players at Premiership and big Division One clubs and there are plenty of keepers who are out of contract with lots of experience so we should be able to bring someone in."

Watkiss said it was no reflection on his youth-team keeper Jason White, who came on for the last five minutes.

His goalkeeping options are further hampered by a knee injury to Michael Bingham, who deputised for Pilkington when the former Manchester United keeper was unavailable last season.

Watkiss said: "Jason is definitely one for the future and we have got very high hopes for him.

"But it is too soon for the lad to be thrown into the first team and it is asking a lot of him to perform in the situation we are in.

"It is certainly not to his detriment and the fact we have him on the bench when he is only 19 shows how much we think of him."

With Pilkington out injured and Lee Williamson set to sit out a three-match suspension, starting on Saturday, for his red card against Derby, Watkiss has ten players injured and two suspended.

Danny Bacon still has two games to serve after he was sent off in a reserve game against Scunthorpe two weeks ago.

However, he is confident that striker Colin Larkin, who played the opening 45 minutes of Saturday's game, will be ready for a return to action in this week's clash at Northampton.

He was brought in after Iyseden Christie injured his ankle in training on Friday

He said: "Colin was very tired at half-time and, in all honesty, it was probably too early for him after his hamstring injury.

"When Iyseden got injured, it forced our hand and it would have been nice for him to have trained for another full week."

Both on-loan Peter Clark and Bobby Hassell were due to have injections for their respective knee injuries today and hopes are high that they will be back in action in two weeks.

Allen Tankard is also on the road to recovery after his knee problem and hopes are high he will be able to train with the squad next week.


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