WATKISS SET TO PAY UP BRADLEY
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 21 October 2002
Mansfield Town striker Shayne Bradley will be shown the door at Field Mill this week as manager Stuart Watkiss looks to free up money for additional players.
The Stags slipped to their fifth home defeat of the season on Saturday after two goals from Huddersfield's Martin Smith.
With money tight at Field Mill, Watkiss knows players have to leave for new ones to be introduced.
And he has finally lost patience with Bradley, who has made just 32 starts for the Stags after joining from Southampton in August 2000, for what, at the time, was advertised as a fee of £150,000, depending on appearances.
A succession of injuries has blighted his Stags career and he made just seven starts and nine substitute performances in last year's promotion campaign.
Bradley has yet to make a start this season and Watkiss needs to use his wages.
The Stags boss said: "Shayne Bradley hasn't kicked a ball all season and hasn't really kicked a ball in the two-and-a-half years he has been here.
"There is a distinct possibility he is going to have his contract paid up this week.
"We have got to give Shayne a certain amount of his remaining contract. It would save us a few quid and that amount is all I have got to spend.
"Say, for arguments sake, we are talking about £500 a week, you are not going to get anyone who is good enough for the Second Division on £400 or £500 a week.
"We are competing with bigger clubs and Huddersfield would fall into that category.
"I know they have got their financial troubles but I would like to compare their wage bill with ours.
"We are doing our best on minimal resources but there is only so much you can do.
"Cardiff have players who are on thousands of pounds a week and we have got players on hundreds - some of them only on a couple of hundred pounds - and they have to compete against them."
Even with the extra money available, Watkiss believes he is looking at loan signings rather than permanent ones as he tries to help the club through another injury crisis.
Allen Tankard broke down in training on Friday with a recurrence of his tendonitis and will be out for another month, while Bobby Hassell remains injured and Craig Disley, Iyseden Christie and Wayne Corden are all doubtful for tomorrow's LDV Vans Trophy clash with Crewe.
Watkiss said: "Maybe we have got to off-load players to take players in and it is something we are looking at. It is a bit of a stop-gap solution, getting players out on loan to bring others in."
Watkiss added that Stags had taken a win and a draw from their last two games after following instructions - but fell to Huddersfield when they didn't.
"If the players stick to their game plan, do what they are told and don't try to invent the wheel themselves, then we can be competitive," he said.
"We know we are up against it in many ways but we have got to soldier on and it wasn't good enough on Saturday."
Bradley out as Stags lose patience
SHAYNE Bradley parted company with Mansfield Town this week after the club finally lost patience with his pertetual injury problems.
The 22-year-old striker reached an agreement with the club this week over a setlement figure to pay up his contract.
A club record signing at £150,000 from Southampton in summer 2000, the former England Schooboy international was also the Stags' top wage earner.
In the odd game, Bradley appeared to have the lot and his promise was rich. But injury after injury severely restricted his appearances to the point where the club lost patience.
"This has been a bit of a nightmare for both parties," said manager Stuart Watkiss.
"In terms of value for money with Shayne, it's been catastrophic.
"For too many periods, it has just been dead money.
"I know players pick up injuries - that's part and parcel of the game - and some bad injuries you can do nothing about. But, without delving too deeply into his medical record, I don't think he has had too many serious injuries.
"If we are looking to pay a player up to get him out the building just to save a few quid and it's nothing to do with his ability, it is a sad indictment on that individual.
"He never put in a run of first team games for us. He just picked up one injury after another after another.
Bradley joined Mansfield on 22nd August 2000 and since then has managed just 32 starts, 19 other games as substitute and netted 10 times. He had twice been an unused substitute this season in between injuries.
"I am sure other clubs will have a look at him in training or on trial but I would be very surprised if someone goes and signs him straight away because of his injury record," added Watkiss who now has the task of replacing him.
Having had to pay up a large percentage of Bradley's contract in advance, Watkiss admits he will only be left with something between £400 and £500 a week in wages to play with.
SO LITTLE FOR FANS TO JEER, OR CHEER
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 21 October 2002
Mansfield Town 0 v 2 Huddersfield Town
Leaving Field Mill on Saturday it was easy to come to the conclusion that, just as manager Stuart Watkiss had hinted in the run-up to the game against Huddersfield, Mansfield Town hadn't turned the corner.
Indeed, many may surmise they are on the Roman road to relegation, even though they are still nine games away from facing every team Division Two has to offer.
It is early days but, on Saturday's evidence, it is understandable why fans could see things in a gloomy light at the home of the Stags, particularly as last season provided so many highs.
It appears that defeats that were greeted with howls of derision earlier in the campaign are now been reacted to with resignation and the disgruntled punters are barely able to manage a boo in anger.
There were few straws to clutch. Admittedly, Martin Smith scored two-well-taken goals, but the Stags never really got going and, as a consequence, didn't look capable of causing Scott Bevan many problems in the Huddersfield goal.
Mark Hurst, a 17-year-old who performed excellently at left back, was nevertheless out of position and thrown in at the deep end.
Although the lad performed admirably, it is difficult not to take a step back and recognise that being required to play a second-year trainee in a Division Two match because, apart from the youth team captain on the bench, he is the only player who can play in defence who is fit is a pretty sad state of affairs.
The visitors also have to be handed plenty of credit too as, on the basis of this performance, if any club currently finding themselves in the mire is going to have enough about them to force their way up the table, it is the Terriers.
They lived up to their name by taking the game to the Stags from the first whistle and, for once, the home side found they were unable to mix it in midfield and mix it up when they pushed forward in the search of goals.
But there is no escaping Mansfield's record that has seen them lose five of their seven home games and, although the season is yet to see a third of the fixtures completed, there will be little comfort drawn if that sort of form continues.
Perhaps tomorrow's LDV Vans Trophy game against Crewe will provide a welcome break.
It is worth remembering that only when Stags played Blackpool in a similar game last year, and we wondered why over 4,000 had turned up for a Mickey Mouse cup-tie, did it become apparent that the town was behind its football team.
Tomorrow may just be the sign that many have given up hope.
There were few crumbs of comfort for those anxious to dissuade their fellow supporters from taking this view judging by Saturday's show.
But, just as a goalless draw against Peterborough didn't mean Stags should be embarking upon a march towards the play-offs, a defeat against Huddersfield should not be reason to look up pubs in Carlisle and places to stay for a night out in Exeter.
Four points from safety does seem to be a big gap at this stage of the season.
But the only time it is insurmountable is when you have only got one game left.
Three points at Swindon on Saturday are by no means a distant dream and, if that is achieved, there will be cause to smile. If not, then you just have to battle on.
That's the way the football season works.
Latest | October 2002