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Archived News from October 2002

29th October 2002 8:11

BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 24 October 2002

Mansfield Town's on-loan striker Colin Little said he jumped at the chance to join Stuart Watkiss at Field Mill for a month from Crewe Alexandra.

The deal sees Stags striker Andy White move to Gresty Road for a similar period.

Little, who will go straight into the side for tomorrow's trip to Swindon, said: "I asked to go on loan a couple of weeks ago and Dario Gradi told me that I could, but I heard nothing until it was all sorted out yesterday.

"He told me Mansfield were interested, asked me whether I wanted to go and I don't think he was surprised when I said 'yes'."

Little did not feature in the Crewe side that played at Field Mill in the LDV Vans Trophy on Tuesday but played when the Railwaymen beat Stags 5-0 in August.

Despite Crewe's comfortable win, Little said he saw enough to suggest Stags were a good footballing side.

"Before we played here in August, Dario said he had heard all about the game at Stockport, where Mansfield played very well. But, although we were under the cosh for the first 20 minutes, we still managed a 5-0 win.

"But Mansfield played decent football and I just want to playin the first-team, so it is an ideal chance for me."

The form of Rob Hulse, who scored a hat-trick in Crewe's 4-0 win in midweek, and Rodney Jack has meant his opportunities at Gresty Road have been limited to six appearances this season.

"There haven't been that many opportunities, because Rob Hulse has been on fire," Little added.

"I have played in other positions but I see myself as a centre-forward primarily.

"I'm 30 next week and I want to make sure I am playing. In the last year and a half, I haven't got enough games under my belt.

"I know Macclesfield were interested in taking me and that is closer to Crewe, but I wanted to play at the best standard possible and I'm pleased to be coming to Mansfield."

Stags regular James Perkins from Sutton-in-Ashfield welcomed the news.

He said: "It's a great signing. He showed his quality when he played here for Crewe earlier in the season."

Jane Thomas from Mansfield agreed. "I think he'll give us more options upfront," she said.

FULL NAME: Colin Campbell Little

BORN: Wythenshawe, Manchester, November 4, 1972

HEIGHT: 5ft 10ins

WEIGHT: 10st 5lbs

Signed for Crewe in February 1996 for £50,000 from Hyde United.

Has made 219 appearances for Crewe, scoring 45 goals.

His best season was 1997-98: 13 goals in 40 games in Division One.

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Stags land Little in Crewe swap deal

COLIN Little is looking to get his career back on track by firing Stags to success in the crunch match at Swindon on Saturday.

Crewe Alexandra's longest serving player, after six years at Gresty Road, Little joined Mansfield on a month's loan on Wednesday with big Andy White going in the other direction.
And Stags boss Stuart Watkiss is hoping to bring in a left sided defender on loan as well before the weekend.
Little, who will be 30 next week, has had his first team appearances limited in that time but when called upon has a record of scoring in almost one in three games.
"We were aware of Colin and we had noted he wasn't getting regular football," said Watkiss.
" You only have to look at their foward line and you can see why he can't get in. I know Dario would love to keep him but he understands Colin wants first team football. He was keen to come to us as he knows we try to play football.
"Colin should add a bit of quality and guile to our team - he has scored nigh on one in three games, predominantly at First Division level."
On White going in the other direction, he added: "It is a great opportunity for Andy to go and work with one of the best coaches in the country.
"By no means is this the end of his Mansfield career but we don't know what will happen in the end. If he comes back here a better player then we will get the benefit.
"This deal gives us a striker that is much more the finished article which, with all due respect, Andy isn't yet. Andy is still learning his trade and has to smooth a number of rough edges out but I am sure has a good future in the game.
"But in our situation we need a bit more experience which we will get in Colin."
Who will partner Little is a headache for Watkiss. Although X-rays showed no fracture for Iyseden Christie on Wednesday, he does have some ligament damage and will be out for at least a fortnight.
Colin Larkin's hamstring strain will keep him out for three weeks which leaves only Danny Bacon as an out-and-out striker, although Scott Sellars, Wayne Corden and Liam Lawrence could all be pushed forward to partner Little or play just behind him.
Little did not hesitate when offered the chance for a month at the Mill and said: "I had asked to go on loan a couple of weeks ago and when Dario told me Mansfield were interested I said yes straight away.
"I played in the game earlier in the season and the manager told us before the match that Mansfield would give us a hard game.
"As it turned out we won 5-0 but we were under the cosh in the first 20 minutes and you could see they were trying to play decent football.
"I know results haven't been going Mansfield's way. But they beat Tranmere 6-1 and I understand that in a lot of their games they haven't had the luck. They have played well but not got the breaks"
He added: "I have only started half-a-dozen games for Crewe this season and haven't played enough football for the last year and a half. I am 30 next week so I need to be playing.
"Macclesfield were interested in me which would have been more local for m,e but I wanted to play at the best standard I could so I came here.
"I have been played down the wings, in midfield and even at wing back at Crewe. But I class myself as a centre forward."
White Out, Little In

Stuart Watkiss has today said that he doesn't want to see the clubs phone bill at the end of the month, after he spent all of yesterday on the phone trying to bring in some new faces.

He eventually got his man at around dinner time yesterday when Colin Little was brought in for a month from Crewe.

Little is an experienced striker and is currently Crewe's longest serving player.

Little, who turns 30 next week, has found it hard to hold down a place at Crewe so far this season, mainly down to the great form of striker Rob Hulse; "I do regard myself as a striker though I have been played in midfield and on the wing for Crewe this season. It's been hard to get in up front with Rob Hulse in flying form and then there's still Dean Ashton to come back yet."

Little told Dario Gradi a couple of weeks ago that he was eager to get out on loan, "I asked to go out on loan a couple of weeks ago, I'd been off ill at the end of last week and didn't know if there had been any interest. When I came in on Tuesday morning Dario told me that Mansfield were interested and I said yes straight away."

Little will of course be well aware of the current situation at the club, but he insists that he is here to play football and knows that the Stags are capable of playing some good stuff. "I just want to be playing football at the highest level possible. I turn 30 next week and for the last year and a half I haven't played as many games as I would like. I will get a chance to play first team football here and I look forward to it. Before we came here for the league game Dario had watched you at Stockport and said that by all accounts you were the best team and should have won. It seams that Mansfield have been playing well but not getting the breaks. I know that Mansfield play good football and that was an attraction to come here."

Little will go straight into the starting line up for Saturdays bottom of the table clash at Swindon, both Larkin and Christie are out due to injuries.

Andy White has moved in the opposite direction to Little but Stuart Watkiss insists that this doesn't spell the end of Andy's Mansfield career. "This is a great opportunity for Andy to go and work with one of the best coaches in the country. Hopefully after a month he will come back a better player and we will get the benefit of his time away. This deal brings in a striker that you would say is more the 'finished article', that's no disrespect to Andy but he is still learning his trade. All of us believe at Mansfield Town, that Andy has bright future in the game, but in our current situation we need a striker that is already the 'finished article'.

Watkiss has also told mansfieldtown.net that Little's arrival may not be the only one before the weekend. "We're desperately trying to bring in a defender, particularly a left sided defender. That's no detriment to Holyoak or Hurst but we certainly need strengthening."

Mark Lever has rejoined training today and should be OK for Saturday.


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