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Archived News from October 2002

29th October 2002 13:57

Evening Post, 29 October 2002

Mansfield Town manager Stuart Watkiss has warned his team they face relegation if they persist in playing long-ball football.

The Stags boss believes playing the passing game that got his side promoted in the first place is their main hope of maintaining their Division Two status.

Mansfield are currently bottom of the league and already five points from 20th place, a target which would now constitute a good season at Field Mill.

Tonight, they face probably the toughest test of the season when they entertain big spenders Cardiff City (7.45).

And Watkiss is urging his boys to stay faithful to their passing game.

He said: "I told the players on Saturday that, if they continue to play aimless long-ball football, we will get relegated.

"We have got to play to our strengths and that means getting the ball on the deck and passing it.

"We have got to be strong enough and man enough to believe that is the right way.

"There is a time and a place when you have to clear, but if we don't get the ball down then we really will be in trouble."

He urged supporters to get behind the side which has failed to score in five of its seven home games so far this season.

He said: "We need their support more than ever and it will be crucial they get behind the team.

"Hopefully, we will be able to see what Cardiff are made of - and see if they really fancy playing at the team bottom of the league on a Tuesday night.

"Hard work and tough tackling are going to be of paramount importance.

"Winning challenges has, more than anything, been our downfall this season and it is certainly something we have got to be better at."

Good news for the Stags is that Bobby Hassell's knee operation was cancelled yesterday after the player showed signs of improvement.

There are high hopes he will return to full training at the beginning of next week.

MANSFIELD (probable): Pilkington, Clarke, Lever, Moore, Vaughan, Sellars, Lawrence, MacKenzie, Disley, Williamson, Little. Subs: White, Bacon, Holyoak, Corden, Hurst.

CARDIFF CITY (probable): Alexander, Weston, Prior, Gabbidon, Croft, Boland, Kavanagh, Maxwell, Barker, Thorne, Earnshaw. Subs: Whalley, Margetson, Fortune-West, Campbell, Hamilton.


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