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Archived News from December 2002

6th December 2002 13:07

Evening Post, 06 December 2002

It's the chance for the most inexperienced manager in the country to match himself against the most experienced.

And the good news for Keith Curle is that the pressure of the dogfight against relegation from the Second Division is off.

New Mansfield boss Curle believes his side are under no pressure ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup second-round trip to Crewe.

But he still wants a totally positive performance from his new charges.

Curle, the league's newest manager after less than a week in the Field Mill hot-seat, will be pitting his wits against the country's longest-serving boss, Dario Gradi, who has been in charge at Gresty Road since 1983.

The Stags manager has been boosted by the news that Liam Lawrence and Neil Moore will both be available for the match as their suspensions for post-match dismissals against Bristol City have not yet come into force.

Lee Williamson does miss the match, however, as he starts his suspension for his dismissal in the same game.

Stags have already lost 5-0 at home to the Railwaymen in the league and 4-0 in the LDV Vans Trophy.

But Curle, who was not registered in time to play himself, is still confident.

He said: "It will be a big test for us. Dario Gradi is the longest-serving manager in the league and he'll be at home to the league's most newly-appointed manager, so I have got nothing to lose.

"I have told the players they have got nothing to lose. They have got to remain positive.

"If we go out there and don't compete and are not positive, then I will be disappointed.

"I want to play as soon as I can but hopefully I won't be able to get into the team because they are playing well and not conceding goals."

Curle remains undecided as to whether to watch the game from the stands or on the bench with assistant manager John Gannon.

He said: "At the minute, I don't know where I am going to go. It will give me an opportunity to view things from a different perspective.

"I've seen a lot of games from the stands recently and I don't really enjoy it when I know I could be down being involved."

Gradi is expecting Stags to be less attack-minded since the departure of former boss Stuart Watkiss.

He said that he had been very impressed by Iyseden Christie, who he saw score all four goals in the 4-2 win over Colchester and has taken his goal tally to 13, with nine in the last five games.

Gradi said: "I think it will be a different game now that Stuart has left the club because he was very attack-minded with his tactics.

"I liked the way they played the game.

I enjoyed watching them and they have some decent players there.

"I like the look of Iyseden Christie, he was outstanding against Colchester and I think he would be in my team if we had him.

"They are an exciting team but they shipped too many goals and that is why they are bottom of the Second Division."

Crewe are likely to be unchanged from the team that was pegged back from two goals up to draw 2-2 with fellow promotion challengers Bristol City on Saturday.

Andy White has been training with Stags all week after a spell on loan at Crewe and he is likely to stay put.

He will not be playing on Saturday and Colin little, who moved in the opposite direction and has injured his hamstring, is understood to have returned to Gresty road.

Curle said: "Moves are being made to bring him back here and I want that completed in time for him to be back here on Monday."

MANSFIELD (from): Pilkington, Hassell, Lever, Gadsby, Moore, Clarke, Lawrence, MacKenzie, Disley, Corden, Larkin, Christie, J White, Jervis, Scott, Bacon.


Latest | December 2002