Kevin Sandwith faces Wembley heartbreak

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MANSFIELD Town are hopeful that Luke Medley’s injury is not as bad as feared and he will be fit to play at Wembley after the striker limped out of last night’s welcome 2-0 home win over Bath City.

But manager Duncan Russell revealed that defender Kevin Sandwith is almost certain to miss Wembley with the knee injury he picked up on Tuesday night against Barrow.

Medley pulled up with an apparent hamstring strain after less than 15 minutes last night but Russell said: “We don’t think it’s a hamstring tear so we are hopeful.

“I was upset for Luke as he had started brightly. The problem is right across both sides which is unusual so we are hoping it is more down to fatigued muscles, like having cramp in the calf, and will settle down.

“We will monitor him tomorrow and if he needs a scan then we will get him scanned.”

However, he added that Sandwith’s injury looked to be a cartilage tear with ‘hot spots’ around the medial ligament and said: “Kevin Sandwith looks like he has no chance for Wembley now which is an absolute blow and I feel so sorry for him.

“He must have been really looking forward to the day out, though, of course we will take him there with us.”

In their third game in six days, two second half goals won the game last night and Russell said: “Me and the players had been getting some stick recently so I just told them to go out there and play with a smile on their faces.

“The dressing room has been a bit dismal of late. I told them me and Paul (Hall) would take the pressure so go out and enjoy the game and they did that.

“It was a big ask after playing Tuesday but we looked more confident, didn’t panic and it was really encouraging for me.

“There were tired legs out there but they still managed to step it up after half-time.

“I thought Louis Briscoe was outstanding again. And young Conor Higginson looks what he is, a goalscorer. That’s why I brought him back from loan.

I wanted to see if he could cut it at this level and he is ticking all the boxes, though we need to work on him.”

Kyle Nix, who scored the second goal added: “The first half was quite even but we dominated the second half and we were pretty pleased just to get a win.

“After Tuesday it took a while to get our second wind but in the second half we came out and got behind them and put balls into good areas. Finally we scored and then the second settled the nerves.

“I practice free kicks every day and I always enjoy scoring them. It’s me or Ashley Cain on them and it was just left of goal so I fancied it.

“My family were behind that goal so I was really buzzing when it went in.

“I thought Bath gave a good account of themselves. But it was nice to be clapped off instead of booed off. We know if we win games we won’t be booed off and need to show that effort and determination every game.

“It is tough but enjoyable to have so many games coming thick and fast. If you lose you can go out and rectify it straight way and if you win you’re buzzing.”

The crazy schedule continues with the third of four home games in eight days when Luton Town arrive for a revenge mission tomorrow after Stags knocked them out of the FA Trophy in another ill-tempered clash between the clubs.

“It will remind me of my days in the army,” said boss Russell. I will be bringing my flak jacket, tin helmet and gun.

“It’s going to be a cauldron and Luton are going to want to turn us over.”