Owens the worry as Mansfield Town prepare for opener against Newport

Stags 2012-2013''Andy Owens
Stags 2012-2013''Andy Owens
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ANDY Owens remains the only injury worry for Mansfield Town as they kick off the new BSBP season against Newport County at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.

But the squad may be bolstered by Macclesfield left winger Colin Daniel who was in talk with the club over a contract today.

Left back Owens has impressed in pre-season and does possess the extra weapon of a long throw, but he has picked up a groin strain and manager Paul Cox said: “Andy is the only big question mark really. If he is not 100 per cent we probably won’t take a risk with him.

“Then we have Jake Speight, who looked really sharp in the last two pre-season games, but has been playing catch-up on fitness after being injured in pre-season. Is he ready to play?

“I have an XI in my mind but nothing is definite yet as we still have two days of training.”

He added: “Pre-season means nothing really. It is from Saturday when we really earn our money. I will learn a lot about my players over the next few games.

“You have to have the mindset to be successful. You can have the best group of players on the planet. But if they are not hungry for success then you’re never going to win a game.

“Losing to Rotherham and being pushed by Sheffield in the last two games was probably the best thing that could have happened to us as, having done well and beaten two Championship sides, you could become over-confident. It’s levelled things out a bit.”

Daniel (24), who began his career at Eastwood, can also play left back or up front and, after two years at Crewe, has amassed over 100 games for Macclesfield.

“I am hoping he will sign today,” said Cox.

“Obviously we will have to monitor his fitness over the next two days to see where he is with it but, with his attributes, you would say he would come straight into the squad for Saturday.”

With first choice keeper Alan Julian still out injured the Exiles look set to give former Chelsea and Millwall keeper Lenny Pidgeley a short-term contract and play him at Mansfield.

Stags’ new defender George Pilkington, who will be hoping to get the captain’s armband, will be up against his ex-Luton Town striker colleagues Danny Crow and former Stag Aaron O’Connor, who have both signed for Justin Edinburgh’s new-look squad.

Full report and reaction at www.chad.co.uk after the game.