Crawley steal Dance but hopes still high on new face

MONEYBAGS Crawley Town have stolen the signature of Kettering winger James Dance from under the noses of Mansfield Town.

But Stags boss Duncan Russell is still hopeful of new faces, possibly even a new striker before tomorrow night’s home clash with Fleetwood Town.

“Dance’s agent is a personal friend of mine and I have been hopeful of getting him in here for the last few weeks,” said Russell.

“We almost had him. But he slipped through the net because Crawley Town came in for him and we can’t compete with the deals they can offer.

“Don’t firget they paid a quarter of a million for Richard Brodie and he doesn’t play very often!

“But I do have others players I am after and hope to get at least one of them in this week, maybe in time to be involved tomorrow, and he is a good striker from higher up the leagues who would provide a major threat to any opposition.”

Russell intends to send out the same 11 players who won 3-1 at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday, where he made six changes to freshen things up.

Visitors Fleetwood lost for the first time in nine games, 1-0 at Forest Green at the weekend, and Russell said: “We owe them one after losing 3-0 up there at the start of the season when Magno Vieira was outstanding.

“They are a well-organised side who can score goals so we must make sure we police the right people.

“I wasn’t happy with the goal we conceded at Eastbourne. You have to mark players who come into the box. Space doesn’t score goals, players do, so it’s no good marking space in that situation.”

Stags were booed off after the 1-0 home defeat by Altrincham a week ago and Russell said: “I thought some of our players played with some fear that day and looked nervous.

“Without a doubt there is more pressure at home. Supporters want the very best and we would love to be able to win every game for them.

“They pay their money and want to be entertained which we try to do. But they have every right to boo as well.

“That can be off-putting to certain players and I would ask everyone to try to get behind the lads as it makes it easier for them when they hear our fans in good voice.”

Rhys Day, Adam Smith and Steve Cook are all injured and unlikely to make tomorrow’s squad.

Brighton defender Cook faces at least a month on the sidelines after a scan revealed damaged ankle ligaments and, although Russell will speak to him about his future, he said Cook had told him he was finding the travel a strain which could see his time with Stags at an end.

Peter Vincenti’s loan spell will not be continued when it expires this week through Stags are still chasing a return for Simon Grand from Fleetwood.

Matt Somner will be allowed out on loan again, either staying at Altrincham or going to Tamworth.

Russell said he would call in a favour to bring in a keeper as cover on the bench at the weekend but would give patient deputy keeper Neil Collett a game in the FA Trophy tie with Newport County with Luton Town not wanting on-loan Kevin Pilkington cup-tied.