It will work, I have done it before, you just need a different pilot bearing as the 2.3 t5 has a smaller end on the input shaft than the 5.0 t5. One from an late 80's mazda b2200 will work.
The 4cyl t-5 has a 3.95 first gear (most v-8 t5's have a 3.35 first, later v-8 t5's have a 2.95 first gear), so depending on your rear gear you may have a crazy low gear on takeoff. I ran one with a 3.80 rear gear and 1st gear was nearly unusable it was so low. By the time your foot gets to the floor you're at redline lol.
You can beat on them a little but I wouldn't power shift or anything like that.