Stags waiting on the weather for Wycombe visit
chad.co.uk, 22 January 2015
Adam Murray is hoping the One Call Stadium pitch will survive the winter weather over the next two days so Mansfield Town will be able to welcome League Two leaders Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday (3pm).
The frost covers have been on all week and, although they are covered in snow right now, the biggest worry is the thaw and tomorrow’s forecast rain, all of which could end up leaving the pitch waterlogged.
“The pitch is not looking the best, but I will leave it up to the groundstaff and we’ll just have to see how the next 48 hours go,” said manager Murray.
“We have had to train on a different surface as there’s no grass, which is not ideal. But we have been able to put the preparation into them that we wanted.”
Stags are desperate to get out there and wipe away the misery of last weekend’s late capitulation when Murray’s new-look side, still trying to gel as a team with six new players, allowed Exeter to leave with a 3-2 win after seeming to have the game in the bag.
“I am getting fed up with playing well and not winning. We have got to put that right,” he said.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope it will happen sooner than later. We are coming up to two weeks in this ‘process’ and now we’ve got Matty Blair, who is a new ingredient.
“A lot of business has been done early for a reason. We are only two games over the halfway stage so we have a ridiculous amount of football to play.
“Everyone can see what a good team we are putting together and the standard of our performances. I am confident in what the boys are about.
“The jigsaw is never complete, though. You are always looking for that extra part that can make it a better picture or a better product. We are currently putting glue into the jigsaw to bring it all together.
“We have had a super week and we can’t wait for the challenge of top of the league.”
Murray is impressed with the way Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth has turned things around, his side now top after only staying in the League thanks to Stags’ last day win at Bristol Rovers in May.
“They have a bit of everything,” he said. “They have a lot of pace, good experience, good enthusiasm of youth. They make good decisions and are effective with the decisions they make. They also only concede a small amount of goals, and that all adds up to a successful team.
“Gareth is further down the ‘process’ than us. This time last year they were in a relegation battle. Now things have swung round and they are top of the league.”
Murray is also delighted that Stags supporters seem to be coming on board with his vision for the future and knows, from first hand experience, just how important their vocal backing on a Saturday can be.
“After the game on Saturday it felt like everyone at the ground was on the same page,” he said. “They felt hurt we’d lost but also felt optimism for what they’d just witnessed. They were wondering how we’d not come away with three points.
“In a way it was brilliant to feel that atmosphere in the ground at the end. We were all feeling the same and I don’t think it’s been like that at the football club for a long time.
“The fans can play such a part here when they are behind us.
“It’s huge. People can sit here and say they need the fans behind them, but they can be empty words from managers. But I have been out there in battle and experienced that energy that it gives you.
“This club is in a relegation battle and from minute one we have got to stick together, go out and fight whoever is on our arena. This is our home and everyone who comes here must know what they are coming into.”
Stags have no new injuries and welcome striker Alex Fisher, back from a collarbone injury, and Ryan Tafazoli, back from illness, into the squad.
Murray said: “Both are available. They have done a lot of extra work and are both very fit lads and physical beasts.
“We do have a couple of reserve games next week in which they can top up. But both look in shape and I’d have no qualms about throwing them in. How long they would last is the only issue.”
Mansfield Town v Wycombe Wanderers: Match preview
Nottingham Post, January 23, 2015
WYCOMBE Wanderers have shown what can be achieved with time and talent in League Two.
And they have set the template the likes of Mansfield Town will try to follow.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-Town-v-Wycombe-Wanderers-Match-preview/story-25911832-detail/story.html?#ixzz3PdNRShhh
The Chairboys spent last season battling to stay away from the relegation zone, but, a year down the line, boss Gareth Ainsworth has turned them into table-toppers.
Stags manager Adam Murray, by contrast, has had barely a fortnight to work with his new-look squad since overseeing a considerable overhaul during the transfer window.
And he admits the two sides will be at very different stages in their journey when they meet at the One Call Stadium tomorrow.
"I think it's coming up to a year that Gareth's had his ingredients together and we're two months in," said Murray.
He added: "They've got a little bit of everything.
"They've got a lot of pace, they've got experience, they've got the enthusiasm of youth and they are a team which makes good decisions. They are efficient with their decision making, and they have conceded a very small amount of goals. That adds up to a successful team.
"I think Gareth is a further part down his process, as I put it.
"This time last year they were in a relegation battle; it's swung round and now they're sitting top of the league.
"It will be a great challenge for us."
Mansfield's build-up has however, been disrupted by the weather this week, with snow forcing them to change their plans.
"We've had to train on a different surface this week," said Murray. "We've not been able to get on grass, which has not been ideal.
"But we've managed to get the preparation into the boys that we wanted to."
Murray's side go into the game on the back of three successive defeats, the most recent a 3-2 reverse at home to Exeter City in which they had been 2-1 up.
A vociferous crowd nevertheless, got right behind the players last weekend, and the manager has called for the same again.
"People sit in this chair and say, 'we need the fans behind us' and it carries no weight because sometime's it's empty words from managers and coaches," he said.
"I'm saying it because I've witnessed it; I've been out there on the battlefield and I've experienced the energy that it does give you.
"We're in a battle. And it's not just the XI or the 18 in the squad that's in a battle; this football club is in a battle now.
"From minute one of every game here we've got to stick together.
Riley: Spirits are strong in the camp
mansfieldtown.net, 22nd January 2015
Defender says confidence and belief remains good ahead of the visit of the table-toppers.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/riley-spirits-are-strong-in-the-camp-2220642.aspx#sTjJZoJduo0XiQTe.99
Defender Martin Riley is determined to put the errors in our defeat to Exeter City firmly behind him by helping our team to achieve a positive result against high-flying Wycombe Wanderers this weekend.
The Stags were on course to pick up at least a point at One Call Stadium last Saturday, until Exeter’s Dave Wheeler was brought down inside the six-yard box by Adam Smith, who was attempting to latch onto a back-pass by Riley, who has skippered our side in recent weeks.
Alex Nicholls converted the resulting penalty to give Exeter a surprising 3-2 victory.
Riley admits that it’s taken time to get the defeat out of his system, but remains professional and is eager than ever to prove a point in our next match.
“[The team has] had to get a defeat out of their systems and I’ve had to get a mistake out of my system,” said the defender. “We’re professionals and its part and parcel of football. It took me a few days to get over it, but I’m back to normal now.”
He continued: “It was ‘gutting’ for everyone - not least myself, because you take these things personally and I know that I let a lot of people down, but you’ve not got to beat yourself up about it.
“It’s football at the end of the day. There are a lot of highs and a lot of lows and you’ve got to make sure that you don’t get too high or low in different situations.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Riley said: “Obviously we know it’s going to be a tough game for us because they are where they are in the league table for a reason, but we honestly don’t fear anyone at the moment.
“There’s a great spirit within the camp and that was one of the things that I was delighted to see when I came in for training on Monday morning.
“I didn’t want to see the boys or staff down about the result on Saturday, because there are so many good things happening at the moment and there is a good feeling in the camp.
“We’ve got to go out there and do what we did on Saturday, but put a few more chances away and cut out a couple of things at the back.”
Stags skipper Martin Riley has put backpass torment behind him
After the nightmare of his disastrous backpass that saw Mansfield Town lose 3-2 at home to Exeter last weekend, Stags skipper Martin Riley quickly drowned his sorrows and can’t wait to get back out there against visiting leaders Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow to put things right.
Riley, under pressure from Alex Nicholls on the by-line, rolled a risky pass towards keeper Adam Smith who was beaten to the ball by David Wheeler as he slid in to bring him down for the match-wining penalty.
“Obviously I had to get another defeat out of my system and I have had to get a mistake out of my system,” he said. “Saturday night I almost got through a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“But we are professionals. I am a professional player. Mistakes like that are part and parcel of football.
“It’s out of me now, though it took a few days to get over it. I am back to normal now.
“I was gutted for everyone, not least myself as I do take these things personally. I know I let a lot of people down.
“At the same time I have got to look at the positives from the situation and not beat myself up too much. That’s football - there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows.
“I am gutted for the boys, the fans, the staff and the gaffer. It’s shocking it all came down to one moment really.
“But it won’t knock my confidence. I am a confident player and I always have been.”
Before the mistake, Riley was actually about to win the sponsors’ man of the match, so he was having far from a poor game.?He is enjoying being skipper of the team right now, but stressed that fans should not see his lack of screaming as a lack of passion.
“Being captain gives you a bit more focus,” he said.”You have to try to help the other boys out and be a bit more aware of the game situation.
“But I am never going to be a captain who is shouting and bawling on the pitch for no reason.
“I try to lead by example in my performances on the pitch. I always try to be cool, calm and collected at all times. That won’t change. I won’t become a bawler and a screamer.
“But I don’t want people to look at that and see it as a lack of passion. I am very, very passionate about football and this club and it is a massive honour for me to wear that armband.”
Weather-permitting, leaders Wycombe are in town tomorrow and Riley added: “We know it will be tough as they are where they are for a reason.
“But we are honestly not fearing anything at the moment. We have great spirit in the camp.
“If we go out there against Wycombe and do what we did on Saturday, but put a few more chances away and cut out a few of the things at the back, we will be fine.”
Club before country says Stags’ Bermudian winger Reggie Lambe
chad.co.uk, 22 January 2015
Mansfield Town’s Bermudian winger Reggie Lambe is hopeful he may add another cap to his international collection soon, but he stressed today it would always be club before country for him.
Bermuda are about to start playing their World Cup qualifying games and contact has been made with the Stags about the possibility of 23-year-old Lambe flying back home to take part.
“They are eager to get me to play in one of the matches,” he said. “I have given them the contact for the club as I don’t want to be involved. If they release me or don’t, I am happy either way.
“I believe the matches are World Cup qualifiers. It would be good if I can play for my country as I love to play for my country.
“It is good to be around players I played with when I was growing up, local boys. It would also be good to be reunited with Nahki Wells at Huddersfield who I’ve not played with for a while.
“But I have a job to do here and my club comes first.”
Lambe has already won 15 senior caps, scoring four times, before his arrival at Mansfield from Toronto.
The exciting winger is hoping the weather allows Saturday’s home clash with League Two leaders Wycombe to go ahead, especially as his parents have just flow over from Bermuda to visit, finding him almost snowed in.
“They arrived here last night and were immediately running round looking for a shovel to clear my driveway with so I could get to training this morning,” he smiled.
“My mum has been over before but it’s my dad’s first time and he is enjoying it.
“I was in Canada and it’s much colder there. This weather doesn’t really affect me that much.”
At Mansfield Lambe was on a short-term contract that was set to expire this month and under previous boss Paul Cox he barely had a kick.
But new manager Adam Murray has been much happier to give the youngster licence to show off his talents and Lambe was delighted to sign a new deal until the summer.
“The manager just wants us to go out there and play with freedom and make sure we just do our jobs,” he said.
“It feels more free out there on the park. It’s amazing. It’s a new freedom.
“I wanted to put pen to paper and make it official so I could concentrate on the rest of the season and keeping us in this league.
“The lads in the changing rooms have been brilliant as have the fans, the stadium and the manager.”
Lambe said there was no fear over Saturday’s high-flying opposition.
“I am just expecting a tough battle,” he said. “As a team we need to eliminate some mistakes as they are where most of the opposition’s chances come from.
“If we can put some of our own chances away then I don’t feel like anyone should be coming to our home and beating us.”
The Bahamas will play Bermuda in March in one of seven pairings as qualifying starts for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
The other first-round pairings are Barbados v US Virgin Islands; Belize v Cayman Islands; British Virgin Island v Dominica; Curacao v Montserrat; Turks and Caicos Islands v St Kitts and Nevis; and Nicaragua v Anguilla.
Seeking its first World Cup berth since 1986, Canada opens at home against the British Virgin Islands or Dominica in the second round from 6th-16th June, when Cuba faces Curacao or Montserrat, Guatemala plays Bahamas or Bermuda, Puerto Rico meets Grenada and El Salvador plays the Turks and Caicos-Islands-St. Kitts and Nevis winner.
Jamaica and Haiti have byes until the third round from 21st August-8th September, and the United States joins for the start of the semi-finals in November along with Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Paul Hayes and Hogan Ephraim should be fit for Wycombe Wanderers' game at Mansfield Town
Bucks Free Press
Top scorer Paul Hayes and Hogan Ephraim should both be fully fit to feature for Wanderers at Mansfield tomorrow.
Both players were named among the substitutes at Bury last week but were still feeling the effects of injuries.
Neither made it off the bench, and with an extra week to train and build up fitness they should be good to go against the Stags.
Ephraim was named in the Blues squad for the first time in over a month at Bury, while Hayes had missed two of the previous three fixtures with a calf injury.
Manager Gareth Ainsworth said: "If I'd needed to put them on, I would have, but I couldn't see anyone who needed to come off.
"Potentially they'll both be ready to face Mansfield."
The Stags sit perilously close to the relegation zone after failing to win at Field Mill in two months, with new manager Adam Murray having won just one of his first eight matches in charge.
Ainsworth warned however: "It's a dangerous time to play them. They'll be looking over their shoulders - we know what that's like and we know they'll be digging deep.
"They have got a new manager who will want to put his stamp on the squad. We need to hit them while he's still learning his ways, and take control of the game with a good tempo."
He added: "It's a decent surface up there, albeit a bit windy sometimes. It should give us time to get the ball down and do what we do best.
"If we can get the ball down and attack in the way we usually do, I'm sure we'll be in with a chance of getting the points at Mansfield."
Wanderers supporters are being reminded the match is an all ticket fixture and fans need to buy a ticket through the club before travelling.
Mansfield Town striker Rakish Bingham happy to accept Hartlepool United challenge
by Richard Mennear
BEING nine points off safety at the bottom of the Football League doesn’t faze Hartlepool United loanee Rakish Bingham.
Instead the confident 21-year-old sees it as a challenge and one he is “certainly capable” of rising to
For many young forwards looking to make their way in the game the thought of joining a team struggling at the wrong end of the League Two table would probably not appeal.
But not so for Mansfield Town striker Bingham, who boss Ronnie Moore has secured as one of three loan signings so far.
Bingham told SportMail: “I am really enjoying my time at the club, getting games and trying to help the team push up the table.
“When the opportunity came up I didn’t look at the position the club was in - I just saw it as a challenge.
“It is a step in my career, this is my first season playing regularly at first team and it is a great challenge.
“I just thought why not?
“I am certainly capable.
“At the end of the day I wanted to get games so I had a good chat with the Mansfield manager [Adam Murray] and he said it would be beneficial to get games under my belt here and then go back and be part of his plans.
“I am enjoying it.”
The irony is that the better Bingham does for Hartlepool United could pull his parent club Mansfield - who are 20th in Sky Bet League Two - further into the relegation mire.
That isn’t lost on the striker but he is just focusing on his football and hoping both teams can stay up this season.
The 6ft centre-forward added: “That is the bit of irony involved!
“That is football though and I don’t get involved in that side too much - I just let my football do the talking.
“I hope both teams stay up this year!”
The 21-year-old striker joined the Stags during the summer following his release from Wigan Athletic having turned professional with The Latics in 2012.
Since joining Pools, he has played three times and scored once, in the 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town.
Bingham‘s loan spell runs until the end of the season but Mansfield have inserted a clause so they could recall him once the first month of the deal is up.
Moore will be hoping that doesn’t happen as he struggles to add further additions to his squad.
Bingham will be leading the line again tomorrow, when Pools travel to Prenton Park to take on Tranmere Rovers and he says the mood is still very upbeat amongst the squad despite the poor league position.
“The atmosphere is very positive,” added Bingham.
“We know when we are on our game that if we start like we did against Shrewsbury or play like we did against Wycombe away then we have no worries.
“It is a young squad and we just focus on each game as it comes. We are all young and learning together and learning on the job.
“It is tough but what better way to learn it than to make history and stay up.”
Latest | January 2015