John Lomas’ Stags Blog: Big Easter ahead for Mansfield
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 02 April 2015
As we tuck into our chocolate eggs this weekend, let’s hope Mansfield Town’s two crucial matches over Easter won’t leave the club in need of the miracle of a resurrection by Tuesday.
After last weekend’s 4-1 home humiliation by York City, it remains finely balanced with Stags seven points from safety with only seven games to go.
Two defeats this weekend and other results going against them, suddenly could leave Stags looking nervously over their shoulders.
A long haul down to promotion-chasing Southend United is a massive test on Good Friday with classy Shrewsbury Town in Mansfield on Monday for a 1pm kick-off.
If Mansfield turn in anything like last weekend’s lacklustre display they will be well beaten in both these games and the cold chill of that Conference trapdoor will once again be felt around the One Call Stadium.
It is a grim prospect to be dragged back into it yet again.
But teams below continue to pick up good points here and there, and look at Hartlepool United under Ronnie Moore.
They have stormed up from being well adrift and relegated in most people’s eyes to being this season’s Northampton and looking like staying up.
Last weekend Stags were blasted 4-1 at home by a very poor York side and it was little surprise manager Adam Murray was so emotional afterwards.
No one saw a performance that poor on the cards.
Murray was so upset he said he may reconsider his position in the summer.
Murray always says how he feels after games when his emptions are at their rawest and wears his heart on his sleeve.
By Monday that upset had apparently subsided and he again thankfully pledged his future to the club.
But he did not stage an early week press conference as he does most weeks.
Thursdays is usually the day when the Stags manager meets the media with a couple of players to preview the weekend’s action and let local newspaper and radio promote the forthcoming action.
Not this week. For the first time I can ever remember, the Mansfield Town manager would not meet the media this week or let his players speak to them. The hatches have been battened down and communications severed.
So we have little idea what is going on apart from hearsay.
We do know Liam Hearn got through 45 minutes of reserve football on Tuesday and, though the striker is still well short of a first team return, it wouldn’t surprise me if Murray gave him a big boost by sitting him on the bench in the next week or two.
We know also that Reggie Lambe is back from Bermuda from international duty and was sorely missed against York.
Last season’s trip to Roots Hall was a disaster in so many ways. Stags were beaten 3-0, had two men sent off and one of them, promising striker James Alabi, managed no more than half an hour of his debut on loan from Stoke and was never seen in a Stags shirt again.
Maybe Mansfield are due some good luck down there this time around?
Certainly Adam Murray is due some more convincing performances from the players he puts his trust in than last weekend.
That table could look so very different come Monday - either way. Let’s hope for a Happy Easter.
Before I go I must mention the shock death of Chris Taylor last weekend.
Going back many years, he was always the person I considered the club’s biggest fan.
No matter where the game or what night of the week, he would be there. If you went to Carlisle on a Tuesday and eight Stags fans made it, Chris would be one of them and would have organised the transport.
He was always chatty and cheery, discussing the fortunes of Mansfield Town or the exploits of his Sunday morning side.
I was only speaking to him in the Sandy Pate bar before the AFC Wimbledon game two weeks ago and can barely believe he has gone.
I know his health has been on the decline for quite a while, but his passing will leave many people whose life he has touched mourning deeply.
I understand he died with his Stags scarf round his neck and now fans are being encouraged to attend his funeral wearing theirs on 17th April.
It will be at St Andrew’s Church, Skegby, at 1.45pm followed by a wake in Sandy Pate Bar at One Call Stadium.
Stags will also stage a minute’s applause for his life on Monday.
Farewell mate, it was a privilege to know you.
Dave Penney: Momentum can be key for Blues over the Easter period
Thu 02 Apr 2015, southendunited.co.uk
Assistant boss admits none of the remaining eight games will be easy.
Southend United assistant manager Dave Penney wants Blues to build momentum over the Easter period, starting off with a victory against Mansfield Town.
Read more at http://www.southendunited.co.uk/news/article/dave-penney-southend-united-mansfield-town-2371689.aspx#2eVIflVio4yK5eKc.99
Phil Brown's side take on the relegation-threatened Stags at Roots Hall on Good Friday before heading to Hartlepool United on Bank Holiday Monday.
And Penney says Southend will go into the game against Mansfield with a timely boost to the squad.
“Myles Weston has come back from international duty fit and well,” Penney began.
“David Worrall is still injured, Luke Prosser is back in training and Kevan Hurst is rated at 50/50 for the game.
“Luke's done and dusted. Ben Clarkson's looked after him and he's been training all week. Today's the first day he's been heading balls and training with the whole squad.
“Adam Barrett played at Bury. Nobody really did too much wrong in the six minutes we payed up at Gigg Lane! We haven't named the squad yet, but we'll see who comes through training today.
And Penney feels there won't be any easy games left until the rest of the season.
Following the game against Hartlepool on Monday, the Blues then have to take on the likes of Tranmere Rovers, Newport County, Exeter City, Bury, Luton Town and Morecambe, with all the clubs aiming for promotion or surviving in the division.
“There's something on every game,” Dave said.
“We're against teams fighting for the play-offs and fighting off relegation. We need to set the Easter weekend off on a high with a win against Mansfield.
“They changed their manager, Adam Murray's gone in there and done okay, but they've lost the last two. Teams have closed the gap on them and Mansfield need to get some more points on the board.
“Teams get promoted and relegated at this time of year. They come thick and fast and the points could rack up quickly.”
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