Boss eyes upset ahead of Bluebirds clash
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 04 January 2018
Stags' boss Steve Evans has his sights set on a 'huge prize' as he prepares his side for their Emirates FA Cup Third Round clash against Championship side Cardiff City on Saturday (06 January, 3.00pm kick-off).
Victories against non-league sides Shaw Lane and Guiseley have set-up the clash with the high-flying Bluebirds, who are fighting for promotion to the Premier League, sitting in third place in English football's second tier.
And the gaffer, who has previously reached the fifth round of the FA Cup on two separate occasions as a manager, is aiming to progress in the competition but warns that Cardiff boss Neil Warnock will be like a 'wounded animal' after four successive defeats in the Championship.
"Cardiff are third in the Championship. I know they've lost their last four games but arguably you could look at those games, I looked at the QPR game and I could understand why Neil Warnock would be disappointed," the Stags' chief said.
"Neil has assembled a real squad of real quality and that's why they'll compete to be in the Premier League. That's why Neil Warnock chose Cardiff over a number of clubs because he was going to get the investment to put that squad together.
"I have nothing but respect for Neil, for all his staff, for Andy Dibble, who worked with me at Rotherham, and Kevin Blackwell, who I see often and the owners, I've got nothing but respect.
"He'll be like a wounded animal and he won't be frightened of telling me that when I see him on Saturday. He's a gifted manager.
"There's always a good time to play them because we're in the FA Cup, we're in the third round, the prize is huge for us, probably more for us than them because they've set their stall out to be in the Premier League at the end of the season. There's never a good time to say we want to play someone but we're looking forward to it.
"I've been very fortunate; I've got in to the fifth round on a couple of occasions and had some fantastic giant-killings along the way.
"It doesn't matter where I've been as a manager or what players I've managed, in the great words of the great Bill Shankly: 'It's 11 v 11 men, son, that's all it is'."
The former Leeds United manager told the local media on Thursday afternoon that Stags will be without skipper Zander Diamond on Saturday after he suffered concussion against Wycombe Wanderers last week.
Frontman Danny Rose trained today and his recovery from the session will be assessed before a decision is made as to whether he will be available for Saturday's match, but midfielder Joel Byrom will not be fit for the encounter.
"He's (Byrom) very close now, he'll train next week. He's not going to be at Cardiff. He's out on the grass this week, he'll train with the group hopefully by mid next week.
"We're going to have to make changes anyway; we've got a few knocks from the weekend. We've got two or three that are still below - we've got some that are not in today because of the little virus that's in the camp.
"The FA Cup is a fantastic cup competition, that doesn't change. Do we want to win? Yes we do. Is it going to be extremely tough, whoever Neil picks? Yes it is.
"We don't need to help Cardiff in any shape or form whatsoever. They're already largely odds-on favourites just to deal with us and I think many people expect that to happen.
"We have to go there in the belief that will be the day that they don't really perform and we do perform. We're going to be minus some key players, I think they are as well because Neil will choose to be."
Away from Saturday's cup clash, the manager said that work is still ongoing behind the scenes to bring in reinforcements during the January transfer window.
"I think our chief executive is very much like the elegant swan she is on top of the water and really paddling below to make some things happen for us.
"Carolyn's doing a shed-load of work on this and obviously I'm at the other end of the phone to be saying yes and no. We're making some progress, but we're not there yet.
"Certainly there'll be none before Saturday, no. There's always a case that people may go out because we've had a number of people come onto us and you pass it to players and their agents. We're now at Thursday afternoon and the FA Cup's taken priority."
Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference later today.
Rose may have to wait for Stags return
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 04 January 2018
Top scorer Danny Rose could be fit again for Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Cardiff City. But, with Kane Hemmings and Lee Angol doing well together in the last two and a half games, manager Steve Evans said there were no guarantees Rose would walk straight back into the side. Rose looks to have shaken off a hip injury and may be ready by Saturday though, in his absence, Hemmings and Angol have both scored twice.
“The reality is, when you looks at Kane’s performances the last couple of games and Lee’s performances the last couple of games, Danny wouldn’t start,” said Evans.
“That’s the wonderful thing about football. He was in invincible form just before his knock.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/rose-may-have-to-wait-for-stags-return-1-8940474
“Danny trained today and we’ll see how he is in the morning. We’ll have to see if he has any reaction.” Skipper Zander Diamond is ruled out for the weekend. He is unable to play under FA rules after he was concussed when taking a ball in his face at Wycombe. And hopes that midfielder Joel Byrom would be fit in time have been dashed. “Zander will not train until Tuesday or Wednesday as it was concussion,” confirmed Evans “Joel is very close now. He’s back out on the grass and he’ll train with the group next week.”
Match preview: Cardiff City vs Stags
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 04 January 2018
Mansfield Town are in Emirates FA Cup third round action for the first time in five years when they take on Championship side Cardiff City on Saturday (06 January, 3.00pm kick-off) and this is your definitive guide to the fixture.
Striker Danny Rose trained on Thursday and Stags will wait to see how his body reacts after he missed the win over Carlisle with a pelvis injury.
Skipper Zander Diamond, who was forced off against Wycombe after the ball was smashed into his face, will miss Saturday's match with concussion.
The FA's concussion guidelines state that players should be rested for 14 days after the injury occurred.
Midfielder Joel Byrom will also miss Saturday's clash, but is expected to return to training next week following his groin injury.
Defender David Mirfin is still being assessed after his knee surgery.
Cardiff will be huge test for in-form Mansfield Neil Warnock. Cardiff City v Leeds United. SkyBet Champipnship. Cardiff City Stadium. 26 September 2017. Picture Bruce Rollinson JOHN LOMAS Email Published: 07:00 Friday 05 January 2018 Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans knows a thing or two about producing FA Cup giantkillings down the years. But he also knows it will take something special for his in-form League Two side to spring any third round surprises tomorrow away to a Cardiff City side firmly in the hunt for a place in the Premier League. “We do have some players capable of stepping up and playing,” said Evans. “Whether they can play regularly against the likes of Cardiff is always about opinions. “We do have some big game players. Whether some of them are going to be fit, we’ll find out at 3pm on Saturday. “But it doesn’t matter where I’ve been as a manager or what players I’ve managed, in the words of the great Bill Shankley - it’s 11 v 11 men. That’s all it is. “We know on the day if Cardiff turn up and are really at it, it’s going to be a long afternoon for us. “We have to turn up and make sure we do things in the game that make it a good afternoon for us and not a long one.”?Evans remains a massive fan of a competition that some believe is becoming increasingly devalued. He said: “I value progressing massively. I’ve been very fortunate and gone to the fifth round on a couple of occasions with some fantastic giantkilling along the way. “I’d never decry anyone who comes and performs a giantkilling. If Shaw Lane had beaten us we’d have been most receptive, offered a handshake and wished them well as I’ve been on the other end of it. “It’s the best cup competition in the world outside of the World Cup for players. “Everyone talks about it worldwide - it is highly valued.” Only beaten once in 18 games, the Stags head for the plush Cardiff City Stadium at a time when the high-flying Bluebirds have just uncharacteristically lost four games on the bounce. But Evans believes that will make them even more dangerous tomorrow. “Cardiff may have lost their last four games, but you look at the QPR game and you can understand why Neil Warnock would be disappointed,” he said. “We’ve had that in our season with some difficult decisions. “But they have a fantastic squad of players and in Sol Bamba they have not only a man-mountain on the pitch, but a leader. He is a good guy who was with me at Elland Road and a top class player. “Neil has assembled a squad of real quality which is why they are competing to be in the Premier League and why he chose Cardiff over a number of clubs, as he was going to get the investment to put that squad together.” Warnock is expected to make changes and Evans added: “If I could shake his pack, I’d shake it as whatever is going to drop out is a quality player. “The FA Cup is a fantastic competition - that doesn’t change. Do we want to win? Yes, we do. Is it going to be extremely tough whoever Neil picks? Yes, it is. “I’d expect him to make a number of changes but I don’t think they will be wholesale. “I have nothing but respect for Neil and his staff, Andy Dibble, who worked with me at Rotherham, and Kevin Blackwell, who I see often. “We are going to have to make changes ourselves anyway as we have a few knocks from the weekend and two or three not in today because of the viruses in the camp. “We don’t need to help Cardiff in any shape or form whatsoever by telling them which players. “They are already large odds-on favourites to deal with us. “Many people expect that to happen. We have to go there with the belief that it could be the day they don’t really perform and we do. “We will be minus some key players, but they also will as Neil will choose to be. “We will prepare as will any other game and set our stall to try to win a football match.”?Evans is looking forward to crossing swords once more with old pal Warnock. He said: “Have you ever seen Neil Warnock wounded before? He has just lost four games in a row. “I’d love the statisticians to tell me how many times that’s happened in his career, even in the Premier League. “I don’t think he was losing four. He’d always nick a win in there somewhere. “He is a gifted manager. We’re looking forward to it. “It will be tough. Neil is in your face on the side, his players are in your players’ faces on the pitch and they will be big, strong and physical. “There will be a mixture of styles. They can go forward nice and early and put long throws and free kicks into the box, but at the same they have some wonderful technical players.” Asked if those four defeats meant it was a good time to play Cardiff, Evans said: “It’s always a good time to play them as we are in the FA Cup, we are in the third round and the prize is huge - probably more for us than them. “They have set their stall out to be in the Premier League at the end of the season. “This is a stadium built for Premier League football and a fantastic facility. I don’t know how busy it will be and that’s of no interest to me. All that will interest me is what’s happening on the grass.” Stags had sold over 800 of their 1,500 allocation by Wednesday night so should have a four-figure following for their first ever game at the Cardiff City Stadium. “I’ve said it before. 99 plus per cent of the Stags fans are incredible,” he smiled. “The away support and noise generated at Coventry will stay with me forever. It will take some surpassing.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/cardiff-will-be-huge-test-for-in-form-mansfield-1-8940739
No new faces for Stags before Cardiff
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 04 January 2018
There will be no few faces at Mansfield Town Football Club in the first week of the January transfer window. Although much work is going on behind the scenes chasing Steve Evans’ main targets, the manager said today that all attention has to now be on Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Cardiff City. But he did stress there was still plenty in his war chest coffers, thanks to sterling work by Stags chief executive Carolyn Radford in the summer, and she is again leading his negotiations.
“There will be nothing before Saturday. We have Cardiff to focus on,” he said. “Our chief executive is much like the elegant swan - she is on top of the water, but really paddling furiously below it to make some things happen for us.
“Carolyn is doing a shed-load of work on this and I am obviously on the other end of the phone to be saying yes or no. We are making some progress but we are not there yet.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/no-new-faces-for-stags-before-cardiff-1-8940408
“John and Carolyn Radford are working hard for us now on the players we like. “But these things never happen overnight and, usually, if they are going to improve us, there are probably a number of other clubs who think they might improve them too.” He added: “They may not come to anything. We have to hope we can get one or two over the line. “I’m sure we’ll do some business next week but, if we didn’t strengthen, our squad is an excellent squad as it is.” However, players deemed unlikely to figure in the first team in the near future could go out at any time. “There is always a case that people may go out as we have had a number of people come on to us, which you pass to players and their agents,” said Evans. “There will be two or three go out - but we don’t need to get them out before we bring in. “That might tell our supporters we’ve not spent the money in the summer that some people think we’ve spent. “We’ve got plenty of money left in our budget. So give some credit to the work that Carolyn Radford did in the summer as it was fantastic. She gets no credit for that.” Evans continued: “The FA Cup has to take priority. Of course there are a lot of clubs with no game this weekend - they are out. But I think a lot of it will happen next week. “It’s a difficult few days that lay ahead for Carolyn Radford, not for me. She has to be able to try to get some deals done. “We are certainly hopeful of doing things in the early part of next week. But we won’t sign for the sake of signing. “Not everyone, but our recruitment has largely been good, and we aim to make sure we’re improving.”
Artful Mellis relishing Cardiff test
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 04 January 2018
Classy midfielder Jacob Mellis believes Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Third Round clash with Cardiff City will be a good opportunity for Stags to test themselves against higher league opposition.
Stags will take on the Bluebirds at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday (06 January, 3.00pm kick-off) with a place in the fourth round of the oldest cup competition in the world at stake.
And Mellis, who has previously reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup with former club Barnsley, believes Saturday's tie will be a chance for Stags to show their quality.
"Ever since I was a little boy, you always watch the third round and fourth round of the FA Cup and I'm just happy to be playing in it," the former Chelsea youngster said.
"We're going up against a higher standard of players, obviously a Championship team, so we'll be looking forward to it, to test ourselves, see how far off we are and hopefully beat them.
"Their quality will be better but we've got a good squad. We're going there with confidence so we'll be looking forward to it.
"You have to enjoy it. You always have to believe you can win, otherwise there's no point turning up. We'll go there, Cardiff have been decent this season, but we'll go there full of confidence.
"They're two divisions higher than us but we've got good players and we believe we've got good players. I think we can go there and put in a good performance.
"Hopefully they underestimate us and we can go there and show our quality and show that we obviously deserve to be in the third round."
After picking up 10 points from a possible 12 over the festive period and extending their excellent run of form to one defeat in 18 games, Mellis believes confidence is high in the Stags' camp.
"It's great - it's only getting better as well. The training standard's going up, everyone's fighting for positions, so everyone's buzzing.
"Everyone's buzzing; even in training this morning, the standard was high. The gaffer still wants more, so he's pushing us every day. Even though we're on a good run of form, no-one's 'taking their foot off the gas'.
"Even through training, if you're 'off it' a little bit on say a Thursday, you can't expect to be picked on a Saturday because we've got a lot of players ready and waiting in the wings to step in."
After putting pen-to-paper on a deal at One Call Stadium in the summer, the 26-year-old says he feels 'settled' at the club.
"It's been a bit stop-start, playing-not playing. When you've got a big squad like this, it's going to happen sometimes. I'm enjoying my time here; I love the players, the people, it's a really nice club - I like it and feel settled.
"When we give them (the supporters) the football like we did at Wycombe and [in the] second half at Grimsby, we hear their voice and they roar us on. Everyone's together and it feels good."
iFollow Stags subscribers can login to our premium broadcast service to view Jacob Mellis' full news conference.
Stags must have belief at Cardiff says Mellis
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town midfield ace Jacob Mellis said it would be pointless travelling to Cardiff City tomorrow if the Stags didn’t believe they could pull off an FA Cup giantkilling. Neil Warnock’s Championship high-flyers are favourites to reach round four. But Mellis said confidence was high for a Stags side with only one defeat in their last 18 matches and Cardiff would underestimate them at their peril. “I think the pressure on us is less as they are two divisions higher than us, but we have good players who we believe can go there and put on a good performance,” said Mellis. “Hopefully they will underestimate us. Then we can show our quality and why we deserve to be in the third round. “You just have to enjoy it. But you’ve always got to believe you can win otherwise there’s no point in turning up. “Cardiff have been doing decent this season, but we’ll go there full of confidence.” As Stags continue to churn out the results and edge up the table, Mellis said the squad was continuing to improve. “We got 10 out of 12 points over Christmas so it was almost perfect. We couldn’t have asked for much more,” he said. “It’s a great squad and it’s getting better - training standards are going up and everyone’s fighting for positions. Everyone is buzzing. “Even if you are off it a little bit in training on the Thursday you can’t expect to be picked on the Saturday. We have a lot of players waiting in the wings, ready to step in. “The gaffer still wants more. He is pushing us every day, even though we’re on a good run of form. “No one is taking their foot off the gas.” Mellis does not subscribe to the notion that the FA Cup has become devalued down the years. He said: “Ever since I was a little boy you always watched the third round of the FA Cup. I am just happy to be playing in it. “People say it’s not as special as it once was but I believe it is. “You see non-League teams causing upsets and lower league teams causing upsets so I think it’s still special. “Obviously we’re going up against a higher standard of players now with a Championship team. “We’re looking forward to it, testing ourselves to see how far off we are, and hopefully beating them. “Their quality will be better than League Two. But we have a good squad and we are going there with confidence.” Mellis remembers the buzz of being part of a Barnsley side that reached the quarter-finals before an exit to Manchester City in March 2013, Carlos Tevez hitting a hat-trick. “We were beaten 5-0 so no giantkillings, but to get to the quarter-finals was a good achievement. It was a good day,” he said. “As you went through the rounds, seeing who you’d get, with the bigger teams left in, it creates a real buzz around the town.” A former £1 million player at Chelsea, Mellis is only just starting to become a regular in the Mansfield midfield after arriving in the summer. “It was a bit stop-start, not playing,” he admitted. “But when you’ve got a big squad like this, it’s going to happen sometimes. “I am enjoying my time here. I love the players and people. “It’s a really nice club and I like it. I feel settled.” Over 1,000 away fans are expected to cheer Mansfield on at Cardiff and Mellis added: “Hopefully our fans will just keep doing what they’re doing. “We can hear them roar us on. Everyone is together and it feels good.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/stags-must-have-belief-at-cardiff-says-mellis-1-8940745
Warnock: Looking forward to the Cup
"I like the FA Cup and I want to get through," says the Gaffer...
Neil Warnock spoke to the press and media at the Vale Resort on Friday morning as he previewed Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Mansfield Town.
The Gaffer began by explaining his frustration with the Bluebirds’ recent injury situation, as he prepares for the Third Round fixture at Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff City vs. Mansfield Town: Emirates FA Cup Tickets!
“It was a time of year I thought we’d be getting quite a number of players back, but in fact we’ve lost more,” began Neil.
“I’m still going to pick my strongest team. I like the FA Cup and I want to get through. The fittest lads are going to play, that’s what I can say. I’m sure we can put a good side out, I just don’t know who that’s going to be at the moment, as we’re that thin on the ground.”
Mansfield are competing for a play-off spot in League Two this season, and the City boss is looking forward to seeing his men go up against the Stags.
“They’re a tough side and Steve [Evans] is a good manager wherever he goes,” he continued. “They’ve got a good budget for that level, they've bought well - they've got pace and power and they’re direct.
“It’s going to be a hard game. They all are, especially if you’re not full strength. But, even though we’ve got problems on the injury front, it won’t be a team I’m disappointed to play. I’m actually looking forward to seeing three or four lads play - it gives them opportunities.
“I’m going to try and come up with something and I want to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the game and want to have a run in the Cup. Hopefully the lads go into it without any fear, enjoy it, play and put on a performance.”
Neil Warnock press conference
I’m still going to pick my strongest team, the fittest lads are going to play, because I like the FA Cup and I want to get through.
We’ve had a flu symptoms bug but I’m sure we’re going to put a strong side out, it’s just a bit chaotic. I used to call it emergency ward 10, we’re that thin on the ground! We’ve got to get 7 subs and an 11 on the team-sheet. I’m not telling you the players who have got the flu.
They’re a tough side, we’ve seen DVDs and Steve, wherever he goes, he’s bought well. They’ve got pace and power and they’re direct. They’re all hard games but I think the team - even though we’ve got problems on the injury front - I’m looking forward to seeing the three or four that plays.
I’ve spoken to Steve when he’s been feeling low, and we all get low periods. I’ve been very lucky at the clubs I’ve been at, Steve is probably a bit more vociferous than me on the bench, he makes me and Blacky look meet and mild!
The Mansfield team has got a good chance of beating us tomorrow, even though we’ve got injury problems. I’m so optimistic that we might get 2 players in tomorrow, that it’s a nice time tomorrow to relax and the lads can go into it without fear and give a performance.
It will not be a good crowd but thank god it’s not 11.30 on a Sunday morning!
Oxford United must not sell key players in January - Pep Clotet
oxfordmail.co.uk, David Pritchard @OxfordMailOUFC, 5 Jan 2018
LOSING a key player in the January transfer window would be inconceivable if Oxford United are serious about progressing, according to boss Pep Clotet.
Marvin Johnson and John Lundstram were sold during last summer.
While clearly a big enough offer would make United think twice, Clotet admitted losing another core member of the squad would be troubling.
He said: “We are trying to build.
“We already lost two really important players in the summer. If we lose an important player now I would start to think ‘what are we doing?’.
“Of course not, it’s not something that’s in my mind.”
One decision Clotet will have to make this month is whether they activate the clause to recall Kane Hemmings from his season-long loan at Mansfield Town.
The striker scored twice in Monday’s 3-1 win against Carlisle United.
It took his tally to seven goals in the last 12 appearances, which has not gone unnoticed.
Clotet said: “I’m watching very closely all the games he’s playing.
“At the minute he’s doing very well and is not only scoring but also playing at a good level helping his team.
“That’s the kind of player you want, that comes with a good momentum.
“But still it’s early for me to say.”