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SWINDON PREVIEWS
12th February 2018 23:52


Posh friendly influences gaffer's team selection for Swindon clash
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 08 February 2018

Stags' boss Steve Evans has suggested that certain players have forced their way into his team for Saturday's Sky Bet League Two trip to Swindon Town with stand-out displays in our behind-closed-doors friendly earlier this week.

The manager revealed that Peterborough United travelled to One Call Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and Stags were dominant in racing into a 2-0 lead, before the manager introduced a number of young players in the second half, at which point Posh took over and eventually won 3-2.

Goals from frontmen Ricky Miller and Jimmy Spencer saw Stags take a commanding lead against Posh and the manager revealed that the 'great exercise' has allowed him to already decide his team ahead of Saturday's clash with the Robins.

"It was a great exercise. We were 2-0 up, it could have been four or five and we were delighted with some of the performances, really delighted," the Stags' chief said.

"Then we introduced some of the kids and it's going to change. Peterborough were strong, they've got good players, but it was a good exercise for the manager at Peterborough, Grant McCann, and myself. We sat together during the game and our chairman and Carolyn got the opportunity to watch it as well with Barry Fry.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/february/evans-08-feb/

"It was a real good exercise and some of those lads have put themselves in the frame for Swindon on Saturday.

"I have to say too many of them did very well for me to be in isolation naming people. I think anyone who was involved in the game couldn't fail to be impressed with [Ricky] Miller.

"They had a very experienced back line and I think nine or ten out of their team have got a lot of League One experience.

"I think Ricky had a good day; we played him for 55-60 minutes and only when we made the changes in bringing some of the youngsters on that we wanted to look at did the game swing in favour of Peterborough.

"I thought [Matt] Penney started a little bit sloppy for ten minutes but then came into the game and was fantastic just before half-time and after it.

"The boy [Adam] King, it was like watching Joel Byrom, that's the biggest credit I can give him."

Frontman Lee Angol recovered from a slight groin strain to play a part in the friendly and the gaffer is hoping to receive more good news on midfielder Jacob Mellis, who could return to training today.

"As of today, we'll have Hayden White although he's suspended for Saturday, but he'll train fully after a slight knock. The news I'm waiting to hear on is whether we've got Jacob Mellis out there or not, another 'son' of mine.

"He's so talented, I love him, and every day we've got Jacob Mellis in our group, we're better.

"If he trains today and certainly if he comes through with no ill effects after tomorrow, he'll be on the coach going down to Swindon.

"David's [Mirfin] not available, Hayden's suspended and Zander's [Diamond] due back in today after becoming a dad and all the excitement that goes around that.

"We'll have a look at Zander in the next day or two. It might just come a day early in the sense that all his focus, quite rightfully, has been Nadine (Diamond's wife) and the new addition into the family.

"Zander's been telling me he's been getting [best wishes] from everyone - I think the big man's just waiting on the Pope! He's got one from everyone else he loves apart from the Pope!"

Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference later today.

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New boy Miller stakes claim for Stags start at Swindon
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 08 February 2018

New signing Ricky Miller was the pick of the bunch for boss Steve Evans as Mansfield Town’s behind-closed-doors friendly with visiting Peterborough United proved a huge success. Miller scored and was the best player on a pitch bursting with experience according to Evans, and his other two deadline signings Matt Penney and Adam King also gave him food for thought as he contemplates his side for Saturday’s big six-pointer at Swindon Town.

Stags were 2-0 up over a strong Peterborough side before Evans withdrew some of his bigger hitters and gave youth a chance, Posh coming back to win 3-2.

“It was an excellent run-out. It was only when the kids came on that we lost the game,” said Evans.

“We were 2-0 up and it could have been four or five. We were in the horizontal position in cruise control after 60 minutes, then we made the changes

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/new-boy-miller-stakes-claim-for-stags-start-at-swindon-1-9008276

“It was a great exercise and I was really delighted with some of the performances. “When you introduce kids it’s going to change - Peterborough are strong and have good players.” He added: “Some of those lads have put themselves in the frame for Swindon on Saturday. “Ricky Miller scored and was very unlucky with another effort, and Jimmy Spencer had a real tidy finish as well. “There were too many of them who played well for me to be, in isolation, naming people. But I think anyone who was involved could not have failed to have been impressed with Miller. He was in stunning form. “They had a very experienced back line - nine out of 10 of their team had a lot of League One first team experience - but Ricky for the 60 minutes he was on was the best player on the park.” On his other new boys, he said: “I thought Matt Penney started a little sloppy for 10 minutes, but then came into the game and was fantastic. “The boy King was like watching Joel Byrom - that’s the biggest credit I can give him. “He kept the ball. He was sensible. He won his challenges and went box to box. “He was like Joel Byrom with younger legs, though we like Joel and he has the experience to offset that. “They will have found it tough playing against a League One team. The pace of the game was why we booked it. It was two committed teams.”

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New players take Stags up a gear ahead of a big week
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 08 February 2018

With just 16 games to go, Mansfield Town boss said the intensity in training had gone up another gear this week with his three new signings wanting to impress ahead of Saturday’s crucial six-pointer at Swindon Town.

Ricky Miller starred in the midweek behind-closed-doors game against League One Peterborough United, but fellow new signings Matt Penney and Adam King also impressed.

“Training has stepped up in all areas,” said manager Steve Evans as his side aim to make it 10 unbeaten this weekend and try to get into the top three.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/new-players-take-stags-up-a-gear-ahead-of-a-big-week-1-9008566

“Sometimes you look at an area or position in your team where there’s not lots of options without moving things around. “But suddenly you bring players in that are very talented in those areas, then performances go up. I think there is a real focus in training. “We are in great shape with real competition - the boys are buzzing. We are in a good place.” Mansfield have only lost five League Two games all season - less than anyone else - but have a score to settle with the Robins on Saturday after Swindon coasted to a 3-1 win at the One Call Stadium back on 14th October. “We have certainly come a long way since then,” said Evans. “I think Swindon were excellent on the day and they could have beaten us by more. “You have to give credit to Dave Flitcroft (manager) and Futch (assistant Ben Futcher) for setting those boys up the way they did. They had a real focus. “We were particularly poor on the day, but that doesn’t take anything away from a good Swindon display. I thought they were terrific. “I think they have significantly strengthened since then. You have to strengthen when you bring in the likes of Marc Richards. That makes you better in League Two every day of the week. “He is a player I’ve tried to sign two or three times back in my Rotherham days. I always regretted not getting him as he is a natural goalscorer and a leader. “But we are a different side too and our personnel is different. We are in a different place.” He continued: “I’ve always loved taking teams to Swindon. It’s a fantastic stadium with brilliant supporters who get right behind them.”?Evans was the Robins’ managerial target before Flitcroft and he smiled: “Of course, I could have been on the home bench on Saturday couldn’t I after Swindon made an approach for me? “But our chairman here turned it down. It’s a great club. If a big club like Swindon wanted to speak to us then it tells you we’re doing a good job - that’s thanks to the players.” He added: “We have to be much better than we were in October. If we produce that October performance we will lose by a minimum of three as we could have done that day. “I think Swindon have improved. But we have too. So it has all the hallmarks of a good, entertaining game with two teams that like to pass the ball.” Stags face three games in eight days against promotion rivals this week. “We realise we have a tough seven to 10 days ahead of us. But no tougher than the last seven to 10,” said Evans, “We are in a league in which it’s really tough to win games. There will be three or four shock results again this Saturday.”

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Stags booster as Mellis returns
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 08 February 2018

Mansfield Town were today boosted by the news that midfield ace Jacob Mellis could be back in the squad for Saturday’s big game at rivals Swindon Town. The former Chelsea man has missed three games with a hamstring tear but returned to first team training today. Manager Steve Evans said: “The news I am waiting to hear on is whether we have Jacob Mellis back - another son of mine, he is that talented and I love him. “Every day we’ve got Jacob Mellis in our group we are better. He is a fantastic player. “Jacob will train today and if he comes through with no ill effects after tomorrow then he will certainly be on the coach to Swindon. “He’s been training with the medical staff most of the week.” Striker Lee Angol is also fit again after a weekend off with a slight strain last week. “Lee played about 40 minutes in the friendly against Posh and did okay,” said Evans. “He came into the weaker end of the performance when we introduced some of the kids.” Also back in the club is skipper Zander Diamond, after taking time off to see his wife gave birth to a daughter last weekend. “Zander is due back in today after becoming a dad and all the excitement that goes with that,” said Evans. “We’ll have a look at him, but it may just come a day or two early for him as all his focus has, quite rightly, been on the new addition to the family.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-booster-as-mellis-returns-1-9008372

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Fringe players attracting non-League interest

Mansfield Town have had interest in some of their fringe players from non-League clubs, but none of them have tempted Stags to loan anyone out as yet. Non-League clubs do not come under the transfer windows and so manager Steve Evans expected calls this week, especially after adding three more names to his squad last week. “We have had that, but we’ve not had the phone call yet that makes us say yes,” he said. “We don’t have to let our players out here. So, first and foremost it has to be right for the player. “Secondly it has to be right financially for our chief executive to say yes. “I may have said yes to one of them but our chief exec says no because the finance wasn’t right. They control that side of it and I control the football side. “If it’s right on the football side then I pass it on up the line. It needs two ticks in the box from me and Mrs Radford.” However, Stags do have several youngsters out on loan for experience and forward Jason Law has just signed a one-month loan deal at Hednesford Town. Law signed for the Stags in December 2015, aged just 16 at the time, after scoring four times in three games for Carlton Town. Law, 18, has since spent time in Stags’ U21s, while this season he has appeared for Gresley Rovers on loan. The Pitmen also confirmed that fellow Mansfield loanee Jordan Graham will stay at Keys Park until the end of the season after an option to extend the loan was triggered.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/fringe-players-attracting-non-league-interest-1-9009643

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Evans misses out on manager of the month award

Steve Evans missed out on the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month award for a second time this week as Wycombe Wanderers’ Gareth Ainsworth took the accolade. Despite their injury list, four games, four victories and 11 goals in January, including a thrilling 3-2 win at leaders Luton, saw Wycombe rise to second in the table. Evans said: “I think in all my promotions I’ve only ever got manager of the year. That’s the important one isn’t it? “But it’s a great honour to be nominated and testament to the dressing room - the players and the supporters.” The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprised former Ipswich Town manager George Burley, Sky Sports’ EFL League expert Don Goodman; EFL marketing director Drew Barrand, League Managers’ Association director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-misses-out-on-manager-of-the-month-award-1-9009384

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Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans expects Town to be promotion contenders
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/sport/swindon_town_2014/15982618.Mansfield_Town_boss_Steve_Evens_expects_Town_to_be_promotion_contenders/

MANSFIELD Town manager Steve Evans expects Swindon Town to be in the thick of the promotion shake-up in League Two come the end of the season.

Evans brings his Stags side to the Energy Check County Ground tomorrow with both teams occupying positions in the play-offs, with seventh-placed Town two places and two points behind their weekend visitors.

Swindon roared to a dominant 3-1 win in the reverse fixture back in October, with the scoreline only given a slightly less emphatic feel by a late Mansfield consolation.

Mansfield arrive in Wiltshire in top form as the teams prepare to resume battle, in the midst of a nine-match unbeaten run in the league and seeking a fourth win in a row.

Evans’ side could climb as a high as second with victory at the weekend, although the Stags boss believes Town can feature just as prominently in the running for promotion.

“I think Swindon are terrific, to be fair,” said Evans. “They gave us a 3-1 wiping here, didn’t they? It could have been more.”

“I watched them win 1-0 at Stevenage last week and it could have been three or four.

“It was probably one of the most comfortable games I’ve seen for an away side.

“I’ve been very impressed with Swindon - I think they will be there at the end.

“I said to the players two or three weeks ago that when we were looking at a little booklet of four games, two at home and two away.

“I genuinely looked at Morecambe (on January 27) and Swindon away and said if we can take four points from those and six at home, we’ll be bang right in the mix.

“Well, we’ve taken the six at home and three at Morecambe, now we’re going to try to get three at Swindon but I know how tough it’s going to be.

“It’s a fantastic place to go and play football.

“It’s a nice stadium and they have a good support behind them.

“But we will take a good support too. Our away supporters have often been the difference, as they were at Morecambe late on - and they got a pay day.”

Town made an approach for Evans’ services during their hunt for a manager last summer prior to the appointment of Flitcroft and although flattered by the interest, the 55-year-old Scot believes Swindon have ended up with the right man for the job.

“When Swindon made an approach for me I was very humbled and honoured as, I said at the time, they are a big club,” said Evans.

“They are a Championship club every day of the week.

“When I saw Dave Flitcroft had got the job, I thought it was a shrewd appointment.”

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Stags have tools to replicate Cobblers' success - Byrom
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 08 February 2018

With 16 matches of the season remaining and Mansfield Town poised for a promotion tilt, classy midfielder Joel Byrom has drawn parallels between the current Stags' squad and the triumphant Northampton Town side which won Sky Bet League Two in 2015/16.

Byrom was part of the Cobblers side which went unbeaten throughout the second half of the season to win the division with 99 points, 13 clear of second-placed Oxford United.

And the 31-year-old, who made 35 League Two appearances in the title-winning season, can see clear similarities in the current Stags' squad with Chris Wilder's side from two seasons ago.

"We picked up a defeat against Portsmouth in late December and I think that was the last defeat before, I think it was October the next season," Byrom said.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/february/byrom-08-feb/

"Once you get on those runs, I think people already have that in their mind when they come here and they're thinking 'these are hard to beat'. If you get the first goal against them then it really puts them on the back foot and you can see teams fold.

"It was a good base where the team didn't change much, there were solid foundations and then we had match-winners at the top of the pitch.

"We had a fantastic goalscorer and then we had two or three people in behind who provided goals and assists throughout the season. I think you need those sort of match-winners in a squad and I think we've got those here.

"There's a strong foundation through the spine of team and then there's goals now. You can see both wide boys now have started chipping in with goals, which has been fantastic, then you've got the forwards who have scored goals all season."

The former Accrington Stanley man believes he has taken on more responsibility in the Stags' side this season and is enjoying a deeper role in the Mansfield Town midfield.

"I feel like my performances have been good this season. I've taken on a bit more responsibility in my role this year. My role's probably changed a little bit from when I first came into the club.

"I played a little bit higher when I first came here but now it's more of a deeper role and it's something that I really enjoy. I'm getting back to my best at the minute.

"There is some experience in this team but there's also quite a few young boys and you've got to teach them along the way and help them as much as you can."

With Stags currently on a run of just one defeat in 19 Sky Bet League Two matches, Byrom has reaffirmed the need to maintain their good form in order to take advantage of any slip-ups made by their promotion rivals.

"It has been a good run and it's good now to see that those draws that we were picking up earlier in the run are now turning into victories.

"As you can see at the top of the table, no-one's struggling for form and everyone's picking up wins. We can't afford to slip up and hopefully when we pick up a win, others slip up.

"I think the manager's teams are always that way where they're difficult to break down and we've got the balance now where we're difficult to break down but we look a real threat going forward."

Supporters will be able to view Byrom's full news conference on iFollow Stags later today.

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Byrom sees similarities between Cobblers’ promotion side and Stags this season

Joel Byrom was a vital cog in the Northampton Town promotion side of 2015/16 that went an amazing 31 games without defeat. And the midfield ace can see a lot of similarities with the current Mansfield Town side that are now nine unbeaten and chasing a top three finish. “We picked up a defeat by Portsmouth late December and that was the last League defeat until, I think, October the next season,” he said. “Once you get on those sort of runs, I think people already have that in their minds. “When they come here they are already thinking you’re hard to beat and, as soon as you get the first goal against them, it really puts them on the back foot and sometimes you can just see teams fold “The team didn’t change much. We had a solid foundation and match winners. “You would go into each game thinking you were the better team and, if you did what you were expected to do and stuck to the game plan that was set, then you would win most weeks. “I think scoring the first goal is vital. That can really put teams on the back foot.” Byrom feels Stags are starting to shape up very similar to that Cobblers glory team. “Here we also have a really strong foundation through the spine of the team and players chipping in with goals. They are very similar squads,” he said. “It took us a bit of time to gel but I think we are now starting to see us at our best over the last month or two. “You’re seeing some good performances and results are starting to show that as well. “We are up there right in the mix now. There was a lot of expectation and we are starting to live up to that now. “It has been a good run and it’s good to now see those draws we were picking up earlier in the run have started to turn to victories. “That’s a massive thing as we were playing well but not really getting the results we deserved. You can see now - even when we are not at our best like against Cheltenham and Morecambe - we are still winning games.” However, he added: “As you can see now, no one is struggling for form at the top of the table. “Everyone is picking up wins when we are. So we can’t afford to slip up and hopefully when we win someone will slip up. “I still think there is more to come. We are an improving team” Byrom hopes Stags can settle a score on Saturday when they travel to face promotion rivals Swindon, who won 3-1 at Mansfield back in October. “It’s always a difficult place to go and when they came here they showed what a good team they are,” he said. “We weren’t at our best that day and Swindon made us look average. So we sort of owe them one really. We need to go down there and take the confidence from the last few games to put on a performance. “People talk about relegation six-pointers but it’s looking like that at the top now too. “If you can beat a team around you, you’re taking points off them and gaining them for yourself. So they are massive games.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/byrom-sees-similarities-between-cobblers-promotion-side-and-stags-this-season-1-9009823

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Byrom relishing competition for places after January additions

Midfield star Joel Byrom is looking forward to the added competition for his Mansfield Town place from new Swansea City loanee Adam King. “The manager signed him in the last week of the transfer window and he is looking to take my spot,” admitted Byrom. “I have only really seen him a couple of days in training but he looks a fantastic football player - neat and tidy on the ball. “He will bring competition to all the midfielders and will be pushing for a start as soon as he can.” Byrom said having three new, hungry players in on loan this week ahead of the crucial last 16 games was like a breath of fresh air for the squad. “They’ve settled in quickly and well. Hopefully they can bring some more life to us and kick us on,” he said. “They are all good players. They all have different attributes and you will see that soon when they step onto the field.” But King will find it hard to dislodge a fully fit Byrom from a side that has badly missed him when he has been out injured. Byrom recently returned from his latest knock and said: “The first couple of games you’re going to be blowing a little, but the last two weeks I’ve felt really good in myself. “I feel my own performances have been good this season. I’ve taken a bit more responsibility in my role this year. “My role has probably changed from when I first came into the club when I played a little bit higher. “Now it’s a bit more of a deeper role which I am really enjoying. I think I am probably getting back to my best now. “As one of the more experienced players here, that’s why I have to take on that bit more responsibility and be one of the leaders out there. “There is some experience in this team but also quite a few young boys. You have to help them as much as you can.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/byrom-relishing-competition-for-places-after-january-additions-1-9009762

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An insight into signing a player...
mansfieldtown.net, by Carolyn Radford

Last week we announced the loan signings of Adam King from Premier League side Swansea City, Ricky Miller from Peterborough United and Matt Penney from Sheffield Wednesday.

The success we had on transfer deadline day made me realise that people’s insight into what it takes to sign a player might be limited - so we thought we’d give you a sneak peek behind the scenes!

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/february/an-insight-into-signing-a-player/

Some people might still believe that signing a professional footballer is as simple as opening a cheque book - it isn’t. It can sometimes involve months of preparation work, hours of negotiations and admin, as well as determination and willpower.

The first step to signing a player is scouting, which is one of the most important processes in the game, as it not only gauges which players work best for the club based on form but also looks at their other, individual attributes.

We look at their work rate, heat maps, which areas they’re most effective in and overall strengths and weaknesses - even as detailed as the percentage of the match they spend sprinting, jogging and walking.

Another crucial point of the recruiting process is to make sure that they fit into the the manager's overall philosophy and vision for the team. For example, we need to make sure we’re signing players that match up with how the manager wants to play.

We look at a player’s personality, work ethic, and if it’s feasible that we could sign him within the window. We look at requirements the player may have, how much it might cost to acquire him and how much his contract will likely be.

After that we put an offer together to present to our target’s club - outlining the deal, including how much we’d like to offer and what add-ons we can include.

Once an agreement is reached we begin talking to the player and/or representative and present him with a personal offer.

If the player's medical is rubber-stamped by our physiotherpy department, the next step is to present the formal contract to the player and get his signature - and then he is an official Mansfield Town player!

The work and effort that goes into pushing a signing over the line can be vast and can take many weeks and even months to complete. We’ve been fortunate with our recent signings, due to the work of everyone involved and we are looking forward to see what part they can play as we head into the last 16 games of an exciting season.

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Keshi Anderson restored to Swindon Town squad for visit of Mansfield
Owen Houlihan @OwenHoulihan
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/sport/swindon_town_2014/15982442.Anderson_to_return_as_Town_press_on_with_Gordon_appeal/

DAVID Flitcroft has reaffirmed Swindon Town's appeal of the red card shown to on-loan midfielder Kellan Gordon at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday, with forward Keshi Anderson poised to return to the squad for Saturday's visit of Mansfield to the Energy Check County Ground.

The Town boss was critical of referee Darren Bond's decision to send off Derby youngster in the second half of the 2-1 defeat in midweek after Gordon became involved in an altercation with Stanley skipper Sean McConville.

As it stands, Gordon will miss matches against the Stags, Wycombe next Tuesday and Port Vale a week on Saturday as he serves a three-game ban, but Town are convinced they have a case to see that reduced or overturned.

"We're in the process of appealing Kellan Gordon's red card. The referee said he saw a punch but that's not the case and we've sent video footage to prove that," said Flitcroft at today's pre-match press call ahead of the Mansfield match.

"I'm not a massive believer in having a go at referees but we've had a tough week. We didn't deserve to lose at Accrington and the referee did get it wrong at times. Our destiny is in our own hands, though."

January permanent signing Anderson will return to the fold for the weekend after missing the Accrington fixture for what was described as a "fatigue'' issue.

Flitcroft added: "Keshi Anderson will be back on Saturday. He trained well today and he'll be back in the fold. Amine Linganzi won't make it on Saturday but he is getting closer."

Mansfield are on a run of nine matches unbeaten in League Two as they join Town in challenging for promotion places and Flitcroft believes Saturday's contest is typical of the type of match his side can expect as they pursue their goals.

"Steve Evans (Stags boss) wins football matches and his record proves that. He builds teams to do that and he's been building it for over 12 months now," added the Town chief.

"It is about focussing on what we control and what we can do. We're in good form at home since the turn of the year and it is a top of the table clash - these are the games we want."

"It gives us an opportunity to play one of the form teams on Saturday and we're looking forward to it."

"We've got a good leadership group and the younger players have recovered really well. It is about giving the older players the right rest ratio. We've got them all mentally rejuvenated."

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