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MACDONALD PREVIEWS ROTHERHAM AND THE SEASON
2nd August 2018 10:59


We're ready for new season - MacDonald
mansfieldtown.net

Stags' midfielder Alex MacDonald says that the Mansfield Town players are feeling 'fit' and 'ready' for the upcoming Sky Bet League Two season, following manager David Flitcroft's intensive pre-season programme.

Mansfield face Newport County at One Call Stadium in the opening game of the new campaign on Saturday 04 August, and MacDonald claims that the hard work in pre-season has well-prepared the Stags for the fixture.

"It's been a tough pre-season," he said. "It's been a hard, hard pre-season. But it's been a fair pre-season. We've worked on numerous things on the pitch whilst getting the base fitness in there.

"When the games start to come thick and fast that's when you really start to sharpen up and start to feel the effects of the base fitness that you've done for the previous couple of weeks.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/july/macdonald-pre-rotherham/

"I'll speak on behalf of everyone when I say we're feeling ready, we're feeling fit and we're looking forward to the first game of the season."

The versatile midfielder added that it was the work that the Stags have done throughout the duration of the summer that has prepared them so well for the opening league fixture.

"It was well-documented in the off-season that it wasn't a case of 'right, you're finished, we'll see you on the first day of pre-season.' Myself and a lot of the other players all had to come in and do a certain amount of sessions over the summer.

"That's something that I've never experienced before but, with the shape that the lads came back in, we're certainly feeling the benefits of it.

"The training that we have had has been very, very good. It's been very tough, but very good. It's been match-specific, and a lot of that comes down to the management team and how they've planned the pre-season.

"Every footballer will tell you that pre-season is not an enjoyable time because of how hard it is. But there's nothing better than when it comes to the Saturday afternoon and you're playing for three points. No matter how young or old you are, you still get that excitement.

"With how well we've performed in pre-season, that's given us an extra edge and we're really looking forward to the season.

"Everything that I did last year, I want to make that better. And everything that I didn't do as well last year, I want to make that better as well!

"You're always trying to better yourself and you're always looking at bits and pieces you can improve in your own game.

"We have a new analyst in who worked with the manager down at Swindon, and I've been working closely with him to try and pick up bits and pieces."

MacDonald also touched on the success that the Stags have found in their reecent pre-season fixtures, and explained that the team are expecting another tough game come Saturday when Rotherham United come to town.

"The scorelines [in pre-season] have really backed up the performances," said MacDonald. "From a performance point of view, there's a few things that we're looking to improve on. For long periods in the games, we feel in control.

"Without the ball we don't feel like we're really going to concede. When you come up against the likes of Derby and some of the players they have in their ranks it's going to be tough and we're going to be without the ball for large spells.

"We've adopted a new shape this year and we've really taken to it and worked on it.

"We've played against three top-quality opposition. I think anyone who's been at the games has seen not just the performances, but the results as well, which is the most pleasing thing.

"It [game vs Sheffield Wednesday] was quite an eventful night. We don't want to see anything like that at this ground or anywhere across the country.

"The events took the gloss off a Stags performance which was, for 75 minutes, a very good one. It was one where it was thoroughly enjoyable to be out there.

"We got the win that we deserved and everyone watching could see how fit, how drilled and how well we're looking.

"[Rotherham will be] another tough game. The teams that are coming here are very, very good teams. They have a real spring in their step with what happened with them last year [promotion to the Championship].

"We're looking to improve and the minor things that we want to improve on, we have to make sure we put them into practice on Saturday."

The 28-year-old spoke of this Sunday's Open Day, which gives fans the opportunity to watch the Stags train, and emphasised how the players are looking to reflect the hard-working nature of the town on the pitch throughout the course of the season.

"These days [Open Day] are very important for any sort of football club that are trying to engage the town with the club. It's a chance for us to meet the fans and the fans to meet the players.

"We want to really have the togetherness, not just between the players, but with the fans. These types of days are brilliant for the community and everyone in the town.

"Since I came to the club the fans have been brilliant with me. We just want to show them and work as hard as we can to make the town proud of their football team.

"With the early signs that we've shown in pre-season and the togetherness that we've got, hopefully we can reflect the hard-working town with the hard-working team."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Alex MacDonald's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Results and displays against Championship sides really have Stags buzzing for the big kick-off says Macca
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 26 July 2018

After signing a new extended contract and getting himself far fitter than last season Mansfield Town midfield dynamo Alex MacDonald can’t wait for the big kick-off.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/results-and-displays-against-championship-sides-really-have-stags-buzzing-for-the-big-kick-off-says-macca-1-9271698

Here he tell us all about the shock of summer training, the delight over its benefits, a new formation and his hopes and aspirations for 2018/19.

Midfield dynamo Alex MacDonald can't wait for the new season to kick off on Saturday week after a string of excellent performances against Championship opposition underlined how much good Mansfield Town's new pre-season training regime has done the players.

After two wins and a draw against Championship opposition, Rotherham United provide the final friendly opposition on Saturday (3pm), and MacDonald is expecting another tough test from their newly-promoted Championship neighbours.

But he admits the squad are currently brimming over with confidence.

“Every footballer will tell you pre-season is not an enjoyable time because of the number of sessions and how hard it is. Some sessions, can be quite gruelling and demanding,” he said.

“But when it comes down to Saturday afternoon there is nothing better than playing for three points no matter how old or young you are.

“Whether its your first or your 12th season you still get that excitement, especially with how we've performed in pre-season.

“That has given us an extra edge and we are really looking forward to the season.”

Macca on Rotherham

On Saturday's opponents, he said: “Rotherham will be another tough game. The teams that are coming here are very, very good teams and Rotherham will be no different.

“They have a real spring in their step with what happened with them last year.

“I think it's their final pre-season game and they will be looking to mark a few things they will be wanting to take into their first game of the season, though we're no different.”

Wednesday mass brawl took shine off performance

Tuesday night's 2-1 'friendly' win over Sheffield Wednesday ended in a mass brawl as tempers boiled over near the end and MacDonald said: “It was quite an eventful night. We don't want to see anything like that at this ground or anywhere across the country.

“The events took the shine and the gloss off a Stags performance which was, for 75 minutes, a very, very good one. It was one where it was thoroughly enjoyable to be out there.

“We got the win that we deserved and, for large parts, everyone watching could see how fit, how drilled and how well we're looking 10 days from the start of the season.

“We've played against three top-quality opponents. I think anyone who's been at the games has seen not just the performances, but the results as well, which is the most pleasing thing.

“You're playing against better players so your mindset is there - you are switched and you're ready.

“We are going to need that for the first game of the season and the majority of the season. The scorelines have really backed up the performances.

Without the ball we don't feel like we're really going to concede.

“From a performance point of view, there's a few things that we're looking to improve on. For long periods in the games, we feel in control.

“Without the ball we don't feel like we're really going to concede. When you come up against the likes of Derby and some of the players they have in their ranks it's going to be tough and we're going to be without the ball for large spells.”

“I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we're feeling ready, we're feeling fit and we're looking forward to the first game of the season.

New boss, new formation, new ways

For Mansfield's players, it has been a first summer working under new boss David Flitcroft and has tested them with summer fitness sessions and the implementation of a new 3-5-2 formation.

“It's been a tough pre-season," he said. “It's been a hard, hard pre-season. But it's been a fair pre-season. We've worked on numerous things on the pitch whilst getting the base fitness in there.

“Obviously when the games start to come thick and fast that's when you really start to sharpen up and start to feel the effects of the base fitness that you've done for the previous couple of weeks.

“I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we're feeling ready, we're feeling fit and we're looking forward to the first game of the season.

Summer fitness sessions were a first for players

“It was well-documented in the off-season that it wasn't a case of 'right, you're finished, we'll see you on the first day of pre-season.' Myself and a lot of the other players all had to come in and do a certain amount of sessions over the summer.

“That's something that I've never experienced before but, with the shape that the lads came back in on top of the hard work we've done in pre-season so far, we're certainly feeling the benefits of it.

“The training that we have had has been very, very good. It's been very tough, but very good. It's been match-specific, and a lot of that comes down to the management team and how they've planned the pre-season. It has certainly worked for everyone in the dressing room.

“We've adopted a new shape this year and we've really taken to it and worked on it.

“The proof is in the pudding - you've seen it in the friendlies, we're not only coming away with just good performances but we're coming away with results.”

Macca on Macca

On his own game, he added: “Personally I'd like to improve on quite a lot off things.

“Everything I did well last year I want to do better and everything I didn't do as well I want to make them better as well. You're always trying to better yourself and look at little bits and pieces and improve your own game.

“We've got a new analyst in who worked with the new manager down at Swindon and I will be working closely with him this season and trying to pick up little bits and pieces.

“As long as Mansfield are winning and I am playing my part in that I am going to be a happy man.”

Open Day can bond players with the fans

With the players already bonded, Sunday's Open Day at the ground is a chance to also extend the togetherness to the fans who will watch the squad train before a signing and photo session.

“These days are very important for any sort of football club that are trying to engage the town with the club. It's a chance for us to meet the fans and the fans to meet the players.

“We want to really have the togetherness, not just between the players, but with the fans. These types of days are brilliant for the community and everyone in the town.”

Since I've come to the club the fans have been brilliant with me. Hopefully we can reflect a hard-working town with a hard-working team.

MacDonald message to the fans for the new season

MacDonald's message to the fans ahead of the season is: “Give us more of the same.

“Since I've come to the club the fans have been brilliant with me.

“We just want to work as hard as we can on the pitch to make this town proud of their football team.

“With the early signs we've shown pre-season and the togetherness this group of lads have got, hopefully we can reflect a hard-working town with a hard-working team every Saturday and every Tuesday.”

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