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FLITCROFT, ELSNIK, DANNY COWLEY REACTION
12th September 2018 21:25


Workmanlike Stags see off Lincoln
mansfieldtown.net, 4 September 2018

Stags' boss David Flitcroft hailed 'a good night's work' after watching his men come from behind to beat Lincoln City 2-1 at Sincil Bank.

Midfielder Calum Butcher equalised in the eighth minute following Matt Rhead's early opener, before substitute Tyler Walker scored with his first touch in the second half to secure victory in Group G of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Stags now have a rare blank weekend this Saturday after three international call-ups - to defenders Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney as well as attacking midfielder Omari Sterling-James - led to the postponement of Mansfield's trip to Crewe in the league.

Making seven changes to his starting-line-up this evening, the manager explained his selection shake-up: "We looked at the game-time. Obviously losing three lads to international duty, we worked off that and decided who we needed to give game time too.

"I thought Matty Preston needed that second game [following Saturday's 1-0 victory at home to Carlisle], and for Whitey [Hayden White] to come through another game after his hamstring strain was another positive.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/september/stags-win-at-lincoln/

"Atko [Will Atkinson] has another game under his belt at wing-back so his game minutes are up. It gave me an opportunity to put Mal [Benning] in and play Gibbo [Lewis Gibbens] as well, so we've got game time in a lot of the players. That's important going into a weekend where we haven't a fixture."

"We've had to really think about who we utilised tonight, making sure that over the next ten days we're fully loaded in terms of minutes, data and stats because we have a really heavy period after the international break and then October is a monster of a month with seven big games."

Summing up his men's work, he said: "I was delighted with the lads. I said to them that it doesn't matter what competition or day of the week it is, you need a purpose about your work. We come in every day to get better and improve and it's another winning opportunity tonight.

"You have to have a purpose to what you're doing every day and I'm seeing that in this group and with the staff. You have to keep driving forward and improving.

"There was a lot of good work tonight and a lot of things we have to improve on. Every time we seem to turn up the intensity, whether it's the pressing or the passing, we look quite dangerous. A good night's work."

An impressive attendance of 4,205 which included 260 Stags' fans, watched the contest at the home of the competition's holders.
"We knew Lincoln would 'throw it up at you' as soon as we knew the boy Rhead was playing. They make it difficult," said the manager.

"Their set pieces are good. You want the referees to be strong, looking at the blocks and making sure they're watching them [during set pieces]. It's really important you have strong refereeing, especially at Sincil Bank because the crowd are good here.

"[A crowd of] 4,000 for this game is the strongest I've seen [in this competition] so all credit to Lincoln for driving the numbers for tonight's game. There was a decent atmosphere and that's what the competition should be about."

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Flitcroft delight as Mansfield Town stay sharp with win at Lincoln
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 04 September 2018

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was delighted with his players as they got vital minutes under their belts while coming from behind to win 2-1 at Lincoln City in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy group opener. Goals by Tyler Walker and man of the match Calum Butcher turned the game around for a side showing seven changes after former Stags star Matt Rhead had put the Imps ahead. “I was delighted with the lads,” smiled Flitcroft.

“It doesn’t matter what the competition is or what day of the week it is, you are striving to improve. It’s important you try to breed winning as part of what you do.

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/flitcroft-delight-as-mansfield-town-stay-sharp-with-win-at-lincoln-1-9334671

“Tonight was another winning opportunity and it was a good night’s work. “It was a committed performance from both teams.

“As soon as we knew Rhead was playing we knew what Lincoln were going to do. They throw it up there and make it difficult at set pieces.

“All credit to Lincoln for a crowd of over 4,000 in this competition, that’s probably the strongest I’ve seen. At least there was an atmosphere to it.”

With no game this weekend, Flitcroft said careful thought went into his starting XI. “It was really important,” he said.

“We looked at the game time, working back from losing the three lads for international duty, and understood who we needed to give game time to.

“I thought Matty Preston needed that second game. Also, Whitey (Hayden White) came through after the hamstring problem he had which was a real positive.

“Atko (Will Atkinson) has got another game under his belt at wing back and his game minutes are really good. “It gave me another opportunity to put Mal (Benning) in and play Gibbo (Lewis Gibbens) as well.

“We got game time into a lot of players and that’s important going into a weekend with no fixture. “Over the next 10 days we have to make sure we are fully loaded in terms of minutes, data and stats as we have a really heavy period after the international break. “Then October is a monster of a month with seven big games.” Butcher scored one and made the other and the manager added: “From what happened last season when he didn’t feel wanted or part of this football club, Calum just wanted to go back home and find solace in his family. “Now he loves the environment and he has given everything since I have been manager. “His running power is good and his end product was good tonight as well. I am delighted for him.” He was also pleased with the debut of Derby loanee Timi Elnik. “This is a good squad to come into and they have not only welcomed him, they have seen his quality on the training pitch which gains you respect,” said Flitcroft. “He retains the ball and he’s looking to try to probe. “I am going to enjoy watching him play with Otis Khan when I can get that partnership up and running - I have brought him into find Otis in that pocket where he plays. “I was delighted with his performance. He has had a tough time the last six weeks. He wants to try to impress Derby and impress Frank (Lampard) and he’s now found himself here. “Now he has a real chance to kick on and find his personality, get games under his belt and be part of something.”

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Elsnik speaks highly of Stags' boss after debut
mansfieldtown.net, 4 September 2018

Speaking after Stags’ 2-1 victory over Lincoln City, in which the on-loan Derby County midfielder made his first appearance for Mansfield, Timi Elsnik spoke of his joy to be once again working with David Flitcroft, who he describes as a ‘really good manager.’

Elsnik joined the Stags last Friday, hours before the closure of the loan transfer window, and slotted straight into the Mansfield midfield this evening, as Flitcroft’s side came back from behind at Sincil Bank to make a winning start to their Checkatrade Trophy campaign.

Following the win, the midfielder was full of praise for the Mansfield boss, having worked with him last season at Swindon Town.

“I’ve been in contact with the gaffer for a couple of weeks before that [loan deadline day],” said Elsnik. “I played under him at Swindon last season so I know him and he knows me. When he moved to Mansfield he said he was looking to get me in to strengthen the midfield.

“We’ve been in touch but it was up to the clubs to get the deal done. It went down to the last day and I’m just glad I’m here.

“He [the manager] tells you what he wants you to do which is good, because you know what to expect and what you have to do. He is a very good manager. He knows his players well and knows how to position us on the pitch.

“He looks forward to the future how we are going to play, not just now, but in the next half of the season. I think he gives us great advice as he always knows the opponents really well. I just think he’s a really good manager.

“Last season, [the manager spoke to me] after one of the games. I came on at half-time but scored two goals. After the game, I went to the gym to do a bit extra as I felt I hadn’t done enough.

“So about an hour after the game he walks in and goes ‘what are you doing?’ so I told him I was doing a bit extra for myself. He was blown away. So I think after that he sees me as a great professional.

“In modern football you have to be like that to improve yourself and be as good as you can be.

“Back in Slovenia I was raised that way. When you grow up in Slovenia, football is not great there. So you have to do whatever you can to make it. I was so happy to come to England.”

The 20-year-old added that it is a ‘great feeling’ to be back amongst first team action, and says that the Stags’ players have given him a warm welcome upon his arrival at the club.

“It’s a great feeling being back in a first-team competitive game. I’m really happy that we finished with a win.

“I think I did okay. I’m always humble and I can always get better. Hopefully I will get some goals for this club in the future. I want to score in every game.

“I’m happy with my performance but it can be loads better. I could offer a bit more going forward and get some goals and assists. I think I am a creative player and the gaffer sees me that way as well.

“The lads are brilliant. They accepted me so well in my first training [session] yesterday. They are a great group of lads to be around and I think they are good players as well. We have a good, strong squad and I am looking forward to the season with them.”

Elsnik also spoke of his aims for the season ahead, and says he is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd at One Call Stadium.

“League Two is a tough league,” he added. Last season was a great experience for me and I know what to expect. It’s a big challenge and that’s what we want to do. It’s great to play any first team football really.

“Everyone’s goal is to play higher [gain promotion], and I am here to help the lads achieve that. [I want to] get as many goals as I can but first make my League debut [for Mansfield] and play at home in front of the fans.”

iFollow Stags subscribers will soon be able to watch Timi Elsnik’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.

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Elsnik delighted to be a Stag after fine debut at Lincoln
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 04 September 2018

Timi Elsnik enjoyed his Mansfield Town debut and resuming playing for boss David Flitcroft in tonight’s 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win at Lincoln City. The Slovenian midfielder played for Flitcroft on loan at Swindon last season and didn’t have to think twice about the proposed season-long loan move from Derby County on Friday.

“It’s a great feeling being back in a competitive first team game after a couple of months and I am really happy it finished with a win,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/elsnik-delighted-to-be-a-stag-after-fine-debut-at-lincoln-1-9334694

“I think I did okay. I was happy with my performance but it can be loads better.

“I am hopeful of getting some goals for this club in the future - I want to score in every game. “I can offer more going forwards. I think I am a creative player and the gaffer sees me that way as well.

“The lads have been brilliant and settled me in so well. They are a great group to be around and they are good players as well. I am looking forward to the season.”

Elsnik is happy to be back working under Flitcroft whom he has a lot of respect for. “I played at Swindon last season so I know the gaffer and he knows me,” he said.

“He got in touch but it was up to the clubs to get the deal done. “It went down to the last day but I am glad I am here and it was sorted out. I can crack on from here on. “He is a very good manager and knows his players well. He gives great advice.” He added: “League Two is a tough league, especially coming from the academy, but it was a great experience for me. You can’t shy away from men’s football. It’s a big challenge. “Any first team football is great. I am here to help the lads achieve.”

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Danny Cowley calls for EFL to review changes to Checkatrade Trophy suspension rules
The Imps boss has his say on Michael O'Connor's red card against Mansfield

By Mark Whiley, 4 SEP 2018
https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/danny-cowley-calls-efl-review-1971608

Danny Cowley urged the EFL to re-examine new suspension rules following Lincoln City’s stormy defeat to Mansfield Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The Imps kicked off the defence of the trophy with a 2-1 defeat, despite taking an early lead through Matt Rhead.

Callum Butcher soon levelled and substitute Tyler Walker smashed home the winner with 17 minutes remaining.

However, the goals were overshadowed by the performance of referee Ross Joyce, the sending off of Imps substitute Michael O’Connor and the physical approach employed by the Stags.

In a change to the rules for this season, red and yellow cards will not apply to league games.

The change will actually benefit the Imps regarding O’Connor, who will only serve his ban in the Trophy and not League Two.

“The EFL really have to look at the rules,” said Cowley. “They’ve now made bookings and sendings off competition specific, but if you do that you’ve got to be really, really careful.

“Mansfield have come here with no game on Saturday [due to international call-ups] and been really physical.

“There were over 12 fouls in the first half and over 20 in the whole game by one team, which is unheard of.

“Our stats show that, during our possession, there was a foul every 28 seconds.

“I was worried. I had John Akinde and Lee Frecklington, boys I would have brought on, but I didn’t feel I could because we were aware of their safety.”

Mansfield had six players booked and Cowley added: “It was lucky not to be more.

“I think it’s set a really dangerous precedent because teams could, if they’re not taking the Checkatrade Trophy seriously, play against a rival in the league, be over-physical and have a free-hit on one of their opponents.

“I’m not saying Mansfield have done that, but you’ve seen the game tonight and it was certainly physical.”

O’Connor could have few complaints about his red card after appearing to lash out at an opponent.

Cowley admitted the experienced midfielder “should have known better”.

“Unfortunately the moment got the better of him. We need to show more emotional control than that,” added Cowley, who could still reflect on a number of positives from the performance.

He was particularly pleased with his young players after making eight changes to the side which won 3-0 at Exeter on Saturday.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” he said. “The way the game finished was a shame and it’s obviously disappointing to lose.

“But our young players got a lot from it. Ellis [Chapman] had a really tough first half but showed real character to do really well in the second half.

“Harry Toffolo and Kellan Gordon were excellent throughout. Adam Crookes, after making a poor mistake for the first goal, showed real character to come back from that.

“There were a lot of good performances and they are the positives.”

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