FLITCROFT PREVIEWS EXETER GAME
Stags' boss set to welcome back internationals
mansfieldtown.net, 11 September 2018
Stags' boss David Flitcroft will welcome back the three Mansfield players who were called up for international duty over the weekend.
Defenders Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney, along with forward Omari Sterling-James, were called up by Barbados, Ireland under-21s and Saint Kitts and Nevis respectively.
All three players featured for their representative countries, with Pearce playing in his side's 2-2 draw with Guyana, Sweeney competing in Ireland's 1-1 draw with Kosovo under-21s, and Sterling-James featuring in his side's 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico.
Manager Flitcroft gave an update on when each player will return to Mansfield ahead of Saturday's clash against Exeter City, who he believes have a 'fantastic group of players.'
“Sweeney will be with us today and Omari tomorrow," said the gaffer. "Pearcey came back in yesterday and the travelling and playing on a poor pitch has taken its toll a little bit. We have to manage that.
“The most important thing is Mansfield Town. We have to get him ready for Saturday. We have to now pick up that. I’m looking forward to getting KP [Krystian Pearce] back on the training ground and back in focus mode for Exeter City.
“Paul Tisdale [former Exeter City manager] did a phenomenal job building a football club. When I look back at his body of work, they’ve always been up near the top of the league. He’s left behind a fantastic group of players and a really good infrastructure.
“Matt [Taylor] has been on board with that and seamlessly took the plan on board. I think the biggest thing for Exeter is keeping Jayden Stockley, a scorer of all types of goal.
“Looking at what happened with Danny [Rose] over the summer, Jayden was probably a player that was on the hit-list of several higher-placed teams. He’s not gone and it’s probably the best bit of business they’ve done by keeping him.
“We have to understand what makes our form good and drive that. The Exeter form and model has been built on real strong foundations.
“Obviously the training ground that the chairman and Steve Hymas are currently working on, all the infrastructure that the chairman has put in and the work that Carolyn has done has given us an opportunity to build for the future.
“It’s just exciting whichever way I look at it. Mansfield Town just excites me.”
Due to the international call-ups, the Stags were given a rare Saturday off following the postponement of their fixture against Crewe, and the manager gave an update of how he spent his weekend instead.
“We got some minutes in [for the players] before the weekend," he added. "We did a real big hit with them. Then I allowed them to have some time with their families because of the programme that we have coming up.
“It’s strange when you’re not competing on a Saturday during the season. I was at a game myself watching a player that I’ve not had the chance to watch yet because the programme has been so busy.
“It was good just being sat in a different stadium and seeing football in a different way, but also having a look at someone who might end up being a future target."
Stags were last in action during their 2-1 victory over Lincoln City in the Checkatrade Trophy, and the Mansfield boss reflected on what was a hotly-contested match.
“It doesn’t matter what football match a Mansfield Town team takes on. If we’ve got an opportunity to win a football match then we will be over-committed to everything we do.
“I think that the statement [that we were trying to] ‘abuse the rules’ was a little bit strong. But it doesn’t surprise me from Danny [Cowley].
“We saw some afters after the game. It’s really important that the Referee’s Association gets a really tight grip on the situation.
“You need strong referees down at Lincoln. When a referee doesn’t make a good decision, or a positive decision in Lincoln’s favour, it’s like they deserve every decision. It’s like it’s expected because they’ve been on this winning curve.
“I think the Referee’s Association are probably getting wise to it and making sure that strong referees do turn up at Lincoln. They’ve got the crowd, they have the noise behind them. If it’s a referee with no experience, he can become unstuck there.
“That’s certainly one thing I will never become, intimidated. By anyone, certainly not Danny Cowley."
The Stags' boss also touched on midfielder Timi Elsnik's performance against Lincoln, in what was his debut for the club since joining on loan from Derby.
“He [Elsnik] hasn’t played a lot of football this season. He showed the reason why I’ve brought him to the football club [on his debut]. There’s a calmness when he’s in possession and he looks to link with strikers.
“He has a stunning left-foot and his pass completion is excellent. He will take risks and go to try and score goals.
“I think he complements what we’ve already got really well. He’s a left-sided midfielder so gives us that real balance. I think he improves us.
“Competition for places is something that is really important. I look at MacDonald and Bishop’s form over the last couple of weeks and it’s gone up again. It’s gone up to a level where once that consistency kicks in, they’re at a really good level.
“You have to keep people waiting in the wings who can overtake you if you let them in. That’s what Timi has given us. I’m delighted with the addition.
“Because I’ve worked with him before, you know what you’re getting. Sometimes the first time they come from a Championship club, it is completely different to real-time football.
“Because Timi has sampled that and felt the importance of winning, it’s important that we got him."
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager's news conference in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft ‘won’t be intimidated’ by Lincoln City’s Danny Cowley
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 11 September 2018
David Flitcroft says he won’t be intimidated after Danny Cowley called the Stags ‘over-committed’ in their EFL Trophy tie with Lincoln City. In fact, Flitcroft took the Imps manager’s comments as a compliment.
“It doesn’t matter what football match a Mansfield Town team takes on,” said the Mansfield Town boss. “If we’ve got an opportunity to win a football match then we will be over-committed to everything we do.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-won-t-be-intimidated-by-lincoln-city-s-danny-cowley-1-9344681
“I think that the statement ‘abuse the rules’ was a little bit strong. But it doesn’t surprise me from Danny (Cowley). “We saw some afters after the game.
“It’s really important that the Referees’ Association gets a really tight grip on the situation. “You need strong referees down at Lincoln. “When a referee doesn’t make a good decision, or a positive decision in Lincoln’s favour, it’s like they deserve every decision. “It’s like it’s expected because they’ve been on this winning curve.
“I think the Referees’ Association are probably getting wise to it and making sure that strong referees do turn up at Lincoln. “They’ve got the crowd, they have the noise behind them. If it’s a referee with no experience, he can become unstuck there. “That’s certainly one thing I will never become - intimidated - by anyone, and certainly not Danny Cowley.”
Stags were shown six yellow cards in the tie, which the won 2-1, while Lincoln had Michael O’Connor sent off.
Mansfield Town boss delighted with ‘risk taking’ Derby County midfielder
chad.co.uk, by MATT BROOKS, Tuesday 11 September 2018
David Flitcroft believes the deadline day addition of Timi Elsnik is already having the desired impact at Mansfield Town.
Midfielder Elsnik has only played one game for the Stags so far since joining the club on loan from Championship side Derby County in August.
But Flitcroft has seen enough from the 20-year-old in the EFL Trophy win at Lincoln City and in training to suggest he will be important signing.
And the Mansfield boss, who had Elsnik on loan at Swindon Town last season, was delighted to get him in the building before the loan window shut.
Speaking of the silky Slovenian, Flitcroft said: “There’s a calmness when he’s in possession and he looks to find strikers and link with strikers.
“He has a stunning left-foot and his pass completion is excellent. He will take risks and go to try and score goals so he’s a little bit different to what we’ve got.
“I think he complements what we’ve already got really well. He’s a left-sided centre-midfielder so gives us that real balance.
“I think he improves us.
“Competition for places is something that is really important.
“I look at (Alex) MacDonald and (Neal) Bishop’s form over the last couple of weeks and it’s gone up again.
“It’s gone up to a level where once that consistency kicks in, they’re at a really good level. You have to keep people waiting in the wings who can overtake you if you let them in.
“That’s what Timi has given us. I’m delighted with the addition.”
And added: “I’m delighted because I’ve worked with him before, you know what you’re getting.
“Sometimes the first time they come from a Championship club, it is completely different to real-time football.
“Because Timi has sampled that and felt the importance of winning, it’s important that we got him.”
Mansfield’s scheduled match against Crewe Alexandra was postponed on Saturday due to international call ups.
Flitcroft’s squad endured a tough session before the weekend and time for some rest and recuperation before a busy October period of games.
Defenders Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney along with forward Omari Sterling-James featured for Barbados, Ireland U21s and Saint Kitts and Nevis respectively.
“Sweeney will be with us today (Tuesday) and Omari tomorrow (Wednesday),” said Flitcroft.
“Pearcey came back in Monday and the travelling and playing on a poor pitch has taken its toll a little bit. We will have to manage that.
“We have to get him ready for Saturday. We have to now pick up that schedule he had.
“The most important thing is Mansfield Town.
“I’m looking forward to getting KP (Pearce) back on the training ground and back in focus mode for Exeter City.”
Exeter City striker has Mansfield Town’s attention
chad.co.uk, by MATT BROOKS
Exeter City striker Jayden Stockley has the attention of Mansfield Town ahead of their League Two encounter. The Grecians make the journey north looking to build on their 5-1 hammering of Notts County last weekend. Stockley bagged twice to take his season’s total to five ahead of the match at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.
And David Flitcroft was complimentary of Exeter, former manager Paul Tisdale and current boss Matt Taylor.
“Paul Tisdale did a phenomenal job building a football club,” said Stags boss Flitcroft. “When I look back at his body of work, they’ve always been up near the top of the league and pushing to get out of the league. “He’s left behind a fantastic group of players and a really good infrastructure.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/exeter-city-striker-has-mansfield-town-s-attention-1-9344735
“Matt (Taylor) has been a part of that, watched it and seamlessly took the plan on board. “I think the biggest thing for Exeter is keeping Jayden Stockley, a scorer of every type of goal. “Looking at what happened with Danny (Rose) over the summer, Jayden was probably a player that was on a lot of hit-lists of several higher-placed teams. “He’s not gone and it’s probably the best bit of business they’ve done, by keeping him. “He’s a striker in form. He’s a striker who at this level needs attention and we’ll work on that this week.” And added: “We have to understand what makes our form good and drive that. The Exeter form and model has been built on real strong foundations that we’re trying to implement at this ground.”
Defender enjoying back-three test
mansfieldtown.net, 13 Sep 2018
On-loan Stoke City defender Ryan Sweeney says that manager David Flitcroft has been ‘fantastic’ to him since his arrival at the club, and spoke of how he is relishing the challenge of playing in the back-three system implemented by the Stags’ boss.
The 21-year-old came to One Call Stadium in the summer on a season-long loan from the Potters, and has made an impressive start to the campaign.
Although having not played in a defensive back-three before, he says he is ‘enjoying’ the test of doing so, and knows what the manager wants from him in his system.
“The gaffer’s been fantastic since I’ve come in,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to do the extra work we’ve wanted to because of the schedule in August, but it’s Saturday to Saturday this month so hopefully I can get the extra work in.
“It’s a different task to what I’m used to [playing in a back three]. I’ve always been used to playing in a back four. I’ve enjoyed the test so far. I’m still learning how to play that position, but I know what the gaffer wants from me. I’m really enjoying it on a day-to-day basis and I’m really looking forward to the games.
“With Stoke they implement that [composed] style. With the under-23s they’re all very good on the ball. When you play with those sorts of players it helps you bring on your game in possession.
“The lads off the ball [at Mansfield] make it easier. Everyone wants the ball and everyone wants to get it and make things happen.
“When you come up to first team football, the reality is that there are jobs on the line and crowds come and pay their money to watch us play. That’s the position I want to be in. I want to push myself and be under that pressure playing for three points every week. I like to think I really thrive under it.
“I’m really enjoying playing in this environment, and long may that continue.”
Sweeney returned to the club this week after he performed for Ireland under-21s in their 1-1 draw with Kosovo last Friday, and spoke of his international experience.
“It was a bit of a long trip out there [to Kosovo],” he added. “We had a stop on the way in Istanbul before getting over there.
“We had a few days training and played them on the Friday. It’s always a good experience travelling to the places that you haven’t been to before. We picked up a good point in the end at a very tough place to go.
“It was a good point. Hopefully in the next round of international fixtures we can kick on.
“When you go to way [international] games, there’s a lot more travelling. You have the staff sorting out recovery strategies and getting the training and diet right. It’s not too different [to club football]. The main difference is the travelling.
“Kosovo make it very difficult for you. They get in your face and run after lost causes. The pitch was a bit bobbly so we had to adapt. First-half we probably took time to come to terms with what the game was, but in the second-half we came out and put them under pressure in the last 20 minutes.
“[The Irish link comes from] my grandparents. My dad’s side and all of his cousins are all Irish so that’s how I got into it [Irish international football].”
The central defender also reflected on Stags’ performances in recent weeks, and stated his belief that the side’s performances have warranted more points.
Sweeney says if Mansfield keep up their good performances, the results will follow.
“I had to be patient in the first couple of weeks because the team were performing very well. I came in for the Accrington game and we were superb on the night. I’d have liked to pick up more points to be honest. I think our performances warrant more points than we have at the moment.
“We need to start turning those draws into wins and we started that off against Carlisle, where we played well and could’ve had a few more. We’re looking to kick on Saturday.
“We can take a lot of positives from those draws. Most of those games, bar the Macclesfield game, we were the better team in those fixtures. We’re still unbeaten in the league and the team is full of confidence. We need to keep putting those performances in and the wins will come.
“All these League Two games are very tough. They all throw up different sorts of tests for you. Exeter will come in off the back of a very good win against Notts County and they’ll come here full of confidence.
“We have to keep looking at ourselves and keep putting in the performances we have been doing. It will be a tough test against a very tough side.
“We’ve been playing some very good football and we have the quality to do well in this league. If we keep up the passing play that we’ve implemented we can pick up more wins.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Ryan Sweeney’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Matt Taylor: "We have got to be right on it from the word go."
City boss calls for more of the same as Grecians travel to unbeaten Mansfield Town
‘More of the same’, is the message from Exeter City manager Matt Taylor as the Grecians travel to Mansfield Town on Saturday.
City go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 5-1 victory over Notts County and it was the manner of that performance that pleased Matt the most has his players worked hard, pressed from the front and took their chances.
However, Mansfield have yet to be beaten in League Two this campaign and it is for that reason the City boss knows they will have to reach the same heights if they want to be successful at the One Call Stadium.
“There is no doubt that it was a good performance against Notts County, from start to finish we were on it,” said Matt. “We attacked the game, played on the front foot and had a real purpose about our play. We were pleased with that performance but as soon as that was done it is very much on to the next and we have got a really tough test this weekend.
“Mansfield are a good team. They are well coached and they play a certain formation which could cause us problems on the day if we are not right.
“It is going to be a test and whenever you go to Mansfield you know you are in for a game. They have got some good players as well so they will be right up for it.
“They didn’t have a game last weekend so they will be fresh. However, there are no excuses from us. We have got to be right on it from the word go. We really have. However, if we put in a performance, similar to what we did last weekend, then we will give ourselves a chance.”
Matt has a couple of injury concerns as both Troy Brown and Craig Woodman are set to miss the match. However, he says that will give an opportunity to other defenders - like Luke Croll, Dara O’Shea and Jimmy Oates - to step in and all of them have impressed this season.
“Yes, you lose two out of your back four and you are going to be worried but I have got good players at this club,” said Matt. “We have brought Dara in on loan from West Brom and he has been excellent and he has been patient and it is the same with Luke Croll and Jimmy Oates.
“They have bided their time in terms of waiting for an opportunity and their opportunity will come in the next couple of weeks, without a shadow of a doubt. Some will get game time again on Saturday and I am backing them in terms of their ability to step up to that level.”
Jonathan Forte is also set for a return having recovered from a hamstring strain.
“Jono (Jonathan Forte) we think will be fit,” said Matt. “He has had another week’s training. It was just too big of a risk to play him against Notts County after two weeks out with a hamstring strain.
“It is a big bonus. He was a big part of the start to the season that we had. He was scoring goals and he was a real threat and he looked fit and firing. He has trained well this week and it will be my decision whether I put him straight back in.”
Danny Cowley responds to bizarre swipe at Imps by Mansfield boss David Flitcroft
The Stags manager has said the Imps expect refereeing decisions to automatically go their way
By Mark Whiley, 14 SEP 2018
Danny Cowley has vowed not to get embroiled in ‘trash talk’ with Mansfield boss David Flitcroft.
In response to comments Cowley made about the Stags’ physical approach during the recent Checkatrade Trophy tie between the sides, Flitcroft this week took a bizarre swipe at his opposite number and the Imps.
He called for referees to be “strong” during games at Sincil Bank and insisted he would not be “intimidated” by Cowley.
“I think that the statement ‘abuse the rules’ was a little bit strong. But it doesn’t surprise me from Danny,” said Flitcroft.
Lincoln City's assistant manager Nicky Cowley, left, and Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley pose for photographs with the Vanarama National League trophy
“We saw some ‘afters’ after the game. It’s really important that the Referees’ Association gets a really tight grip on the situation. You need strong referees down at Lincoln.
“When a referee doesn’t make a good decision, or a positive decision in Lincoln’s favour, it’s like they deserve every decision. It’s like it’s expected because they’ve been on this winning curve.
“I think the Referees’ Association are probably getting wise to it and making sure that strong referees do turn up at Lincoln.
“They’ve got the crowd, they have the noise behind them. If it’s a referee with no experience, he can become unstuck there.
“That’s certainly one thing I will never become - intimidated - by anyone, and certainly not Danny Cowley.”
When asked for his response to Flitcroft’s comments in this week’s pre-match press conference, Cowley said: “We played Mansfield last week and we play Mansfield again in the coming weeks and months.
“We’ll talk about Mansfield then. Let’s save trash talk for boxing. That would be my stance on it.
“We’ve got respect for David Flitcroft and for Mansfield. They’re a good club and they’ll be very competitive in the league this year.
“We wish them well and look forward to seeing them very soon.
“We just want to focus on us. I only want to control the things I can control. I can’t David Flitcroft and Mansfield. I’m going to get caught up in a tit for tat.
“I love the sport of boxing but I get disappointed on a regular basis when I watch the boxers before fights show such a lack of respect for each other.
“I certainly wouldn’t like to see that coming into the football, and I wouldn’t want to be involved in it.
“We’ll just concentrate on what we’re doing and trying to be the very best that we can.”
What Cowley said about the Stags...
Here is a recap of what the Imps boss said after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Mansfield.
“They [the football authorities] have really got to look at the rules. 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.”
Cowley added: “We think we’ve come up short with the [referees’] decisions in the last two games, but football managers, when the ball is rolling, want everything they’re own way.
“It’s a competitive game and you’re always trying to get on the right side of the small margins. All we say to our players is to, in the first ten minutes of the game, try and understand what the referee’s interpretation of the rules are.
“We’re competitive and we don’t always get it right and our opponents won’t always get it right. It’s a fine balance between being ultra-commitment and being disciplined.
“Sometimes you’ll be over-competitive, as I felt we were last Saturday, sometimes you’ll be slightly over competitive.”