PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
Injuries clearing as Stags head south
CHAD website, 23 February 2006
THERE was brighter news on the injury front today as Stags prepared for the long journey south to Torquay.
Mansfield hope to put further daylight between themselves and Torquay United in the relegation zone (Saturday, 3pm).
And it seems at least three of Peter Shirtliff's walking wounded now could figure at Plainmoor.
Laurence Wilson (kick on leg) is due back from treatment at Everton to train this morning, Alex John-Baptiste (groin) is expected to train tomorrow, and Simon Brown (hernia) should play some part of the game on Saturday.
Mansfield will be without suspended pair Gareth Jelleyman and Giles Coke.
And they already have Rhys Day, Chris Beardsley, Allan Russell and Adam Birchall out injured.
Stags are now six points clear of the drop and avoiding defeat at Torquay will see them complete an unbeaten February.
"February has ben OK for us," said Shirtliff. "If we can keep that performance level going we are capable of getting a result at Torquay.
"It is an important game. But no more so than any other. They are all important games.
"Our 3-0 win over them at home was a long time ago and means nothing now. They have a new manager and new players and are fighting for their lives.
"I watched them against Stockport recently and they are a good side. They are battling hard and we won't be taking them lightly.
"Historically, Torquay are reasonable at home.
"We have to dig in and work hard. That's what sometimes sees games won or lost. We have to really get stuck in."
"With going overnight tomorrow and stopping for training on the way down I am happy with our preparations."
Brown to have operation
CHAD website, 23 February 2006
SIMON Brown will have an operation on his hernia next Thursday.
The Mansfield Town striker, who has only recently returned from a hamstring problem, bravely battled through the pain barrier as a sub in last week's 2-2 home draw with Wrexham when his pace changed the game for Stags.
And he will be in the squad at Torquay on Saturday.
But the operation will rule him out for anything between three and six weeks, depending on how it goes.
"After being out with my hamstring and then come back and be struggling with this hernia, it's been a stop-start season," he said.
"Me and Richie Barker were working so well together, it's been really frustrating having to watch from the sidelines.
"I am taking anti-inflammatories before and after games but it is really sore after games so I can't really train in the week.
"I just want to play. But I am booked in for an operation on 2nd March to get it done and I hope I can be back as soon as possible."
50 A MAGIC NUMBER FOR STAGS
Evening Post, 23 February 2006
Mansfield need 50 points to ensure League Two safety, according to midfielder Stephen Dawson.
The Stags rescued a point on Saturday as two Richie Barker goals saw them come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
That takes Peter Shirtliff's men on to 38 points with 12 games of their season left.
And Dawson believes if they accrue 12 more - the equivalent of four wins - then Mansfield can afford to breathe a little easier.
He said: "Our job is just to approach every game with the right attitude to try to pick up as many points as we can.
"This league is so tight and you don't know what is going to happen, but I think 50 points would be enough."
The Stags travel to Torquay on Saturday for a crucial game against a team just below them in the league table.
A win - which would be Mansfield's first on the road since the 2-1 success at Oxford on New Year's Eve - would put them nine points ahead of the Gulls.
Dawson added: "I think every game is important - we can't just rely on our home games and a win at Torquay would set us up nicely.
"We have to believe that we can win every game we play, wherever it is played.
"We have beaten teams up at the top such as Grimsby, so we just have to play hard and see where that takes us.
Eight of Mansfield's starting 11 against Wrexham were 21 or under - making them one of the most youthful sides in the league.
But Dawson feels that is no disadvantage because of the excellent input from the experienced campaigners in the Mansfield squad.
"A lot of the players are coming towards the end of their first full season at this level," he added.
"But the older players in the team such as Richie Barker and Kevin Pressman have been great and helped us along.
"When you come from a bigger club, like some of us have, you have to adapt and it can be difficult at first.
"But I think over the last few games the squad has really pulled together and now we are going in the right direction."
Simon Brown talks of his Frustrating time this season
Simon Brown returned to playing at the weekend in the 2-2 draw against Wrexham and he was glad to get back to action after a frustrating time watching form the sidelines.
"To have pulled my Hamstring and being out for several weeks then to come back and pick up a hernia it has been a very frustrating 'stop-start' season for me. The most annoying thing is that I had forged a good playing partnership with Richie up front. We were both doing well and both scoring goals and with the team doing well watching from the sidelines is the most frustrating thing that can happen to a footballer.
"I think that my absence has affected the team in a small way but we have Reet, Russell and Birchall who can all play alongside Richie and I believe that we have been a bit unlucky not to get more wins and be higher placed than we are.
"When I have been playing I have been playing through the pain barrier taking anti-inflammatory tablets before and after the game but it does leave you feeling sore afterwards and means that I cannot train in the week. I have missed so many games through my hamstring problem I just want to get as many games in as possible. I am booked in for an operation on the March 2nd and hopefully I will back sooner rather than later. I have been told that it could between four and six weeks but hopefully I can get back a bit sooner than that.
"I am looking forward to playing at the weekend against Torquay. Winning breeds confidence and we haven't been beaten in four games so hopefully this game should earn us another three points. We have quite a few good players here and hopefully we will finish safe this season and regroup for a better campaign next season.
"Finally I would just like to mention Richie. He wasn't getting the breaks early on but lately he has been getting the service and has shown what a great player he is. I have enjoyed playing alongside him but with the competition from Reet, Birchall and the others I will have to get fit again as soon as possible and keep on my toes if I am to get my place back."
Barker refutes Swansea Link
Stags skipper Richie Barker has enjoyed his time at Field Mill and would like a few more years here denying any links with a move to Swansea City or any other club:
"It's amazing what a good week can do for you. Just two weeks ago people were talking about my 'goal drought' and this week I am linked to a move to League one Swansea City. I am not sure where that story came from I didn't know anything about it until somebody sent me a text telling me they just saw it on Sky. As you can imagine I was as surprised as anybody so I spoke to my agent who just got back from his holidays and he didn't know anything about it either. Then I heard a story that my Brother had something to do with it but speaking to him he knew nothing about it either.
"It doesn't really matter where the rumour started I am not interested I am quite happy where I am for the time being. It is flattering though, it obviously means you are doing something right because people are recognising you. As far as I know I still have next year to run on my contract and I have every intention of seeing it out.
"I understand that Shirty has publicly said that he would like to build next season's team around me, again, that shows that I have been doing my job. I still think that I have got a few years left in me yet. People look at me as though I am some kind of veteran but I am only thirty. Gus is thirty five, Jon Hjelde's thirty three and Pressey (Kevin Pressman) is thirty-something so I think I still have a good future.
"I think a lot of people have picked on earlier comments that I would like to go into coaching but that doesn't mean I want to do it now. I want to play for as long as I can. You can coach for a long time but you can't play for a long time. I am looking to be playing for at least another four or five years. Maybe it's because people watch me play and ten minutes think I should pack in!" he said
Talking about his constant changes in strike partners Barker is delighted to have scored nineteen goals this season but insists that he is not happy with that.
"With twelve games or so remaining I have to keep on my toes. I cannot get complacent thinking 'well I have scored my personal best'. I have to keep pushing forward there is still a long way to go. I think that in the last eighteen months I have had somewhere in the region 23 different strike partners which makes settling down difficult. But If I can pass on a bit of my experience to the younger players then I feel I have accomplished something.
"Hopefully it is looking like things have turned around now. In fact I was speaking to Shirty a couple of weeks ago and said to him that whilst I was in my 'drought' we didn't win any games. I don't think it is a coincidence that when I scored goals we won or drew a game. This tells me either that we have won games by scoring goals or that I had been doing too much somewhere else and not getting the chances so I think I need to stick at what I do best staying in and around the box and hopefully that will rub off on the rest of the team and we win the remainder of our games."
Rose to find out his future
Peter Shirtliff is yet to make a decision about whether or not there is a place in his squad for on trial Karl Rose.
"I will make a decision on that probably next week" Shirtliff told the official website. Meanwhile Danny Heron has been involved in a move in the opposite direction to Hednesford Town.
"Danny Heron as been involved in a work experience at Hednesford Town. I took him down there for this reason but if his services are need this weekend I am not sure yet. But if they want him he is available to play" he added
Shirtliff did state that there maybe a possibility of bringing somebody in before the March Deadline but does admit with some of the injured players looking as though they be making a return he is not sure in what position any new players will take up.
"Rhys is hopefully going to be returning to training next Monday so he isn't too far away and Chris Beardsley is not a million miles away and I am hopeful that Allan Russell should be back by the end of March as well." He said
With the deadline quickly approaching when Team Mansfield have to surrender their bid to purchase the club from Chairman Keith Haslam. Stags boss Peter Shirtliff says that he is not bothered at what happens of the pitch.
"It has been suggested that I will be keeping one eye on the Team Mansfield Bid but quite frankly what happens of the pitch is not my concern I will be concentrating on preparing the team and coaching the players to the best of my ability.
"One off pitch story that did catch my eye though was news that planning permission has been granted for the new training ground. I still believe that long term the club really need a facility like this to develop players and it is certainly good for the long term future of the club.
"The emphasis is more and more on to develop players by bringing them through the youth system and getting them into the professional game and I believe that transfers in and out of clubs is starting somewhat a revival and in some ways that is what the lower league clubs are about."
February - not a bad month for Stags
Peter Shirtliff has been quietly pleased with the overall performances this year and in particular February where Stags have remained undefeated. With Torquay being the last game of February he feels that a win could cap of the month nicely:
"A win at Torquay this weekend would cap of February quite nicely. It has been a pleasing month with some good performances and results. And, if we can keep the performance levels up we should hopefully be able to get a result.
"I don't think we have been bad this year so far, okay we lost a couple in January but I don't think we have been that bad and some people have made more of it than was fair. As I have said before all our games are important and even though We are only six points clear of Torquay doesn't make this any more important than playing the likes of Wycombe at the top of the table. We can't influence other teams we just have to concentrate on our own game and if we pick up a points total I will be pleased with that.
"We did well against Torquay when they came to us. I thought we played quite well on that day but this weekend will be a different prospect. They have a new manager and have drafted in some new players they are scrapping for their lives along with about ten other teams that could be brought into it. So we will need to be on pour toes and concentrate on what we have to do.
"People have asked me what changes I will make from playing the top teams to playing a side that is scrapping for existence in the league. The answer is quite simple - there will be no change of approach. We will prepare for the game in exactly the same manner. The only difference is that we will be travelling to Torquay on the Friday and training in the afternoon at Bristol City's ground and hopefully we can arrive at the ground on Saturday refreshed and feeling confident and hopefully come away with the right result" he told the Official website this morning.
Latest | February 2006