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Archived News from April 2007

13th April 2007 14:13

Evening Post, 13 April 2007

Alex John-Baptiste today revealed he is mulling over a new long-term contract at Mansfield.

The central defender has been an ever-present for the Stags this season and has been back to his best form in recent weeks.

John-Baptiste, 21, is out of contract this summer, though he is not old enough to go on a Bosman free transfer.

But the club are hoping to persuade him to stay.

"They have offered me a contract and said they want to keep me," said John-Baptiste.

"I have now just got to talk to my family about it and see what everyone says.

"They have offered me two years, or even three years if I want it, but know I just have to weigh up my options."

Former youth product John-Baptiste has learned to live with speculation linking him to other clubs since breaking into the team at 17.

Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest are two clubs that have been linked to him.

But, for the moment at least, John-Baptiste is happy with his lot at Field Mill.

He said: "I love playing for Mansfield Town. It would be hard to leave."

Evening Post, 13 April 2007

It is no coincidence, most Mansfield followers would surely agree, that the team has not won a single match since Jonathan D'Laryea was sidelined.

The busy central midfielder was in excellent form as the Stags embarked on a five-match unbeaten run to lift them out of trouble at the bottom of League Two.

But in the five matches since he limped off at Notts County with an ankle injury, the team have managed to claim just one point, in the 0-0 draw at Wrexham.

The 21-year-old's steadying influence has been missed, of that there can be little doubt.

Last week D'Laryea went under the surgeon's knife to try to clear up his ankle ligament injury.

As with all such operations, there is always a worry things will not go to plan and in a way they didn't.

D'Laryea was told it would be more like three months before he returns, instead of being back in the hoped-for three weeks.

But the good news is the former Manchester City trainee should be back fighting fit by the time the club are back in pre-season training. "When I saw the surgeon before the operation he said there was a chance it could be longer than two or three weeks," said D'Laryea.

"But I was still hoping when I came round that I would be fit to play some part at the end of this season, so when he said it was more serious, it was hard to take.

"The good news is that a lot of my rehabilitation will be in the off-season, so I will not be missing games then.

"But that does mean I won't be able to relax as much as I would have done because I will be busy working on getting the ankle right.

"The only worrying thing is that ligament damage in your ankle can cause it to be unstable and in serious cases it can stop you playing football altogether.

"But I have been assured it is not the case with me and I will be ready to start when we come back after the summer break."

D'Laryea's right foot has been fitted with an air cast, a device which can be pumped up, a bit like some brands of basketball trainers in the 1990s.

The system is designed to take the pressure off his foot and he feels it is working well.

D'Laryea said: "It might look a bit clunky, but I can't feel any stress on it when I pump it up.

"I see the surgeon again in a couple of weeks and he will check to see if everything is going ok.

"At least I will be able to take off my cast, which I have to keep on for six weeks from when I had the operation last week."

Having never been seriously injured before, D'Laryea is finding it very hard to watch from the stands.

"This is the most I have been out by a long way," he said. "The longest before this was two weeks with a calf strain towards the end of my loan here from Manchester City.

"I'm so used to playing football on a Saturday, I find it hard now I am not doing. It is not the same watching a game as it is taking part in one and I can't wait to be back.

"The good thing is I don't have to worry about my contract in the summer so I can concentrate 100% on getting fit."

Meanwhile, Mansfield have organised a pre-season friendly with Derby County on Saturday, July 28.

Boss Billy Dearden said: "If they get in the Premiership then it will be tremendous for us because they are likely to play some of the new signings they will need at the top level in the game against us."


Latest | April 2007