David Holdsworth video interview --->
Chester determined to hunt down the Stags
Aug 28 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Daily Post
CHESTER City are likely to be unchanged for tomorrow's Blue Square Premier League match against Mansfield Town at the Deva Stadium.
The Stags have had an excellent start to the campaign, they currently lie in second position in the table, after winning four of their opening quintet of matches.
City manager Mick Wadsworth is aware that Mansfield will be a difficult test for his squad.
He said: “We had three tough opening League games and Mansfield will prove to be another tough hurdle for us.
“They have a number of experienced players in their squad and have the ability to score goals from most positions.”
Chester recorded their first point of the season last weekend when they drew 0-0 with Luton Town at Kenilworth Road and Wadsworth is looking for his side to repeat that type of gritty performance tomorrow.
“I was extremely pleased with the showing at Luton and we have now set the standard. It was encouraging but it will mean nothing unless we replicate it this weekend against Mansfield.
“The games are coming thick and fast now and we need to be putting points on the board,” said the City manager.
Wadsworth will include the Burnley youngsters Chris Lynch and Adam Kay in his side, the central defender and midfielder are both on long term loans.
Defenders Shaun Kelly and Glenn Rule, who were in line for places on the substitutes' bench, both received knocks during a midweek reserve team game and are considered as extremely doubtful. Midfielder Anthony Barry's ankle injury continues to sideline him.
CHESTER CITY (from): Danby, Murphy, Roberts, Ryan, Lynch, Lea, Wilkinson, Vaughan, Kay, Ashton, Alessandra, Chadwick, Meynell, Owen, Ellams, Platt, Jones, Rule.
Stags' Clare feels for old club Chester
Friday, August 28, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
IT is with great fondness that Mansfield Town goal ace Daryl Clare looks back on his time with tomorrow's opponents Chester – and no wonder.
During a stay of just over two years at the Deva Stadium, the 31-year-old scored 48 goals in 60 games – and won the Football Conference title.
Signing for the Blues in October 2002, they finished fourth in his first campaign before Doncaster went up through the play-offs.
But things were even more of a success in 2003-2004 as Clare helped City beat Hereford to the title by one point with 29 goals.
Not surprisingly, it is with a heavy heart that Clare has watched events unfold at Chester this summer.
First the club were relegated out of the Football League in May, then they were docked ten points by the Football Conference after going into administration.
But that was not the end of the club's woes as the FA refused to grant Chester their member affiliation and their first two games were postponed as a result.
Thankfully, that issue has now been resolved and the club have begun their fixture list, albeit with a further 15-point deduction.
And with 25 points to make up on the rest of the division, relegation to the Blue Square North is a distinct possibility.
"I had a brilliant spell with Chester, which makes it sad to see what has happened," said Clare.
"They were looking to get straight back up there (into the Football League), but it looks more like they will be fighting to stay up.
"It will be massively disappointing for the club and the fans because they were playing League football last season and I know they worked tremendously hard to get promoted when I was there.
"No player ever wants to see their former club struggling – and I am no different.
"I just hope they have a fantastic season and dig themselves out of danger.
"If they can stave off relegation, then they can get the club in a position where they can go again.
"It is going to be massively difficult for them to make up the deficit and I think relegation in itself was punishment enough.
"But, at the same time, I am playing for the Stags now and I am 100 per cent focused on doing well for them and trying to keep our winning run going."
Clare has twice helped sides win promotion to the Football League with his goals at Boston United and at Chester.
He believes this year's title race is wide open and reckons as many as five or six teams could be in the frame – including the Stags.
Clare said: "It's important to get off to a good start, otherwise one or two teams can pull away.
"If a massive gap develops then it can be difficult to stay in touch, but at the same time you don't have to be top of the league right from the very start.
"Basically, you have to make sure you are in the chasing pack.
"When I was at Boston it was a two-horse race between us and Dagenham from day one and we edged it on goal difference.
"That shows how tight it can be and sometimes scrapping for the odd point here and there away from home can make all the difference.
"At Chester, it was a little bit more open, with four or five teams in contention – and I think that will be the case this season because there are some very good sides.
"I don't think there will be just one stand-out side, but I'm confident we'll be in that pack."
Clare feels the Stags' early-season success owes much to manager David Holdsworth.
"If you can make your players happy as a manager then nine times out of ten you will get the performances out of them," said Clare.
"David has brought in some good players and is bringing the best out of them."
Somner: Stags have staying power
Friday, August 28, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
MATT Somner insists Mansfield Town have the staying power to go the distance this season.
In 2008-2009, the Stags started well, winning four of their first six games and briefly topped the table at the end of September.
This season they have begun just as well to win four of their first five and sit second in the Blue Square Premier table.
But midfielder Somner believes that is where the similarities will end and the Stags have what it takes to maintain their promising start.
"We are delighted with how things have gone so far and had in mind," said the former Notts County man.
"We started well last season, but no one really knew how we were going to do because the team was not put together until the final game of pre-season.
"It meant we hadn't done the fitness work we needed. We were playing on adrenalin and it soon caught up with us. We hit a brick wall.
"This time that is less likely to happen because we have got the fitness work behind us and the lads are all still flying.
"We are a lot more confident."
Somner – one of just a handful of players to survive from this time last year – also points to a better squad and an excellent team spirit as reasons to be optimistic.
Somner said: "This season we have strength in depth and you have to have your eye on the ball just to stay in the team.
"There are going to be times when things don't go well. It is how you get over those blips and make sure they don't last long that matters.
"We could have faltered after Luton (Stags lost 4-1) but we came back strongly and we will have to do that again."
Stags may yet raid transfer market
Evening Post, August 27, 2009
MANSFIELD may yet bring in new blood ahead of the transfer deadline after talks between manager David Holdsworth and chairman Andy Perry.
Both men have previously suggested the Stags would be happy with the players they have at the moment.
But with Mansfield in second place in the Blue Square Premier and going well they have agreed Holdsworth can add to the squad.
"I had a very healthy and upbeat chat with the chairman and we feel that with the current position, if the opportunity to bring in a player or players comes up, we will do," he said.
"We want to keep the club in the right position, we want to keep the motivation and the feel-good factor.
"But I only go for good players, not average ones – and that's the trouble sometimes.
"How can I leave the likes of Ryan Williams on the left out for an average player? I can't and won't.
"But I would like to keep him and Louis Briscoe, and others, on their toes.
"If I do bring someone in, they must be of a certain quality. You see so many players brought in for the sake of it, but I don't want to do that."
Gary Mills returned to training on Monday after recovering from a hamstring injury.
But Holdsworth hinted the Stags' skipper is more likely to play against Kettering on Monday than against Chester tomorrow.
He said: "Gary has worked hard and wants to be up for selection.
"It will be a tough decision and we will have to see how it goes in training.
"We have two games in three days so there may be a change in the line-up at some point.
"We have to keep things fresh and maybe we will have to do that on Monday."
Chester were deducted 25 points before the start of the season and face an uphill battle just to stay up.
But Holdsworth is taking nothing for granted after the Blues' draw at high-flying Luton last weekend.
"I think it is going to be a hard game and they deserve credit for what they did at Luton," he said.
"People say that Luton did not play well, but teams will not always let them.
"We tried to go toe to toe with them and it didn't work on the night, but that happens.
"(Chester manager) Mick Wadsworth has been around the world and he has a lot of experience.
"They have got some good young players and a bit of experience and there is no way we will underestimate their qualities."
Holdsworth is looking for the Stags to end August strongly after four wins and one defeat so far.
He said: "The start we have had gives us a platform. Come February and March, no-one will worry about August.
"It's been a great month and I'm delighted how we have come through so far, but we are not taking our fingers off the pulse.
"We are not easing off at all but working even harder."
Selection headaches for busy weekend
CHAD.co.uk, 27 August 2009, By John Lomas
AFTER three successive wins with an unchanged side, Stags manager David Holdsworth has some huge selection decision to make ahead of a busy weekend's BSP football.
Second-placed Mansfield travel to Chester City on Saturday before hosting Kettering Town on Monday.
Holdsworth has skipper and central midfielder Gary Mills available once again after injury while exciting right back Scott Gardner has completed a ADVERTISEMENTthree-game ban.
And he can also only select two of his four strikers who have already amassed 11 goals between them this season.
"I have been taking paracetamols to get over it," he smiled. "But it's a great headache to have.
"I wanted to keep a settled side as far as I could for the first six to 10 games.
"It's a tight one but I know what I am going to do on Saturday, but we play again on Monday so I do need to keep things fresh and players will get their chances."
Jake Speight, who has scored three goals coming off the bench already, and legendary lower division hitman Daryl Clare, who has two, are both champing at the bit to dislodge current strike pair Kyle Perry (3) and Rob Duffy (3).
"I love them all to bits," said Holdsworth. "Young Jake - his eyes make you want to have a party don't they?
"I love to see him and Stevie Istead chuckling in the changing rooms. They make me laugh and are great characters.
"In fact I have one of the best dressing rooms I have ever seen. Being with them makes me feel 27 again. It's not just about me, they are buying into each other.
"Daryl is the old, wise man - top drawer. he comes in here for a rest as he has four kids! he just comes in with his pipe and slippers.
"But when he gets in front of goal he comes alive and is a credit to himself."
He added: "Rob Duffy and Kyle Perry are two different characters but both are eager to keep scoring goals.
"You have to remember these boys have been let go by other clubs and sometimes it is not easy to come back and regain your confidence.
"When I was at Sheffield United we didn't have the best team but we did have an unbelievable team spirit. It was probably worth 10-12 points to us as we drove on in the latter part of games, nicking points away from home."
The Bank Holiday programme opens at a Chester side almost condemned to relegation from the off after being given a 25 point deduction to start the season with due to financial problems and a messy takeover.
But they earned their first point of the season with a 0-0 draw at Luton last week and will be very dangerous opponents on Saturday (3pm).
"We expect a very tough game at Chester," said Holdsworth. "They played very well at Luton and got a point.
"Some say Luton didn't play very well, but teams won't let them play well every week.
"We were beaten there fairly on the night, but we conceded two goals from set pieces, an own goal and a penalty. We tried to go toe to toe with them on the night and it didn't work.
"Chester have a figurehead in Mick Wadsworth who has been around the world and a lot of experience in the side with some good young players too.
"No way in a million years would I underestimate their quality on the pitch. What is happening off the pitch is not for me to comment on."
Chester's squad will be bolstered by the return of three players.
Glenn Rule and Gregg Blundell are fit again after knee injuries while Uruguayan striker Fabian Yantorno is ready to play after a long spell trying to recover from a knee injury last February.
He has agreed to join Chester after impressive spells with Greta, Hibs and Hamilton had caught the eyes of Celtic and Rangers before the injury saw him return home to Uruguay and their interest cool.
On Monday, Kettering arrive at Field Mill (3pm) with three wins out of three away from home this season, though have not won either of their home games.
The sides fought out a goalless stalemate last season though Stags were denied a stone wall stoppage time penalty when Gary Silk was brought down.
Holdsworth added: "Kettering are a well organised side. But I still think we have a point to prove against them after last season here when I think we should have won it.
"You have to respect a 0-0 but I still disagree with the penalty decision that was made. The referee rang me the day after and still didn't feel it was a penalty.
"Kettering are a very direct side with good pace up top. They use the long throws and throw it further than I go on holiday!
"But we will head it out again I think Scott Garner came off there against them last year with a bruised head, he had made so many headers.
"It is tremendous away form, but let's change that. That's how I see it."
Garner chases tough goals target
CHAD.co.uk, 27 August 2009, By John Lomas
SCOTT Garner thinks he will fall short of David Holdsworth's 10-goal target for him this season.
But the impressive young centre half still feels he will chip in his fair share.
"I think I can get a few and I have already had a few chances," he said.
"I scored at Luton and only just missed last weekend.
"I think I can score five or six though the gaffer have me a target of 10 at the start of the sason but I am not sure about that."
Garner skippered the side briefly last season and would love to get that role full time in the future.
He said: "I would love to go out there and lead the team out and on to success. But it wouldn't change me - I would still play the same role."
Stags boss keeps eyes open as deadline approaches
CHAD.co.uk, 27 August 2009, By John Lomas
DAVID Holdsworth would not rule out a new face or two at Field Mill before Tuesday's transfer deadline if the right players become available.
The Stags boss let midfielder Jon D'Laryea go out on loan to Northwich Victoria yesterday and has a fully fit, healthy and winning squad.
But he has been in the game long enough to know sometimes that is a good time to further strengthen your hand and said: "I have had a very healthy and upbeat chat with the chairman.
"In our current situation, if bringing in new players will help cement our position and keep other players motivated then I will do so.
"But I won't bring in average players just for the sake of it. They have to enhance the squad.
"We won't rest on our laurels but it has to be the right player.
"Even if Jon was here I would be looking to enhance the squad. It's been a cracking start with competition for places and perhaps we don't need anyone.
"But I will not take my finger off the pulse and if the opportunity comes to bring in quality it will help keep my players on their toes."
On letting D'Laryea out, he said: "I had seen Jon walking round behind the scenes, wanting to play.
"It is important he gets opportunities and, with not having a reserve set-up I have got to keep everyone fit.
"Games are coming thick and fast and, with having a big squad and everyone vying for a place, he is not getting as many minutes on the pitch as we would like.
"So this loan move will benefit him and us.
"It is not a permanent thing, I have not looked beyond the month yet though I respect that players have ambition and it is important they keep that focus."
CHAD VIDEO interview with Stags' in-form striking sub Jake Speight -->
CHAD.co.uk, 27 August 2009, By John Lomas
THREE goals in five games, all as substitute, but still the explosive Jake Speight cannot win himself a starting place in the Stags line-up.
But, after injury problems for the much-travelled 23-year-old, he says he will be patient and knows this could represent his last chance to make a living from the game.
In this exclusive video interview, he tells Chad about his move to Mansfield and his hopes and ambitions for himself and the club.
CHAD apologise for the poor sound quality in parts of this interview
video interview with Gareth Holmes --->
Mills set for Stags return
Evening Post, August 25, 2009
GARY Mills is set to return from his hamstring injury for Mansfield's visit to Chester – but has been warned he is by no means guaranteed to start.
The Stags' skipper has been absent since he limped off in the early stages of the opening day win over Crawley.
But he has been stepping up his recovery and returned to full training for the first time this morning.
That will put the former Stevenage man in the frame for the trip to the Deva Stadium.
But first team coach Gareth Holmes said: "Jason (Truscott, club physio) has done a tremendous job with Gary and he has rejoined training.
"He is keen to get back – that's the type of player he is and why he was made captain.
"He wants to play every game but Soms (Matt Somner) and Nixy (Kyle Nix) have done a tremendous job.
"Gary knows he will have to work hard to get back in the side, but he goes about his training as a model pro."
Paul Heckingbottom is still 'a week to a week-and-a-half away' from returning.
But Holmes says everyone else is currently fit and available for selection.
Away targets ahead of Chester tester
CHAD.co.uk, 26 August 2009, By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town's home heroes know they have to buck up their away form if they are to find success this season.
Stags kick off their Bank Holiday weekend fixtures with a tough trip to crisis club Chester City on Saturday (3pm) looking to build on that superb win at Salisbury two weeks ago before Kettering visit Field Mill on Monday (3pm).
Last season Mansfield managed just five away wins and first team coach Gareth Holmes said: "Everyone knows we have to improve on that.
"We need to at least double it. The average teams going up from this league win 12-15 away games and that's what we are aiming for.
"We need to try to replicate our home form away.
"Results breed confidence. But when you are up there opponents will start putting men behind the ball and make themselves difficult to beat.
"Your reputation precedes you. Then you have to grind out results, especially away from home, and pick up points without as much free-flowing football.
"Chester will be flying high from a good result at Luton.
"Our reports say they did well there and are quite strong defensively.
"They were set to be one of the front-runners in this league before that points deduction. So we won't be resting on our laurels or taking anything for granted."
Holmes expects Chester's 25 points deduction to give them a 'seige mentality'.
"It is human nature that, when your backs are against the wall, you expect people to stick together and battle for an ultimate goal." he said.
The games continue to come thick and fast as Kettering visit Field Mill on Monday on the back of three successive away wins in their three away games this season, even though they have failed to win at home.
But Stags remain unbeaten at home in 2009 in the league and this season have won three out of three, scoring 11 times.
"When you are winning games and in a vein of form you just want them to keep coming," said Holmes.
"Kettering are up there in sixth place at the moment and we have done our homework on them. They have some good players and will be a good challenge. But it is important we see teams off and continue our home form."
He added: "Gary Mills joined in full training on Tuesday for the first time which is good news. Jason Truscott (physio) has done a tremendous job with him.
"He is a good player and we have made him captain so he is the sort of player who will be banging the door down straight away to get back into the team.
"His attitude and the way he conducts himself make him a model professional.
"But Matt Somner and Kyle Nix have done a tremendous job in the mdidle of the park and Gary knows he will have to work really hard to get back in the side.
"Anyone who performs in training has got a chance. Each game is looked at on its own individual merits. It is all about seeing off your opponents.
"Paul Heckingbottom is a little bit further away but not by much, maybe a week to a week and a half."
So, with virtually a fully fit squad and good form, it is unlikely Stags will add to their numbers before Tuesday's first transfer deadline of the season.
Holmes said: "Never say never, but we are more than happy with what we've got in the dressing room right now. We are really proud of them."
Stags set away wins target
Evening Post, August 26, 2009
MANSFIELD Town have set a target of '12 to 15 away wins' this season in their bid to challenge for Blue Square Premier honours.
The Stags managed just five victories on the road last season as they finished 12th in the table.
They know they will have to improve significantly on that tally if they are to be among the front-runners.
Mansfield lost their opening away game 4-1 at Luton but were 1-0 victors at Salisbury last time out. They travel to Chester City this Saturday.
"We need to at least double the number of away wins from last season," said first team coach Gareth Holmes.
"We have done our research and the average number of away wins to get up is usually between 12 and 15.
"That is what we want to be looking at. Good results breed confidence. It is sometimes more difficult to win away, especially when you are up there at the top.
"Teams will go and put men behind the ball and make it difficult. Some will look to try to pick up points when they are at home without being free flowing.
"As the season goes on, whether we grind it out and score a last-minute winner or we play free-flowing football, it is still three points."
Skipper Gary Mills returned to training yesterday following a hamstring injury and is in contention for the visit to the Deva Stadium. Paul Heckingbottom is a week to a week-and-a-half away with a similar problem.
Marriott tips Perry to be Stags star
Evening Post, August 26, 2009
MANSFIELD goalkeeper Alan Marriott insists striker Kyle Perry carry be a real threat in the Blue Square Premier.
The 23-year-old has already scored three times since joining from Port Vale in the summer to jointly lead the Stags' scoring charts along with Rob Duffy and Jake Speight.
Marriott, a former League Two player himself with Lincoln City, says he has seen the right attributes in the ex-Chasetown and Walsall frontman to be a potent scorer.
"Kyle has got a good size about him and he is a handful for defenders," said Marriott.
"The fact he is left-footed gives us something a bit different up front as well.
"Big lads have often proved to be effective in the lower leagues and someone like him could be vital to us getting out of this division.
"From what he's done in the games he's played in so far, we can't have asked any more from him."
"He's also at an age where the manager can work with him and make him into an even better player."
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