{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from December 2009

30th December 2009 10:01

Holdsworth on his first 12 months (video interview) --->

(more at bottom of this page)


Briscoe on his first 12 months --->


York City chiefs 'desperate' to avoid a second white-out
yorkpress.co.uk, By Dave Flett, Thursday 24th December 2009

YORK City assistant manager Andy Porter is desperate to avoid another postponement ahead of the Boxing Day home match with Mansfield Town.

The Bootham Crescent pitch has been covered in a blanket of snow all week but City officials are confident the game can go ahead should 60 to 70 supporters answer the club's appeal to help clear the playing surface on Saturday morning in time for a 3pm kick off.

With fixtures at Grays, Mansfield and Histon still to be rearranged, Porter fears that if another game is called off it could lead to a fixture pile-up later in the season.

The former Port Vale coach, fulfilling press conference duties while City boss Martin Foyle attended a funeral, is also aware that further progress in the FA Trophy and FA Cup would mean more rescheduling.

He said: “We don't want a fixture backlog. We are still in two cups and we have already had three league games postponed.

“We want to get the game on, especially considering the run we're on. We're also expecting a big crowd for Boxing Day and it's always great having the fans behind you.

“We have had some good support recently and that's great to see and hear. The players appreciate it and it will help in a big game for us.”

To ensure preparations for Saturday's match were not hindered by the weather, City's youth team helped shift snow at the club's Wigginton Road training ground and a grateful Porter added: “All the young lads were up there with the groundsman clearing half a pitch to make sure we got on the grass.

“It took three hours and all the lads ended up with blisters, but it was worthwhile as we needed to get on some grass because we hadn't been on a pitch since playing on the snow at Grays.”

Former Mansfield defender Alan O'Hare (ankle) is the only current injury concern although fellow centre-back Djoumin Sangare is also unlikely to be in contention as he lacks match fitness after recovering from an abdominal problem.

On-loan Mansfield centre-back Luke Graham is free to play, however, after being given permission to feature from his Field Mill employers.

A pleased Porter said: “I am very surprised they are allowing him to play and I'm surprised they let him out on loan because he's a decent lad who's been strong and dominant for us and done well. I think he's been a bit of a steal for us over the past two months.”

City, currently third in the Blue Square Premier standings, will move eight points clear of fourth-placed Mansfield with a victory at Bootham Crescent and Porter admitted that would prove a great advantage in the battle for play-off positions going into the New Year.

“They could always close the gap but it's better being eight points in front than trying to catch teams up,” he said.

City's players have been given Christmas Day off by Foyle and Porter this year but the management team do not expect any over-indulgence with two games in the subsequent three days.

The Mansfield match is followed by a trip to Altrincham on Monday and Porter added: “We've told the lads to go and have a run and loosen themselves up before their Christmas dinner. We've also advised them to go for a walk at night.

“It's not like ten years ago though when all the clubs had us in Christmas Day to ensure we did our running. These days, players don't go out for half a turkey like we used to do.

“They know the importance of looking after their bodies. If you haven't, you can't afford to have a bad performance because people like Ben Purkiss, Michael Gash, Andy Ferrell and Djoumin Sangare are champing at the bit to get back in.

“The other day the players wanted to have a drink and they can do that in moderation by having one or two when the time is right but they have to be fit and, if they don't look right, the next person is in. That's enough incentive for people to keep looking after themselves, especially with a big FA Cup game at Stoke on the horizon.”


Stags' Briscoe out to shoot down ex-boss
Evening Post, December 24, 2009

LOUIS Brisoce is hoping to sink the man who gave him his first crack at professional football when Mansfield Town travel to York City on Boxing Day.


The winger-cum-forward was introduced to the Port Vale youth team by Martin Foyle and later made the step up to the senior squad under the former Valiants striker.
But the two men have since gone their separate ways.
Briscoe has done the rounds of part-time non-league football before earning a return to the professional ranks with the Stags.
Foyle, meanwhile, has taken over at York where he guided them to the FA Trophy final in 2008-2009 and has led them to nine wins out of ten and up to third place in the Blue Square Premier.
They meet again when the two sides clash over the festive period – and former Ilkeston man Briscoe is determined to come out on top.
"I'm up against my old manager from Port Vale who signed me on YT forms and as a first-year pro, so I want to do well," said Briscoe.
"Martin is doing a good job, but I have not really spoken to him since I left Vale. I worked with him closely but it didn't work out for me there in the end.
"He did give me the chance to start as professional, but now I have moved on and I'm happy to be under the manager (David Holdsworth) at Mansfield.
"York are in great form and we haven't got the results in the cups of late.
"But we have still not been losing too often in league games. Ebbsfleet away was probably the most disappointing but overall I believe we have got more quality than them.
"We are more than capable of getting the points, as we are in our home game against Cambridge on Monday.
York are planning to clear the snow off their pitch on the morning of Saturday's match.
Pitch inspections are planned at 9am and at midday, if the game going ahead looks likely.


Spotlight on York City v Mansfield Town
Evening Post, December 24, 2009

York (possible, 4-4-2): Ingham, Parslow, McGurk, Graham, Meredith, Lawless, Mackin, Barrett, Carruthers, Brodie, Rankine. Subs: Mimms, Purkiss, Gash, Ferrell, Gall.


Mansfield (possible 4-3-3): Marriott, Silk, Brough, Garner, Heckingbottom, Challinor, Somner, Burgess, Briscoe, Duffy, Perry. Subs: Williams, Sandercombe, Speight, Mills, Armstrong.
Mansfield trio Rob Duffy, Craig Armstrong and Jake Speight are all struggling to be fit because of illness.
Alan Marriott is set to play despite coming off in the FA Trophy defeat to Tamworth with an ankle injury.
York are expected to name an unchanged side after Luke Graham, on loan at City with the view to a permanent move, has been given permission to play by the Stags.
Richard Brodie The striker is the Blue Square Premier's top scorer with 23 in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 FA Trophy replay victory over Hinckley.
Martin Foyle The former Port Vale boss has got City flying in recent weeks with nine wins and a draw from their last 10 matches.


Hotchkiss keen to extend Stags stay
Evening Post, December 24, 2009

OLLIE Hotchkiss today declared his eagerness to stay at Mansfield Town – and help continue their Blue Square Premier promotion push.


The on-loan Leeds United midfielder has gradually fought his way back to full fitness after suffering from a knee injury in the summer, and has broken into the Stags side.
But his three-month stint is due to run out next month, meaning he could leave Field Mill when he is just getting into full flow.
Hotchkiss, 20, is hoping that will not happen, having been told by boss David Holdsworth he is still wanted by the Stags.
"I would definitely love to stay here. All I want to do as a 20-year-old is play regularly, and I am doing that," he said.
"I enjoy working with the gaffer and the rest of the players – they have been a different class.
"I am just starting to get right physically and I am just starting to play, I feel, quite well.
"It would be a shame to give that up now when I think there is more to come, so hopefully something will get sorted. The gaffer told me he would love to keep me."
Hotchkiss has become accustomed to training with a big squad at Elland Road.
But he says the smaller number on Stags' books means the bond between the players is second to none.
He said: "The lower down the leagues you go, a lot of games are won by the spirit of the teams.
"If your morale is high then you are much more likely to come back from a goal down.
"That is down to the management and I have not experienced a stronger bond anywhere.
"The chips are down at the moment and we have had a few bad results but we are all working hard to correct that."


Further illness setback for Stags
Evening Post, December 23, 2009

MANSFIELD Town's preparations for their Boxing Day game at in-form York City have been hit by three more illnesses.
No sooner have a number of players returned from a bug then Rob Duffy, Jake Speight and Craig Armstrong have all been laid low.
Speight has only just returned to the first team picture after recovering from a knee injury.
"It is difficult to keep people in training when they are going down with illness," said boss David Holdsworth.
"Gary Mills is just about over it and we are hoping Gary Silk will be all right.
"But it doesn't help when you get one lot back and another are out."
Holdsworth knows Saturday's clash at the Kit Kat Crescent, which will be subject to a pitch inspection, will be a stern test of his team's credentials.
But he also points out the form book is there to be turned upside down – as the Stags have done before.
Holdsworth said: "York are one of those teams who we are facing who have a greater capacity to bring players in on higher wages.
"Martin (Foyle, manager) is doing a very good job there this year and he has been backed to the hilt with signings – and it is paying off at the moment.
"They have signed people like Michael Gash and Michael Rankine, who I really like but couldn't afford. Only time will tell if it pays off for them.
"It is a tough assignment and they have had a great run, but likewise that progress is there to be halted.
"You have to look forward to games like this, like we did against Oxford, and we have only lost two in 12 league games ourselves, so we aren't doing too bad."
Mansfield will come up against the Blue Square Premier's 23-goal top scorer, Richard Brodie, when the take on the Minstermen.
The striker is said to have attracted the interest of Sheffield Wednesday, among others.
"When York signed Gash and Rankine in the summer, Brodie perhaps went a little bit into the background, said Holdsworth.
"But he works his socks off and you have to admire what he has done. Full credit to the boy."


Holdsworth pleased with progress so far
CHAD.co.uk, 23 December 2009, By Stephen Thirkill

STAGS boss David Holdsworth says he is happy with the club's progress since he joined last January.
Since coming to Field Mill determined Holdsworth has transformed Mansfield Town from a struggling Blue Square Premier outfit with a small squad into a team capable of challenging for promotion.


Under his stewardship the club has won 22 of their 44 league games and picked up a total of 76 points.

Said Holdsworth: "I am delighted with where we are since I took over. It has been a good year and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

"There has been good and bad days, but that is man management. We know we will never be able to beat every team and you learn more from a defeat.

"Progression is the key and stability which this club has not had for a long time.

"The chairman and the board have been brilliant, they are nice people and want to take this club forward.

"Other teams and managers are now seeing us as a threat and serious contenders."

Fourth-placed Stags will be looking to keep their promotion push going when they face the tricky trip to York City on Boxing Day.

And if the game goes ahead Mansfield could be without Dufffy, Armstrong and Jake Speight through illness, though Mills and Silk may feature in the starting line-up after recovering from the sickness bug.

York are currently unbeaten at Bootham Crescent, having won nine of their 13 home games while Stags are looking for their seventh victory on the road of the campaign.


Snow may help York game survive 9am Boxing Day inspection
CHAD.co.uk, 22 December 2009, By John Lomas

AFTER Saturday's game at Wrexham was frozen off, Stags boss David Holdsworth is hoping the snow may help the Boxing Day game (3pm) at York survive.


And the enforced break will also help him get his injured and ill players fully fit.

"It was very frustrating to get all the way to Wrexham on Saturday for it to be off," he said.

"It was a sensible decision as it had no chance. But they have not had a game called off there for five and half years so it was just our luck.

"Now I am watching the weather forecast for York. It is ironic that it was York we played here when our fans were wonderful and cleared the snow off the pitch for us last season.

"I know North Yorkshire has had a lot of snow and that can help protect the pitch if it is left on as long as possible. We'll have to wait and see."

The York pitch is covered in snow at the moment and will be inspected by the referee at 9am on Boxing Day morning with Stags due to set off at 9.30am.

If there is a chance of it going ahead, York fans will be called upon, just like Stags fans in the corresponding fixture here last season,to bring in shovels and help clear the snow.

Holdsworth added: "Saturday's postponement at least gave the lads a couple of days away from each other as they have been training very hard.

"It will also help us clear up the injuries and illness and have a clean bill of health.

"Jake Speight is raring to go and Scott Gardner can return to training after having a scan on a knee he twisted."

After York Stags complete their Christmas games with the visit of Cambridge United on Monday (3pm).


Boss: Stags players face breath tests
Evening Post, December 22, 2009

DAVID Holdsworth has slapped a booze ban on his Mansfield Town players until the New Year – and will check they are complying with breath tests.


The no-nonsense Stags boss allowed the players to have a Christmas party after their weekend match with Wrexham was called off.
But now he is demanding strict professionalism leading up to Mansfield's important Boxing Day clash at fellow promotion hopefuls York City.
"It was good to give the boys a weekend off to get them some rest and allow those with illnesses to overcome them," said Holdsworth.
"But now the boys are training every day leading up to the York game, probably including Christmas Day.
"It's part of being a footballer and I don't think I had one year as a player when I didn't train on Christmas Day.
"As of yesterday, I have also imposed an alcohol ban for the Christmas period through to the New Year and, if needed, they will be breathalysed.
"It is only a little aspect, but an important one – and the good thing is the boys have bought into it.
"They have had their party and now it is down to business. They also know if they go about things the right way and get the right result at York, then I will give them the New Year off."
Holdsworth is delighted that Jake Speight is back in the reckoning following a knee injury.
The six-goal striker last played in the mid-November FA Cup first round replay defeat at home to Forest Green.
Holdsworth said: "Jake is ready and raring to go and he's available to start at York, which is a reward for him working his socks off.
"His levels of fitness have been maintained while he has been out and it's good to have him back because we have missed the impact he can make.
"He certainly comes into my thoughts for the Boxing Day match."


York City appeal for Boxing Day volunteers
Tuesday 22nd December 2009
By Dave Flett »

YORK City are calling for volunteers to help ensure the club's Boxing Day home clash with Mansfield Town goes ahead.


The Minstermen estimate that an army of 60 to 70 supporters will be needed to clear a potentially snow-covered pitch, with work starting from 8am in readiness for kick off seven hours later.

Depending on conditions, two inspections are due to be made on the surface at 9am and noon with club secretary Nick Bassett believing there is a “realistic chance” that the game will be played.

He said: “Having reviewed the situation with the match referee and taken the forecast into account, we have agreed to leave the covering of snow on the pitch until Saturday morning. The referee will be at the ground at 9am to take an early look at the pitch and stadium and, providing that the pitch appears playable underneath the snow and the stadium surrounds are safe, then we will clear the pitch in readiness for a final decision around lunchtime.

“However, we will need the help of our supporters in fairly large numbers. We are appealing to supporters to arrive at the ground as early as they can from 8am onwards to assist the groundstaff in clearing the pitch and terracing.

“We recommend warm clothing, hot flasks of tea, shovels and snow pushers and would estimate we need at least 60 to 70 fans to complete the task with time to spare. It would be a great way to burn off all the excesses of Christmas Day.”


Holdsworth on his first 12 months ---------->

Holdsworth's anniversary: 'We can't stop now'
Evening Post

FROM the moment David Holdsworth strode purposefully up to the press box for the first time, it was clear the newly-appointed Mansfield Town manager meant business.


The former Ilkeston boss was at Field Mill to be unveiled to Stags fans ahead of the team's game against Burton Albion.
With the ink on the contract barely dry, Holdsworth set out what needed to be done to turn around a moribund club.
He made it clear there would be hard times. There was a need to for wholesale restructuring. There would be a lot of hard graft.
He also made it a priority to cut out the dead wood on the playing side and bring in players he felt better equipped for life in Blue Square Premier football.
A couple of hours or so after his chat and it became abundantly clear just what the former Sheffield United man was talking about as he watched his new charges outplayed by the eventual champions.
Since then, though, Holdsworth has dedicated himself to narrowing what was, at the time, a yawning gap – a chasm even between that side and the one required to win promotion.
While other managers may have taken a break here and there, the 41-year's dedication has been beyond question.
Whether it be a Wednesday night reserve game to check out a player, or a long night back in his office, Holdsworth has always been there to lead by example.
And his labours are now beginning to bear fruit.
Twelve months on and the Stags have been transformed from a team scrambling to avoid the drop to one that has a genuine chance of returning to the promised land of the Football League.
It is a journey the Londoner has relished, but one he is adamant must continue apace.
"I think it's been a really good year and thoroughly enjoyable," said Holdsworth. "First impressions can be telling and my first impressions of Andy Perry, Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton were that they were very honest – and they have been throughout.
"There is a very good working relationship between manager and board. I was under no illusions that his would be a very hard job to take on.
"There was a challenge of changing the negativity surrounding the club but I have tried to grasp it with both hands. There has been a lot of soul-searching, because we all want the same things.
"First and foremost it has been important to lay the foundations, which has meant changing the structure of the club right down to the academy.
"But I'm also delighted with the quality of personnel that we now have here and that will only benefit the club.
"There has been the need to introduce a tougher training schedule and also to make sure the fitness levels are up to the standards required."
Of course, pivotal to Holdsworth's success has been the turnover of the club's playing staff.
With the departure of former skipper Jonanthan D'Laryea to Northwich Victoria in November, just Gary Silk and Matt Somner remain from the squad he inherited.
Holdsworth said: "It was a case of needing to build from the back. Whatever job I've had, I've always believed you need to start at the back and with a goalkeeper.
"Signing Alan Marriott was significant and bringing in young players with quality like Louis Briscoe and Scott Garner was also important. That was the start of trying to bring in more capable players and also players of greater strength. Before that the club was virtually looking at a relegation battle.
"I think convincing Alan Marriott to come to us was certainly a key moment. With all due respect to the other players, he was the first part in the jigsaw and has been fantastic."
Like any club, Mansfield have had their highs and lows in the last year.
Thankfully for the Field Mill faithful, though, there have been more positives than negatives.
"It is difficult to pick out individual games that have been the best because I enjoy them all – apart from the ones I lose," said Holdsworth.
"I think the opening day of this season was a good one for us. To go up against a side like Crawley, who have a recognised manager in Steve Evans and to win 4-0, was a great start.
"It showed people that all the wheeling and dealing I had done in the summer paid off.
"The Stevenage game on the last day of last season was also very satisfying. The performance was outstanding and we scored two wonderful goals. It was a tremendous team performance against the league's form team.
"Wrexham and Kidderminster away are ones where we didn't turn up, but that can happen.
"There are a lot of managers that seem to say every week that things are going wrong and things are not right at their club. But I am not thinking that. I am thinking the club is in a good position to move forward."
Mansfield are fourth in the Blue Square Premier table going into the New Year and are well placed to claim a play-off spot.
But Holdsworth says patience is imperative, particularly if things don't go right in the second half of the season.
He said: "If you look at other clubs, it can take a long time. It took Nigel Clough ten years to get Burton into the League and it also took Hereford a long time. Cambridge are still in non-league, along with Oxford and Wrexham, who were big league clubs. But nothing in football is a given. They are all trying to get out this division as well as us."
At the forefront of Holdsworth's thoughts has been the need to keep Mansfield on an even keel financially. He knows the importance of the club not over-stretching beyond its means in the quest for success.
"The most important thing is to manage the books correctly and the board and myself know where we are with that," said Holdsworth.
"We haven't got the luxury that some other clubs have in terms of money but we have got a lot of other things going for us.
"We don't have a sheikh behind us, but whatever happens between now and the end of the season, we know we won't be in financial difficulties.
"I don't want to give the club those problems, not for the chairman or the fans because it is their club ultimately."
His players have been pushed hard, but Holdsworth has also demanded much of his staff.
He said: "I do push people hard – and I recognise that. I sometimes have to put a limit on what I ask of people.
"I have got a tremendous staff and first team coach in Gareth Holmes.
"He is a young man who is still learning but he is very good with the players and has helped create a very strong dressing room spirit.
" I have learned a lot about myself and about Mansfield Town, as well as the league we are in. I feel I keep my cards close to my chest. I'm not necessarily one to shout and scream all the time. I'm trying to work in a pragmatic way and the fans have been tremendous."
Although Mansfield have endured recent disappointments in the cup, losing in the FA Cup to Forest Green and FA Trophy to Tamworth, Holdsworth is nevertheless thrilled with the club's progress.
"I'm delighted with where we are, even though I have got high expectations. I am more than pleased with what we have done so far," he said.
"I think what we are doing is being recognised when we speak to other managers, who compliment us and when you speak to other players, they want to come to work for us.
"The word on the street now is that Mansfield are doing things professionally and any manager worth his salt will make sure it stays that way."
But Holdsworth has studied his history and knows the holy grail is helping the Stags regain their place back in the nation's elite 92.
But for the moment, he is just pleased to get Mansfield back on the right track and to restore the feel-good factor.
Holdsworth said: "The yardstick of expectation, and rightly so, is always to get back in the Football League. But there are probably six or seven in front of us in this league in terms of money. But we have got a good combination of people here and we are moving in the right direction.
"Whether we are promoted or not this season, we can look back on this past year and say the club has made great strides. I am proud to have been here for that year and hopefully we can continue to take more strides forward."
Mansfield fans everywhere this New Year will drink to that.



Latest | December 2009