MEIKLE KEEN/ONEILL/STAGS BEAT EASTWOOD IN FRIENDLY
Midfielder Meikle keen to stay at Stags
Nottingham Post, Thursday, January 12, 2012
LINDON Meikle is the latest Mansfield Town player eager to pledge his future to the club for next season.
The Stags have already moved to secure regular first-teamers Matt Green and Adam Murray on deals until the end of 2012-13.
Others, such as goalkeeper Alan Marriott, have stated their desire to stay in manager Paul Cox's long-term plans at Field Mill.
Having played in the majority of games for Mansfield this term following a summer move from part-time Eastwood, winger Meikle is prepared commit too – if the club want him.
"I'm hoping at some point I will get a phone call from the manager because I am on a year's option," he said.
"I would love for him to ask me to come in and sort out a new deal. I've been delighted with how it's gone in my first season playing full-time.
"But I'm not thinking about that too much. I'm just concentrating on doing well and then hopefully that will look after itself."
Meikle is pleased 16-goal top scorer Green has moved from Oxford to Mansfield after initially joining on loan.
He said: "It's encouraging to see Matt Green brought into the squad permanently. Now he's settled he's seems to be back to his old self.
"That's bound to happen because it boosts your confidence and improves your focus when your future is sorted."
Mansfield were 3-0 winners in a friendly with Eastwood on Tuesday
Cox eyes more targets for Stags
Nottingham Post, Wednesday, January 11, 2012
PAUL Cox is determined to follow up his early January transfer window business at Mansfield Town by securing more key targets before the month is out.
The Stags boss began the year by snapping up 16-goal top scorer Matt Green following a loan spell from Oxford United.
He has also signed former Port Vale man Gary Roberts and Ben Hutchinson, from Kilmarnock.
"I have known for a while what I need. I have to be ruthless with the squad because we are ninth for certain reasons," said Cox.
"There are two players I have brought in who can play significant parts. But if we are to be realistic contenders then we need at least two or three others.
"I'm not trying to say the squad is not good enough, but we need that x-factor. We need a few more ingredients.
"Even if we were sat in the top three then I would still be thinking we can't rest on our laurels. You have to keep strengthening.
"It's about getting on the road, checking out players and making the phone calls.
"I've highlighted at least two and missed out on a third a couple of times.
"It's in all three areas I'm looking (defence, midfield and attack) with different types of player than we have now."
Stags' O'Neill ready to push on after stint on sidelines
Nottingham Post, Friday, January 13, 2012
THERE can't be a professional footballer who enjoys being left out of the team – and when it happened to Mansfield Town's Luke O'Neill in the lead up to Christmas, it came as something of a shock.
Having been assisted in winning a place in the Stags starting line-up for the start of the season by injury to Ritchie Sutton, the 20-year-old took advantage with a string of impressive performances.
With his solid defensive work and ability to join the attack, whipping in dangerous crosses from the flank, right-back O'Neill quickly established himself as a fans' favourite.
In fact, such was the speed at which he adapted to life in the Blue Square Bet Premier following a summer switch from Leicester City – helped, no doubt, by a loan spell at Kettering last season – he was an early contender for player of the year.
O'Neill was flying and showing exactly why Sven-Goran Eriksson was reputedly at pains to let him leave the Foxes for the Stags.
But with three goals under his belt and several man-of-the- match performances to his name, the Slough-born player was suddenly dropped.
At first glance, it seemed that might be simply as a result of a disappointing display in the Stags' 1-1 away draw with Bath City on November 26.
But after he sat on the bench for the league games with Gateshead, Braintree and Grimsby before coming on in the latter stages of the 2-1 FA Trophy exit at Droylsden, Cox revealed the move had been because O'Neill had not been performing to his previous high standards for a while.
Suitably stung, the youngster has come back strongly since being restored to the team for the 3-1 defeat at Southport.
A string of consistent performances have confirmed O'Neill has rediscovered any lost hunger and drive.
And, looking back now, he agrees that Cox's decision to omit him was undeniably wise – even if it was so baffling and frustrating at the time.
"I was starting to get a bit leggy and that's when I was rested," said O'Neill.
"At first I was not happy about being left out, but I had a word with the gaffer and he reassured me that he was resting me, not dropping me.
"It has benefited me, no doubt, and I think I did need the rest.
"But now I am back in and I feel comfortable. I've had a rest, I feel refreshed and I'm ready to push on."
This season is O'Neill's first in senior professional football where he has experienced the relentlessness of playing right through an English season.
The player feels he has coped well with that arduous workload, as well as the change in surroundings that was inevitable when trading a Championship club for one in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
O'Neill said: "I'm pleased with how the season has gone so far and it hasn't been all that much different to Leicester really.
"Obviously the facilities are not on the same scale as Leicester, where they are a different class, but I'm enjoying it more at Mansfield because I am playing week in, week out.
"I certainly have no regrets. I'm happy."
Naturally for one so young, O'Neill still has a burning ambition to play in the higher reaches of the Football League.
But he knows he has to continue to produce the goods for Mansfield first if he is to achieve that long-term goal.
"I want to play as high as I can, but the first thing I want to do is a good job at Mansfield and try to get them promoted back into the Football League," said O'Neill.
"There is a good chairman here and if the gaffer needs to bring in new players he will.
"But I think the players we have got here now are good enough to get the club into League Two."
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