On-the-go Marriott happy for Stags breather
Nottingham Post, Saturday, January 14, 2012
WHETHER at the training ground, home or college, there's just no let-up for Mansfield Town's Alan Marriott.
While his team-mates have enjoyed a couple of days off with no competitive fixture at the weekend, the former Lincoln City player has not stopped.
As well as looking after the youngest of his two sons, the 33-year-old has also been doing his best to solve series and parallel circuit equations on his electrician's course.
Still, Marriott has been thankful for a breather from action after being an ever-present so far in 2011-12.
And he feels that it can only benefit the squad to take five before they embark on a steady stream of 19 games between now and April 28, when the league season concludes at Kidderminster.
"It's not been that hectic at Christmas, certainly compared to some we have had in the past," said Marriott. "Having said that, the manager is looking to organise a few games, so that is keeping people fit.
"Personally, the days off we have had have been quite nice to spend with the family. It gives us a chance to freshen up for what is to come in the rest of the season.
"We could still have a period where the grounds get very heavy, so I'm sure there will be a few players grateful to take this break while they can.
"As a group of players we have sat down and analysed the games and put what results we think we will get between now and the end of the season.
"Everyone has come out positively and if we stick to what most of us have predicted for ourselves, we won't be too far away.
"The top two are probably going to fight it out for the title but beyond that, the play-offs are up for grabs.
"If you can sneak into the play-offs, in my experience, anything can happen."
Marriott, Mansfield's longest-serving player by virtue of signing just a couple of days before Louis Briscoe, feels things have changed for the better over the past 12 months.
The Stags will not be repeating their appearance in the FA Trophy final at Wembley this May - having been knocked out by Droylsden before Christmas. But he is adamant they are better placed to push on strongly in the league.
He said: "The squad was a bit unstable when David Holdsworth left and there was a bit of back-biting from some of the players in the squad for whatever reason around the time Duncan Russell took over.
"But this season I don't think we are in a bad position. Even though we are seven points off the play-offs there is still a long way to go.
"There is always one team that comes on strong in the second half of the season and you can move up, as Grimsby are showing.
"If we can look as strong, then we just might sneak in under the radar but we need to be more consistent to do that.
"Other people may think we will coast through the rest of the season before we go on our holidays but there is no way we have given up yet.
"We still have a massive amount of points to play for."
In preparation for what is to come, Mansfield have already added Matt Green on a permanent deal following his loan spell, Ben Hutchinson and Gary Roberts.
Marriott says former Port Vale midfielder Roberts has been a breath of fresh air.
"The new lads seem to have settled in well. Robbo is a bit of a lively character - but a lot of people knew that before he joined," he said.
"He's got a lot of ability to offer and I think the manager is relishing man-managing him.
"It was the same when we brought Ben Futcher in on loan. You can sometimes sit there in silence after a game but with individuals like them they want to put their point across, which is good.
"Everyone knows if words are said in the dressing room it's not personal.
"We have definitely got strength in depth in the squad now. If you look at the midfield it shows you that when players with the experience of Paul Bolland and Jon Worthington cannot even get on the bench at the moment."
Mansfield recorded only their second victory in 13 games last weekend with a tense 1-0 success over Forest Green and Marriott is convinced the Stags had the rub of the green where they have not enjoyed it in the past.
He said: "It was probably not one of our best performances.
"I'm pretty sure their manager was frustrated they didn't get anything because they probably had the best chances.
"But we had that against York, certainly in the away game, where we knew we should have beaten them.
"Luckily enough we got the three points this time."
Having won only six of their 14 games in front of their own fans this season, Marriott insists that is something that needs to improve.
"It's massive to start winning more games at home and hopefully we have turned over a new leaf," he said.
"If you can win three out of every five games over the course of the season then it puts you right up there.
"It is the draws that kill you and have been killing us.
"I think being an ex-league club, teams can come to Mansfield and set up quite defensive, which can make it hard.
"Over the first couple of years I was here we tended to win or lose - there was not much in between.
"We have gone from that to this season where we seem to be drawing every week. I'm sure a few punters are starting to back us for the draw!"
On a personal level, Marriott is hoping to improve the number of shut-outs in the games remaining.
So far the keeper has managed only seven in 30 games, including the cup competitions.
He said: "It's been a weird season because I haven't always had that much to do in games but the goals have still gone in.
"There have been deflections or mistakes that have resulted in goals.
"Not to get clean sheets as a keeper is always frustrating.
"Looking forward to the rest of the season I have to be aiming to make at least a third of the game clean sheets, or maybe even half.
"That will be a big ask, but if you don't push yourself, you will never improve."
Marriott backs Thompson in Stags injury fight
Nottingham Post, Monday, January 16, 2012
ALAN Marriott today backed Mansfield Town team-mate John Thompson to come out of his injury nightmare a stronger character.
The central defender has made only a handful of appearances at Field Mill since joining in the summer.
First the Irishman was put out of the start of the season by a challenge from Ilkeston's Gary Ricketts that left him requiring facial surgery.
And then, after only a few games back either side of Christmas, Thompson faced another spell on the sidelines after feeling pain in his neck, shoulder and arm.
The good news is that the player has now been given the go-ahead to start his comeback and is attending a rehab course at Lilleshall this week.
Marriott went through a similar injury torment last season, spending around six months on the sidelines as experts struggled to diagnose a problem with his hip alignment.
The former Lincoln and Rushden shot stopper knows from that experience that patience is the key.
"It is awful what has happened to Thommo, especially as the club had such high hopes of him playing a key part from the start of this season," said Marriott.
"I have seen how downbeat it can make you from what happened to me last season and how hard it is to stick with it.
"The shame for John is that he had just come in and started to perform well. He came back in for the Telford game and had started to form a bit of a partnership.
"He has a lot of experience and a great calibre and it is a pity we have not seen more.
"When you are up at the crack of dawn and in before the other players to get treatment and then in the gym on your own, you start to wonder if your comeback is progressing.
"But you just have to stay patient and I'm sure it will come right for him in the end.
"He still has another year at the club after this and there is the rest of the season as well and knowing Thommo as I do he will be keen to get back as soon as possible."
Out-of-contract players keen to prove worth – Marriott
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, January 17, 2012
THE fight to secure a professional future – not just the battle for a play-off place – will drive Mansfield Town's players on during the final third of the season.
That's the view of goalkeeper Alan Marriott, who is just one of a raft of players who will be out on contract at Field Mill in the summer.
The 33-year-old shot-stopper is part of the current team bidding to make up a seven-point gap to the Blue Square Premier's top five.
Marriott feels that gap can still be bridged with a lengthy unbeaten run.
But even if it becomes apparent Mansfield are not going to achieve their goal later in the campaign, he insists the majority of player's won't be taking their foot off the pedal.
"A lot are playing for their futures, especially when they haven't got the luxury of being paid through the summer like at league clubs," said Marriott.
"For a lot of people it is make or break, especially when they are trying to put food on their table for their families.
"This is the time of the season that you have to show you deserve a new deal, which is a big incentive to do well.
"A lot of footballers are on the dole at the end of the season now – it's becoming harder and harder to stay in the game."
Latest | January 2012