KIDDERMINSTER PREVIEWS/MICKY MOORE,ONEILL,LEESTEVO
video interview Micky Moore
video interview Luke O'Neill and Lee Stevenson
Match preview Vs Mansfield Town
Date: 28-04-12 Venue: Aggborough Kick off: 13:00hrs
Can I just start by thanking Steve Burr and all those lads that have played for us over the season just coming to it's climax. I think most fans never thought for one moment that by 3.00pm tomorrow we could well find ourselves in the play-off places after going through such a torrid time at the start of 2011 with our money, directorship and points deductions problems that looked likely to see the club fold.
It's only the hard work of the fans and players alike that we now stand on the threshold of greater things.
At the beginning of March all this seemed so far away with the team going on a really bad run of results but in recent weeks they've picked themselves up by the bootstraps to, up until last Saturday at Luton, go on a seven game unbeaten run that has catapulted us back into contention once more.
We now need to get back quickly into winning mode and make sure we gain all three points against our visitors, Mansfield Town, tomorrow. What Luton do at Fleetwood is beyond our control and if they win or draw then our season is over but, fair play to Luton, their place in the play-offs will have been nothing more than they deserve too after missing out so many times in recent seasons.
If we do make the cut then we'll have a possible three more games to look forward too with the first of those coming next Thursday at home to second placed Wrexham. But let's not jump the gun, first we have to beat Mansfield.
We could be doing that without our leading scorer Nick Wright after he was given some bruising attention at Kenilworth Rd and also Kyle Storer following training earlier this week when he pulled up with a twitchy hamstring. Hopefully they'll both be ok for the game but it'll be touch and go.
Steve Burr is hoping that Jack Byrne will have recovered from his hamstring injury from a few weeks ago to replace Storer if he cannot make it. We should have plenty of options to replace Wright up front in Steve Guinan and Ryan Rowe while Callum Gittings could be a shoe in if Wright was to have been played out wide.
Mansfield will be coming here on the back of a remarkable resurgence of form that in the weeks since the turn of the year has seen them lose just twice in twenty games. Those defeats both came away from home at Newport and Fleetwood so at least we can be sure that their away form is inferior to their home form.
They could be without the former Harriers midfielder Adam Murray. He's been battling through a long standing ankle problem all season that will be sorted by an operation once the season is over for them. He shouldn't have to wait too long then.
Two other Harriers play for them too. Martin Riley signed for them from Cheltenham during the close season and, at first, he struggled to make headway in the side due to a loss of form and injuries but since the start of the year, coinciding with their winning run, he has been ever present and could be a major factor in their rise up the table.
Danny Andrew, right, is the other former Red at Mansfield but he's only been there on loan from Cheltenham since the end of March. Strangely he's only played from the bench for them but his arrival at Field Mill has coincided with a run of bad results at Cheltenham that could see them dropping out of the League 2 play-off places before the end of their season.
The game itself will be starting at 1.00pm (as you can see above) and it should be a fitting climax to our season if we fail to win. If we do win then that'll be brilliant because it's what we all want at the end of the day. The Harriers going on to better and better things once more
No let-up at Kidderminster, insists Stags' defender O'Neill
chad.co.uk, Thursday 26 April 2012
LUKE O'Neill insisted there would be no let-up for Stags in their final league game at Kidderminster on Saturday (1pm), despite the crucial first leg of the semi-final play-off being just four days later.
“Of course we have one eye on Wednesday but we will still give 100 per cent on Saturday,” said the full back.
“Our win against Wrexham on Friday was one of our best games of the season. We put it in then and I am sure we will put it in on Saturday as well. We want to go into it on the back of a win and raring to go.
“Beating Wrexham has given us a good boost going into the play-offs. Whoever we play, we will go into it and give it our all.
“The atmosphere in the camp is immense and I am enjoying it. With the spirit here, we can definitely go all the way to the final.”
Assistant manager Mickey Moore added: “Our build-up to the Wrexham game was the same as normal and that will be the same for Kidderminster too.
“Kidderminster's season now comes down to Saturday's game.
“Luton had their opportunity on Tuesday but failed to beat Gateshead and now need to go to Fleetwood and get a draw.
“So it's still in their hands. But Kidderminster will feel they have a chance if they do their part of it. Anything can happen.
“Whoever it will be, it will be, that we play in the semis. We've been on a fantastic run and want to go into the play-offs with momentum. None of them will fancy playing us.”
he added: “The play-offs are going to be very tight and everyone is going to fancy their chances.
“Wrexham bounced back and won against Newport on Tuesday, York's results in the last two or three weeks since they beat Luton and got to the Trophy final have seen them on a run.
“Kidderminster have won five of their last six games. Meanwhile Paul Buckle has gone in at Luton and they have kept four clean sheets.
“Let's get over Kidderminster and then anything can happen in the next two games.”
Stags' forgotten man Stevenson stakes his play-offs claim
chad.co.uk, Thursday 26 April 2012
LEE Stevenson is hoping his performance in Friday's 2-0 win against Wrexham has pushed his claim to be a full part of Mansfield Town's adventure.
The midfielder's signing was hailed as an exciting one last summer after his three years of fantastic goalscoring exploits a division below at Eastwood.
However, his chances have been limited this season, so he was relieved to get a start last weekend.
Stevenson said: “I enjoyed the game. I have bided my time and hopefully did myself justice and can keep my place in the starting XI. Really I needed that performance five months ago.
“I'd die for a goal at the minute. I did score on Friday but they gave me offside so I was very unlucky.
“Hopefully I can stay in the squad on Saturday and nick a goal to make the gaffer sit up and notice. I want to finally show people what I can do.
“It's been a frustrating season and I do feel a bit hard done to. It does make it a bit harder to swallow as I know the gaffer so well. But I can't complain. I was in the team in September that lost at Droylsden and since then they have done magnificently.
“I know I have just got to work hard in training, not just for the team but for myself. If the chance comes I have go to be ready physically and mentally to take my chance.”
He added: “The games ahead are absolutely enormous.
“Last Friday's attendance was almost touching 4,000. Not many in League Two could get that. This club deserves to be in League Two and I hope we can do the fans and the people of Mansfield proud.”
video interview with Paul Cox, Tuesday 24 April 2012
Stags boss Paul Cox may spring a surprise
Friday, April 27, 2012 Nottingham Post
PAUL Cox believes there could be a surprise package emerge from the Mansfield Town pack to play a leading role in the play-offs.
The Stags manager rested 29-goal top scorer Matt Green and star midfielder Gary Roberts in the 2-0 win against Wrexham last Friday.
It paved the way for Lee Stevenson to come in from the wilderness and impress, while other changes might see the likes of left-back Danny Andrew and striker Matt Rhead start at Kidderminster tomorrow.
And Cox said it is not too late for somebody to play their way into his thoughts for Wednesday night's semi-final first leg against either York City or Luton Town.
The Mansfield manager said: "We have some very good players who have not had a good run out and I thought Stevenson came in against Wrexham and was excellent and Dyer, down the middle of the front three was a different level.
"So if anybody is looking to rest on their laurels, they do so at their peril."
Paul Cox tells Stags a win over Kidderminster would be best preparation for play-offs
Friday, April 27, 2012, Nottingham Post
BY his own admission, Mansfield Town's achievements this season have surpassed many people's expectations.
Manager Paul Cox only arrived last summer, after success lower down the non-league ladder at Eastwood Town, and had to build his own squad.
But the success he had in taking the Badgers through the leagues into the Blue Square Bet North has followed him to north Nottinghamshire.
Stepping up a level to the Premier, he has led the Stags to third and a shot at a return to the Football League via the play-offs.
Success for Cox, however, would have been finishing as number one. Top of the pile.
So to finish third – while a great achievement – Cox feels success this season will be determined by whether they can win promotion via Wembley.
First, before the first leg of the play-off semi-final away at Luton Town or York City on Wednesday night, is a trip to Kidderminster tomorrow, to finish their regular season.
And he knows victory would see them end the campaign on 89 points, something the club can be proud of.
"Hearing what has been said, this season has probably exceeded people's expectations in and around the club and I take that as a positive," he said.
"We want to keep raising the bar and it will be a nice feeling if we can get to 89 points. If we finished on 86 or 87, the season has still far outweighed what anybody was expecting but we have to work hard tomorrow to make it 89 points.
"There are a lot of options tomorrow and a lot I have to consider. I do not want to lie to anybody; our main focus is going to be on Wednesday night. But you can take your eye off the ball if you rest too many players and then go into the play-off game in a half-hearted manner because the players would not have had that match mind-set, that mentality and the physicality (a few days earlier).
"We do not want to go stupid, we have to give the fixture the respect it deserves and go to win it. We could have made wholesale changes against Wrexham, but we didn't.
"We rested one or two that needed it and we will do that tomorrow.
"Football is a business in which you want to win and I would be going against all my principles and ethics if I put out a side that is just going to go through the motions. We want to make sure we finish the season well. We are taking a lot of supporters, from what I can gather, and we want to make sure we finish well for them."
The Stags beat second-placed Wrexham 2-0 last Friday to make it 11 wins and one draw from their last 13 games. The only points dropped have been in defeat and a draw to champions Fleetwood during that time.
It has delighted Cox but he also accepts it will all count for nothing should the Stags not show the same form and ruthlessness in the play-offs.
"It is testament to the players, their hunger and desire, for the run we have been on," he said. "That has been the same all season because you look at the table and we have only lost seven games. We are the second highest scorers in the league and they keep writing their own story and I want it to finish on a high.
"But before we can start and think about that, we have to make sure we prepare right. It is my job to make sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground, not just the players but the whole club in general.
"You can get carried away with certain scenarios and we want to make sure we go into tomorrow as well as Wednesday with the right mind-set.
"What you have done for 46 games will count for nothing. It does not matter what run you have been on. It is a maximum of three games in the play-offs and if you do not perform, you won't win it.
"We have to show the right mind-set and if we are mentally switched on and prepared, we will be a match for anybody.
"When they are in the mood and everything is right, we are a decent outfit.
"When we start thinking beyond that, that is when we are not very good so we have to go into it with the right mind-set. If we win, brilliant, if we lose, somebody is going to have to work very hard to beat us. We have a one in four chance – that's good odds."
Stags boss Cox: Let's enjoy the play-offs, not be fearful
Thursday, April 26, 2012, Nottingham Post
PAUL Cox says he is loving every second of trying to engineer a successful play-off campaign to get Mansfield Town back into the Football League.
The Stags manager has led his side to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier and they travel to Kidderminster on Saturday in their final fixture.
They play the first leg of their play-off semi-final away at either Luton Town or York City next Wednesday.
Cox, who took over at Mansfield last summer, has enjoyed play-off success when in charge at Eastwood Town.
And he said: "I just enjoy this stage of the season. This is the business end where if you can't get excited about the up-coming games, you shouldn't be in football.
"There are some players in the game who don't like it. I can't understand sometimes the anxiety of some players and managers.
"This is not pressure, this is fun. It is what we do it for and if you can't have a smile for these games and enjoy them, you shouldn't be in football.
"There is a fine line between success and failure but it will be interesting. All we can do is keep working hard but we want to enjoy it and embrace it.
"This is what we started the season for, this is what we aimed to do so we do not want to fear it and be anxious."
Tickets for Mansfield's play-off semi-final second leg tie against either York City or Luton Town at One Call Stadium on Monday, May 7 (2pm), are now on sale
Mansfield Town skipper Adam Murray looking at the bigger picture
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town skipper Adam Murray will take it on the chin if manager Paul Cox decides to rest him for the final game of the campaign against Kidderminster.
The 30-year-old has been battling through the pain because of a long-standing ankle problem, which will be sorted by an operation this summer.
Murray was left out for the game against Hayes and Yeading but returned for the 2-0 victory against Wrexham last Friday.
Now, Cox will have a decision to make as to whether he plays the talismanic midfielder in the final fixture of the season or saves him for the play-offs, which kick off with the semi-final first leg next Wednesday.
Murray said: "It is all about getting through the games now and then having the operation in the summer.
"I want to play every game but I know that when the gaffer has left me out, I would have been doing a disservice to the team and myself had I played.
"You have to take it on the chin and look at the bigger picture."
Murray has been having painkilling injections before matches to help ease the pain.
"The toughest part of it is the training because you have not got that adrenalin rush of going out and playing the game," he said.
"That plays a big part and to some degree masks the pain but it is about the bigger picture and luckily we have a squad that can all do a job."
Murray has been happy with his game this season, admitting he was not fit when he first arrived back in north Nottinghamshire, midway through last season.
He has been a leading figure, despite the additions of the experienced Jon Worthington and Paul Bolland last summer, the latter who has since left after failing to make an impact.
Murray said: "I am always confident in my ability and sometimes you need things like that to happen to push you on.
"People know what I am about, what they are going to get and I like a challenge.
"I get on well with the manager. We both sang off the same sheet from when I met him in the summer and we want the same kind of things."
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