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Archived News from March 2017

19th March 2017 21:58

Quality will break goal duck - Raynor
mansfieldtown.net, 16th March 2017

Assistant manager Paul Raynor is confident that the Stags have the quality to end their four-game goal drought but suggested they made need some to good fortune in order to do so.

Stags have been unable to convert one of more than 25 good chances in their last four games, despite dominating large periods of each match.

And Raynor, 50, says the Stags will continue to work hard on the training ground to ensure the goals begin to flow once more.

“It’s unprecedented really. They’re not half-chances either; they’re full chances, they’re good chances, they’re at crucial times in the game and we can’t put our finger on it (why the chances aren't being converted)," Raynor said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/quality-will-break-goal-duck-raynor-3629135.aspx#j0eeBRbapOmqJhoZ.99

“We’ve tried different things; we’ve worked on it in training as you can imagine. We’ve done shooting drills, finishing drills - you name it, we’ve done it!

“It’s just a period that we’re going through at the moment and speaking to our chief scout (Stuart Gray) yesterday, it might just be that we need something to fly in off somebody’s backside or an own goal or something silly and [our luck] turns.

“It will come. We have got players and strikers that can score goals, that’s in no doubt whatsoever. It’s about shuffling the pack and finding the right options in the attacking areas.”

Stags welcome Carlisle United to One Call Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off) and manager Steve Evans’ right-hand man is fully aware of the threats which the Cumbrians will pose.

“We can’t disrespect Carlisle; they’ve got a good manager who will certainly be up for coming to his former club [and] they’ve got some good players.

“They had a good result on Tuesday night - we watched the footage of that yesterday and they played some cracking stuff and were probably unfortunate not to come away with a victory.

“They’ve got a number of attacking threats, so they’re a good all-round team. They play good football, they like to get it down and play, so we’re aware of that.

“We’ve had a good look at them; we’ve played them a couple of times already away from home, so it’s got the makings of a great game of football in League Two.”

Former Preston North End striker Raynor says Saturday’s match presents Stags with an opportunity to ‘get back on track’ and reignite their play-off charge.

“We’re under no illusions; it’s going to be a tough game but what a good game to get back on track, get three points and get right back amongst it.

“In recent weeks, [the results] have gone our way a little bit. We’ve gone back in the dressing room and we’ve still been sitting in eighth and only a couple of points off it but you can’t keep not winning and expect everybody else to do you a favour.

“We’re certainly not giving up on it at all, we’re in with a shout.

“We’ve accumulated the points that leaves us in with a chance but we’ve certainly got to start winning some football matches and getting right in and amongst it towards the end of the season.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to watch Paul Raynor’s news conference, in full.


Boss Evans tries to lift Stags players’ spirits
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 March 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans’ first job of the day this morning was to lift his players’ spirits after a second heartbreaking defeat in the space of four days.

Evans missed his usual press conference to hold a meeting with his squad, who have seen some outstanding football and a wealth of chances created go nowhere as they lost 2-0 at home to Plymouth and 2-0 away at Colchester on Tuesday.

The players had yesterday off and assistant manager Paul Raynor said this morning: “The gaffer is in there now having a little chat with them and a little meeting and geeing a few of them up.

“Their heads were down a little bit on Tuesday night - understandably. It’s hard to take with that level of performance and once again coming away with nothing.

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/boss-evans-tries-to-lift-stags-players-spirits-1-8442507

“He is in there cajoling a few and putting a few more smiles on faces as they really care. “They’re a good bunch. They are working incredibly hard and we’re not really getting the benefits of that.” Mansfield’s task of making the play-offs has been made tougher by four games without a win or a goal.

Stags have played superbly for much of that time, but still the goals have eluded them and, on the 375-minute goal drought, Raynor said: “If we could put our finger on it we’d have addressed it three or four weeks ago.

“It is unprecedented really. They’re not half chances either, they are full chances. They are good chances and they are at crucial times in the game.

“We’ve tried different things, worked on different things in training as you can imagine. We’ve done shooting drills, we’ve done finishing drills. You name it we’ve done it.

“It’s just a period we’re going through at the moment. “It may just be we need one to fly in off somebody’s backside or an own goal or something silly and it turns.

“We went through a period when everything we hit went in. “Ben Whiteman had a period when he couldn’t stop scoring. Unfortunately the chances are still coming for Ben but he’s not tucking them away at the moment.

“Our strikers were chipping in as well. At the moment it’s not quite dropping or falling for us. But we will keep working hard and hopefully it will turn.”

Raynor was a striker himself back in his own playing days, but smiled: “I think my goal drought continued throughout my career to be fair.

“That was something I struggled with, that’s why I ended up getting deeper and deeper. I was never a prolific striker.”

He has no doubt the tide will turn. “It will come. We have got players and strikers that can score goals. That’s not in doubt whatsover. It’s about shuffling the pack and finding the right options in attacking areas.

“We’ve played with the one up in the last couple of games, we’ve played with two up and won games as well. So we’ll have a good look at it, shuffle the pack and see where we are at.

“We will look at different systems and see which is best suited to get three points against Carlisle on Saturday.”


Rivals aiming to halt goal droughts on Saturday
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 March 2017

Promotion rivals Mansfield Town and Carlisle United go head to head at One Call Stadium on Saturday both hoping to end lengthy goal droughts and get their bids back on track.

The Stags have not scored in their last four games and the Cumbrians are without a goal in five, but Mansfield’s assistant boss Paul Raynor is reading nothing into Carlisle’s recent form, saying: “That goes out the window on Saturday.

“They are a good side and they’ve got some good attacking players. Teams do go through this little run. We had a period where everything we touched turned to gold. It happens like that.

“We can’t disrespect Carlisle. They’ve got some good players and they had a good result on Tuesday night.”

The Cumbrians were held to a 0-0 home draw by promotion rivals Luton Town, but Raynor said: “We watched the footage of that yesterday and they played some cracking stuff and were probably unfortunate not to come away with a victory.

“So they’ll come here with a bit of confidence.

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/rivals-aiming-to-halt-goal-droughts-on-saturday-1-8442588

“They are up there challenging as well. So let’s forget about these no goals records. It will be an entertaining game with two good teams trying to play good football.”

The game marks another return to his old club for former Stags boss Keith Curle.

“They’ve got a good manager and he will certainly be up for coming to his former club,” said Raynor.

“He was a very good coach before that at Sheffield United. We know Keith very well. He knows this division very well.

“We are under no illusions - it’s going to be a tough game, but what a good game to get back on track, get three points, and get right back in amongst it.”

Carlisle have struggled for goals since the departure of top scorer Charlie Wyke to Bradford City in January.

But Raynor said: “They still have good threats in attacking areas. “We know Nicky Adams well from our time at Rotherham. He is a good player. “Reggie Lambe is obviously well known to the Mansfield fans, and they have brought the boy (George) Waring in as well. So they’ve got a number of threats - Jamie Proctor as well who has done very well in this division over a number of years.

“They are a good all-round team. They play good football - they like to get it down and play. It has the makings of a great game of football in League Two.”

The four winless games without a goal have seen Stags slide to 10th, five points off the pace, with only nine games to go.

But Raynor said: “We are certainly not giving up on it at all. We are in there with a shout.

“We are frustrated and disappointed at the results, but not the performances.” However, he insisted Saturday was not a must-win fixture.

“We’d like to win it - it’s an important game,” he said.

“But I don’t think it’s a must-win game as we’ll still be in with a chance if it didn’t go right for us. But we have got to start accumulating some points.

“We can’t keep saying great performance, but no points. “I don’t think the fans would appreciate it, but we’d take a scrappy 1-0 victory now.

“We need to get back in touch with the top seven and, if we do, we fancy ourselves against anybody.”

After recent disappointing results the Stags came back in to find other results had gone their way and they remained eighth. But results were not to kind to them this week. “In recent weeks they have gone our way a little bit,” admitted,” said Raynor. “We’ve gone back in the dressing room and still been sitting in eighth only a couple of points off it.

“But you can’t not keep winning and expect everyone else to do you a favour. We’ve got to do that ourselves and not worry too much about other teams.

“The performances have been excellent, particularly with the ball.

“You can always pick fault with goals conceded and we weren’t overjoyed with the two we conceded on Tuesday night as we felt we could have dealt with those a lot better.”

Raynor said he didn’t think there would be too many changes on Saturday. “We have been delighted with the level of performance so I don’t think it will be massive changes, but we will have a look at it over the next couple of days’ training and see who is looking fresh and sharp,” he said.

“We are down to the nitty gritty - we are counting down the games now. “If we’d have said, walking in through the door sitting in 18th place, that we’d now be five points off the play-offs and in contention, then people would have snapped your hands off. We’re in with a shout. “We need to start winning games and, if we do, we’ll be up there challenging.

“It’s a crucial period of the season and exciting. We’re looking forward to it.”


Stags can be masters of own fate, says Benning
mansfieldtown.net, 16th March 2017

Flying left-back Mal Benning says the Stags’ fate is in their own hands with nine games of the season remaining.

We currently sit five points off the play-off places but still have six of the top seven left to play before the end of the campaign.

And Benning, who is now nearing the end of his second with the club, says confidence is still high in the squad despite four games without a win.

“The last nine games we’ve got sides all in and around us now and we’re ready for it," Benning said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/stags-can-be-masters-of-own-fate-3629556.aspx#v72XWRjDIxIwt2oR.99

“We’ve got more time to prepare for these big games now but it’s basically the main part of the season now and it’s in our hands against the teams that are around us.

“Hopefully we can get a win and hopefully get back on track for the play-offs. We’re five points off now but I reckon we’ve still got a good chance if we can put our foot down on Saturday.

“We’ve worked really hard to get in the position we were in prior to the last couple of games. Our main focus now is winning games and getting back up there.”

The left-back admitted that the squad are naturally disappointed to have been without a goal for four games, but he insists the most important thing is that they are still creating opportunities.

“We’re still creating chances and the play that we’re playing has been really good. That’s the main point, that we’re creating chances, we just need to start sticking them in the back of the net and that will come soon enough.

“The confidence is still there, to be fair. Everyone’s down that we’re not scoring but that will come, but we’re still creating and we’re still dominating games, which is the main point.”

The former Walsall defender scored four goals last season - one of which won the club’s Goal of the Season award - but is yet to get on the score-sheet this season, something which he is keen to rectify.

“For me personally, obviously it’s not my primary job to score goals but I’ve had chances this season but it seems to not be going in for me this season!

“I’m going to keep going and hopefully I can get a couple before the end of the season.

“I’ve had plenty of chances this season to score and it just seems to be not going in. There’s nine games left for me to notch a couple. It’s not my primary job to score, but I would like to score a couple!”

Stags’ fans can login to Stags PlayerHD to watch Mal Benning’s full news conference.


Benning - we won’t let it slip now after all the hard work
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 March 2017

Mansfield Town defender met the press ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Carlisle to underline the players’ determination not to drop out of the play-off chase now after so much hard work.

He also spoke about getting his ambition to score a first goal of the season after some memorable strikes last term

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/benning-we-won-t-let-it-slip-now-after-all-the-hard-work-1-8442927

Mansfield Town defender Mal Benning said the players had worked too hard to let their play-off hopes evaporate now ahead of Saturday's visit of rivals Carlisle United.

Stags are without a win or goal in four games, but Benning insisted: “We are not letting it slip by now.

“We've worked really hard to get ourselves into the position we're in.

“Our main focus now is winning games. The last nine games we have are all against sides in and around us now and we're ready for it.

“Hopefully we can get a win and get back on track for the play-offs.

“We're five points off now but I reckon we've still got a good chance if we put our foot down on Saturday.”

“It's been quite normal the performances have been good if I am being honest,” he said.

“At Colchester I felt we controlled the game, even though they scored two goals.

“It's a bit confusing why we are not winning games when we are dominating them.

“To be fair we've only lost three since January, but we are in a spell where we need a win now to stay in touch with the play-offs. Hopefully it will come on Saturday.

“The good thing is we are still creating chances - we just need to stick them in the back of the net.”

Left back Benning was the scorer of some of Mansfield's most spectacular goals in his quartet last season, including a brilliant free kick at home to Carlisle. But he is yet to get off the mark this time around.

“For me personally, it's not my primary job to score goals, but I'd like to score some,” he said.

“I've had chances this season. It just seems to not be going in for me.

“I will keep going and hopefully I can get a couple before the end of the season.

"There's nine games left for me to notch a couple.

“The confidence is still there. Obviously everyone is down we're not scoring at the minute, but it will come. We are still creating and we're still dominating.”

He added: “It's not nice not scoring in four. We have just got to keep doing what we are doing.

“We can't put all the blame on the strikers. The whole team can score goals from set plays and midfield runners.

“The whole team has got to keep that belief it will come soon.

“We keep creating chances and as soon as one goes in I'm sure others will follow.”

Stags were well beaten 5-2 at Brunton Park, but Benning said: “We won't be looking at this Saturday as revenge as we did beat them up there in the EFL Trophy.

“It's going to be a tough match but I reckon we'll come through and win it.”


MANAGER: I think it will be an entertaining game
carlisleunited.co.uk, by Andy Hall

Keith Curle ahead of the weekend trip to Mansfield

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about what will be another tough game as the squad prepares for the weekend trip to face Mansfield Town.

“The first 20 minutes will be a case of not giving anything away,” he said. “Their manager [Steve Evans] has got Mansfield buoyant and they do try to exploit weaknesses from very early on in the game.

“You have to stand up to that and earn the right to play your football. Sometimes that means going like-for-like. It can be a hostile environment and a hostile touchline, but we won’t shy away from that.

“It’s definitely one that could be won or lost in that first 20 minutes. They’ll come out to whip the crowd up and they’ll want to be on the front foot. We’ll match that and then it will come down to which team can continue on the front foot the longest.”

“Steve is a manager I like and he’s had success and promotions. You have to be respectful of that. It’s very natural for him to be animated on the side of the pitch and I don’t mind that kind of thing at all.

“Some people don’t care for it but it doesn’t affect me at all. Both managers will have one eye on scoring goals so I think it will be an entertaining game.”

“A trip to Mansfield at this stage of the season will give us another example of how far we’ve come from when I first walked into the building,” he commented. “It’s the place where I started my managerial career and I think I’ve learned a heck of a lot as an individual and as a manager since then.

“As an experienced player who had played a lot of games you can start to look from the outside and think managing a team should be easy. It isn’t quite like that, as I’ve found out.”

“I’ve got some fantastic memories from my time there,” he added. “I emptied Mansfield as a town when we got to the play-off final in Cardiff. It was a ghost town that day because everybody was at the Millennium Stadium.

“It was a place where I learned lessons but I’m sure they’ll understand that I’m taking my team there to hopefully come away with a win.”

Read more at http://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/keith-curle-ahead-of-the-weekend-trip-to-mansfield-3630288.aspx#3qc4uUbLIhERQhB5.99


MANAGER: We're able to tell players they'll get an opportunity
carlisleunited.co.uk, Thu 16 Mar 2017, by Andy Hall

Keith Curle with the latest on key injuries and potential signings

United manager Keith Curle gave us an update on the potential arrival of more new faces at his Thursday afternoon press conference.

“We’re now just waiting for international clearance to be confirmed and the player we spoke about the other day will be completed,” he said. “That’s good news for us, and for him. He isn’t a household name but he’s a player who has something a little bit different.

“He’s brave, aggressive and he can make himself known on the ball. He’ll bring more firepower and hopefully he’s one who can come in and have an impact on the squad.”

Read more at http://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/keith-curle-with-the-latest-on-key-injuries-and-potential-signings-3630180.aspx#sdhoG086tx0KPQYx.99

“As well as that, we might have another one to do who we’ve been looking at,” he continued. “We’ll talk about that and we’ll see if we want to progress it. We’re trying to make sure we’ve got a very competitive squad as we get towards the end of the season.

“There are lads signed recently who have been individuals we’ve been able to get a good look at, and others are now coming in because word has spread about what we’re looking for. Players who have been competing in the Indian Super League are coming back so there are still people out there who can add skill sets to the group. It’s an ongoing process even though there are only nine games to go.

“We’re able to tell players at the moment that they’re going to get an opportunity, because of certain scenarios we face, for them to get closer to the first team. That can make us an attractive prospect.”

On the signings of James Hooper and Joe Ward, he said: “They are projects for us to work with but they’re going to get an opportunity to express themselves. They’re both very competitive individuals with real hunger and ability.

“Where this goes after the term of this initial contract is largely down to them and how they perform. The door is open so, like I say, it’s down to what they do.

“We saw a little bit of what James can do on Tuesday night and his challenge is to produce more. Joe is a tenacious forward-thinking midfield player who likes to pass the ball forward. He’s tenacious in his approach and likes to get on the ball.”

Speaking about the injury to midfielder Mike Jones, he told us: “That’s a difficult one because he’s gone from having a scan to needing a surgeon’s opinion. The surgeon has decided he’s going to carry out an exploratory operation to find out the exact extent of the injury.

“Scans aren’t always conclusive so the football club has taken the best option for the player. That operation needs to be done so it looks like he will be out for the remainder of the season.”

“With Jason Kennedy, we’re more than hopeful that he’ll be back before the end of the season,” he confirmed. “He’s been working extremely hard and it’s pleasing as a manager to see these lads coming back and getting out on the grass as soon as they possibly can. You can’t rush it because what you want is for them to stay available once you’ve got them back.

“Michael Raynes is close and he’s had a little bit of football training. We’ll see how he reacts to training on Friday before we decide on him for the weekend.”

And on the news that former-Blue Joe Thompson, currently at Rochdale, had received confirmation that he has cancer for a second time, he said: “I found out about that today when Michael Raynes and Nicky Adams told me about it.

“There’s a process which Joe will have to go through so that he can win his battle again. We wish him well as a football club because he is a person we all got on with really well. He’s a strong character and he’ll deal with this in his usual very dignified and determined way.”


Mixed memories for Carlisle Utd boss Keith Curle as he returns to former club Mansfield

Keith Curle heads back to the club where he started out in management today - after a chance meeting with the man who sacked him.

Carlisle United's boss returns to Mansfield some 15 years after his first experience of the top job in football.

Curle, appointed player-boss in 2002, led the Stags to the fourth-tier play-offs in 2004 before being dismissed later that year in controversial circumstances.

And the 53-year-old said his reunion with his old club comes after he encountered ex-chairman Keith Haslam only this Wednesday.

"Strangely enough I was in a cafe in Sheffield and I bumped into the ex-chairman who sacked me for gross misconduct, bullying and intimidating," Curle said.

"I didn't offer to buy him a cup of tea and I didn't tamper with his food! We exchanged pleasantries."

Some 18 months after his Mansfield exit, Curle won a case for wrongful dismissal.

He did, though, stress that he enjoyed some valuable experiences at the Field Mill club.

"It was where my managerial career started, and as an individual and manager I've learned a hell of a lot not only about myself but also the job," he told the News & Star.

"From the outside, as an experienced player, you think being a manager is very easy and just about Saturday afternoons at 3pm.

"Having had a number of players under me, and also a number of chairman, I have learned a lot, but I'm still enjoying the job.

"I've got some fantastic memories. I know I emptied Mansfield as a town when we went to the Millennium Stadium in the play-off final and got beat on penalties [by Huddersfield]."

The Stags' ground is also significant in Curle's United reign, as his first game in charge of the Blues was at the One Call Stadium, a 3-2 defeat in September 2014.

read more at http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/carlisle-utd/latest/article/Mixed-memories-for-Carlisle-Utd-boss-Keith-Curle-as-he-returns-to-former-club-Mansfield-c24657ab-a0bd-495a-a9b7-64988c205cce-ds

United were rock bottom of League Two then, while today he is trying to boost their promotion chances.

Both the Cumbrians and Mansfield have been short of goals recently, with the hosts having failed to score in four and United on a club record-equalling five-match barren run.

Curle believes the early period of today's game will be crucial against Steve Evans' side.

"Both teams and managers have one eye on scoring goals," Curle said. "It will be an entertaining game, and it could be that both managers understand it could be won in the first 20 minutes.

"They'll be whipping the crowd up to get the intensity levels in [Evans'] players and on the front foot in the first 20 minutes. But we won't take a backward step. We will be like for like.

"Steve Evans and his team have got Mansfield buoyant, rallied, and the supporters go there looking to see a weakness in the first 20 minutes knowing that's when they're going to try and exploit you.

"You have to stand up to Steve Evans, his teams and his tactics, and then play your football. You have to earn the right to do that.

"It can be a hostile environment, hostile touchline, hostile dugout, but we won't shy away from that. He [Evans] has had success and promotions, and you've got to be respectful of that.

"Some of his idiosyncrasies on the side of the pitch can be not in favour with certain people. It doesn't have an effect on me. Other people can get quite volatile and aggressive, that's their manner. I think it's very natural to him as an individual how he performs on the side of the pitch."

Curle, meanwhile, says he has not changed his view on midfielder James Bailey's dismissal against Cambridge last weekend despite deciding not to appeal.

Bailey will serve the second of a three-match ban today having been sent off for violent conduct.

Last Saturday Curle said Bailey had denied throwing a punch at the visitors' Paul Lewis.

And the manager said: "The player was grappling him, trying to keep him on top of him, and with him [Bailey] trying to get the lad's hand off his shirt, he's thrown an action to strike his hand.

"He's not tried to punch him. If that was an attempt to punch he can forget about any sort of career inside the ring."



Latest | March 2017