PORT VALE PREVIEWS
Stags' boss looking to build on belief from derby victory
mansfieldtown.net, Wednesday 18 April 2018
Stags' boss David Flitcroft is looking to build on the 'belief' his players gained from the famous derby day victory over Chesterfield on Saturday.
Left-back Mal Benning's goal in the 67th minute of the game earned the Stags all three points on a day that will live long in the Mansfield Town faithful's memory.
Manager Flitcroft is now looking to use the win to spur his players on for the crucial remaining three games in the race for a play-off spot.
"I think confidence is something we probably over-emphasise, I think belief is the word that I would use following the result [against Chesterfield]. It insills a belief that what we're doing in training is the right thing.
"Confidence can only come from doing the practice right and making sure in the big moments that your ability is at its optimum, then the confidence levels do go up. Belief comes from winning football matches.
"On the training pitch it's not changed since day one, win or lose. If you lose a game, you learn from it - I never dwell on it.
"Trying to improve players and make them better is the environment that I want to create and build here so that success and winning becomes sustainable.
"We're building and I'm enjoying my time with the players. The atmosphere in training doesn't change win or loss, but what a win does change is the belief. That's what winning gives you.
"One thing we will get right at this club is that everybody wants to be part of a successful push - there can be no individualism or selfish behaviour. That's the environment that I want to bring in and I'm starting to see that happening.
"I thought the lads coped with it [pressure of the derby] really well. The pressure was built up, and rightly so, but they coped with it brilliantly.
"We've come into a mini-season, a block of matches, and we knew what we had to do. The magnitude of the Chesterfield win and the way the players celebrated with the fans was what our fans represented."
Stags face Port Vale at One Call Stadium on Saturday, and despite having effectively escaped relegation with their recent 1-0 win over Lincoln City, manager Flitcroft believes the Valiants' players will still have plenty to play for.
"The lads [at Port Vale] who are possibly fighting for contracts for next season, they'll always turn out. You don't know what the summer is going to bring, there's always uncertainty in League Two and League One. It's a different type of pressure for those players.
"Everyone is playing for something in this league. There's a lot challenging to get into the play-offs, and the security of staying in the league [for Vale] is not done and dusted yet, so there's a lot to play for.
"Usually there's a few teams who don't need the points but that doesn't take away the individual responsibility.
"For Port Vale, they're probably just about out of it [the relegation battle] now. But they'll rally, they're led by a fantastic leader in Tom Pope who I worked with for a few years. They have some top pros and good heads in there [at Port Vale].
"We're expecting a very tough game, they play quite direct and that's what having Pope does.
"We're not looking past Port Vale. It's the next game that we can achieve a positive result and that's the one we're concentrating on."
The Stags' boss also gave an injury update on defender Hayden White, who was subsituted in the first-half of the 1-0 win over Chesterfield, and forward Ricky Miller.
"He [White] is probably not going to be right for Saturday. He's tried to do a little bit on the training pitch today on the grass. We're still more or less nursing him through this week, but it's one of those injuries that could have gone either way.
"It might potentially be a week to ten days, that's the timescale we're giving it.
"Ricky is frustrated, he's one of those players who we have to hold back and hold the reigns of. It's very frustrating with a hamstring, you can't come out of your sequence and you can't do any extra work on it. You have to make sure you're considerate to these injuries.
"[He'll be out for] still probably another couple of weeks."
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch David Flitcroft's answers in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.
Stags boss warns squad to focus on Port Vale only
chad.co.uk, JOHN LOMAS, Wednesday 18 April 2018
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has warned his squad not to look beyond Saturday’s visit of Port Vale as the chase for the play-offs hots up. After a first win in 10 with last weekend’s glorious 1-0 victory in the derby game at Chesterfield, Mansfield went back into the top seven and kept their hopes alive.
Rivals do have games in hand while Stags have three must-win games left against sides in the bottom half of the table.
However, Flitcroft warned: “We have to prepare for the next game with Port Vale and not look past that “We must make sure all our energy, commitment and desire focus on driving for three points on Saturday and then worry about the next one after that. We are not looking past Port Vale as that is the next game that we can affect as a group of players.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/stags-boss-warns-squad-to-focus-on-port-vale-only-1-9123342
“Over the final four to six weeks there have been so many teams trying to get into the play-offs, secure a top three spot or fight relegation. A lot of teams still have got a lot of points to play for and a lot of reason to keep turning out wins. “We know Lincoln do have to play rivals. But you carry on with your own business. “You keep an eye on what’s going on, but you can’t come too far off and focus on other teams as we have a really important job to do here.” Although remaining opponents Port Vale, Yeovil Town and Crawley all appear to be safe with little to play for, Flitcroft said: “Yeovil had nothing to play for two weeks ago but beat Coventry 6-2. So I don’t know where this ‘nothing to play for’ comes from. “You have everything to play for. You could argue that some of the Premiership boys who are on fortunes and have a five or six year contract at times have nothing to play for. “But lads who go out there every week in League Two are not on fantastic money, so they have to graft for that next contract. “So I don’t buy into them having nothing to play for in these last few games - I never have and never will do. “Being involved in League One and League Two as long as I have, I know there is an honesty and sincerity about them. Teams don’t just go away.” Flitcroft finally chalked up his first win as Stags boss at the ninth attempt on Saturday and smiled: “It wasn’t relief - it was absolute joy. “Winning games is what we are all in this game for. Every football club is striving for the same thing. “But to witness what it meant to the supporters to win at Chesterfield, it was absolute joy. “The chairman, Carolyn, the directors, and supporters and all my staff - who work incredibly hard - and the players were joyous after the game. From a young age you are taught to win football matches and that’s what I have come here to do. “That win will help give us belief that what we are doing is right and what we are doing on the training pitch is right. You instil belief. “Confidence comes from doing the right things all the time and making sure your skills levels and fitness levels are at their optimum. Confidence comes from high skill levels, but winning breeds belief. “Your values are every day. They can’t just be lived on a Saturday. They have to be lived in the week Monday to Friday too.” He added: “You have to create an environment and atmosphere and you have to do it every day, even when you are losing. “You come together when you win and make sure you learn when you lose. You want the squad to be together as one and that’s what I’ve been trying to do from day one. “I know the way I set an environment breeds winning, it always has done at every club I’ve been at.” Stags expect another big, noisy backing at home on Saturday and Flitcroft said: “The fans have been outstanding all season. “Before I came in I watched a lot of games and now I’ve been part of it and understood it. “Our own fans are as passionate as I’ve ever been involved with. They absolutely love their football and love the football club. “At home against Crewe when we energised them second half they were just incredible. “I can’t really ask any more from them apart from continue to support us and we’ll get it right.” Stags look set to be without left back Hayden White on Saturday. He limped off at Chesterfield last weekend with a tight hamstring.
Accrington ‘togetherness’ is a shining example to all believes Stags manager
chad.co.uk, JOHN LOMAS, Wednesday 18 April 2018
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft today held up promoted Accrington Stanley as a shining example to everyone else of what can be achieved by ‘togetherness’. Still in the play-off hunt with three games to go, Flitcroft travelled to Accrington last night to do homework on next week’s opponents, Yeovil Town, but also to see Accrington clinch promotion and get a handle on why they have been so successful.
“I went to Accrington last night to watch the game and almost be in and around that celebration to feel it and understand it so I could speak to the players about what it meant to a town and the new, young Accrington fans coming in,” said Flitcroft.
“I was obviously there to scout Yeovil, who we play in a week or so, but more importantly to experience that spirit that John (boss Coleman) has created there - 25 players all driving for the same thing.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/accrington-togetherness-is-a-shining-example-to-all-believes-stags-manager-1-9123353
“There was a hunger and an intensity to what you felt last night. “All the fans there, girlfriends, wives, dads, mums, supporting Accrington’s effort. “They’ve gone up with four games remaining and done an incredible job. “Without a doubt they are a great example to everyone else. It’s all; you heard last night from whoever you spoke to - what’s the secret to what they’ve got? It’s togetherness.” He continued: “It’s an inner spirit. The players are not on great money but so hungry to run for each other, to work for each other, galvanised by getting promoted. It makes everyone’s lives better and the probably epitomise that more than any other club because of what John and Jimmy have done. “They got hungry players to come in on an understanding if you do well at Accrington you either get promoted and you’re successful and you get bought by another club. The formula works fantastically well. “They have built that over a time. They have had that time over many windows to keep getting the right balance. “Being there last night you get get that sense that every single person is responsible for that promotion.” At the same time as Accrington were celebrating promotion, Flitcroft was relieved to see play-off rivals Lincoln had only picked up a single point in a 0-0 home draw with Wycombe. He said: “You do look at other results - you can’t help it. But we’ve just got to concentrate on our business and make sure, if they do slip up, then we are ready to take advantage of that. “Lincoln do have a tough run-in - there is no doubt about it. They’ve got probably the hardest run-in. But the Cowley brothers have been successful over a period of time.”
Season still on the boil, but Stags boss hard at work on next season already
chad.co.uk, JOHN LOMAS
Although the focus remains on what is happening on the pitch, Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft is already busy with off-the-field affairs, plotting pre-season and next-season. “There is always a lot to do. There’s rebuilding, rebalancing and restructuring,” he said. “I have spoken to a few managers on pre-season games. “There is a pre-season tour we are trying to sort out with ourselves and we are trying to get across abroad with the youngsters so I can have a really good look at them close hand and get that one club, one cause mentality right from the off next season.”?Flitcroft accepts there is no real closed season nowadays. “You don’t really get that summer period now and you just get used to that as a manager,” he said. “It used to shut down for eight weeks but now, fuelled by the media, everyone wants stories right through pre-season. It doesn’t stop - but that’s good and I understand that.” Flitcroft is also ready to boost the squad with signings of his own. “Over the last 12 years as a coach, a manager and an assistant manager I’ve been able to find out the agents that are good, the agents that are bad and the agents that are shocking,” he said. “You stay away from the bad and shocking ones and you deal with the proper ones who do respect the world of football. There are some good ones out there. “Then we will look to the recruitment. If we are going to bring people to the football club we need to make sure they are definitely of the right character and the right sort to bring to the club. “I’ve not signed any one of the players that I currently work with.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/season-still-on-the-boil-but-stags-boss-hard-at-work-on-next-season-already-1-9125243
White set to be ruled out of crucial Port Vale visit
chad.co.uk, JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town defender Hayden White looks set to be ruled out of Saturday’s crucial home clash with Port Vale. The flying right back had to come off the field at Chesterfield last weekend with a tight hamstring and is not making the sort of recovery Stags had hoped for this week. “He’s probably not going to be right for Saturday,” said manager David Flitcroft. “He has tried to do a little bit on the training ground today on the grass and not been able to achieve what we wanted him to. “So we are more or less nursing him through this week. “It’s one of those injuries that could have gone either way. “He came off when it was tight. If he have stayed on it could have been more severe. “It might be a week to 10 days - that’s the sort of timescale we’re giving it. We’ll just have to wait and see.” Rhys Bennett would be a straight replacement for him if needed on Saturday for a game which Stags know they almost have to win to keep play-off hopes alive.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/white-set-to-be-ruled-out-of-crucial-port-vale-visit-1-9124055
Stags’ hard work starting to pay off - midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Wednesday 18 April 2018
The fruits of hard work from the training ground are starting to show in first team performances, midfielder Will Atkinson said today.
The 29-year-old has been impressed by new training methods introduced by manager David Flitcroft, who was appointed in late February.
Atkinson, who has twice been promoted via the League Two play-offs with previous clubs Bradford City and Southend United, said at a news conference this afternoon: “Since the manager has come in, he’s really worked hard with us on the training ground. I think it’s starting to show now.
“We have worked a lot on shape and things like that and I think that showed an the weekend [in the 1-0 victory at Chesterfield]. We went ahead and I think we got it spot on tactically.”
Stags head into Saturday’s game at home to Port Vale a point outside of the play-off places, with three games remaining. Lincoln City, in sixth and Coventry in seventh, have both amassed one more point than Mansfield and have a game in hand.
“There are a lot of points to play for. It’s about having the belief and not stopping until it’s over."
Previewing another colossal contest for the amber and blue this weekend, Atkinson said: “We’re in the game for big moments and big games. We want three wins [from the remaining three fixtures] - there’s no hiding from that.
“They’re just going to keep getting bigger and bigger. We’ve shown that we can cope well with the big games and hopefully we can go onto Saturday and get another positive result.
“You have to have that belief. It’s about who is in the [final play-off] positions at the end of the season, not with a few games to go, that counts.
“There are a lot of points to play for. It’s about having the belief and not stopping until it’s over.
"We have to go into every game, hoping and believing we can win.
“There are no easy games in this league, no matter what anyone says.
“They’ll [Port Vale] come here and I am sure they will look to frustrate us. We’ve got to rise to the occasion, get on the front foot and take the game to them. We have something to really play for and believe in.
“The fans will be in good voice, especially after last weekend. They’ll be right behind us. It’ll be good to get back here in front of our home fans and hopefully put in a positive performance.”
Supporters can log in to http://www.mansfieldtown.net/ifollow to view Will Atkinson’s interview in full later today.
Mansfield v Port Vale scouting report
A look at Port Vale's task at Mansfield
By Michael Baggaley, 20 APR 2018
Port Vale return to League Two action with a game at eighth-placed Mansfield this weekend. But what sort of challenge can the Vale and their fans expect? We've got a good look at the Stags thanks to sports writer John Lomas.
HOW ARE MANSFIELD PLAYING - IS THE WIN AT CHESTERFIELD LAST WEEK A TURNING POINT?
Apart from Forest Green away and the first half at home to Crewe, Mansfield have largely played well under new boss Flitcroft but had to wait nine games for a win. It has been frustrating to go 10 without a win, including the last game under Evans, and has ended their top three hopes and left them clawing at a play-off place.
But the confidence gained from Chesterfield should be enough to see them in good shape to try for all nine points left now against three sides with only pride to play for.
HOW BIG IS THIS GAME FOR MANSFIELD? IS IT MUST WIN IN TERMS OF THE PLAY OFFS?
The game is huge and the pressure is huge. Mansfield can't really afford to drop any more points. They are relying on favours elsewhere already.
WHO IS THE MANSFIELD STAR MAN
Danny Rose has hit 17 goals for the Stags this season and is just back from an ankle injury. He and Kane Hemmings have forged a good partnership up front. Rose has blossomed this season under Steve Evans and now Flitcroft and, for a small guy, wins most of his headers and knows where the net is.
WHAT IS THE PLAYING STYLE AND WHO ELSE WILL BE A THREAT TO THE VALE?
Although they did play some terrific football at times under Evans, there was also a tendency to get it forward early. New boss Flitcroft wants more football and is more methodical and much more of a tactician than Evans.
If winger Hamilton plays, he can cause chaos as one of the fastest players in the division.They played it a bit narrower at Chesterfield and he came on off the bench, but he's likely to return on Saturday.
Full backs Benning and White also love to power forward and get involved, White being so quick too, and Benning scored the winner at Chesterfield.
Port Vale's Neil Aspin warns deal for West Brom's Kyle Howkins is not straightforward
West Brom defender Kyle Howkins has impressed on loan at Port Vale this season
By Michael Baggaley, 19 APR 2018UPDATED14:39, 19 APR 2018
Port Vale manager Neil Aspin says he would love to bring West Brom defender Kyle Howkins back to Vale Park for next season but has warned that is easier said than done.
Howkins has impressed since joining the Valiants on loan from the Baggies in January so Vale look certain to inquire about taking him on loan again next season.
But Aspin says the 21 year old, who has another year on his contract at the Hawthorns, could be in demand.
The manager said: "I would like to keep him but it is very difficult. The uncertainty with who is going to get the job at West Brom is obviously one factor. If they do decide to loan him out, can they loan him to a club higher than us in the pyramid? And, do we have to compete with anybody else at the level we are at to get him to come here?
"So, it is not an easy task and I wouldn't expect a decision to be made on him until we are getting to the back end of July. So, we have to prepare and bring in other players to the club. But he is somebody that I would like to bring in if I can."
Howkins will decide with West Brom in the summer whether to have a knee operation. But he has managed the condition while at Vale and is set to play at Mansfield on Saturday.
Aspin says the 6ft 4in centre half has taken his chance well at Vale after making his debut at Swindon in February.
He said: "The main thing is he has improved from when he played the first game at Swindon. He has got better and he has got the physical presence which you need, you certainly need to have some height in the team.
"He has been an important player for us so we were disappointed when he had to miss a couple of games through injury. But we are not working him too hard. He is training and hopefully he will be able to play on Saturday."
Danny Pugh returns to the Vale squad for the Mansfield game after completing a three-game ban.
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