FLITCROFT, NYLE BLAKE, KENNY BLACK REACTION
Stags' boss lauds academy after win
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 13 November 2018
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that tonight’s 3-2 win over Scunthorpe United in the Checkatrade Trophy stems from the hard work of the academy, after four young players made their senior debuts.
Nyle Blake (18), Alistair Smith (19) and Jason Law (19) all started the match, with forward Tom Fielding (19) being introduced to proceedings late on.
Blake opened the scoring in the first half of a match in which the Stags scored a late winner through Timi Elsnik.
The manager says that the win was important for Mansfield’s debutants.
“We rode our luck at times certainly in the first half,” he said. “Conrad had to be positioned well and made some good saves.
“They [Scunthorpe] are a good team but we matched them. What I enjoyed watching, from our perspective, was a club coming together.
“There were fractions here quite a while ago and no one was talking to the youth [teams]. We now communicate on a daily basis and six or seven under-21s train with us daily.
“I wanted a winning debut for the young players, as every player remembers their debut. It’s something that lives with you and stays with you.
“It’s important that the younger players feel belonging. Watching Alistair Smith in the midfield, I remember telling him in Portugal in the summer what he needed to do to improve and he’s gone away and done that.
“This is result is for the hard work that the club have put in, from Demps [John Dempster, academy manager] and Coops [Richard Cooper, senior development coach], Mike Whitlow [under-21s coach], and all the support staff.
“It’s astonishing the strides that the club are making. I’m delighted that I can stand here and put so many youngsters in the competition.
“I wanted to see a composure when they [younger players] got the ball. You get no fear from the young kids.
“You could argue that Blakey [Nyle Blake] got lucky with the deflection, but he had the shot and had no fear.
“Young Jason Law stood toe-to-toe and never gave the ball up. He was always available. That’s what I want from the young players.
“A group of young players could have given up at 2-2 but they pressed for the winner which impressed more than anything.
“I’ve just been in the dressing room and it’s full of players that have not been involved tonight; Macca [Alex MacDonald], Bish [Neal Bishop], Otis [Khan], Craig Davies, CJ [Hamilton], KP [Krystian Pearce], all celebrating those younger players.”
Looking ahead to this Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash against Port Vale at One Call Stadium, the Stags’ boss says that his players will concentrate on what they do best in the match.
“They [Port Vale] have consolidated their work and look resilient. They’ve really solidified and become functional.
“They have Tom Pope, who I have worked with, and he’s deadly. We have to nullify that threat for sure.
“We have to impose ourselves as we have been brilliant at home this season. They’re coming onto our patch and we’ll concentrate on what Mansfield Town do.
“We’ve done well in the league and in the cups. We’ve missed some key players but the lads that have come in have done fantastic.”
The manager also gave an update on the injuries to midfielders Alex MacDonald and Otis Khan.
“Macca won’t be [fit for Saturday]. He’s building up in the gym and he’s in that rhythm now. We’ll get him out on the field.
“Otis has probably pushed it a bit too much. He did a session on Saturday and just took it a little too far.
“He’s had two days of downtime so Saturday may be too soon. We’ll look towards the Charlton game for him. I want Otis back in the squad as he’s a game-changer. It will be important to get both players back in the squad.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Flitcroft delighted with new club unity as Mansfield Town youngsters make winning debuts
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 November 2018
Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft felt he has finally seen the club ‘come together’ as a youthful Mansfield Town side extended the club’s unbeaten tun tonight.
The last gasp 3-2 Checkatrade Trophy home win over League One side Scunthorpe United saw three full debuts among six youngsters starting with another come on as a sub and Nyle Blake marking his full debut with a goal.
Under previous management the youth development side of the club did not seem to be a priority.
But Flitcroft knew its importance from day one and has worked tirelessly to make it happen, culminating in tonight’s glorious win and some young talent making the next step in their careers.
“What I have enjoyed tonight from our perspective was watching a club come together,” he said.
“There were fractions here quite a while ago and no one was talking to the youth.
“But we’ve brought them in now and there’s a common factor.
“We communicate with all the coaches on a daily basis and we have six or seven U21s train with us every day.
“Watching that come together tonight was great as well as watching the senior pros embrace that.
“I told the senior pros before the game ‘you made your debut once and I want this a winning debut for the young players as every player remembers his debut’.
“I can remember my own debut at Fulham. You never forget it. It’s something that lives with you, especially a winning debut.”
He continued: “The experienced pros have helped them do that tonight and it’s important you harness and foster that environment. It’s important young players feel they belong.
“You get no fear from young kids if they feel they belong in an environment.
“This result was for all the hard work the club has put in. It is astonishing the strides the club is making.
“I am delighted I can put so many youngsters in tonight. The young players have now got a voice and our academy management structure has a voice.
“You can now see them fulfilling their potential out on the pitch tonight.”
Stags saw a two-goal lead evaporate against an excellent Scunthorpe side, only for Timi Elsnik to pop up with a 90th minute winner.
“We rode our luck at times, certainly in the first half when they blasted quite a few balls across us,” said Flitcroft.
“Conrad has had to be positioned well and made some good saves.
“But Scunthorpe have got some real talent. They are a good team and I thought we matched them.
“A group of young players like ours could have said enough’s enough at 2-2, but they went on then to go and get the winner which impressed me more than anything as Scunthorpe had the momentum at that point. The unity and determination in the group was fantastic.
“All the senior players that have not been involved tonight have been going made in the dressing room celebrating with the young players afterwards.”
Lewis Gibbens returns to Mansfield Town’s first team squad
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Young defender Lewis Gibbens was back in first team action this week after being given a short break from the pressures of the first team squad.
Boss David Flitcroft said: “Lewis got to a point with the travelling and doing the running after games where it just caught up with him and I gave him the weekend off last weekend. “He is still a young player, even though he looks like a seasoned pro. “It’s my job to protect him.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/lewis-gibbens-returns-to-mansfield-town-s-first-team-squad-1-9445551
“With the gym sessions he’s been doing it’s been mentally and physically tough, as it is for all the young players.”
Blake delighted with goal on debut
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 13 November 2018
Youngster Nyle Blake revealed his positive emotions on his first-team debut following Mansfield Town’s 3-2 victory over Scunthorpe United.
The 18-year-old opened the scoring under the lights at One Call Stadium with 21 minutes on the clock and was substituted seven minutes into the second half.
The Stags were pegged back late on but Timi Elsnik’s finish in the final minute of normal time subsequently secured all three points for the hosts.
And Blake reflected on the time which he was involved in the Group H clash, revealing his emotions regarding his debut.
“I’m happy and over the moon to have finally made my debut,” he admitted.
“That’s what I want because it’s any young person’s dream.
“[I thought my performance] was quite good - I’m happy with my performance.”
The forward then revealed how he was told he would be starting, as well as detailing what coursed through his mind in the lead up to kick-off.
“[I was told] in training this morning. They [the management team] went through shape work and I was told I was right wing.
“I was thinking about what I was going to do throughout the game, how I’m going to play and what to do really.
“I thought about getting a goal, too. I think it’s any young person’s dream to score on their debut so I’m over the moon to get it.”
Blake also cited the late Elsnik strike as reasoning behind how strong the Stags’ squad is.
“I think the late goal shows how strong the team is.
“Coming from 2-2 against League One team shows how strong we are to pull it back but get the win.
“It also shows how positive we are. We played a young team against a League One team, came out and won.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Nyle's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Blake goal on Mansfield Town debut was a dream come true
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 November 2018
Nyle Blake admitted to score in a victory on his full debut was a dream come true as a young Mansfield Town side saw off visitors Scunthorpe United 3-2 in tonight’s final Checkatrade Trophy group match.
The 18-year-old forward broke the deadlock on 21 minutes and said: “I found out I was playing in training this morning and I was over the moon. “I have finally made my debut - that’s what I wanted. It’s any young person’s dream. “Since I was told, I’d been thinking about what I was going to do through the game and how I was going to play.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/blake-goal-on-mansfield-town-debut-was-a-dream-come-true-1-9443164
“Any young person’s dream is to score on their debut so I was over the moon to get it. “I think it was quite a good debut and I am happy with my performance.”
He certainly felt the difference in pace with first team football, admitting: “It was a lot different to what I am used to.
“The tempo is unreal in these games. You’ve got to be fit to play in them. “But the senior pros were really helpful and didn’t moan when you made a mistake. They guide you through the game and support you.”
He added: “I think tonight shows how strong the team is and how positive we are. “We played a young team against a League One team and came out and won.
“My target now is to keep playing and get more matches in the first team.”
Jordan Graham @jordsg_1
Great win tonight unreal performance from the lads and congrats to @Nyleblakee @AlistairSmith13 @iam_jason99 on their debuts @mansfieldtownfc
Black on 'frustrating' Checkatrade Trophy loss
Iron assistant manager Kenny Black says the manner in which his side exited the Checkatrade Trophy was frustrating, as United came back from two goals down late on to eventually lose 3-2 at Mansfield Town.
Scunthorpe needed a draw from their final group stage match to qualify, and thought they’d secured their place in the second round after Yasin Ben El-Mhanni on his debut and Andy Dales netted late on.
However, the hosts struck again and, though disappointed with the manner of the defeat, Black also appreciated the positives from the night.
He told iFollow Iron: “We’re in this game to try and progress if we can. There were positives but at the end of the day we were just a few minutes away from qualifying.
“The manner in which we lost the goals is frustrating more than anything because we clawed our way back into the game and actually felt in the last few minutes (after scoring the second) we could have gone on and won the game because the momentum was certainly with us.
“That’s the most frustrating thing. We are disappointed with the manner in which we’ve conceded the goals but certainly in a positive aspect we got 90 minutes into Funso Ojo, Stephen Humphrys (both returning from hamstring injuries) and Andy Dales amongst others.
“We kept monitoring Funso and spoke with Michael (McBride, head of medical services) on the sidelines, and he felt okay. It was important to get him back tonight. We can train all we want but minutes on the pitch are important.”
One player who provided a positive was Ben El-Mhanni on his debut, and Black added: “Yas had an impact and showed decent ability. He tired, which is understandable because he’s not had a lot of football recently, but he made a positive impact in the game and he was one we were pleased with. He will take a lot out of the game as well.
“They’ve got to stake a claim to remain in the team or get into the team and that’s why we have these competitive fixtures and look forward to them.”
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson returned to the substitutes’ bench after a hip injury and the coaching staff toyed with the idea of bringing him on in the closing stages, but the decision was made to bring Under-18s captain Tom Pugh on for his competitive first team debut late on.
Black continued: “Cam is fit, raring to go and ready for Saturday. We were thinking about putting him on, Pughy has done really well with the U18s and has trained with us. We gave him a run-out tonight and he’ll benefit from that experience. He’ll be disappointed like us all but to get on the pitch was good for him, he’s still an U18, and he’s shown flashes and he obviously has a chance. He’ll can be proud tonight.”
Stop Pope says Mansfield Town boss as Vale hit town on the rise
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft believes Port Vale have turned a corner ahead of Saturday’s clash at the One Call Stadium. And he also singled out experienced Vale striker Tom Pope, curently on eight goals, as the man to stop on Saturday as Stags try to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games.
After almost going down a second time in two seasons, Vale’s fortunes now appear to be on the up and Flitcroft said: “They have consolidated their work and are very resilient now. “They went to Lincoln and got battered 6-0. I think that was almost a watershed moment for them and they really solidified and became functional.”
On their dangerman, he said: “They’ve got Tom Pope, who I’ve worked with, and he is deadly. “He was deadly scoring goals in League One. He’s a fantastic kid and he’s scored a hatful of goals again in League Two. “We will have to nullify that threat for sure.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/stop-pope-says-mansfield-town-boss-as-vale-hit-town-on-the-rise-1-9444878
But Stags have only lost once at home all season and go into the game full of confidence. “We have to make sure we impose ourselves on them,” said Flitcroft. “We have been brilliant at home this season. We have been a constant force - really consistent at home. “So when they come on our patch we will concentrate on what we are good at.
“The belief system our boys are getting is really important.”
Stags are in the middle of a hectic 14 games in seven weeks schedule, but while results are going well, the manager is happy to see games come thick and fast.
“We have been well in the league and the cups so we just want to keep playing,” he said. “We have got into a real rhythm playing six or seven weeks absolute non-stop Saturday/Tuesday.
“We have missed key players like Alex MacDonald and Otis Khan but the lads that have come in have done fantastically well.”
MacDonald is ruled out for Saturday while Khan remains a big doubt. “Macca won’t play. He is building up in the gym and is now in his next phase, field-based,” said Flitcroft. “Otis probably pushed it a little bit too much in a session on Saturday and probably just took it a little bit too far. He’s had two days downtime and Saturday might just be too soon for him. “Then we’ll look towards the Charlton game. We really want him back in the squad. He is a game-changer.”
Preparation essential to unbeaten run - Benning
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 15 November 2018
Mansfield defender Mal Benning says that the attention given to preparation and recovery is key to Stags’ unbeaten run, which currently stretches to 13 games in all competitions.
The wing-back has been a consistent performer in Stags’ recent cluster of fixtures, with Mansfield playing twice a week since late September.
Benning says that the strategies placed on rest and recovery have been ‘vital’ during the busy schedule.
“We’ve only lost two games and it’s been a steady season,” he said. “I’d say we’ve had one too many draws but we’re turning those draws into wins and hopefully we can start climbing up the table.
“As a player you want to play in every game and it’s been a very busy schedule. It’s been tiring but it’s been good to be involved in.
“There’s been a lot of stopovers and afternoon beds, resting and getting right for the game.
“The preparation has been very significant. When you have a busy schedule you need that rest and recovery periods. On a Tuesday night game that recovery time you get in the afternoon beds is very vital.
“We’re keeping more clean sheets which is obviously very good. Up front, we’ve had a lot of chances in games and it’s good that we’re creating them. We’re now finishing a few more than we did and we’re getting the wins.
“Since I’ve been here the most we’ve won on the bounce is probably about three. Back-to-back wins and wins on the trot will get you straight up the league so it’s about building on that. I’m sure it will come.”
The defender, who is the longest serving current player at the club, says that the unbeaten run is among the best he has been a part of in amber and blue.
“It’s been one of the best runs I’ve been on, unbeaten-wise, since I’ve been here. We may not have won as many games as we have wanted to, but if we turn those couple of draws into wins, we’ll be right up there.
“It’s still very early [in the season]. I think it’s all about getting that consistency, not getting too carried away and keep working hard.
“I’ve had a consistent run of games and hopefully I can carry on building on them, and get a few more assists and maybe goals.”
Stags welcome Port Vale to One Call Stadium on Saturday, and Benning says he is looking forward to playing in front of the fans once more, in a clash that is the last of four consecutive home matches.
“I’m anticipating a physical battle up front [on Saturday]. From playing them last year at home, they’re not a bad team. It’s going to be tough for us. But if we’re on our job on the day we’ll get the three points.
“It’s great playing at home. When we’re on top, the fans take us through the game. Even when we were trailing against Grimsby, once that equaliser went in, they gave us a really good push to go and get that winner.
“That [positive environment] comes from the form that we’re in. There’s a good feeling around the club at the moment. It’s a good feeling stepping onto the pitch and feeling that you’re not going to get beaten.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Mal’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Time for back-to-back League Two wins for Mansfield Town says Benning
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 15 November 2018
Mansfield Town star Mal Benning believes it’s high time the club chalked up back-to-back League Two wins for the first time this season. Stags are on a sparkling 13-game unbeaten run and saw off Grimsby Town 2-1 in their last League game. But back-to-back wins have eluded them so far ahead of Saturday’s visit of Port Vale.
“In all my time here I think the most we’ve won on the bounce in the League is three,” said Benning, who has been outstanding on the unbeaten run at left wing back.
“We need to progress to back-to-back wins now as any wins on the trot will get you straight up the league. “It’s about building on that and I am sure it will come.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/time-for-back-to-back-league-two-wins-for-mansfield-town-says-benning-1-9445961
“This has been one of the best unbeaten runs we’ve been on since I have been here, even though we may not have won as many as wanted to.
“It’s still very early, being mid-November. It’s all about getting that consistency, not getting too carried away and keep working hard.
“It’s been a steady season. We’ve only lost two though we had a few too many draws. “But we are turning those draws into wins now which is a good thing and hopefully we can keep climbing up the table.”
Stags are in the middle of a crazy schedule of playing twice a week for seven weeks in a row. “As a player you want to play in every game and with playing Saturday/Tuesday every week it’s been a very busy schedule,” he said.
“It’s been tiring to be fair. But it’s been good to be involved in and, as a team, we’re doing well. It does feel like it’s getting me fitter.”
Benning believes the upturn in results is down to improvements at both ends of the pitch. He said: “We have been keeping more clean sheets. They are three of the best defenders in the league and it’s been good to play in front of them.
“Up front we’ve had a lot of chances in games all season and we are now finishing a few more then we did.”
On next opponents Port Vale, he said: “We are anticipating a physical battle up front with the strikers they have got. “From playing them at home last year they are not a bad team and it will be tough, but I think if we are on our job on the day we’ll get three points.
“It’s nice to be home again in front of the fans. The atmosphere the fans are creating stems from the form we are in as a team and the good feeling around the club at the moment. “When we step on the pitch we don’t feel we are going to get beaten.
“I think this is the best squad I’ve been involved in in my four seasons here.”
On his own season, he added: “I think I’m doing okay. I’ve had a consistent run of games now and hopefully I can build on them and get more assists and goals. “As a wing back I have more of a licence to get up there and attack. As a left back I still had that licence as that’s the way I play, but as a wing back you are further up the pitch already.”
In Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy win over Scunthorpe, Benning came on as a sub to get his first ever taste of playing as a central defender. “It was a bit different, but it was a good experience,” he smiled. “It was the first time I have played there and it felt a bit weird. “Playing in the middle gave me a different perspective of the pitch. “You have to be a bit more switched on to strikers’ movements. I am always ready to do a job if needed - and I did.”
Stags' boss is improving me - Sweeney
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 15 November 2018
Stags’ defender Ryan Sweeney says that the trust placed in him by manager David Flitcroft has helped him improve as a player.
The Ireland under-21 international arrived at One Call Stadium in the summer on a season-long loan from Stoke City, and has looked at home in the gaffer’s three-at-the-back system.
Sweeney says that although he knows he is improving under the stewardship of David Flitcroft, he is always looking for new ways to develop his game.
“I think I’m doing okay. There’s still a lot I want to improve on,” said the 21-year-old. “It was always about getting used to what the gaffer wanted at the start.
“I’ve really settled here and I think my performances have gone from strength to strength. Hopefully that can continue.
“When we’re on the ball, we’re not a team that just wants to chuck it forward. We want to try and pass out of the back and make good angles for each other.
“When we’re out of possession we’re very no-nonsense and we like to be an aggressive three off the ball.
“We’ve all gelled together very well. The new lads that have come in over the summer have all bought into what the gaffer wants.
“He [the manager] has put trust in me to play and I think that can only help when the manager has confidence in you.
“We all pride ourselves on putting in good performances individually. Once you do that, it comes together in a collective team performance.
“You can’t take anything for granted. Once you take your foot off the gas and start to get a bit more comfortable, that’s when things start to go wrong. I know that won’t happen here in the way that we train.
“We all set high standards of each other in the dressing room. That goes the whole way through the team.”
The defender also reflected on Stags’ recent cup fixtures, including the 3-2 Checkatrade Trophy win over Scunthorpe, a game in which four youngsters made their first team debuts.
“We spoke before the two cup games about picking up a positive result against Grimsby so we could go into those games full of belief,” he added.
“I thought we were a bit unlucky against Charlton. We’ll go to Charlton next week full of confidence.
“Going back to the Grimsby game we were disappointed how we played first half. Second half we came out on the front foot and were more aggressive and Ty [Tyler Walker] gets us two goals.
“The Charlton game was a game of two halves. We were fantastic first half and a good side like Charlton came back in the second. We still hit the post twice so we were unlucky.
“You always feel like you can talk to them [younger players] and help them through the game. The gaffer alluded to that in the team talk before the game.
“I’ve played with Gibbo [Lewis Gibbens] at Macclesfield and I thought he was outstanding again [on Tuesday]. Lawsy [Jason Law] at left-back put in a fantastic performance.
“Alistair [Smith] stepped up and Blakey [Nyle Blake] gets a goal as well. On a whole, it was a real positive for the club.
“It’s all a learning curve [for the younger players]. I’m still learning myself. On the whole, everyone was fantastic and puts the club in good stead for the future.”
Stags welcome the local rivals of Sweeney’s parent club to One Call Stadium on Saturday in Port Vale, and the centre-back maintains that it is important to focus on what Mansfield do best on the day.
“Tom Pope has scored goals wherever he’s been in his career. He’s always going to be a handful.
“It’s important that we focus on ourselves. We need to be aware of the opposition’s strengths but it’s important that once we nullify their threats on the day we stick to what we’ve been doing.
“We have a couple of days to prepare for Saturday, and as always we will give it 100%. We’ll start on the front foot and hopefully we can get the three points.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Ryan’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Sweeney impressed by Mansfield Town’s emerging young talent
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 15 November 2018
Although still only 21 years old himself, Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney found himself one of the more experienced players in a Mansfield Town shirt during Tuesday’s 3-2 Checkatrade Trophy win over Scunthorpe United. With three youngsters making full debuts, two others in the starting line-up and another coming on as substitute, Sweeney and his fellow first team regulars spent the game giving guidance and helping ease the club’s stars of the future through one of the most memorable nights of their life.
“Against Scunthorpe on Tuesday the fans who came down got to see a lot of the young talent who are coming through and train with us on a daily basis,” said Sweeney. “They were all excellent so it was a good night. It’s never easy making your debut as the level from U23s to first team football is pretty big.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/sweeney-impressed-by-mansfield-town-s-emerging-young-talent-1-9445789
“We talked to them to try to help them through the game. It was mostly positional things. It’s a learning curve and obviously I am still learning myself. “As the gaffer said before the game - we’ve all been there and had that experience of making our first team debut. It’s one to remember.
“I played with Gibbo (Lewis Gibbens) at Macclesfield and I thought he was outstanding again, Jason Law at left back put in a fantastic performance, Alistair (Smith) has just come back off a loan period and stepped up and acquitted himself very well, and Blakey (Nyle Blake) scored a goal as well.
“So, as a whole, it was a really positive night for the club. That experience on Tuesday night will stand them in good stead for the future.”
Sweeney can still vividly remember his own Football League debut in 2015. He said: “I came on as a sub for Wimbledon away at Dagenham & Redbridge when we were 4-0 down. “I came on and played the last 10 minutes and then I started the following game against Oxford and we drew 0-0. They are fond memories.”
Now the Republic of Ireland U21 international is happy with how he has fitted into the division’s second meanest defence as he enjoys his loan spell from Stoke City.
“I think I am doing okay, but there’s still a lot I want to improve on to develop my game,” he said.
“It was always a transitional period at the start, getting used to what the gaffer wants from me. “Now I am settled in I think my performances have gone from strength to strength. Hopefully that can continue.”
Ryan Sweeney eager for Mansfield Town to return to league action
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
After two successive cup games, Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney says the Stags can’t wait to return to the League Two promotion chase when Port Vale provide the opposition in Stags’ fourth successive home game tomorrow (3pm).
Mansfield are on a run of 13 games unbeaten and defender Sweeney said: “We are itching to get back into League action and we are all looking forward to it. “We are more where we want to be now in terms of the league table. But I still think we have another few gears to go through.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/ryan-sweeney-eager-for-mansfield-town-to-return-to-league-action-1-9446845
“If I am being honest, in terms of performances we should be higher. “But we’ve still not hit that really good run where we put consecutive wins together. Hopefully, starting Saturday, we can pick up back-to-back League wins which will really push us in the right direction.
“We are starting to be more clinical in our performances now. There were a lot of games earlier in the season when we dominated but didn’t get the result we wanted.”
Sweeney is enjoying the passing game from the back being implemented by boss David Flitcroft. “When we are on the ball we are not a team that just wants to chuck it forward or play percentage football,” he said. “We want to try to pass it out the back and make good angles for each other. “When we are out of possession we are very no-nonsense and we like to be an aggressive back three off the ball.”
As a youngster from Stoke City, Sweeney said he’d had no problem being pitched into football at this level. “It’s not been about adapting to League Two football for me, just more about adapting to what the manager wants in terms of playing style,” he said. “That was always going to take a couple of weeks. He has put his trust in me and that can only help me when the manager has confidence in you.
“We all pride ourselves on putting in a good performance individually, once you do that it all comes together in a collective team performance. “But you can’t take anything for granted. Once you take your foot off the gas and get a little bit comfortable, that’s when things start to go go wrong. “I know that would never happen here in terms of the way we train and the way the gaffer has the environment set up.
“We all set high standards of each other in the changing room and you can see that out on the pitch.”
Sweeney will come up against experienced Vale top scorer Tom Pope on Saturday. “Tom Pope has scored goals wherever he’s been in his career, so he’s always going to be a handful,” he said. “I think it’s important we focus on ourselves, but you always need to be aware of opposition strengths and what certain players can bring to the table on the day. “It’s important that once we nullify their threats ton the day then we stick to what we have been doing as it’s been pretty successful this season. “We back ourselves to give anyone a test in this division.”
Latest | November 2018