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Archived News from March 2019

8th March 2019 0:31

Manager sets ‘challenge’ in absence of top scorer
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 28 February 2019

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that being without top scorer Tyler Walker for this weekend’s game against Cheltenham is a ‘blow,’ yet has put faith in his charges to secure victory in the Sky Bet League Two clash.

Mansfield are without several strikers for this weekend’s match, which has led to the manager ‘challenging’ his players to act as goal threats from ‘around the pitch.’

He says the key to victory against the Robins is getting his players into goal-scoring positions as often as possible.

“It [losing Tyler Walker] is a blow,” said the gaffer. “Tyler understands what he’s done and is very remorseful - we’ve put it behind us. He’s trained brilliantly this week.


“We’re without Tyler but now it’s a case of the rest of the squad having to step up in his absence. We have to make sure that we get goals from around the pitch.

“It’s just about getting players into goal-scoring positions. It’s a team thing, that as the manager I am responsible for.

“It’s a big opportunity for the players and Nicky [Ajose] is no different. He wanted to come [here] and make an impact, and show everyone what a good player he is.

“I’ve put the challenge down to all of the players to fill the big boots of Tyler’s absence.”

This weekend’s game marks the third and final ‘under-18s go free offer’ of the season, put in place by chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford.

David Flitcroft says it is ‘great’ that the club are finding ways to bring the next generation of fans to One Call Stadium.

“A friend of mine was at the game on Saturday and said that the place was bouncing and that the environment was fantastic. That’s what I feel as a manager.

“The lads love playing at home and there is that vibe. Hopefully they [under-18s who retrieved free tickets] have been a part of it - they’ve seen us win twice.

“They will hopefully come down when the offer is off. It’s great that our club has been able to put it [offer] on and try and drive more fans in.

“It’s a good place [here], and it has been for a year on a Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, as the weather picks up, it’s a great afternoon to come to the One Call.”

We host Cheltenham Town for Saturday’s clash, a side that the Stags’ manager described as an ‘excellent’ opponent, when referring to our 2-2 draw against the Robins earlier this season.

“They [Cheltenham] play a similar system to us and he [Michael Duff, manager] has given them an identity.

“I thought they were excellent against us [earlier this season] and we had to fight hard to claw the game back.

“You have to respect everyone and there are some really good managers in League Two and League One. We respect all of our opponents.

“It’s really important that our group of players focus on what it means to represent Mansfield. If we come off those values, we’re not as competitive.

“I enjoy watching us as a team when we’re in full flow - I enjoy watching us compete. Now it’s time to kick on and put teams to the sword. The players are certainly up for that.

“We’ve had a really strong week. It’s been very competitive [in training] and the players have responded in a manner that I wanted them to.

“As a team they want to be a part of a winning formula. Our home form is up there with the best and we have to make sure that we continue that.”

The manager also provided an update on striker Danny Rose, who suffered a broken jaw in this month’s trip to Newport County.

David Flitcroft says the forward has responded positively to a recent operation.

“It’s been really positive [with Rose]. Obviously he’s had the operation and over the week he’s started to get more substance and food in him. He’s lost around three or four kilograms.

“We’re building that up now. He’s out on the grass again - not with the first team - with our medical staff.

“We’ll step it up this week. I can’t give a definitive [date of return] but the signs are looking really good.

“From where he was at, I thought he was out for the season. But his operation was really successful and we have to see what he’s like when he’s back in contact [training]. Hopefully we’ll have him back sooner rather than later.”

The manager was also highly complimentary of Stags’ academy staff, who he says helped Mansfield’s first team players generate a response from the recent back-to-back away defeats.

“It’s really important that we focus on what our Mansfield Town looks like and how it plays. We’ve connected back with that,” said the Stags’ boss.

“Sometimes it takes a couple of defeats to bring everyone back together, and we certainly did that.

“I can only thank the academy for what they did, as they brought their under-18s up to play against us, then the under-21s on the Thursday.

“Since I’ve walked in the building, the support I’ve had from the academy staff has been second to none. That’s what, for me, makes a great club.

“You always have to think about the short term, and the short term is getting results. But I never ignore the medium and long term, because we have good young players at the club.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.


David Flitcroft told iFollow Stags:
“I can only thank the academy for what they did, as they brought their under-18s up to play against us, then the under-21s on the Thursday.

“Since I’ve walked in the building, the support I’ve had from the academy staff, from Mark Hawkins, from John Dempster, Richard Cooper, Mike Whitlow, has been second to none.

"That’s what, for me, makes a great club. When you've got that connection, that pathway. Making sure you've got clean lines. It's really important.

"They've got that hope that they can get into the first team at some point.

"It's important for me as a manager to make sure you're planning for that. But you've also got to think about the short term and our short term is about getting results. But I never ignore the medium and long term.

"We've got good young players at the club and we're looking at whether they'll get contracts for next season. The football club does it realy well, it cares for young players. We've had a lot of meetings this week to make sure there is a pathway for those young players."


Forest loanee Tyler Walker forgiven for red card madness as Mansfield Town prepare for his ban
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft admitted it was a huge blow to lose 21-goal striker Tyler Walker to a needless suspension for the next two games. But Flitcroft said the young Forest loanee had been forgiven for his one-fingered gesture to a linesman and called on the rest of the side to dig Walker out with goals in his absence ahead of Saturday’s visit of Cheltenham Town.

“I could sit here and tell you we’ll just move on and everything will be great, but it is a blow,” said Flitcroft. “Tyler understands what he has done. He is very remorseful.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/forest-loanee-tyler-walker-forgiven-for-red-card-madness-as-mansfield-town-prepare-for-his-ban-1-9621965

“It was totally out of character and out of synch for the person he is. We have put it behind us. “We have forgiven him and he has trained brilliantly with us this week.

“We are without Tyler. He has been our talisman this season, but now we have challenged the rest of the team to step up and make sure we get goals from all around the pitch.

“We put more crosses in on Saturday than we have done all season, so there was a real intent to go and hurt Forest Green. Now, as a coaching staff, we must make sure we get players in goalscoring positions without Tyler.”

He added: "The biggest disappointment for Tyler is that I have asked him to get that magic 30 and he now misses two games. It’s a lesson he has to learn. “Sometimes young players need that. They will make mistakes. He will be better on the other side of that - more hungry and more ambitious to go and get the goals to help us achieve promotion.

“We will miss him and he will miss not being available and being able to add to his goals tally. He is desperate to score more goals for us.”


Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft offers solidarity as rivals Notts County face winding-up order
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

As worries grow over the future of neighbours Notts County, Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has every sympathy with his rivals’ plight and hopes they survive. Already up for sale, Notts have now been issued with a winding up petition by HM Revenue and Customs, owing £200,000, after Magpies chairman Alan Hardy’s Paragon Interiors company went into administration.

Flitcroft, who had a taste of this when he was at Chester City, is now hoping the world’s oldest Football League club can pull through as they have done in the past.

“There are not many clubs that have gone to the wall,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-offers-solidarity-as-rivals-notts-county-face-winding-up-order-1-9622312

“I was at Chester when they went into administration and it’s not a good place. “We had a players’ pool clawing money for people. It was for the lads with new families that we clubbed together and got resource for them. “Any company or club that might go into administration - there are lives at stake. People have mortgages to pay.”

Flitcroft said money worries were very real for players at the bottom end of the Football League as opposed to the Premier League’s multi-millionaires. “You can say what you want about football, and we hear about astronomical, crazy figures at the top,” he said. “But League Two and League One players earn an honest wage.

“There are general workmen out there that earn more money than that. “And they have got mortgages to pay. So it could be difficult if the club go into administration.

“A lot of people could lose their jobs. You don’t want that in any walk of life, not just football.”

Forest loanee Tyler Walker forgiven for red card madness as Mansfield Town prepare for his ban Flitcroft said that seeing County’s plight underlined how well Mansfield Town is currently being run by John and Carolyn Radford. “We are lucky at Mansfield. We have phenomenal owners that have supported this club incredibly,” he said.

“We are in a good place. The next part of the plan is to try to create sustainability throughout the club from the academy and have a wave of players that are assets.

“A year ago there were not too many assets at the club but we are developing them daily. “Hopefully over a period of time we will have a sustainable club from an absolute solid standpoint and that’s what we are all striving for.”


Hopes rising that Danny Rose can return for Mansfield Town within a couple of weeks
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

Mansfield Town are now hoping striker Danny Rose can recover from his serious facial injuries to be back in contention in a couple of weeks. From potentially being out for the season, optimism is growing that Rose can come back far sooner than expected after an operation to mend a double break of his jaw from the Newport defeat almost three weeks ago. Although very underweight after being forced to ensure a liquid diet, Rose is progressing quickly and ultimately it will be down to the player to be mentally ready for physical contact once more.

Boss David Flitcroft said: “Hopefully we will have Danny back fit in the next couple of weeks depending on how his recovery goes. There is hope and I am a real optimist.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/hopes-rising-that-danny-rose-can-return-for-mansfield-town-within-a-couple-of-weeks-1-9622458

“I can’t give a definitive date but the signs are looking good. From where we were at, I thought he was out for the season and that was the general consensus then. “But the operation was really successful and positive and we have go to see what he’s like when he comes back into contact in and around the training ground.

“Hopefully we will have him back sooner than later. It’s given me a lot of hope. “It’s been really positive since he had the operation.“

Rose is working on upping his fitness and food intake at the moment.

Flicroft said: “This week he has started to get more food in him. He has lost about three and half to four kilos - a big weight loss. “We are building that up now with supplements.

“He is back out on the grass again now and out of the gym. “He is not with the first team, just the medical staff. We have got to step it up this week.”


On loan Charlton Athletic striker Nicky Ajose has ‘a big opportunity’ at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

As the only available striker out of five, on-loan Charlton forward Nicky Ajose knows he has a massive opportunity to take advantage of a two-game ban for top scorer Tyler Walker. Ajose has only scored once since he arrived and his contract at The Valley is up this summer.

“I have said it to all the players - every game now is a big opportunity - and Nicky is no different,” said manager David Flitcroft.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/on-loan-charlton-athletic-striker-nicky-ajose-has-a-big-opportunity-at-mansfield-town-1-9625281?fbclid=IwAR2uBlRbEU7wM7J5XjlhGwiBTJwHCB8fnRYlJatUmFaDZhspjZTEuTQY3og

“He has come here when he could have sat at Charlton and probably played the last five or six games of the season.

“He wanted to come here and make an impact. He wanted to show everybody what a good player he is. He has got out his comfort zone to come to Mansfield and try to help us gain promotion.

“But the challenge goes down to all the players. It’s really important we all have the responsibility of filling big boots in Tyler’s absence.”

Stags have Walker suspended and Craig Davies, Danny Rose and Jordan Graham out injured, leaving a severely depleted forward department.


Mansfield Town David Flitcroft assures fans - and his mum - no-one should take Cheltenham Town for granted
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has assured fans - and his mother - that no one should take revitalised Cheltenham Town for granted when the visit on Saturday. With Stags back on top form last weekend and the Robins looking safe but having lost four in a row without scoring away from home, some may see Saturday as a home banker.

Flitcroft said: “That is football in general, not just here in Mansfield. Supporters do look at that. “My mum does exactly the same. I get that text saying they are sat there in the league so you’ll win the game. It’s what people do.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-david-flitcroft-assures-fans-and-his-mum-no-one-should-take-cheltenham-town-for-granted-1-9625221

“But throughout my football life as a player, coach and manager you have to respect everyone equally and you have to respect there are some really good managers down in Leagues One and Two. I have been brought up with those values and you never take anybody lightly.

"What we have is the ‘intel’ from their last three away games and doing the research on that. We are able to put real detail into it and you uncover the truth behind it that we are coming up against a good team.”

Cheltenham have pulled clear of the drop zone under new boss Michael Duff. “Michael has resurged this team and got them in a good place from where they were,” said Flitcroft.

“The manager could have stayed safe and stayed in an academy job. “Instead he had the ambition to go and manage a League club and another good young manager has come into the league.

“He has done brilliantly with that challenge. They will, come here organised, structured well and fight for every ball. “He has given them an identity and stuck with that. “They play a similar system to us. I thought they were excellent against us and we had to fight really hard to claw the game back.”

However, he added: “Like I always say when asked about the opposition, it is really important this group of players focuses on what it mean to represent Mansfield Town.

“If we come off those values we are not as competitive or as bright with the ball. “If the lads respond to that then I enjoy watching us in full flow. I also enjoy the fact we have the best defensive record. “People know our home record is good and they want to unravel that. Cheltenham will be no different.”

Stags were back on form last weekend as they put the successive defeats at Newport and Notts County behind them.

“Sometimes it takes a couple of defeats to refocus and bring everyone back together,” he said. “We certainly did that in the week leading up to the result.

“I can only thank the Academy for what they did for us. They brought our U18s up from Brooksby College to play against us and then the U21s on the Thursday too. “That gave us a chance to really structure training with having the reserve game too.”

Stags will be without suspended striker Tyler Walker but will welcome back centre half Ryan Sweeney after completing his two-game ban.


‘The lads love playing at home’ - Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

Mansfield Town are hoping for another bumper crowd when they have their third and final free tickets for U18s offer for Saturday’s visit of Cheltenham Town.

Over 1,000 took up the offer against Macclesfield and over 800 last week against Forest Green in crowds of 5,642 and 5,256 respectively.

Boss David Flitcroft said the extra numbers had added to the atmosphere and made a big difference towards the two wins.

“Absolutely they have helped,” he smiled. “A pal of mine who I used to play with was at the game on Saturday.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/the-lads-love-playing-at-home-mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-1-9625268

“He said he used to come to Mansfield and it was quite volatile at times. That’s the way it was. That’s what he remembered. “But on Saturday he said the place was bouncing and rocking. The environment was fantastic. That’s what I feel as a manager.

“The lads love playing at home - there is that vibe.”

Flitcroft is hoping the U18s will be back on Saturday and then consider coming regularly. “They have seen us win twice and been a part of it. Now I hoe they will come down when the offer is off,” he said. “It’s fantastic that at this time of the season our club has been able to put that on and try to drive new fans into the club. “It’s a good place on a Saturday afternoon and it has been for a year.”


A happy first anniversary for David Flitcroft after successful first year in charge at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

David Flitcroft celebrates his first anniversary as Mansfield Town manager today with much to be pleased about. Within 12 months, after a sticky start, he has produced one of the most entertaining squads in the club’s recent history and has them on course for a top three automatic promotion finish - here are his thoughts on his first year in charge.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/a-happy-first-anniversary-for-david-flitcroft-after-successful-first-year-in-charge-at-mansfield-town-1-9622896

Today marks the first anniversary of David Flitcroft taking over as Mansfield Town manager - and he is delighted with the progress made after a very difficult start.

When Steve Evans walked out on the club with just 12 games to go and the club in the promotion mix, poor results and failure to make the play-offs were the worst start possible for Flitcroft and assistant Ben Futcher.

But the pair had a vision for the sort of team they wanted and the exciting football they wanted to play, and that has now been realised in a superbly entertaining campaign that sees them in the top three with 12 to play.

Flitcroft said that could only have been done with the massive backing of chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford whose ambition he shares and wants to deliver in the future.

Twelve months ago the snow lay thick on the ground as Flitcroft was introduced to the media and a year on, he said: “We have made progress.

“Every club you go into, you want to make it a better place.

“We have certainly connected people. There is a connection between us and the academy and between the fans and the players, as well as between the staff.

“The first two months were as difficult as any job I've ever had at any football club. It was a wrestle and a struggle.

“I knew what I wanted the team to look like. I knew what vision I had for the team.

“Me and Futch have spent six years together planning the detail. We lived with each other for a year down in Swindon and put together a real plan of what a team can look like if you get that time.

“We have tried to deliver that.”

Flitcroft said he believed he had made the club a happy place to go to work which he feels is massively important in people's lives.

“The biggest thing for me is when I see people, whether it's the office staff, the ground staff, administration, the press, all our staff - they love coming in to work,” he said.

“They love being at Mansfield Town and that is something I wanted from day one.

“But it was difficult as without the results it makes it harder.

“We have done that this season and it's something I am really proud of.

“That fact is that the football looks right too and the values are out there on the pitch and they have been really consistent.

“When it's a place where everybody wants to come to work then you know you're in a good place.”

Flitcroft is certainly relishing coming into work every day and said he has now understood the club's full potential which excites him.

“I have had a brilliant time and I know I am lucky to be in football,” he said.
“I don't see it as work. It's a job where, if we can keep progressing, the opportunities are massive.

“It has so much potential here that I probably didn't see when I was an opposing manager.

“You have only got to meet the owners and the board to understand how that potential can be realised through infrastructure, building and having a vision.”

After seeing two crowds over 5,000 through free ticket offers for U18s, he admitted: “The potential is phenomenal.

“The last two games have shown me that with the offers they have put on, there is an opportunity to go to six, seven, eight thousand in this town.

“The town wants to get behind our chairman, Carolyn and this team.

“So it's exciting being able to deliver that and that is what I have enjoyed about this year - understanding what Mansfield wants and what it represents.

“It was difficult to see at first as you are very much results-driven. Now I have been able to offer up a team that our supporters want to see.

“I certainly enjoy watching us when we are good. When we are absolutely on it we are a really good team.”

Stags' promotion fate is now in their own hands with the last 12 games looming and he said: “Now this is the big hurdle.

“It's like the Grand National and you are coming up to Becher's Brook - the big one you have to focus for. “That's something we have to put all our energy and effort into.

“It's something you work on every day. I do feel as though supporters want us here which is important. Certainly our staff do.

“I see a lot of people wanting Mansfield to do well and that's because of our owners to be honest and how they have gone about leading the club.

“They have built something that looks right and feels right - really super-professional.

“For me the owners epitomise what Mansfield is about and where it can reach. You can see the potential and hope they offer is all. It's something that engages me every day.”

Fans have told Flitcroft the football he is offering is the best they have watched in years and he said: “That's the thing that gives me most pleasure when supporters, who have been supporting the club a lot of years say that.

“That's one thing I knew I could offer if I had the time as I said from day one that all the work comes from the training ground.

“I love being on the training ground - that's my office.

“It is about entertainment. You are paying your money for something.

“If you go to the cinema or theatre you want to be entertained. If it's not very good, you complain about it. “I have not got it wrong too often at home this season and I have really enjoyed some of the home performances.

“The technical aspect has really improved from a year ago and that is not just down to recruitment. It's down to working with players.”

Although a joy to watch going forward, the manager said it was crucial his side also boasted the division's best goals against record.

“You look at all the top sides and football and whatever you say about Man City and how good they are, they have one of the best defensive records and did last season,” he said.

“Liverpool are top this season, though haven't scored enough goals.

“But they don't need to as they have gone and got a brilliant goalkeeper and one of the best centre halves in the league in Van Dijk. It's important how it's all mixed together.”


Bumper home crowd aids Stags, says Jones
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 28 February 2019

Wing-back Gethin Jones commended the extra support created by Stags’ under-18s go free offer which will again be in operation for this Saturday’s clash against Cheltenham Town.

Jones noted that the offer - that has already seen bumper crowds for previous home outings against Macclesfield Town and Forest Green Rovers - is something that gives Mansfield an extra boost.

“I haven’t been used to that with other clubs,” the Welshman began. “I think it’s really good that Mansfield do that for the younger people to come down and watch.


“It definitely helped us on Saturday getting the atmosphere going, and it helped us get across the line.

“Coming into the game against Forest Green we worked hard on the training pitch and went back to our roots. We played really well and the lads were buzzing about the result.”

Jones secured a temporary switch to One Call Stadium at the back-end of last month as he sought regular first-team opportunities.

The wing-back has subsequently made five appearances for his current side - including two starts in the Stags’ previous two matches - and will be pushing for his third against Cheltenham Town this Saturday.

He cited Stags’ boss David Flitcroft as a key figure behind his quick integration into his role with Mansfield.

“He [Flitcroft] has helped me a lot with different aspects,” he continued. “On Saturday I was able to get a few shots off, which is not normally like me, but I was really happy with the performance.

“Getting up the pitch is not something I’ve been used to in the past but I’m getting more used to it with training; working hard on the training pitch means it’ll come off on Saturdays too.

“I played there a few times when I was with Everton, but obviously the last two years [with Fleetwood] had mainly been as a right-back.

“I know how to play the position and the gaffer’s been helping me on how to play it the best kind of way.

“When I was at Fleetwood it was four at the back so I was playing more defensively - but playing as a right wing-back is something I like to do, so I can drive forward with the ball. I’m really enjoying it.”

The 23-year-old, who is a product of the Everton academy, has been with the Stags for exactly a month and admitted it has been easy to settle into a good environment.

“I’ve settled in really well. I know all the players now, they’ve been really welcoming, and the staff have been good with me too.

“I moved up here to stay three or four times week in the house with Ryan Sweeney - he’s good as well.

“I’ve walked into a really good environment. All the lads are buzzing with how they’ve played this season and it’s something that I’ve thrived off.

“We played alright in the first few games and then dipped a bit with some results, but the performance we put out against Forest Green on Saturday is exactly what the lads are all about.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Gethin's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

To read more about our FREE ticket offer for under-18s ahead of this weekend's match against Cheltenham Town at One Call Stadium, click here.


Gethin Jones hoping to finish the season on a high with Mansfield Town after a frustrating start to the campaign at Fleetwood Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 28 February 2019

Gethin Jones is hoping to put a frustrating first half of the season behind him and finish on a high with loan club Mansfield Town. The defender, on loan at the One Call Stadium from his parent club Fleetwood Town, has made five appearances for the Stags since his January switch.

It followed eight appearances for the Cod Army up until that point, but the 23-year-old is eager to make his mark between now and the end of the current campaign.

“It’s been a frustrating season so far but hopefully one that could end in something special,” said Jones.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/gethin-jones-hoping-to-finish-the-season-on-a-high-with-mansfield-town-after-a-frustrating-start-to-the-campaign-at-fleetwood-town-1-9623188

“There were other clubs that came in for me in January but I wasn’t too sure on them. “After the gaffer [David Flitcroft] phoned me and told me his philosophy of play and what the club wants to achieve, I then looked at the results and fixtures and where Mansfield were in the league table, before making a decision.”

And added: “The main thing for me in the January that’s just gone is to play football and I thought Mansfield would be the perfect place for me.

Jones, a product of the Everton academy, is contracted at Fleetwood until the end of the 2019/20 season. He joined the club following a loan spell in the second half of last season.


Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff's interview ahead of Mansfield Town away
By Jon Palmer, 28 FEB 2019


Two home wins, how does that set you up to go and test yourselves against one of the top teams?
Well the next two are against two of the top three so they are both going to be difficult. We need to find a performance away from home. Home form is clearly good, confident and knock the ball around well at home. Away from home we need to show a bit more resilience and a little bit more quality with the ball, so that's what we'll be looking to do.

What is needed to make the resilience happen?
It's taking the confidence from home performances into away. It's still green, white lines with a referee and 22 players, so it's a psychology. But then we've flipped it from the home form because we had a couple of good away wins before I came in at Cambridge and Northampton and we couldn't win at home. That happens in football and it goes in cycles. It's getting the players to believe in themselves because you don't become a bad team because you've had to go on a bus to a game. So it's getting them to believe in themselves and and make no mistake, it's going to be difficult. We could be turn up and be brilliant and still get beaten on Saturday because they are a very good team. But it's more, can we find a performance. The last away performance we did show grit and determination because I think personally it should have been a 0-0 game, but it wasn't so we have to dust ourselves and take this opportunity to put things right.

Is it one of those jobs you have to do in stages, or can you make great leaps?
The players know what we want from them and they know what they need to deliver as well. If you take the last two away games for example, at Colchester we were beaten 3-0, which I described as the worst performance since I've been here, but there have not been many of them. It happens in football and they did show a reaction at Grimsby, backing that up with two good performances and two wins at home since then. You are always looking to improve, it doesn't matter where you are in the league, no matter what league you are in or what age you are. You should always be looking to improve.

Does the return of the likes of Will Boyle help you go there and be a little bit more confident about yourselves?
It's up to the players to deliver performances. You look at the bench and it was strong, probably the strongest squad since I've been here. People like Lloydy (George Lloyd) and Manny (Duku) missing out. Other than Alex (Addai) and Nigel (Atangana) now, they are the only two injuries. We have a good group to hopefully pick the right team and hopefully get a result.

Manny Duku has gone on loan to FC Halifax Town. Is that something you have been working towards for a while?
No, not working towards, but an opportunity came up. I have had plenty of discussions with Manny. He has another year here so it's not like we are trying to throw him out of the door or anything like that. Where he's come from he needs to be playing football, he needs exposure at the level. It's a level down, but it's higher than where he was. The more minutes he can get and the more football he can get. I spoke about the same thing with Jacob Maddox last week. Chelsea have sent him for the same things, experiences. You can train and train and train, but when it means something, learning from better players, even going to a different part of the country, different manager, being asked different questions, are all things that will benefit him and us hopefully.

What do you make of Mansfield and their style of play?
Similar to us in regards to the shape they play, normally with a three, but they can flip it. When we played them at home earlier in the season they went 3-5-2. We started really well and they changed to a 4-3-3 second half and really had us camped in. They have good players and a good manager and there is no getting away from that. It's going to be a big crowd there I'd imagine, expecting them to win. We know all those things, but it's more about what we can do. Can we find a performance to nick a result? Hopefully you go and look for a win, but where we've been, we need to score a goal, that's the first thing and look more of a threat.

How are Tyrone Barnett and Luke Varney's fitness levels?
They are all fit. I'd imagine there will be a few knocks and a few carrying something, but it's very rare you go into a game feeling absolutely brand new. We don't put them on the pitch if we feel there is a risk. Last week could have been seen as a risk, but as we've seen in the past, especially with muscle injuries, with Luke Varney, he missed Monday and Tuesday, but he trained on Friday and came through a few tests and he was seen as fit and he played 84 or 85 minutes. Everyone involved is ready to play. Earlier, people like Sean Long, because we had a bout of short term injuries, he was on the bench but he wouldn't have been able to come on after five minutes purely down to minutes played. We had a behind-closed-doors against West Brom on Monday and all the players who haven't been playing, all came through.

How difficult is it now picking a team?
Thats' a good problem to have. You look around and the players look around, they are not stupid and they know they need to turn up and play because they are looking over their shoulder now. Just because the last team won doesn't mean that will be the next team that plays. There are different things you look at tactically and whether you tweak the shape. It's good competition for places and demand from each other - that's what you want. You don't just want to be able to just pick the same 11 players all the time.

How many minutes did Sean Long play for in the West Brom game?
I think it was around 70 minutes and it was a good game, at their training ground. They had eight or nine first team players out so it was a good run out and what we needed.

Does he need a lot more minutes, or is he close to being in contention now?
It's a difficult one for Longy at the minute because he's been out for a long time. When you do a pre-season you do a full pre-season, not just 30 minutes, 60 minutes and then hit the ground running. You play five or six pre-season friendlies for a reason, so he is now at a point where he'll feel ready, which is good. We'll also feel a lot more confident if we had to throw him in. Is he ready? There is no ideal scenario sometimes and it's needs must. That's how people get into the team sometimes. I don't think anyone saw Ryan Broom as a wing-back, but the change of shape meant he landed on it and he's found a niche position for himself. It's not an exact science.

Did Johnny Mullins come through it well too?
Yes, he played with no reaction from that because last time he played there was a reaction. That's a positive and one that's been out who is pushing.

Would you like to get anyone else out on loan now?
Sometimes it comes to you. We have had a conversation with Lloydy and we don't want him to go anywhere now. We want to do some work with him and he's played enough football. Rather than learning on the job he can learn with us now. Whether he's involved or not, he's in and around it. Same with Matt (Bower).

You are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone, how much better do you think you are now than when you took the job?
The main thing is we have a bit more of a structure to us and the players are definitely fitter. I put that one to bed quite a long time ago because we worked hard quite early to change the intensity of training and things. It's where we finish really. It's easy to set little markers, but where we finish in the league will allow us to take stock and see what we are really.

Is the aim now to finish top of the bottom third, with Northampton the next team to catch?
Yes, but we are taking every game as it comes. We've been eight points clear a couple of times and nearly been sucked back in. We have two of the top three next, so there are no guarantees we are going to pick anything up and you don't know what's going to happen below you. Yes we are looking forward, but we are always aware of what's over our shoulder. It's been like that all season and we've always been looking over our shoulder, but we aren't only looking one way and we want to finish as high as we can. Nothing has changed there, but we are aware we aren't out of any sort of trouble yet.

You very nearly beat Mansfield at home (2-2 draw)
It was only the second or third game we'd played with this formation, while they have been doing it a long time. The players turned up, delivered a good performance and showed resilience and a good mentality and were unlucky really. We held on in the second half after they changed to a 4-3-3. It was a tough one to take in the end, but we've had a few for and a few against, but if we can deliver another performance like the one we did at home, hopefully it'll be another good game.


Preview: Bingham on Mansfield

Rakish Bingham returns to Mansfield as a Cheltenham Town player on Saturday and he'll be looking to help the Robins cause a League Two upset at the One Call Stadium.

The pacey forward, who signed on deadline day in January, turned out for the Stags during the 2014-15 campaign after leaving Wigan Athletic.

Despite coming inches away from scoring his first goal for the club against Cambridge United when Jake Carroll handled his finish on the line, with the Cambridge defender subsequently earning a red card, Bingham is looking to notch for the first time since moving to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium and Saturday's game at his old club offers the perfect opportunity.

"We've had back-to-back wins now and anyone would tell you that back-to-backs wins, or any sort of win, will lift the place and the atmosphere. I think now the lads are really confident, and even the lads who aren't involved are a great bunch of lads and want to do their bit for the team to help carry on winning," Bingham said ahead of this weekend's fixture.

"This will be the first time for three years I've gone back there. I went back there with Hartlepool. They are doing well at the minute and it'll be a tough game. It's good to see them doing as well as they're doing but we want to go there and take the sting out their tail.

"The full focus is on us. At the end of the day we have been doing well - even in the games where we haven't quite got the result. At Grimsby we were quite resilient and it should have been a 0-0 game, and obviously the two back-to-back wins we've done really well. We're on a good run of form. It's important not to get too carried away with it because Mansfield are doing really well at the minute."


Rakish Bingham - "I had nothing but good memories at Mansfield. I scored on my debut. I've not got anything negative to say about Mansfield".



Latest | March 2019