DEMPSTER REACTION / MACDONALD SCAN CLEAR
Manager discusses 'pleasing' pre-season camp
Mansfield boss John Dempster has reflected on a highly 'pleasing' pre-season training camp in Portugal, during which he says his players have been 'challenged.'
The Stags spent ten days in Amendoeira as part of their demanding pre-season trip, which included training matches against Glasgow Rangers and Championship side Swansea City.
John Dempster says that the camp was 'incredible' in terms of preparing his players for the new season.
“We got what we wanted out of the ten days - we put a lot of work into the boys, mainly physical work, and had two brilliant games against excellent opposition," said the boss, speaking after the narrow defeat to Championship side Swansea on Saturday.
“I’m really pleased with how the trip has gone. I’ve got to know the boys a bit better and they’ve been challenged over the last ten days.
“It [trip to Portugal] has been incredible for me. I’m a new manager, so to be part of a pre-season trip with such excellent facilities, I couldn’t ask for anymore.
“[We put in] two really good performances in the game against Rangers and today [Saturday] against Swansea, who are Championship opposition.
“I was disappointed to concede late goals in both halves [against Swansea], but there were plenty of positives.
“I was really impressed with the shape and how the players worked together to make sure there were no gaps for Swansea to play through.
“It was pleasing that Nicky Maynard got on the scoresheet. It was typical Nicky, a ball in the box which ends up with him, and he puts it into the back of the net.
“Our centre-forwards at the football club will want to be scoring goals, whether that be in training, pre-season games, or when we get down to the real business. It’s about good habits.
“Nicky clearly has good habits, which is why he has lasted a number of years in the game, and the reason why he has the record he has.
“With some of the build-up play, I’d like to see us be a bit more clinical in the final third with shots and crosses. But the general effort from every individual was there for all to see.”
The gaffer also spoke of the 'exceptional' support from the Stags' faithful, who flew out in their numbers to attend Friday's open training session and Saturday's clash against Swansea.
“It [playing each half with a different lineup] was about blending young and old. We managed to get both XIs out with a different blend.
“We’ll look to do a similar thing in the next pre-season games. Then it will be about getting the minute bank up, building into the Newport game on the opening day of the season.
“The support over the ten-day trip has been exceptional from the hardcore supporters, as I call them! To see them here today [Saturday] is really special.
“I’ve been at this football club for a long time, but when I see some of those supporters, they’ve been here even longer.
“It’s been great to see them [fans]. They’re in a vibrant mood and there is a good mood around the club in general.”
The manager also revealed that he is still looking to add 'two or three' players to his squad.
“It [transfer activity] is ongoing. It’s about being patient. If you look at the signings we’ve made, we’ve probably gone for quality over quantity, and that’s always been my aim and strategy.
“We’re still looking to add two or three [players]. But those players have to be right for the football club.
“I’m confident of making at least one more permanent signing in the early part of next week [commencing Monday 08 July].”
Following the news that tireless midfielder Alex MacDonald had returned to the UK early to have a precautionary scan on his knee, John Dempster revealed that the results from the scan returned clear.
“We got Macca [Alex MacDonald] straight home because he was quite emotional about where he felt he was with the injury.
“He said it felt very similar to the two times he has had problems before. But we’ve had some great news that the scan is clear. It’s given me and the squad a lift.
“Macca is dancing - he’s absolutely buzzing [with the scan results]. He’s a vibrant character and a real positive person in the dressing room.
“I’m really pleased for Macca. To see him when he was leaving for home, he was really down, but then speaking to him on the phone when we got the news was a real positive.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Boss John Dempster thanks die-hard Mansfield Town fans for their support in Portugal
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster has thanked the die-hard supporters who travelled out to see the side’s 10-day training camp in Portugal first hand.
Although the first practice game against Glasgow Rangers had to be behind closed doors due to security worries, over 100 Stags fans cheered their side on in the second game against Swansea City on Saturday after many of them had also turned up to watch an open training session on Friday too.
“The support against Swansea and over the 10-day trip has been exceptional from the die-hard hardcore supporters and to see them at the game and watching us train the day before was really special,” said Dempster.
“I have been at this football club a long time. But when I look in the eyes of some of those supporters, they have been here even longer.
“I recognise a lot of faces from when I was playing which was many moons ago now. It was great to see them.
“They are in a vibrant mood and there is a good mood around the club in general.
“But I am realistic to the fact that I’ve got a job to do and I am really looking forward to when the business starts.”
Mansfield Town’s Portuguese training camp declared a huge success
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
New Mansfield Town boss John Dempster declared the club’s 10-day pre-season training camp in Portugal a huge success.
Stags flew home last night after 10 days of hard work, which included friendly games against high calibre opposition in Glasgow Rangers and Swansea City.
“All in all I am really pleased with how the trip’s gone,” said Dempster.
“It’s been incredible for me as a new manager and a younger manager. We have had excellent facilities and I couldn’t ask for any more.
“I’ve got to know the boys a bit better and they have been challenged over the last 10 days - mentally and physically - and it’s been good to see how they have reacted.
“I think we’ve got what we wanted out of the 10 days. We got a lot of work into the boys - mainly physical work.”
On the two games, he said: “We have had two brilliant games against excellent opposition.
“They were two really good performances against players that are internationals.
“I was disappointed to concede late goals in both halves against Swansea and we’ve had a chat about that. But otherwise there were real positives.
“I was really impressed with our shape and how the players worked together to make sure there were no gaps for Swansea to play through.”
New signing Nicky Maynard was quickly off the mark against Swansea and Dempster said: “It was pleasing Nicky got on the scoresheet.
“It was typical Nicky - a ball in the box from CJ (Hamilton) after an excellent switch of play from Noah Stokes to get him in, a bit of carnage in there, the ball lands to Nicky and he put it in the back of the net.
“We had some good build-up play but I’d like to see us be a bit more clinical in the final third with crosses and shots on target.
“But the general effort from every individual was there for all to see in the difficult, hot conditions.”
He added: “I tried to get a good blend of young and old in both XIs in each half and we will look to do the same in the next couple of pre-season games.
“Then it will be about getting the minutes bank up and the build-up towards the first game of the season against Newport.”
Alex MacDonald scan all-clear has given everyone a lift at Mansfield Town says boss John Dempster
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster said the all-clear scan on midfielder Alex MacDonald’s knee has given him and the whole squad a lift.
When MacDonald had to fly home early from the Stags’ pre-season training camp with what was believed to be a recurrence of a knee injury that sidelined him for much of last season, Dempster admitted the player was very upset, which had been distressing for his team mates too..
“We got Macca straight home as he was quite emotional about where he felt he was with the injury,” said Dempster.
“He said it felt very similar to the two times he has had problems before.
“But we have just had some great news that the scan is clear.
“It’s given me a lift and it’s certainly given the squad a lift. But I think Macca is dancing on the roof. He is absolutely buzzing.”
Dempster added: “He is a vibrant character - a really positive person in the dressing room - and he was even considering flying back out, he was that excited.
“I am really pleased for Macca. To see him when he was leaving to go home he was really down, emotional and quite upset.
“So to speak to him on the phone when he got the news was a real positive.”
Mansfield Town expect to make summer signing number four early this week
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town are hoping to complete their fourth signing of the summer early this week.
With strikers Andy Cook and Nicky Maynard and keeper Aidan Stone already on board, Stags CEO Carolyn Radford teased ‘next signing coming soon’ on social media last Wednesday.
All then went quiet, but manager John Dempster said: “I am confident of making at least one more signing in the early part of the week.
“We are close. It’s ongoing, as I’ve said, throughout this off season.
“It’s about being patient. If you look at the signings we’ve made we’ve probably gone for quality over quantity.
“That has always been my aim and strategy.
“We are still looking to add two or three but those players have to be right for the football club.”
SWANSEA CITY HEAD COACH STEVE COOPER RECKONED HE “GOT WHAT HE WANTED’ OUT OF THE CLUB’S OPENING PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY.
The Swans left their Spanish base for the short trip across the Portuguese border to take on Mansfield Town and concluded a hard week’s training camp with a 2-1 win.
Nicky Maynard put the League Two side ahead in the 35th minute only for Wayne Routledge to equalise on the stroke of half time.
Barrie McKay then grabbed the winner two minutes from time to round off a good workout under the strong Portuguese sun.
It was an exercise that pleased Swansea’s new boss.
“There’s a greater good to the game,’’ explained Cooper.
“There were lots of things we wanted to get out of it. It was our first game and the boys wanted to get back into match rhythm. If you are doing that and winning, then we’ll take it.
“We got what we wanted out of the game. We implemented some of the work we’ve started doing on the training field, while the physical side of it is always a big part.
“I thought we played some good stuff as well. We created some good chances and what I liked about the ones we created was that’s how we wanted to play.
Wayne runs in behind, rounds the ‘keeper and scores. Barrie comes in off the line, plays a combination and a good finish. That was pleasing.’’
Cooper fielded different sides in the respective halves of the game, although one change was enforced as young Jordon Garrick limped off with a hamstring injury after 31 minutes.
“The plan was to get everybody on the pitch for 45 because you are still working physically,’’ added Cooper.
“There’s no better way to get physical work done than by playing a game.
“We got exactly the returns we wanted from the game. There were some really good bits and some bits we know we’ll get better at.
“But it’s 45 minutes in the bank and all in all a good day.’’
There was one negative to come out of the game with the loss of Garrick, who will be assessed further on his return to Swansea next week.
“We’ll get him checked out, but hopefully it’s not too serious that he’s out for too long," said Cooper.
“He was having a big impact in the game, but he is not on trial here. We will look forward to getting him fit again and working with him throughout the season.’’