FOREST GREEN PREVIEWS
Successive victories ‘crucial’ for confidence
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 15 October 2019
Stags’ boss John Dempster has said that Saturday’s ‘outstanding’ 6-1 win over Oldham Athletic has instilled ‘more belief and confidence’ into his squad, with the victory earning the amber and blue back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Striker Nicky Maynard netted a hat-trick in a frantic first-half which saw both Tomas Egert and Filipe Morais dismissed for the Latics. The former West Ham attacker’s goals were supported by strikes from Mal Benning, Dapo Afolayan and Jimmy Knowles to secure an emphatic win.
The manager spoke of how ‘crucial’ Stags’ second successive league victory was.
“The performance was outstanding on Saturday [against Oldham],” he began. “It was vitally important to get a result because we wanted to put back-to-back wins together.
“From start to finish, we dominated. The goals we scored were brilliant to watch for everyone that was there.
“It’s crucial at League Two level [to get back-to-back wins]. We’ll be looking for more back-to-back wins over the remainder of the campaign.
“We want to be a force, in particular at home. We’re yet to set the world alight at home this season, but Saturday was the start of us going in the right direction.
“There have been times this season where we’ve had to pick players up early on in the week because we’ve had a disappointing result.
“So to be able to guide the players in the right direction and make sure they’re in the right frame of mind for the challenge ahead [Forest Green], that’s a great position to be in. The result on Saturday has instilled more belief and confidence.”
One record that was set in the match was 17-year-old forward Jimmy Knowles becoming the Stags’ youngest ever penalty scorer, beating the previous record of 17 years and 327 days, held by Peter Morris since 1961.
The manager believes the achievement could be the first of many for the young striker.
“For Jimmy [Knowles] to be in the history books already is a massive achievement and one he should be proud of.
“The way he came off the bench and performed was excellent, but to step up under pressure and enter the history books is a huge achievement.
“It’s probably a record that will stay there for a number of years. I’m sure Jimmy will stay in the history books and I’m sure he will break a few more records.
The boss also spoke of another record set in the match, which was the Stags scoring six goals in an EFL game for the first time since a 6-1 win over Tranmere in 2002: “It doesn’t matter what the scenario is in the game, if you’re entering the history books for the right reasons then they are stats to be proud of.
“Even when Oldham had 11 men on the pitch we were dominant. I’m really pleased with the performance and it was great to send the home fans away happy.”
The manager then revealed which players will feature in Tuesday afternoon’s Central League opener against Walsall reserves at Birmingham County FA Headquarters.
“In terms of senior pro’s, CJ [Hamilton] Dapo [Afolayan] and Willem Tomlinson will support an under-21 reserve side.
“But within that side will be the under-21 players who have made their league debuts this season in Alistair Smith, James Clarke and Jimmy Knowles.
“Although it will be a young side, it will be a strong side that we expect to go there and perform well.
“They are players who need game time and it will be massively beneficial for everyone for those players to play today.”
Ahead of Saturday’s match against high-flying Forest Green Rovers, the manager spoke of his relationship with Rovers’ boss Mark Cooper, along with what he expects from the game.
“I was his [Mark Cooper’s] captain at Kettering for three years so I know how he works and how professional he is.
“We’ve remained in contact since so he is someone I can call for advice and someone I respect a lot.
“You look at some of the things he’s done in the game as a manager and it’s impressive. What he’s built there over the years at Forest Green is very impressive.
“He’s been trusted to get on with the job and has a wealth of experience. He’s really excelled as a manager and is someone I can see managing at the very top level in the future.
“But there will be no love lost on Saturday, that’s for sure. He won’t be doing me any favours and I know he won’t expect any from me.
“Forest Green keep the ball well and play out from the back. They value possession and when they lose the ball they look to get after people and win it back.
“We know that they’re one of the top three footballing sides in the league, if not the best. They’ll be right up there at the end of the season.
“We’ll look at their danger players and try to exploit any spaces or weaknesses we can find, but essentially it will be about us and what we do.”
One player that will not feature in Saturday’s game at The New Lawn is Ryan Sweeney (below), after the defender picked up his fifth booking of the season against Oldham on Saturday.
The boss says that there are still plenty of defensive options available for him this weekend.
“It’s a shame because Ryan has been in fine form. He’s played a lot of games this season and will be missed.
“But we’re fortunate that Pressie [Matt Preston] is back in the fold, so he will certainly be in contention. We obviously have Conor [Shaughnessy] that can play there as well, so we have a number of different options.
“Because we have a strong squad and players who can play in a number of positions, I’m slowly starting to get the group where I need them to be.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mansfield Town will not risk goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik in reserves opener at Walsall today
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 15 October 2019
Goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik will not play in Mansfield Town’s opening Central League reserve game at Walsall this afternoon (2pm).
CJ Hamilton, Dapo Afolayan and Wilem Tomlinson will all take part, but it has been decided not to push Austrian keeper Olejnik too hard too soon after being out since late last year with a serious knee injury.
Olejnik came through his first 90 minutes in last week’s Leasing.com Trophy game with Crewe but was not on the bench against Oldham last weekend.
“Bobby will train all week,” said manager John Dempster.
“We thought it best to get a week’s training under his belt rather than play for the reserves.
“He got 90 minutes against Crewe, but we have to remember Bobby has been out for 11 months and we don’t want to do anything stupid.
“It will be good to see train all week and perform like he has done over the last two weeks. He has been outstanding in training.
“We probably want to get a little more game time into him at some point as well. It’s great to have him back.”
On today’s line-up, he added: “CJ, Dapo and Willem will support an U21 reserve side.
“In that side there will also be the U21 players who have made their League debuts this season like Alistair Smith, James Clarke and Jimmy Knowles.
“So, although it will be a young side, CJ and Willem are not exactly OAPs, it will still be a very strong side we expect to go there and perform well.
“They are players who need game time and minutes in the bank, so it will be massively beneficial for them to play today.”
Now start to fear Mansfield Town, boss John Dempster warns League Two rivals
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town manager John Dempster believes other clubs will now start to worry about the Stags after last weekend’s 6-1 demolition of Oldham Athletic completed the club’s first back-to-back wins since early April.
Stags followed the win at Grimsby by destroying nine-men Oldham and now head for high-flying Forest Green Rovers on Saturday with a new-found belief.
“Another win and we can move closer to those who were maybe looking over their shoulder and thinking they’re not in it - they’re dead and buried.
“Now there will be a few clubs thinking - here come Mansfield Town - and I think that’s the case.
“But we won’t rest on our laurels, we need to back Saturday’s win up this weekend at Forest Green.
Stags were 2-0 up when Oldham had two men sent off in the same 37th minute move as Stags went on to chalk up their biggest Football League win for 17 years.
“Even when Oldham had 11 men on the pitch we were dominating and Danny Rose had two good opportunities before we had even gone 2-0 up,” said Dempster.
“It was great to send the home fans away happy and I am sure everyone enjoyed their weekend.
“Now it’s back to the grindstone. We will be working hard this week as we know we have a very difficult challenge ahead of us at Forest Green on Saturday.
“It will be a nice scenario saying to players don’t get carried away as there have been times this season when we’ve had to pick the players up early in the week after a disappointing performance or result.
“So, to be able to guide them in the right direction and make sure they are in the right frame of mind for the challenge ahead is a great position to be in.
“The result on Saturday definitely installed more belief and confidence in the players.
“Sunday morning felt good. But that pressure is not going to go away because, as we climb the table, there will be pressure to be in the play-offs.
“If we carry on winning there will be pressure to be in the top three. So that pressure is not going anywhere.
“It’s a pressure I will embrace but one you enjoy more if you’re heading in the right direction and moving up the table, which I feel we are.
“It’s only one game but think Saturday’s result and performance was coming. The players performed the way they can.”
John Dempster hopes Mansfield Town’s hammering of Oldham Athletic can kickstart consistent home form
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Manager John Dempster is hoping last weekend’s hammering of Oldham at the One Call stadium can kickstart Mansfield Town into more consistent home form.
Stags travel to Forest Green this weekend looking for a third win in a row, but have another quick opportunity to build on their home form on Tuesday when EFL new boys Salford City are the visitors.
“It is crucial to win back-to-back games at League Two level as, if you can do that over the course of a season, you find yourself moving up the table quickly and being in touching distance,” said Dempster.
“I know it’s only one game but it was vitally important we changed our home form as we want to be a force in particular at home.
“Some of our away performances have been good this year, but we are yet to set the world alight at home. So Saturday was the start of us going in the right direction.”
Dempster also surprised Oldham - and Stags fans - by switching to a 4-4-2 formation, which did him proud.
“From the start I said I wanted to be a team that can play a number of formations without over-complicating it,” he said.
“We’ve not got to the place I wanted to be quick enough.
“But we are now confident playing 4-4-2, we can play 3-5-2 and also been successful with 3-4-3 as well. That’s where I wanted to be sooner.
“It’s took a while to get there, but now I feel however go into a game we have a couple of systems that we can flip to if we felt tactically that was what was required.
“We have a strong squad with a number of players who can play in different positions so I am slowly feeling like I am getting the group where they need to be and you can feel that back from the players in their confidence and belief.”
Jimmy Knowles’ record will stand for a long time - and he can break others believes Mansfield Town boss John Dempster
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town manager John Dempster believes 17-year-old Jimmy Knowles can go on to break other records in his career after a weekend of significant statistics at the One Call Stadium.
Knowles became the club’s youngest ever penalty scorer on a day Stags thrashed Oldham 6-1 - their biggest Football League win for 17 years.
“For Jimmy to be in the history books already is a massive achievement and one he should be proud of, as am I,” said Dempster.
“The way he came off the bench and performed was excellent, but to step up under pressure and slot the penalty home the way he did to enter the history books was a huge achievement and probably one that will stay there for a number of years.
“Hopefully he might break a few more records along the way.
“It is a goal he will remember forever no matter what Jimmy goes on the do in his career.
“The players embraced him in the changing rooms afterwards. I said a few words and the players gave him a round of applause which was nice to see.”
Stags’ six-goal haul came against an Oldham side down to nine men after two red cards, though Stags were 2-0 up and cruising when the cards came out.
“It doesn’t matter what the scenario is in the game. If you are entering the history books for the right reasons then they are stats to be proud of,” said Dempster.
“Even when Oldham had 11 men on the pitch we were dominating and Danny Rose had two good opportunities before we had even gone 2-0 up.
“It was great to send the home fans away happy and I am sure everyone enjoyed their weekend.”
Referring to when chairman John Radford allowed boss Paul Cox to use his Aston Martin after a big win, Dempster smiled: “It reminded me a little bit of a game I played in in 2013 when we beat Barrow 8-1 and it was only when I got back up to the office it hit me that I was probably two goals away from an Aston Martin!
“I would not want to pick which I enjoyed more - the performance or the result.
“The performance was outstanding and it was vitally important to get the result as well as we wanted to put back-to-back wins together.
“When you perform like it gives you a brilliant chance of winning a football match and from start to finish we dominated. Some of the quality on show and the goals we scored were brilliant to watch for everybody who was there.”
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster backs Nicky Maynard to hit the goal trail after ‘excellent’ hat-trick
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town are finally about to see the best of stellar summer signing Nicky Maynard, believes boss John Dempster.
Injuries have held him back from getting into a groove, but the former West Ham and Bury man showed he knows where the net is with his first half hat-trick last weekend and Dempster expects him to be challenging for the division’s top scorer accolade.
“Everyone is talking about Jimmy Knowles, but let’s not forget the performance of Nicky Maynard - he was on fire on Saturday,” he said.
“We took him off to replace him with Jimmy, but I am sure he would have gone on to get two or three more as he was in excellent form, not only with his finishing but with his one-touch play and set-up play.
“I think he really showed his class on Saturday and it was nice to see him take the match ball home with his young family.
“He’s had a couple of niggles and been a little bit in and out, but Nicky would still admit he’d want a better return than he’s had so far this season with the minutes he has played.
“But that hat-trick puts him right up there with the highest scorers in the league and I am sure he will be expected to be up there at the end of the season.
“If he continues to play like Saturday not only will he be up there in terms of goals scored but he will also bring a lot to the table for other players which is vital.”
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster slams shocking scenes of racist abuse in Bulgaria for England stars as shameful
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 15 October 2019
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster today slammed the ‘shameful’ behaviour of Bulgarian supporters for their racial abuse of England players in last night’s 6-0 European Championship qualifier win in Sofia.
Monkey noises and Nazi salutes saw the game twice stopped and Dempster said he was appalled this behaviour could still be going on in 2019.
Stags had their own issues over racism last year when comments made by Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri to Stags skipper Krystian Pearce ended up in a mass brawl and court cases.
And Dempster can remember seeing a young team mate suffer racial abuse as young as 15 which is something that has never left him.
“It was shameful last night,” said Dempster.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes how some of the Bulgarian supporters were behaving.
“In any country or any part of a society you can’t believe that behaviour still goes on.
“I thought the England players and staff handled it well.
“We are all going to make a stand against anything like that.
“We have had circumstances here in the past when our captain was involved in something untoward.
“It is mind-boggling. I can’t get my head round it when you see people behaving like that.
“International football took a back seat, the performance of the England players - the 6-0 win - was almost irrelevant.
“You end up talking about something as shameful as that and there is no place for it in the world never mind football.”
UEFA’s three-stage anti-racism protocol was called into action for the first time and the game stopped twice, one step away from an abandonment.
“It is good we are looking at protocol to highlight the problems we’ve got,” said Dempster.
“Whether that worked the way they wanted it to work yesterday, I am not sure. It’s not something I am an expert in.
“But it’s brilliant the way it’s been highlighted. Ian Wright spoke really well at half-time about it being a brilliant day because of the stance people are now making and it’s not getting swept under the carpet like it maybe was in previous years.
“It was an absolute disgrace. For human beings to be acting like that is shocking.”
He added: “When I was doing my first and second year pro, it was around the time the Kick It Out campaign had really come in. We did things like wear tee shirts. It’s come on loads since and rightly so.”
Dempster has never forgotten his first experience of players suffering such abuse.
“I witnessed a couple of incidents when I was playing U15s. One of my team mates was racially abused,” he said.
“You saw the effect it had on him on the pitch and his family on the touchline. It was a horrible feeling, even though I wasn’t directly involved.
“Watching a young team mate being abused and the effect it had on him, and the anger and emotion it brought out in him, was horrible to see.
“From that day forward it stuck with me. So to see it still going on all these years later last night, there is no other word but shameful.”
Master v pupil as rookie Mansfield Town manager John Dempster prepares for showdown with ex-boss and friend Mark Cooper at Forest Green
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Rookie boss John Dempster takes his Mansfield Town side to face his high-flying former boss Mark Cooper in a master v pupil showdown at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
Dempster served as Cooper’s captain at Kettering Town and has retained a close relationship.
However, Dempster admitted that would temporarily go out the window on Saturday as his Mansfield side try to make it three wins in a row away to a side only knocked off the top of the table last weekend by a 1-0 defeat at Exeter.
“I know their manager personally and we know it’s going to be a real challenge, though we’ll go into it confidently,” said Dempster.
“I was his captain at Kettering Town for three years so I know how he works and how professional he is.
“We have remained in contact since and he is someone I can call for advice. He is someone I respect a great deal.
“But there will be no love lost on Saturday. One thing is for sure - he won’t be doing me any favours and I know he won’t expect any from me.
“You look at some of the things he has done in the game as a manager, it’s impressive - none more so than what he has built at Forest Green.
“He is fortunate to have a very good chairman and it’s a club that is run efficiently.
“He has been given time and backing, which is always important, and I think he’s been trusted to get on with the job.”
Dempster believes Cooper could eventually manager at the top level.
“He is from a footballing family so he has a wealth of experience - his dad was a top player,” he said.
“Coops had a good career, but he has excelled as a manager and is someone I can see managing at the very top level in the future. If he carries on like he has been doing then he may become someone they will struggle to keep hold of.
“He has built and evolved a squad and got success which is very impressive. I am very fortunate to have him to tap into.”
Rovers have impressed so far this season and Dempster added: “Without a doubt they are one of the top three footballing sides in the division, if not the best.
“They keep the ball well, they will play out from the back, they will expect the goalkeeper to get on the ball.
“If it’s not on to go forwards they will play sideways and back as they value possession.
“When they lose the ball they look to get after people and win it back and get playing again.
“They will be right up there come the end of the season. They had a disappointing result against Exeter on Saturday, when Exeter were outstanding, so will be looking to put that right on Saturday no doubt.
“But at times they take risks and there are other areas we will be looking to exploit.”
Matt Preston back in contention for Mansfield Town’s trip to Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town will be without suspended centre halves Ryan Sweeney and Hayden White at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, but they do welcome back fellow central defender Matt Preston from suspension.
A late decision will also be taken on striker Danny Rose, whose groin tightened up last weekend, and Jacob Mellis, who has a slight hamstring problem.
Manager John Dempster admitted injuries could see him forced to change last week’s winning 4-4-2 formation as well.
“You have go to be brave in those decisions and if a change in formation is needed to gain an advantage on Forest Green then that’s something we’d look at,” he said.
“Danny has been on the treatment table, which could be a forced change if he wasn’t to be fit,” said boss John Dempster.
“We also have Ryan Sweeney suspended as well now. So, although you might look at something tactical, your hand can sometimes be forced as well.
“Danny just felt his groin a little bit and because we were comfortable on Saturday he made the decision to come off rather than make it worse which was sensible. Common sense prevailed.
“It’s a shame about Ryan as he has been in fine form, people forget he is a young centre back as he’s played a number of games now.
“He will be missed so we are fortunate that Pressy is back in the fold and he will certainly be on contention. I know he was disappointed to be sent off and he has now served his time and paid his fine.
“So to have him back in the squad is brilliant as, at this level, Matt is a very good centre back. He has been training hard.
“We also have Conor Shaughnessy that can play there as well if we want to go back to a back three.
“So we have a number of different options we can use on Saturday.”
Mansfield’s John Dempster: “Freedom on the pitch will be key to our success this season”
16th October 2019
EXCLUSIVE FROM THE PODCASTS INTERVIEW
Had things panned out slightly differently for Mansfield manager John Dempster, he could have been the man conducting interviews, rather than being the subject of them.
Towards the end of his playing career Dempster, as a fall-back option if life in the dugout turned out not to be for him, did a degree in sports writing, something that the crack interviewing team at the Totally Football League Show picked up on when Dempster joined us this week.
“My parents always pushed me to keep my options open and make sure that I had a back-up plan, to have something to fall back on. That was a degree I completed a few years back - it was put on through the PFA and they supported me through it as well, which is really good.
“But my passion’s always been football. I want to work in football for as long as I can. I’ve got no desire to go into journalism because I know what you guys are like!”
Touché. Dempster doesn’t quite have to reach for the laptop just yet, particularly after the last couple of results, a 6-1 thrashing of ten-man Oldham last time out steadying Mansfield’s season after a slightly sticky start.
“We had a last minute winner at Grimsby last week, which was was nice and needed,” he says. “We performed well, but not to the levels that we picked up against Oldham, when we were outstanding. Oldham ended up with two men sent off, but even before that, when we were up against eleven men, we were certainly the dominant force, without being disrespectful. To get back to back wins is massive.”
Next up is Forest Green Rovers, managed by Mark Cooper, under whom Dempster played at Kettering. “It was a brilliant time for me as a player and I learned a lot under Mark,” he says. “He’s certainly evolved as a coach and a manager over the last few years because we were quite direct side, quite physical, quite a tall side.
“Now, Forest Green are probably the best football side in our league. They play out from the back. If it’s not on to go forward, they’ll go back to the goalkeeper. And at times they are a joy to watch. How he’s evolved over the last few years as a coach is fantastic to see, and I expect to see him managing at the top level in the next couple of years.”
Dempster made the step up from coaching the Mansfield youngsters, appointed as first-team boss this summer when David Flitcroft left, which has led to his own evolution as a coach.
“When you’re speaking to an under-18 team or a younger age group, they hang on every word you say, whereas the first-team players are a lot more experienced: they’ve been there, they’ve done it, and you have to deal with them differently.
“We’ve got some good experienced, senior pros, so they know what it takes in our league. So, you know, you don’t want to be patronising in terms of giving them, you know, blatantly obvious details. You kind of lead and guide them and give them the freedom to lead on the football pitch. I think that will be the key to our success this season.
“I think it’s important not to overload the players with too much information so they can go and play with a clear head and play with freedom. At times this season I’ve probably been guilty of giving too much information, but as a young manager you live and learn.”
Manager responsible for upturn in my form - Khan
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 15 October 2019
Mansfield Town attacking midfielder Otis Khan says boss John Dempster is to thank for his and the Stags’ recent upturn in form.
The 24-year-old played an important role in the amber and blue’s emphatic 6-1 victory over Oldham Athletic on Saturday, providing frontman Nicky Maynard with an assist following a fantastic jinking run into the box.
He referred to the game as his and the Stags’ ‘best of the season’ as they secured successive victories for the first time this campaign.
“It was amazing to play in; once we started we were confident in the first half. To get that result at home is fantastic for the players, the fans and everyone at the club,” said Khan.
“Nicky got his hat-trick, others popped up with goals as well, I was involved. I just need to do the best for myself and for the team to keep giving good performances.”
He also praised ‘gaffer’ Dempster for giving him the ‘freedom to play,’ saying: “He said ‘go and express yourself,’ and play the way I want to play.
“I enjoyed it. Playing freely and getting the 6-1 win was really special for the team.
“It [winning] all comes down to the gaffer. He’s giving me the freedom to play, the freedom to go out and express myself and not think about too much [apart from] going out and showing what I can do.
“When the gaffer believes in you, wants you to go out and express yourself it helps massively - every player will flourish under that. The fact that the gaffer’s doing that for me is amazing.
“He [Dempster] is buzzing every day; [he] has a laugh with the lads but at the same time is serious in what he’s doing. He’s good to have around the place. He’s been here all these years so he knows what the club’s about,” added Khan.
The former Yeovil player also believes that ‘consistency’ is key to the Stags achieving their goals as they travel to Forest Green Rovers this weekend.
He said: “The run of results at the start of the season wasn’t the best but the gaffer is doing everything he can for us. We just want to repay him on the pitch.
“After the win [against Grimsby], we had a great week of training and then the next one [against Oldham] just makes it even better.
“I think it’ll be a tough game [Forest Green]. Everybody’s going into it with great confidence [because] we know what we can do and how we can affect the games.
“Personally [I want to] keep being consistent, doing well for the team [by] impacting games. For the squad, we just need to keep being positive. We know there’s going to be ups and downs, but as long as we stay positive it will be a good season.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Otis' interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Otis Khan so happy to be back at home on the left wing and repaying Mansfield Town boss John Dempster’s faith
Otis Khan is delighted to back at home on the left wing, hitting top form and loving life under new Mansfield Town boss John Dempster.
Khan’s displays on the left at Yeovil over two years were what drew attention from other clubs, Stags eventually winning the race to sign him for a reputed large, undisclosed fee.
Former boss David Flitcroft used Khan as a No.10 - and successfully so - for a time until he was injured and then struggled to get back in.
But Khan believes he is now flourishing back in his old position under Dempster and ahead of Saturday’s trip to Forest Green, he said: “That’s what I am all about on the left wing. I am loving playing under the gaffer.
“The gaffer said go and express yourself which I did. It gives me the freedom to play how I want to play.
“The two years I spent at Yeovil were on the left wing, coming off the left onto my right foot.
“When I came to Mansfield in my first year I had to try to adapt to a new position of No.10.
“But I know this role really well on the left. I know I can play well there and I enjoy playing there.
“It’s a nice position to be in to be able to play on the left wing or as a No.10.”
He added: “The gaffer is giving me the freedom to go out and express myself and not think about too much apart from going out and showing what I can do. A lot of credit goes to him for that.
“He said ‘we know what you can do. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes - everybody can make mistakes. Just go out and play how we know you can play, express yourself, and try to impact the game as much as you can for the team’.
“It gives you massive amounts of confidence knowing the manager believes in you and wants you to express yourself. It helps massively - every player will flourish under that. The fact that the gaffer’s doing that for me is amazing.”
After a poor start to the season, Khan said the players had been desperate to repay the new manager for his efforts.
“He (Dempster) is buzzing every day and has banter with the lads, but at the same time is serious in what he’s doing,” he said.
“He’s good to have around the place and gets on with the lads really well. He’s been here all these years so he knows what the club’s about.
“The start of season run of results was not the best, but we knew the gaffer was doing absolutely everything he could for us. We just wanted to repay him on the pitch.
“It’s starting to turn now. We’ve got two back-to-back wins and it’s nice to get them for him. He stuck with us through the tough times when we were not doing so well and now we’re getting the good out of it.”
Khan was one of the shining lights of Saturday’s 6-1 thrashing of nine-men Oldham and he smiled: “It was amazing to play in. Once we started we were confident in the first half.
“To get that result and that amount of goals at home is fantastic for the players, the fans and everyone at the club.
“We controlled the game more or less throughout and, after we scored our fourth, players were pretty much queuing up to score.
“I think it was my best performance of the season so far. I enjoyed it, playing free, and the fact we won 6-1 made it special for me and for the team.”
Despite the upturn in form and results for Mansfield, Khan said they were more down to persistence and belief than anything new.
“Nothing has particularly changed,” he said. “We have kept working hard on the training field and the manager has said that result and performance has been coming. The training and tactics are paying off. Everyone is feeling confident.
“I want to keep being consistent, do well for the team and keep impacting on games. The squad needs to keep being as positive as it can.
“We know there will be up and downs, but if we stay positive I know we can have a good season.”
On Saturday Stags head down to recently deposed League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers and Kahn believes the fact the home side like to play good football will favour the Stags.
“I think it suits us down to the ground,” he said.
“Everyone knows we are a passing team and we have the players to be able to do that. Our game is keeping possession of the ball.
“I enjoy every game if I am in the starting XI but obviously with my nature of playing, I like to play the ball on the floor and keep possession.
“So I do enjoy games like this more than direct opposition, but I am not fussed really as long as I am playing.”
Mark Cooper, FGR manager:
"It's been a good week of training and there was a lot of frustration. The phrase I use to the players before every game is that you are only as good as your last game," said Mark Cooper.
"Before the Exeter game we were really good, because Crawley was our last game. Before this game coming up, we are only as good as the Exeter game and we were really poor. Sometimes that happens and you have to give credit to the opposition."
"Obviously if you lose two men, it makes a lot of difference. Mansfield were good when it was 11v11 (against Oldham) and I think would have won that game anyway."
"Mansfield have had a couple of good results, they've had a sticky start to the season but the owners have shown good faith in the manager and I think by doing that, they will eventually go on to have a decent season."
Forest Green Rovers boss predicts Mansfield Town will benefit from sticking by John Dempster
Mark Cooper predicts Mansfield Town will benefit from sticking by manager John Dempster.
The Forest Green Rovers boss backed the Stags to “eventually go on to have a decent season” ahead of the meeting between the two teams on Saturday.
Cooper said: “We watched the game (Mansfield 6-1 Oldham) back. Obviously if you lose two men, it makes it difficult, but Mansfield were good when it was 11 v 11. I think they would’ve won the game anyway.
“They’ve had a couple of good results after a sticky start to the season. They’ve shown good faith in their manager, and by doing that, I think they’ll eventually go on to have a decent season.”
Asked if he was surprised by Mansfield’s start, he replied: “Yes and no.
“I think when you go through a play-off campaign and then you lose a manager, it can be difficult. We went through a play-off campaign, but we’ve been okay. They’ve gone the other way and they’ve appointed another manager from within (the club), I think he’s a good appointment. I am surprised.”
But Cooper was under no illusions at the test which awaits his Rovers side.
“They’re very aggressive. They’ve got two forwards that will put themselves about, and will run in behind,” he said.
“They’ve got a bit of presence in the team as well, some good experience. It’s a difficult game every week, always full respect to the opposition and we know we’ll have to play really well.
“Nicky Maynard is a top player at this level. Danny Rose is obviously very good in the air for his size and he’s very aggressive. So, we know what we have to deal with.
“I don’t mean aggressive like overly-physical, I mean aggressive in that they will want it. Every team poses different threats. We’ll have to nullify those. It’s more important we do what we do.”
Latest | October 2019