JOE DUNNE PREVIEWS MORECAMBE GAME
Assistant previews Morecambe clash
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 4th February 2020
In Tuesday morning’s news conference, assistant manager Joe Dunne looked ahead to this weekend’s trip to Morecambe in Sky Bet League Two.
The former Colchester United manager spoke following Mansfield’s recent 2-2 draw with a Carlisle side that currently sits just two points above them.
Ahead of Saturday’s match at the Globe Arena, Stags are in 21st position in the League Two table on 31 points, with Morecambe two places and five points below them.
A trip to Leyton Orient will then follow three days later, who sit in 18th place, with 34 points.
Speaking to iFollow Stags about the current run of fixtures and Saturday’s match away to the Shrimps, Dunne said: “We’re in this bundle of games at the moment where we’re all playing each other. It’s very important that we try and take points off each other and get a consistent run together.
“A few wins on the bounce and all of a sudden the league table suddenly changes. We’re expecting a tough game [against Morecambe]. Every game is tough - there are no gimmes. But we have to go there with the confidence that we can win.
“It [games against sides in similar position of the table] gives you an opportunity to either create a gap or drag more people towards you.
“If you look at the table, the quantity of points where we are from the end of the league to 11th are the same points. It depends how you want to look at it.
“A few results and the table changes - then confidence breeds confidence. We’ll strive to take maximum points out of the next few games.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s draw with the Cumbrians, the assistant boss says that the management team will be focusing on the ‘many good things’ that the Stags displayed in the clash.
“The standout point will obviously be the disappointment of the equalising goal, but we will try to focus on the many good things that we did in that game,” he added.
“We have to now work on turning those leads into victories, which is important. We can’t dwell - we have to move on very quickly as the league changes every week. The next game is what’s important.
“We could come in and be miserable, but anyone that knows how to bounce back from disappointment, they know that you have to stay positive and move forward. That’s what we’ve tried to put into the players.
“The players have been good in training and have given us a lot. The lads work hard and the data proves that - we are making progress in terms of fitness.
“We’re seeing that in matches, but unfortunately we’re having some old habits creep in during games that don’t allow us to see games out.”
Dunne also looked back on what he believes to be a successful transfer window for the amber and blue.
“I think we’ve done some pretty good business - I think it’s been a good window for us. I thought all three signings [Harry Charsley, Joe Riley and Kelland Watts] played well on Saturday.
“Obviously some players went out - which is some business for the club. We were able to reduce the squad ever so slightly so the numbers in training were slightly more compact.
“What was needed was a few fresh faces and we’ve done that. We’ve also created one or two pathways for other players to come in and stake a claim.
“There are always outs - we’ve seen two or three players move on and that happens every window. What’s important is the balance of the group and the intensity. We have to get that right.
There was also an injury update on Alex MacDonald, Kellan Gordon and Hayden White from the assistant manager.
“We feel that it [MacDonald injury] wasn’t as bad as first feared. It’s a low-grade injury and is not as bad as it could have been - we think we got it just at the right time.
“Unfortunately, I think Saturday will be too early for him. We have to deal with it as a low-grade injury, so it could be two to three weeks.
“Kellan [Gordon] has made good progress. We assess the injuries every day and we have a less busy treatment room than it has been, so that’s a positive.
“Hayden [White] is back training and did some work over the last few days with the medical department. Hopefully he should be back all-guns-blazing pretty soon.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Joe’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Deadline day gone but Mansfield Town still eyeing up free agent deals
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 4th February 2020
Despite the transfer window closing last Friday, Mansfield Town could yet strengthen further if needed with free agents.
Jacob Mellis left the club by mutual consent while Alistair Smith, Otis Khan and Andy Cook went out on loan and young Swansea midfielder Jack Evans arrived on loan on a busy deadline day, but assistant boss Joe Dunne admitted more deals could happen, saying; “You have to keep an eye out on free agents.
“One thing that has become really prevalent in the last few years is players getting paid up on deadline day so you can be a free outside the window. There will be plenty there.
“What generally happens is you have a week where everything calms down a little bit.
“Everyone gets used to their new surroundings and new players and then we go - who is out of contract and available?
“Everybody should be doing that and we won't be any different.
“You look at every area but it's important a player is the right fit for what we want.
“We know there are probably two or three hot spots in the team in which we need a bit of help. So we will keep a keen eye on it.”
He added: “If you look at the whole month I think we've done some pretty good business. I think it's been a good window for us and the three new signings played well for us on Saturday.
“The players going out was a bit of business for the club. And, like any deadline, you miss out on a couple that you think you might get also.
“It was a full-on day. You do feel that bit of disappointment when things don't quite come off.
“But we have also created one or two pathways for other players to come in and stake a claim.
“There are also outs - we have seen two or three players move on and two or three younger players move on as the also need game time. That's good for them.
“The eyebrows were probably raised with one or two others that went out but that happens every window.”
Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan was disappointed to lose Andy Cook to Tranmere Rovers
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan admitted it had been hard to let striker Andy Cook go out on loan to his former club Tranmere on deadline day.
“The Andy Cook one was a tough one - I have to be honest,” he said. “It's always difficult when you lose players or players want to move on.
“Those three players who went out were not playing and wanted to play first team football. All three decided they wanted to move on and chance their arm elsewhere.”
He added: “Cooky was one I have been in consultation with from the day I came in.
“Maybe the way we play, the high-pressing, might have caused him a bit of an issue.
“But he has been really professional in everything he's said to me and the way he has spoken to me. So I have a lot of time and respect for the lads
“It's never nice to let lads go or when they come to you to ask to move on. You always question yourself and - what I am doing wrong? Why do players want to leave?
“But that is football and I wasn't going to hold people against their will. That would be wrong. I want players here who want to play for the badge.”
Assistant boss Joe Dunne agreed, saying: “Cooky has scored a couple of goals when coming on recently with golden one-touches.
“But when you look at the striker department we do have four there at the moment.
“Any player will tell you if you are wanting and needing to play, when the window comes round it possibly presents you an opportunity to get that game time. It works both ways for player and club.
“He has moved up a league also. Cooky is a character - of course he is. But we feel we have strikers who can give us what we need.”
He continued: “Obviously Nicky Maynard is scoring goals and Danny Rose is giving us a great work rate. Both are in form in terms of performance and goals.
“We've also got young Jimmy, though we've got to make sure we get the balance right with his pathway.
“CJ can play up front as well as out on the wing. That gives us the opportunity to push him up the top end of the pitch when others tire.
“Cooky will of course add value to Tranmere's squad. We had to balance up between what's right for the player and for the club.”
Cook arrived at Mansfield as a prolific goalscorer but has found first team starts hard to come by, not helped by an early injury.
He was one of three players that went out on January transfer deadline day last Friday, heading back to a club where he is already a legend from his last spell there.
Tranmere were unable to field Cook in their 2-0 defeat at Bolton Wanderers but started Tuesday night’s 3-0 3-0 home defeat by play-off chasing Doncaster Rovers.
Andy Cook departure opens up big chance for Mansfield Town youngsters Jimmy Knowles and Jordan Graham
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
The departure of Andy Cook on loan to Tranmere has opened up a huge opportunity to youngsters Jimmy Knowles and Jordan Graham to force their way into the first team picture.
Knowles scored the winner in yesterday's 1-0 home Central League reserve win over Walsall and has been a regular on the bench.
Graham, meanwhile, is an unknown quantity to the new management team as he has been out with long term injury.
He completed 45 minutes against Walsall but, with his knee stiffening up, was taken off at half-time as a precaution.
On Graham, assistant manager Joe Dunne said: “We have spoken to people about him.
We have heard good things about him and we need to get a feel of what he's about.
“When you have been out for a period of time, getting that match action makes a big difference to confidence for a young player.”
New midfielder shares inspiring recovery story
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 4th February 2020
Speaking for the first time as a Mansfield player since signing on loan from Swansea City, midfielder Jack Evans shared his inspiring story about how beating cancer has made him ‘stronger’ than ever.
The 21-year-old was the final signing for the Stags in the January transfer window, joining the club on loan until the end of the season on deadline day.
In Tuesday morning’s news conference at The RH Academy, Evans discussed his remarkable recovery from the cruel disease - after being diagnosed in summer 2018 - and how the experience has made him appreciate football, and life, that much more.
“It [diagnosis] was just a whirlwind, to be honest,” he began. “My stomach just started hurting and I didn’t feel right. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I thought it was anything like that.
“You just have to get on with it, do your course of chemotherapy. I wanted to get it done as fast as I could so I could go back to playing football.
“I was being treated for just under a year and had an operation as well. Looking back, it all happened in the blink of an eye - I’m just happy to play football now and get on with it.
“It was tough, but I was also lucky to have family and friends around me, who helped me through it. My head was with getting back fit so I could play football again.
“Until something happens, you don’t realise that it can all be over in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you can take things for granted, but it has made me appreciate things more.
“I think I always wanted to get everything out of it [football] as I could, but it has made me a little more determined to do what I can and be the best player I can.
“Going through stuff like that has made me mentally stronger. At any stage, to lose a full season is tough, but I feel better than I did before and I’m ready to play now.”
The Welsh under-21 international took part in his first training session with his new team-mates on Monday and was left impressed by the ‘high standards’ on show from the Stags.
“I really enjoyed it [new training session],” he added. “I really enjoyed the standard being so high. You have to adapt to it quickly and get going, but I really enjoyed.
“There are a few faces here that I recognise from the summer [from Stags’ pre-season clash with Swansea].
“I thought on Saturday the lads were unlucky not to get the win [against Carlisle] - I thought they deserved the win and hopefully we can get a win on Saturday.
“The standard was very high and it was a tough game. It’s obviously more physical [in League Two] but you have to adapt to it quickly.
“In under-23s football, everyone sort of plays the same way, so it’s good to try different styles now. You have to deal with that - as long as you win games, it doesn’t matter how you do it.
“It’s very exciting [loan spell]. I’ve come here to play first team football and I’m really excited for it. It’s a new experience and one I’m looking forward to with a positive mindset.”
Evans also described what type of player he is and what he hopes to get out of his time on loan at One Call Stadium.
“I’d say I’m someone who likes to get on the ball and play passes. But also, off-the-ball, I can read games and put in tackles as well.
“I’d say I’m more of a defensive midfielder, but I’ll play wherever the gaffer [Graham Coughlan] needs me to be.
“I’m hoping to get loads of first team experience now - pick up the points and do well. Hopefully I can help Mansfield climb up the table.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Jack's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.