COUGHLAN PREVIEWS CREWE GAME
Boss praises youngsters’ quality
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 10th March 2020
Manager Graham Coughlan says he has been ‘impressed’ by Mansfield’s youngsters since arriving at the club, while explaining why he included three teenagers in the matchday squad for Saturday’s 2-1 win away at Northampton.
Regular first team squad member Jimmy Knowles, 18, was joined by 19-year-old Tyrese Sinclair and 16-year-old Maison Campbell on the bench for the weekend’s victory at the PTS Academy Stadium.
The boss says that the youngsters were included in the squad ‘because they are good enough.’
“They [Campbell and Sinclair] weren’t put on the bench because they were kids, they were put on the bench because they deserved it,” he told iFollow Stags.
“They have been quality for the last few months since I’ve come through the door. Maison Campbell has really, really impressed me over the last couple of weeks.
“We brought him up to train with the first team and he’s really impressed me. Sinclair has come in and he’s been different class - he’s been a breath of fresh air and the environment hasn’t fazed him.
“They are both cut from the same cloth as me - they’re honest, hard-working and their endeavour is second to none.
“If you’re going to come and work with me, you have to work hard and run hard, and these guys are doing that.
“If the senior boys aren’t doing it, the junior boys will. They bring an energy, enthusiasm and youthfulness to our sessions, and I really enjoy working with them.
“Let’s not focus on their age [solely], let’s focus on their age and the reason why they’re training with the first team regularly - it’s because they’re good enough.
“There are no guarantees in football, but I certainly want to see them [Campbell and Sinclair] play more often and in the first team environment more often.
“I’d like to see a couple more of the youngsters come through and cause me a [selection] headache, because I’ve been really impressed.
“The academy has been impressive - it’s pointless having academies if there isn’t a pathway for the kids to break into the first team.
“I’ve always said if I came on this side of the fence, I’d like to open pathways. I’m not opening this pathway because I need to or have to, it’s because the kids are good enough. They add to our training sessions and enhance our squad.”
The boss says he is expecting a more ‘technical’ challenge against league leaders Crewe this weekend, compared to the highly physical affair in the win against Northampton on Saturday.
“Saturday was physical against Northampton, the coming Saturday against Crewe will be more technical,” he added. “But the be-all and end-all in football is if you don’t do the basics right, you’ll be in trouble.
“The basics were spot on from us on Saturday and we showed a totally different side to our game.
“This Saturday will be different as you’ll obviously see more football and a technical side in Crewe, who are quite deservedly top of the table.
“They have some very good players who are dangerous on their day. We’ll have to adapt our training and bring a different game plan. Let’s try and get that key word, ‘consistency,’ into our play and into our results.
“We aim to be good at both sides of the game - physical and technical. I believe you have to be good at both sides of the game in League Two.
“I’m really looking forward to the [Crewe] game and I think it will be a good yard stick - it’s great to have a look at our players to see how far they’ve come and how far away we are as a football club to potential promotion contenders.
“We’ve been here before after we’ve won and I’ve asked for back-to-back victories - that’s what I’ve been asking for this week. That might give us a platform to get going from.
“The mentality is building, slowly but surely, at this football club. It’s onto our next challenge now.”
There was also an update on defenders Kelland Watts and Kellan Gordon, alongside news that recently injured midfielder Alex MacDonald and defender Matt Preston will feature in this afternoon’s reserve game against Grimsby at The RH Academy (2pm).
“Kelland [Watts] took a knock to the head, which was plain for all to see. His neck was sore and with a bang to the head, we have a duty of care to the players.
“Thankfully it wasn’t too serious - it was just a bump and he’s fine to train today. He’s a big strong lad and it was part and parcel of the game on Saturday, sticking his head where it hurts.
“It’s just Kellan [Gordon] left [on the treatment] table but he’s not too far off so hopefully we should have him back in the next couple of weeks.
“Alex MacDonald will play [in Grimsby reserve game] as will Matt Preston. It’ll be good to get the two of them some game time and they’re really looking forward to it.”
iFollow Stags can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
video from Notts TV:
Graham Coughlan: "It was quite apparent from early doors, the ship needed steadying.
"It needed organising, it needed structure, it needed a bit of a firm hand with the players, they needed to be pointed in the right direction.
"We didn't quite get the results that I wanted, as I'm as guilty as anyone.
"Call me Walter Mitty, call it laughable if you want ... I thought I could come through the front door here, and I thought I could win every football match. That's the way I am, that's the way I'm built and I've possibly let people down because we haven't won every game we've taken part in.
"I am building, and we have been building from the day I came in.
transcribed by Martin
Kelland Watts fine after nasty bang to head during Mansfield Town win at Northampton
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 10th March 2020
Loanee defender Kelland Watts is fine after a nasty bang to the head saw him prematurely forced out of Saturday's bruising 2-1 win at Northampton Town.
The Newcastle United loanee was back in training today and should be fully fit to face leaders Cheltenham Town this weekend.
“Kelland had taken a knock to the head, which was plain for all to see,” said boss Graham Coughlan.
“His neck was sore and obviously, with a bang to the head, you have to take good care rather than being reckless with it.
“We have a duty of care to the players.
“Thankfully it wasn't too serious - just a bump and a bruise - and he is fine to train today.”
He added: “Kelland is a big, strong lad and that was part and parcel of the game on Saturday. We knew what we were getting involved in and trained all week for it.
“He stuck his head in where it hurts on Saturday, as did most of our players. We all took bumps and bruises on Saturday.
“He is fine, as is the rest of the group.”
‘Personal circumstances’ keeping Bobby Olejnik sidelined for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 10th March 2020
Mansfield Town say goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik continues to be absent due to 'personal circumstances' and his situation is being monitored on a day to day basis.
Olejnik, who recently lost his first team place to Aidan Stone, was not on the bench at Northampton Town last weekend and boss Graham Coughlan said: “Bobby is a great lad and a really honest pro. So for him to not make training or matches there is obviously an issue.
“We will assess him again this week and if he is available to train we will have a look at him in training and see where he is and how he is.
“That is ongoing monitoring. As of yet I can't really give any indication whether he will be involved with us this weekend or not. That is fluid and day to day. We will take every 24 hours as they come.
“He won't play in the reserves, which is alarming.
“But I don't foresee Bobby's issues being too long term. Hopefully he will be back among us soon.
“It is what it is and it's an ongoing thing. He may be back with us for the weekend, but don't be surprised if he's not.”
Wed 11 Mar 2020
twitter Bobby Olejnik @BobbyOlejnik
Replying to @AshDBradley
Hi Ashley, thank you for the kind words, I was out with mild concussion and unfortunately had to miss Saturday’a game. Feel 100% again, so onwards and upwards
Teen trio are on Mansfield Town bench on merit, says manager Graham Coughlan
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan stressed all three teenagers on his bench last weekend were purely there on merit.
Striker Jimmy Knowles, 18, has been a regular on the bench, attacking midfielder Tyrese Sinclair, 19, has been on there twice before, and goalkeeper Maison Campbell. 16, was there for the first time.
“Let's be honest, they were not put on the bench because they were kids,” said Coughlan.
“That's the first people chuck at you. They were put on the bench because they deserved it.
“Let's not do the kids a disservice and concentrate on their age.
“Let's concentrate on the qualities that they've got and the reasons why they are regularly training with the first team and playing in the reserves ahead of one or two senior players. The reason is they are good enough.
“They have been quality for the last few months since I came through the door.”
He continued: “Maison Campbell has really impressed me over the last couple of weeks since we dragged him up to train with the first team.
“Since Sinclair has come in he has been different class and a breath of fresh air. The environment has not fazed him and the hard work has not fazed him.
“They are built and cut from the same cloth as me. They are honest, hard-working and their endeavour is second to none.
“If you are going to come and work with me you've got to work hard and run hard and these guys are doing that.”
Coughlan hopes more youngsters will make the breakthrough too.
“Don't be surprised if there's another couple there sitting in the background that I would have no fear or hesitation of using as well,” he said.
“If the senior boys are not doing it the junior boys will - that's plain, simple and easy. They bring an energy and an enthusiasm and youthfulness to our sessions. I really enjoy working with them.
“I have always said it's pointless having academies and those coaches going out in the evenings on cold, wet, windy nights coaching if there is no pathway for the kids to break into the first team.”
Visit of leaders Crewe is the perfect yardstick for measuring Mansfield Town’s progress believes boss Graham Coughlan
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan believes league leaders Crewe Alexandra's visit on Saturday will provide the perfect benchmark as to how far his side has come and what he will need for next season.
Stags' bruising 2-1 win at Northampton last weekend extended the gap to the drop zone to 16 points with only 10 games left.
Coughlan now expects a very different game against Crewe and will use it to further assess which players he wants to keep and which areas may need strengthening this summer.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “It will be a really good yardstick. “It's great to be able to look at our players and see how far they've come and also see how far we are short as a football club of being potential promotion contenders or potential champions.
“We will have a look and, after the game, we will certainly make assessments.
“I think will be a good game and a really good gauge to find out where we are and how far we need to go.”
Coughlan is also hoping his players can finally achieve back-to-back wins for him for the first time since he took over.
“Let's be straight, we've been here before,” he said. “We have won four or five games and I have asked for back-to-back victories that haven't happened.
“We will be asking for that again this weekend. That might give us a foundation - a platform or a springboard - to get going.
“The lads know what we want. Yes, they are buying in, they all are on board and working extremely hard.”
Coughlan knows how tough it will be against the division's top goalscorers on Saturday.
“This Saturday you will see more football and a more technical side in Crewe, who are top of the table and deservedly so,” he said.
“They have some very good players who are dangerous on their day. They score for fun and they are tough to break down.
“We will give it our all and try our best. But we've fallen way short of Crewe this season, not only in quality but also in goals scored and goals conceded - both ends of the park and both boxes.
“They are free-flowing and they've got goals all over the park, similar to Swindon. They score goals for fun and they are tough to break down.
“They play off two or three touch, quick, short, sharp passes to try to suck you in and play around and beyond the press. So it will be tricky and tough.
“But it's an exciting encounter to have top of the table coming to our back yard.
“The league table does not lie. They are where they are and we are where we are for obvious reasons.”
Injured pair Alex MacDonald and Matt Preston both came through yesterday's 2-0 home reserves defeat by Grimsby Town unscathed and look set to make a return into Saturday's squad.
That leaves just Kellan Gordon on the treatment table.
“It was good to get the two of them some game time,” said boss Coughlan. “Fingers crossed they come back into our squad this weekend.
“Kellan Gordon is not too far off now either, hopefully we'll have him back in the next couple of weeks.”
We must heed Government warnings on coronavirus says Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan said he hoped the EFL season could be completed but people's health had to come first.
“It's not nice, let's be honest. But it is what it is,” he said.
“We've got to heed our warnings that the Government are giving us. They are best placed and best educated to advise us.
“Some of the tales that are coming out are scary - shut-downs, behind-closed-doors, quarantine and self-isolation, rations on supermarket shelves.
“Some of it is a little bit alarming. But, touch wood, we'll get the grips with it and it doesn't affect the football calendar, the football club, the football team or the football players.”
Stags’ move has been brilliant - defender
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 10th March 2020
Defender Joe Riley has reflected on his ‘really enjoyable’ spell at Mansfield Town so far after joining the club in January, adding that performances during his time at One Call Stadium have warranted more points.
The wing-back has made six appearances for the amber and blue so far this term, netting once away at Morecambe in February.
Riley, 28, says that alongside having a good relationship with his teammates and Stags’ management, Mansfield is a ‘really great club.’
“I’ve really enjoyed it here - it’s been a move which I’ve really enjoyed so far, so long may that continue,” he began.
“I think it’s a really great club, the lads are brilliant and it’s been easy to settle in. I already knew a couple of them so it made the transition even easier.
“Every day you almost have to treat it like you’re playing for your future - at this level you have to be like that. Hopefully I can keep playing, play well and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season. But I’m really enjoying my time here.
“I really like the gaffer [Graham Coughlan], the coaching staff and the setup here. The main thing for me also is that my family are happy, and they seem to be happy since I’ve been here.
“It’s a move which I’ve really enjoyed and the more wins we pick up now, the better. I think performances as a team have been really good since I’ve been here.
“There’s only probably Oldham away where we were a bit disappointed after the game - other than that it’s been really good and we probably should have picked up more points than we already have.
“We’re starting to turn performances into wins and you say that on Saturday, which was a really fantastic win for us.”
The defender completed 90 minutes of Saturday’s win over Northampton, and said that the Stags displayed ‘character’ and ‘desire’ in abundance in a bad-tempered clash at the PTS Academy Stadium.
“It [game against Northampton] was more like a game of rugby, to be honest. It was a bit crazy,” added Riley.
“It felt a bit like that [overly physical] but we had to roll our sleeves up and show that side of us to dig in and get the three points, which we did.
“We showed everything - character, desire - we showed that in abundance on Saturday because they were lobbing balls into our box from left, right and centre and we had to deal with it.
“Our game management, although we did concede at the end, was good as well. We probably should have had a couple more goals as well.
“It did feel like you couldn’t get going [due to the stoppages] - I came in at half-time and felt that I hadn’t even played a half of football because the ball was out of play that many times.
“But the main thing is we got the three points and that’s what we went there to do.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s match, Riley says that Mansfield are going into the game against league leaders Crewe ‘full of confidence’ following Saturday’s win over the Cobblers.
“It [Crewe game] will be chalk and cheese [to Northampton]. Crewe are probably the best football side in the division - them and Plymouth. So we know what they’re about and they have some really good players.
“It will be good to come up against a really good side in Crewe - I played them once at the start of the season [with Plymouth] and managed to beat them, but we came off the pitch thinking they some really talented players.
“Crewe are a very good footballing side and the players all take the ball in tight areas. They have some really talented young players who will all go and play higher and are really comfortable on the ball.
“We’ve said it before in the dressing room that whenever we’ve come up against the top sides in the division, we’ve always seemed to match them.
“We’re going into it full of confidence now which is a good sign, because confidence is slowly turning as well.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Joe’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Back to the beautiful game tomorrow for Mansfield Town after brutal clash at Northampton Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town defender Joe Riley believes the home clash with leaders Crewe Alexandra will be a return to the 'beautiful game' after Saturday's brutal 2-1 win at long ball merchants Northampton Town.
“I don't think it would have been a nice game to watch at Northampton,” he said. “It wasn't the prettiest to play in either.
“It was more like a game of rugby. I came in at half-time and didn't feel like I'd played a half of football as the ball was out of play that many times.
“It will be chalk and cheese this Saturday compared with that as Crewe are probably the best footballing side in the division - them and Plymouth.
“We knew what Crewe are about. They have got some really good players so it will be a different kind of test for us.
“Last Saturday was one extreme and probably this Saturday will be another extreme. I don't mind a mixture of both.”
Riley has had first hand experience of playing and beating Crewe while at Plymouth on the opening day of the season.
“It will be good to come up against a really good footballing side in Crewe,” he said.
“We played them once at Plymouth at the start of the season and managed to beat them. But we came off the pitch thinking 'wow, they've got some really good players - some really talented players that will probably go on and play higher'.
“We won 3-0 but they had chances and probably more possession than us which says a lot about them. But, on the day, we scored three good goals and it was a great win.
“They all take the ball in tight areas and they are all comfortable on the ball which I think you've got to be when you come through Crewe's academy. That's the kind of test we'll be coming up against.”
He added: “We've said it before in the dressing room, whenever we've come up against top sides in the division we've always seemed to match them.
“I've seen that first hand before I was here when I was playing for Plymouth. I honestly thought I'd never seen a Mansfield team come to Home Park and play like that.
“We are going into it full of confidence, which is a good sign.”
Latest | March 2020