'WE CAN PRODUCE AN FA CUP SHOCK'
Evening Post, 04 November 2005
Richie Barker heads back to his former club tomorrow - and he believes Mansfield can cause an FA Cup upset.
Struggling Rotherham have not won in ten games while Mansfield's form has picked up under Peter Shirtliff.
Three wins in four league games resulted in him getting the manager's job at Field Mill on a permanent basis earlier this week.
And captain Barker says the Stags' good run of form could produce an FA Cup shock.
He said: "I did an interview for their (Rotherham) programme and I did not realise they have not won in ten games.
"They beat Accrington on penalties but their press officer said they did not count that.
"But we know what that is like because we have had that as well.
"But it does not make it a foregone conclusion that we should win the game because they are a good side and we were lucky to get a draw in pre-season against them although we did well.
"I thought they were one of the best sides we played in pre-season.
"People might say, looking at their form, it will not be an upset if we beat them, but it certainly will be. But we can do it."
The striker has scored five goals in his last five games.
And after helping Mansfield secure their first away win for seven months at Cheltenham last Saturday, he believes they have the confidence to win at Millmoor.
He said: "People keep going on about the away win and the longer it went on the harder it got so it was nice to get that out of the way. We have not got any other records to get out of the way.
"We have won at home, won away, won back-to-back so we can just get on with it.
"We are flying in the league now so you like league games to come thick and fast, especially when you are in this kind of form.
"Me and Browny have got 16 goals between us and are both on the scoring charts, which is always nice, and we need to try and stay on there and that will mean we are moving up the league.
"If we can keep clean sheets we know we can score goals as a team."
Barker said the whole squad was delighted Shirtliff had got the manager's job.
"We can all start moving in the right direction. If he had not got it after the last four league games - won three, lost one, scored ten, conceded one - then he would have been very unlucky.
"He deserves it and the results have picked up and hopefully we can keep it going."
The 30-year-old cannot wait to make his return to Rotherham almost a year after he joined the Stags.
He said: "I have got a lot of friends who are still there and a lot of players I speak to on a regular basis and still meet up with.
"My wife is still friends with a lot of the players' wives there so it will be nice to go back and hopefully I will not take too much stick."
WILLIAMSON WAITS ON CALL
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12:00 - 04 November 2005
Rotherham's Lee Williamson could be fit to face his old club after all.
The 23-year-old midfielder, who was an integral part in the Stags' promotion season in 2001-02, has only made two appearances since joining from Northampton.
He has had a nasal problem that has required an operation. But Millers boss Mick Harford says he could make the starting line-up.
He said: "Lee has been working hard and having him fit would be a boost.
"But I will wait until we check on the lad's fitness."
Peter Shirtliff, who was given the Mansfield manager's job on a full-time basis earlier this week, is looking forward to the game.
Confidence is high in the camp after last week's 2-0 win over Cheltenham, which came on the back of a 4-0 victory over Barnet.
Stags beat Stoke and Southampton in the Carling Cup and Shirtliff hopes his side can build on that.
"We have played some of our best football against clubs from a higher division so it should be a good cup tie." he said.
He will be without Gareth Jelleyman, who is suspended following his sending off last week, and on-loan Jonathan D'Laryea, who has been barred from playing by Manchester City.
Shirtliff forced into changes for FA Cup opener
CHAD website, 03 November 2005
PETER Shirtliff will be forced into at least two changes in his first game as full-time Mansfield Town manager when they travel to Rotherham United for their FA Cup first round tie on Saturday (3pm).
Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has asked Shirtliff not to play on-loan midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea as he doesn't want him cup-tied.
And left back Gareth Jelleyman will begin the first of a three game ban after his red card at Cheltenham United last weekend.
Shirtliff has just enjoyed the luxury of an unchanged side for three games.
Added headaches are minor knocks to Simon Brown and Gus Uhlenbeek which have prevented them training. Brown has a swollen foot and Uhlenbeek an ankle injury, but both are expecetd to be fit for Saturday.
Shirtliff is keeping his proposed line-up close to his chest but Jason Talbot would be an automatic left back swap while Stephen Dawson would slot back into midfield.
Rotherham United's only win in the last eight games has been an LDV Vans Trophy success over Accrington Stanley.
But Shirtliff is fully aware how difficult it will be on Saturday.
"They may be disappointed with recent results but, let's be honest, Rotherham are from a division higher than us and therefore start the match as favourites," he said.
"Millmoor is never an easy place to go and Mick Harford will have them well prepared, make no mistake. They have a decent home record.
"But we have nothing to lose as underdogs. Hopefully we can just go there and give them a good game and, if we get the breaks, we just might get a result.
"We have played well in cup ties this season and we are looking forward to it. The FA Cup is always exciting and it would be great for our fans if we could go on a decent cup run."
Mansfield Town had sold out of their 850-ticket allocation this morning and no more tickets will be made available to Stags fans in advance or on the day.
Peter Shirtliff - "We have Nothing to lose"
Stags boss Peter Shirtliff is looking forward to Saturday's trip to Rotherham saying that we have nothing to lose:
"We have nothing to lose, it's a cup tie away from home against a club from a division higher. Rotherham are a decent side and I am sure that the Rotherham camp will be disappointed that they do not have a few more points on the board. The reports that I have had on them suggests that they have been a bit unlucky of late so it will be a tough game. Millmoor is always a tough place to go but I am sure that our fans will travel up there and cheer us on and hopefully we will give them a good game and if we get the breaks we may get a good result." He said.
"I am looking forward to it. We have played some of our best football against clubs from a higher division and we should be playing on a nice pitch with good conditions and hopefully weather conditions will be okay so should be a good cup tie." He added
Shirtliff is also pleased that he will have pretty much a full squad to select from with the exception of a couple of enforced changes. Gareth Jelleyman who will be sitting out his first game of a three match suspension and Jonathan D'Laryea who is cup tied to Manchester City.
Two days in the job
Peter Shirtliff says that the job is exactly the same as it was two days ago when he was a caretaker manager but he does admit that it does give you a head start as a manager if you already know the players.
"Now I have had time for it to sink in that I have got the job as manager it doesn't feel any different from before. I come into work in the morning attend training and try and improve things.
"It does give you a bit of a head start though if you already know the players. If you come in cold you tend to draw instant judgements which is on eof the reasons I thought it was good that I came in cold in pre-season I have a view of what I think is required and I am trying to do it." He told the official site this morning.
But, Shirtliff is not the only one delighted at his post. The Mansfield Town players have given him their support from the start and were delighted to hear that he has been offered a two year deal keeping him at the helm.
"It was very nice to hear that the players all expressed their views and wanted me appointing. I just hope we can keep it all together on the pitch. I think that my appointment has possibly settled 'the ship' down a bit. All the uncertainty has now gone but obviously results bring a bit of confidence so it could be that has brought the spring in the step and smile on the faces of the players. So if we can just keep on going we will hopefully get the right results. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, it is still early days but if we keep on going in the direction we are now hopefully it will all come together for us" he added
Shirtliff will now be putting his game plan into action in a bid to see his charge climbing the table. He has identified a few areas that he feels could do with improvement.
" I have been happy with the help that I have received from Paul Holland, he knows the players at this level and has been a great help so far, so for now I will be leaving that as it stands I just need some help on the scouting side of the football club so I will be trying to redress that.
"Also I have been looking at a few players, I am aware of budgets and know that there are no fortunes but I may be able to bring in some loan signings to strengthen the squad and stand us in good stead for the rest of the season. In fact I have never had as many or made as many phone calls in my life as I have over the last two days. I am getting close to one or two targets that I am hopeful will be joining us at Mansfield."
But without divulging too much information he is hopeful of doing something in the next week or two.
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