BROWN IS ANXIOUS FOR A DEAL
BROWN IS ANXIOUS FOR A DEAL
Evening Post, 04 April 2006
Mansfield striker Simon Brown has revealed he is in discussions over a new contract.
The diminutive striker has been one of the success stories of a largely disappointing season for the Stags.
Brown has hit 12 goals in all competitions, despite having his season interrupted by hamstring and hernia injuries.
And that form has seen manager Peter Shirtliff move quickly to attempt to tie the former West Brom man to a new deal.
"The manager has spoken to me about staying next season and now I am waiting for the club to get back to me with a firm offer," said Brown.
"Hopefully I can stay because although I've done quite well, I think I can do a lot better.
"I feel I can score more goals, but also set up more for other people and be more consistent as well."
Brown has finally been booked in for an operation on April 24 on his hernia injury that has become increasingly painful over recent weeks.
He was due to go under the surgeon's knife last month, but delayed the procedure to help Mansfield's fight against the drop.
But now Brown knows he can bring his season to a premature end safe in the knowledge that Mansfield have secured their League Two safety. He said: "I've finally got a date and I'm happy that it's now going to be sorted out.
"If I'd have had it done when it first flared up, then I would probably be fit again now, but I have been happy to help the side out as a substitute.
"I think the lads would have had enough to pull away from trouble, but I've been pleased to help us get the results we've needed."
Brown's stop-start season has left him a frustrated spectator for much longer than he had hoped - and expected.
Now he is desperate to enjoy an injury-free campaign in 2006-07 and reward the supporters for the tremendous backing he feels they have given him.
"It has been disappointing for me because I pulled my hamstring and was out for ten to 11 weeks and then as soon as I came back I started to struggle with the hernia," said Brown.
"I first felt the hernia in the home game against Shrewsbury (in October), but when I wasn't training with the hamstring injury before Christmas it started to settle down and I thought it was OK.
"But then when I started playing again it became really sore and it has got worse and worse with the twisting and turning you do in matches.
"It has been devastating having to watch and even playing 30 minutes as a substitute because I want to play from the start.
"Next season I hope to play a lot more and repay the fans. Their support for me has been overwhelming."
SHIRTLIFF'S PRAISE FOR STRIKE FORCE
Evening Post, 03 April 2006
Stags boss Peter Shirtliff is hoping the burgeoning partnership between strikers Danny Reet and Richard Barker will continue to flower.
Reet scored his fifth goal of the season since signing for the Stags in January when he netted against Oxford, while Barker is top scorer with 22 goals.
But Shirtliff feels his strike force can get even better and is looking forward to seeing that develop through to next season.
"Danny Reet is a good prospect, there's no about it. I think he is going to develop into a very good player for us," said Shirtliff.
"I thought Richie was outstanding again and I think Danny is starting to learn from him.
"He is only going to pick up good habits from someone like Richie and I think the two of them are starting to forge a good partnership."
As a former central defender, Shirtliff was delighted that his side had kept a clean sheet at home for the third game running. That was partly due to some top-class saves from keeper Kevin Pressman, but the Mansfield manager is also pleased with the form of his back four.
"Kevin Pressman did well. But the two in front of them, John-Baptiste and Hjelde, and the rest of the defence have also been playing well.
"The good thing was that we didn't lose concentration at the end when the game was held up.
"I was disappointed with the incident. I've not seen fans run onto the pitch like that for a long time."
STAGS HOPES START TO RISE
Evening Post, 03 April 2006
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Oxford United
THERE seems to be something about the goal-line at the Quarry Lane end of Field Mill.
In Mansfield's last home game against Northampton, the visitors had a goal ruled out when Sean Dyche's shot appeared to have crossed the line.
And on Saturday another crucial incident transpired in almost an identical spot, when Danny Reet's header was ruled to have sneaked in by the assistant referee.
The good thing about the two decisions - if you're a Stags supporter that is - is that both went in their favour.
Those fine margins have helped the Stags record three wins in a row on home turf and once again sparked talk of the play-offs.
And with just one defeat in ten games, why shouldn't Mansfield feel they can beat anyone?
Certainly it was always going to be a hard task against a visiting side who have been rejuvenated by new manager Jim Smith. Yet the hosts came through with flying colours.
Nicknamed "The Bald Eagle", Smith is a hero in Oxford for leading them into the old Division One back in the mid-80s with players such as John Aldridge and Ray Houghton.
His team came to Mansfield with five new signings in their squad and buoyed by a 1-0 home success against Peterborough in his first game back in charge.
But it was clear from the start that the Stags were not going to give an inch.
In the first half, Gus Uhlenbeek forced a smart save out of Andrea Guatelli after the Dutchman had slipped past his marker.
United came closest through Steve Basham, who was first denied by a sliding tackle from Kevin Pressman before he headed just over from Lee Mansell's left-wing centre.
Things looked worrying for the Stags in the second period when Oxford came out all guns blazing.
But the visitors could not beat Kevin Pressman, who enjoyed one of his best games of the season.
He pulled off a trio of excellent saves in a matter of minutes to give Mansfield the opportunity to go on to win.
The first stop was his best as he blocked N'Cham N'Toya's point-blank shot. He followed that up by flinging himself to his left to push away Chris Hargeaves' drive before his quick reflexes allowed him to keep out Chris Wilmott's powerful header.
Suddenly, though, Mansfield moved up a gear and had a terrific spell of pressure that halted Oxford in their tracks.
A slick move involving Barker, Uhlenbeek and Giles Coke cut the visitors' defence to ribbons and substitute Adam Birchall tapped home from close range.
Unfortunately for Mansfield, the goal was flagged offside, but they did not let it bother them. Instead, they pushed forward again in search of a goal and got it - ironically with the help of the official who had ruled out Birchall's effort just minutes before.
Uhlenbeek whipped the ball to the far post where Barker headed the ball back across the face of goal towards Reet, whose header was judged to have been over the line before it was pushed away by Guatelli.
The finale was marred by trouble in the Oxford end, which caused play to be delayed for several minutes while the stewards reasserted control. When the game restarted, Mansfield had few problems in making sure of victory.
Of course, to suggest that Stags are anything but rank outsiders for the play-offs would be way off the mark.
But while there is still a chink of light, then fans and players will not give up hope - and nor should they.
And if goal-line decisions keep going their way, then they might just do it.
Latest | April 2006