ALL OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS ACCEPT DEALS
Mansfield 103.2 broke the news in their 11am bulletin today that all the out of contract players that were offered deals have accepted them - that includes Jon-Olav Hjelde who has postponed his retirement for another year, and Giles Coke.
The news was revealed in a press meeting with Peter Shirtliff this morning.
Shirtliff on brink of major signing
CHAD website, 28June2006
STAGS boss Peter Shirtliff announced he is on the verge of securing his first major signing of the summer as the club returned for pre-season training today.
Shirtliff expects the player to sign a contract before the end of the week and said; "I am chuffed to bits he has agreed to come and will be even more chuffed when he has actually signed.
"He is a player I have been looking to sign all summer and there were 12 clubs after him.
"But I have managed to persuade him to come to Mansfield."
Shirtliff still has other irons in the fire and expects things to start moving for him and other clubs now squads are returning to training and last season's contracts are running out.
But there were several more reasons to be cheerful at Field Mill this morning.
Shirtliff said all his young players have verbally indicated they will be signing their new contracts.
Injured quartet Gareth Jelleyman, Chris Beardsley, Jake Buxton and Simon Brown are all back fit and well.
And experienced central defender Jon Hjelde has agreed to postpone his retirement and do another season.
"I am delighted Jon is staying on as I thought he was a consistent performer last season," he said.
"All the young lads have said they are staying, though they couldn't just walk out anyway as they are under 24.
"It will be good to have the injured lads back with us too.
"Those injuries plus suspensions cost us in the last six games of last season.
"We didn't end up with the points total we should have had which was disappointing.
"We had a really good run and looked like we might challenge for a Play-off place at one stage.
"Hopefully the experience of last season will stand them all in good stead this time around."
Former Reading and Kidderminster defender John Mullins was one new face at the club this morning. And he will be joined by trialist Paul Collins, just released by Manchester City on Monday along with possibly one or two other trialists.
"I am looking forward to pre-season," said Shirtliff.
"The first day will just be acclimatising, getting kit sorted and getting everyone moving.
"This will be an introductory week and they will get the weekend off. We will just start work on some base fitness and I will be explaining what I am looking for.
"They have all come back in decent shape - it's not like it used to be. Players look after themselves much better now.
"I am not making any predictions this season other than wanting to see us improve.
"Shrewsbury way is a tough one to start with. But we are getting to play on that pitch as a good time of season and gave a good account of ourselves there last season and were unlucky not to win."
STRIKE-FORCE 'THUMBS UP'
Evening Post, 28 June 2006
Peter Shirtliff is satisfied he has the right strike force to make Mansfield Town a force to be reckoned with next season.
Richard Barker - captain and top scorer last season with 23 goals - is already under contract, along with youngster Danny Reet.
And with Simon Brown and Chris Beardsley also offered deals to remain at Field Mill, Shirtliff believes he has a quartet capable of getting the goals the Stags need to challenge.
"We have four men in place who I am very comfortable with. They are a good group," said Shirtliff. "I think they all offer us something slightly different and they are all capable of scoring goals.
"Richie set the benchmark last season and it is up to the others lads to show that they can do it.
"Hopefully we will get the right service to them.
"We want to get some quality all over the pitch."
Mansfield scored 59 goals last season, but Shirtliff believes that tally would have been much higher had his front men not been absent for significant periods.
He said: "We missed Danny Reet towards the end of the season with suspension and Chris Beardsley for a large part of the season.
"Simon Brown was also out a lot and even when we was available he wasn't always 100 per cent fit.
"Matthew Tipton left for Bury as well so we had four of our centre forwards out at various points.
"That is bound to have an affect for a small club like us, so I'm hoping the lads can stay fit this time."