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Archived News from July 2006

3rd July 2006 14:26

Evening Post, 03 July 2006
Peter Shirtliff today revealed he wants to secure "one or two" more signings before Mansfield start their friendly fixtures towards the end of the month.

The Stags play attractive home games with Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County and Nottingham Forest before a visit to Conference North Alfreton Town.

The seven out-of-contract players offered new deals - Simon Brown, Gareth Jelleyman, Jon-Olav Hjelde, Giles Coke, Chris Beardsley, Callum Lloyd and Jason White - are all expected to sign by the end of the week.

Former Manchester City defender Paul Collins could be another potential acquisition after being offered a trial, which started today.

And with summer signings of midfielder Matt Hamshaw and defender Johnny Mullins on two-year deals, Mansfield will have a first-team squad around 17-strong.

But Shirtliff is keen to add to that number, with a left-sided midfielder and a goalkeeper the most obvious areas he might look to strengthen.

"I'm fairly happy with the squad, but I would like to get a couple more players in before we start our games," said the Stags manager.

"It's a bit of a lengthy process and one or two things have held up potential deals. Hopefully they will be done soon."

The Stags got back into pre-season training last Wednesday and Shirtliff has been pleased with the way things have progressed so far.

All four players who were injured at the end of last season - Jake Buxton, Gareth Jelleyman, Simon Brown and Chris Beardsley - took part with no adverse reaction. Shirtliff added: "When you first get back it is a case of acclimatising and getting everyone moving again. They are all looking in good shape."

Football Post article - Continuity at Field Mill

transcribed by carole

Continuity is strength for Stags as host of key players sign again:

New faces are flooding in at the Magpies, and Peter Shirtliff says he's seeking signings at Mansfield. But the old faces can be just as important, as MATT HALFPENNY discovers……

EVERY football fan loves to see a manager bring in a host of new signings over the summer break.

New faces always spark enormous interest and excitement and boost everyone's hopes ahead of the new season.

Down the A60 at Meadow Lane, new boss Steve Thompson has bought in no less than nine new boys.

At Field Mill, the Stags have made just one addition to their squad after releasing eight players in May – defender Johnny Mullins – while giving a trial to former Manchester City trainee Paul Collins.

Boss Peter Shirtliff finally revealed his “mystery target” when former Stockport midfielder Matt Hamshaw finally put pen to paper.

Nevertheless, it has not exactly been a hive of activity in north Notts – and that has left some supporters a little frustrated.

That is not to say that the Stags boss has not been busy trying. In fact, he has joked that his wife has reprimanded him for taking too many phone calls about football while away on holiday.

With players still a little thin on the ground, Shirtliff knows that he still needs some more new blood and insists he is in negotiations to make sure that happens.

So you can be sure that by the time the season kicks off on august 5 at Shrewsbury, there will be others who are not yet on the books who will be donning the amber and blue of Mansfield.

But the best signings Shirtliff makes could yet be the ones already at the club.

The Mansfield manager told the assembled press corps this week that there was every indication that all the players offered new contracts would be signing them when their old deals ran out at the end of June.

According to that, by the end of this week, Giles Coke, Simon Brown, Gareth Jelleyman, Callum Lloyd, Jon-Olav Hjelde, Chris Beardsley and Jason White should all be secured for the forthcoming season – Shirtliff's first full one at the helm.

His belief will have been re-enforced by the appearance of the majority of those men at Stags' first pre-season get-together on Wednesday. And while such news may not bring the same thrill to followers of the Stags as a major new capture, those deals could be just as important, if not more so.

It gives the Stags one big advantage over most of the other clubs in League Two busy preparing for another hectic campaign – continuity. For while the likes of Thompson – and others who have signed a clutch of new men – will have to work very hard to mould their sides into a team unit, the Stags will be able to carry on from where they left off in 2005-2006.

Shirtliff will not have to impress his principles, tactics and formation on most of his troops – because they already know what is expected. The same goes for the dressing room spirit. The players already know each other inside out and have built up strong relationships with each other.

The importance of the status quo has not been lost on club captain Richie Barker, who believes keeping the nucleus of the squad from last season is a big plus.

“I think you saw what can happen last season when we brought in nine or ten players at the same time and we didn't get off to the best of starts,” he said. “New players always take time to settle and when you have as many new ones as we did last season then it is always going to take time for the team to gel on the field as well.

“But this season we are all comfortable with each other on and off the pitch. There are quite a few lads of the same age and they all get on well socially. But there is also the advantages when we play that we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and what each individual is capable of.

“I don't think the squad is quite the finished article as yet and the boss is talking about bringing some more quality players and I'm sure that will help. But he already has a good base to work from and I'm sure Shirty will be able to carry on where he left off last season.

“The other good thing is that all the lads who have not even played 10 league games are now a year older and will learn from the experience of last season. Players like Dawson, D'Laryea, Reet and Coke have extra games under their belt and they know what is expected of them in this league now.”

Clearly, the emphasis in the squad will still be on youth and that is perhaps inevitable as the Stags do not have the financial clout to go out and sign a raft of well-established players.

But at least this season it is youth with experience – and Mansfield could well see the benefits of that as the season unfolds.


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