PLAYER INTERVIEW WITH ALLEN TANKARD
Player Interview with Allen Tankard - Mansfield Town
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Last season Mansfield secured promotion to Division Two and defender Allen Tankard brought a wealth of experience to their back line. This season he can look forward to reunions with his former teammates at Port Vale. Brian Beard caught up with Alan recently and kicked off his interview with Alan's thoughts about one important player who will not be in the Mansfield team this season.
Q: HOW WILL THE TEAM COPE WITHOUT CHRIS GREENACRE, WHO WAS SOLD TO STOKE IN THE SUMMER?
A: It is going to be difficult because he is a very good goalscorer and we obviously need goals to win games. We've also lost David 'Ned' Kelly to Telford, but I have to say he did a good job when he came to the club last season. But the scoring responsibility this time will fall on the shoulders of Shane Bradley and Andy White, and hopefully they can perform.
Q: BUT GOING UP A DIVISION AND LOSING TWO STRIKERS DOES PUT PRESSURE ON THE STRIKERS REMAINING BUT ALSO ON THE REST OF THE TEAM. TRUE?
A: Yes, it does, especially as Chris Greenacre scored so many goals for us last season. But hopefully Craig Disley will be fit for the start of the season and carry on from where he left off last season. Shane had a bit of a hit and miss season last time so we will be hoping that he will get a good run this season and if he does then I am sure he will score goals.
Q: LAST CAMPAIGN YOU LEFT IT A LITTLE LATE BEFORE CLINCHING PROMOTION AFTER THE TEAM HAD LOOKED COMFORTABLE FOR SO LONG. HOW COME?
A: I think that was down to the injuries we suffered at critical times. Our squad was thinner last season and it is even thinner this year. The injuries really impacted last season and weakened the team, which I suppose was always on the cards. I remember that I came back for the last five games and we managed to get back on track to squeeze through.
Q: TIMELY RETURN THEN?
A: I suppose it could look like that but what it did do was add a bit of experience at a critical time, defensively. We were shipping a lot of goals, which was very worrying at the time considering how well we had been doing.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND DIVISION NOW, A LEAGUE YOU KNOW A LOT ABOUT?
A: Yes, we know it is going to be difficult because the quality of football will be a step up for us. As well as the improvement in football quality we have, as a squad, weakened over the summer and let eight players go while bringing in just two. The manager is still trying to get more players into the club but it will be a difficult season and there will be a lot more pressure on my shoulders because of my experience of that division. But I am sure if we can keep our strongest team together we will be okay.
Q: HOW DIFFICULT HAS THE SITUATION BEEN MADE BY THE DEBACLE OVER THE ITV DIGITAL MONEY?
A: I think that situation has affected lads who are out of contract more than anything else. I think there is something like 800 players out of contract and it is very worrying. I was in that situation myself, last year, and that first hand experience was not very pleasant.
Q: DO YOU THINK THAT CLUBS, GENERALLY, WILL HAVE LEARNED A LESSON FROM RELYING TOO MUCH ON MONEY BEFORE IT IS ACTUALLY IN THE BANK?
A: Maybe so, although I am not sure if it affected Mansfield too much. But with all the money that was being spent in football it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Q: HEAD ON THE BLOCK TIME NOW. MANSFIELD APART WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE TEAM TO WATCH OUT FOR IN DIVISION TWO THIS SEASON?
A: I think Plymouth might do quite well. They were a decent team in the Third Division and virtually walked that league. But I also think that Crewe will do well, they are a strong outfit and having come down I think they stand a chance.
Q: AND ONE PARTICULAR FIXTURE THAT YOU WILL BE RELISHING?
A: Yes, Port Vale and because of the circumstances surrounding my departure I did not get chance to say goodbye to the Vale fans. I am looking forward to it, having spent eight years at the club and with my in-laws all being fans they will be relishing those games and my little boy is going to be mascot on the day, so we are all looking forward to it.
Latest | July 2002