MORE PREVIEWS - BARKER INTERVIEW
CONFIDENT STAGS CAN BOUNCE BACK
Evening Post, 01 September 2006
Club captain Richard Barker feels it is only a matter of time before Mansfield string together a winning streak.
The striker -whose side travel to Wycombe tonight - admits last week's first defeat of the season to Lincoln was hugely disappointing.
But Barker insists the Stags are fairly philosophical about the game and that, on another day, Mansfield might have come out on top.
He is adamant that with a few minor adjustments the Stags can string some victories together to push themselves up League Two.
"I still don't think we have played as well as in pre-season and you can look at that as a positive," said Barker.
"We are mid-table, have lost just the one game and are in the second round of the Carling Cup, yet I don't think we have clicked into top gear.
"Hopefully we can put three to four good performances together back-to-back and get some wins under our belt.
"We know that we are going to lose games but it was a blow to lose the Lincoln game in the way we did.
"But what matters now is how we react to that and hopefully we will see the right response at Wycombe."
Mansfield had 21 shots and 14 on target against the Imps but only managed to score twice while the visitors had just seven shots - five on target - and netted four times.
Barker said: "Goals change games and we conceded goals at the wrong times and missed our chances at the wrong times, although in between our play was quite good.
"We obviously want to improve on the amount of chances we take but I always say I'd be more worried as a striker if we weren't getting any.
"As a team we have created enough chances to win games on a regular basis but haven't taken enough of them.
"We have scored in every game so far, so we know we have goals in the team - and I don't think there will be a shortage.
"Everyone misses chances and you are not guaranteed to score from even the easiest of them but I think things have got to go our way at some point if we keep making the openings."
Barker was not without blame as his first-half penalty was saved by Alan Marriott - the first time he has failed to score from the spot for the Stags.
But he stepped up again to score another spot kick in stoppage time - and said he had no hesitation in doing so. "At half-time the manager backed me after I had missed and said he fancied us to get another penalty," said Barker. "He said if we did then I should take it and smash it. That's what I did and thankfully I scored.
"I think it's like riding a bike. If you fall off then the best thing you can do is to get straight back on."
A Mansfield side beat Chesterfield 4-0 in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday with goals from Chris Beardsley (2), Danny Reet and Nathan Arnold.
Giles Coke played a full 90 minutes following his ankle injury, but Jon-Olav Hjelde lasted just 30 minutes before leaving the field with a slight groin injury.
Wycombe (from): Young, Batista, Williamson, Stockley, Antwi , Betsy, Golbourne, Oakes, Torres, Martin, Grant, Palmer, Mooney, Dixon, Easter, Gregory.
Mansfield (from): Muggleton, White, Jelleyman, John-Baptiste, Buxton, Hjelde, Mullins, Boulding, Birchall, D'Laryea, Dawson, Coke, Lloyd, Hamshaw, Barker, Brown, Reet, Beardsley.
Mansfield have never won at the Causeway Stadium in five previous trips but they have only lost once - the other four games have all been draws.
Last season the Stags earned a point from a 2-2 with goals from Jon-Olav Hjelde and Richard Barker.
In all meetings, Wycombe have the slight edge having won three of the ten meetings to Stags' two. Five have been draws.
Jermaine Easter - The striker's goal in the 2-0 win over Macclesfield was his fifth goal in eight days. He also netted three times for Stockport against the Stags last season.
ONE TO WATCH:
Kevin Betsy - Pacy winger who scored a hat-trick for Wycombe as they won 3-2 at Field Mill last season.
R. Lee (Brentwood). Has handed out ten yellow cards and one red in two games this season.
Leave the M40 at Junction 4 and take the A4010 towards Aylesbury.
Turn left at fourth roundabout into Lane End Road and across another roundabout and into Hillbottom Road. The ground is down at the very bottom of this road.
Via Dreams Stand. Adults £16, concessions £14, under 16s £12.
Latest | September 2006