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Archived News from September 2006

7th September 2006 14:20

Evening Post, 07 September 2006

Alex John-Baptiste is convinced Mansfield can still win promotion - despite their less than ideal start to the season.

The Stags know they have under-achieved in picking up just six points from their opening six matches.

But central defender John-Baptiste still believes the Mansfield squad will turn things around and be challenging near the top come the end of the season.

"There is only one aim at the club and that is promotion - and that still stands," he said.

"Our start might not have been as good as we would have liked but I still believe that there is no one we should fear in this league."

"We have played quite well at times and haven't been dominated by anyone. Even in the Lincoln game (where Mansfield lost 4-2) we had the better of the game and the score should have been a lot closer.

"But we need to start winning our home games and if we can start with Hereford on Saturday then we can kick on from there.

"What we need to do is make this place a fortress so that people feel intimidated coming to Field Mill."

Mansfield's attacking players have come in for some criticism over the last couple of weeks - including from their own boss Peter Shirtliff - for failing to make the most of their chances at key times.

But John-Baptiste is confident that it is only a matter of time before the likes of Richard Barker, Simon Brown, Michael Boulding and Matt Hamshaw start hitting the net regularly.

He said: "I don't think our forwards are lacking in confidence, they just need a bit of luck to get them going.

"I don't think we would swap the front four for any others in our division and once they start, they will be difficult to stop."

John-Baptiste believes it is vital that the Stags get back on track quickly after losing their way following an encouraging pre-season.

"The next three games are vital for us and we need at least six or maybe seven points from those matches," he said.

"We just need to be a bit sharper in both boxes and if we are then we shouldn't be too far away in those games."

Stags' Carling Cup second round match with Portsmouth is on Tuesday, September 19 (7.45pm). Tickets available on the gate.


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