SHIRTLIFF CONSOLES HIS YOUNGSTERS
REET BATTLES TO BE BARKER'S PARTNER IN STAGS' ATTACK
Evening Post, 26 September 2006
Danny Reet is determined to win his battle with Chris Beardsley to partner Richard Barker in the Mansfield attack.
Simon Brown and skipper Barker began the season as Peter Shirtliff's first choice front two. But a knee injury to Brown that requires him to wear a knee brace means he is now out for at least a month.
That has handed an opportunity to Reet and Beardsley - both have been given a try since Brown's injury. But neither has yet to cement his place alongside Barker, - and Reet is hopeful he will be given the nod as they prepare for the visit of Darlington.
He said: "Everyone is now finding some good form and both Chris and myself obviously want to play with Richie. With Browny out injured, which is tough luck on him, it is a chance for us to stake our claim."
Reet has managed three goals coming off the bench against Lincoln, Hereford and Portsmouth in the Carling Cup.
The Stags' performance in losing 2-1 to Premiership Portsmouth gave everyone around Field Mill a real lift after their poor League form.
"I think we proved in the Portsmouth game that we can do the physical side of the game as well as playing football," he said.
"We showed that it does work and we need to be more like that in league matches because it is tough in League Two."
Stags manager Peter Shirtliff has told his young side to maintain their positive approach tonight.
Mansfield have won only twice in League Two all season, despite some attacking displays.
"We are playing well and creating chances and that is the hardest part of the game," he said.
"But they have to tighten up and concentrate for 90 minutes. If we can do that then we will start turning these draws and defeats into wins."
With Brown and Jon Olav Hjelde sidelined, Shirtliff is waiting on the fitness of John Mullins (foot) and Giles Coke (ankle), who will both have tests tonight.
Darlington have claimed 15 points from ten games so far, with former Villa and Leicester striker Julian Joachim on fine form, netting eight goals already.
"Joachim will be a threat. But I think we have enough threats of our own. We are staying positive and I hope the fans will stay positive with us."
Darlington likely to be unchanged
Darlington continue their gruelling set of fixtures with a relatively short trip to Mansfield Town. Quakers secured a point at the weekend with a 2–2 against Shrewsbury Town and will be now looking to push on and try to get three points. The hectic schedule refuses to make things any easier for the Darlington who are still looking at a somewhat depleted squad for this game.
Defenders Joey Hutchinson, Brian Close and Patrick Collins have all failed to recover from their respective injuries. Darlington though will be boosted by the return of David Duke from a one game suspension which he picked up for his red card at Reading in the Carling Cup second round a week ago. The former Swindon player may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Quakers' boss David Hodgson was impressed with David Rowson at Shrewsbury Town. The defender played at right–back which would be the most likely position for Duke to slot into. With Hodgson more than pleased with Rowson's contribution he has hinted towards leaving the side unchanged for the trip to Field Mill. This would see forward Barry Conlon on the bench for a second game running.
Mansfield find themselves three points off the bottom two going into this game and have won only twice at Field Mill so far this season. The Stags, like Darlington, got a 2–2 draw at the weekend. Mansfield came from behind to lead 2–1 but where pegged back with five minutes to go by the visitors. Mansfield also missed two spot kicks during the game. The home side had enough chances to wrap the result up felt their manager Peter Shirtliff who was left rueing the passed up opportunities and questioned some of his player's decision making abilities.
"It was a very strange game and we had an unbelievable number of chances to go on and win it. We should have won it, end of story," said Shirtliff. "I can't understand some of the decisions made by my players. The bottom line is if you don't take chances and score goals you don't win games. We have scored two goals at home and that should be enough. We have not kept a clean sheet this season in the league and that is a massive concern. I have told the players there is no point moping about it. We have another game on Tuesday and there is no time for anyone to feel sorry for themselves."
Whilst Darlington still have a few injury concerns going into this game so do the home side. Defender John Mullins is said to be a doubt with an ankle problem. The former Kidderminster player lasted just over half an hour of the frustrating home draw with Accrington. Mullins did not train with Peter Shirtliff's squad on Monday but could still be in contention to face the Quakers, pending the result of a late fitness test. Meanwhile fellow defender Jon–Olav Hjelde will also be assessed close to kick–off, but his chances are rated less than 50/50 due to a knee injury combined with a groin strain. Midfielder Simon Brown is definitely out with a knee problem.
Added on 25th September 2006
Shirtliff consoles his youngsters
CHAD WEBSITE, 25 September 2006
FRUSTRATED Stags manager Peter Shirtliff has thrown an arm around his young side today and told them to go out and beat Darlington at Field Mill tomorrow night.
Yet another fine attacking display at Field Mill failed to produce a win against Accrington Stanley on Saturday as a late goal earned the visitors a point.
Mansfield have now only won twice in League Two all season, despite some exciting attacking displays, and failed to keep a clean sheet once in those games.
"I told them this morning - you are playing well and creating chances and that is the hardest part of the game," he said.
"But they have to tighten up and concentrate for 90 minutes and be a bit more professional in certain details.
"If we can do that then we will start turning these draws and defeats into wins.
"It was lapses in concentration that cost us both goals on Saturday. I think they just switched off when they were 2-1 up near the end on Saturday.
"Yet, after equalising, they hit our post and we could have lost when it should have all been tied up. That is ridiculous.
"The players want to go out there and put things right, even though there is not a lot wrong to put right at the moment.
"Winning breeds confidence and I think one or two of them are just lacking a bit of confidence right now."
With Simon Brown and Jon Olav Hjelde already sidelined, Shirtliff is waiting on the fitness of full back John Mullins (foot) and midfielder Giles Coke (ankle) who both limped off on Saturday.
Both are 50-50 to make it and will be given late fitness tests.
Visitors Darlington drew 2-2 at Shrewsbury on Saturday to take their tally to 15 points from the first 10 games and are ninth, just two points outside the play-off spots.
They have won two and drawn one of their five away League games so far. And former Aston Villa star Julian Joachim has already bagged eight goals with six for Barry Conlon.
But Shirtliff said: "We are staying positive and I hope the fans will stay positive with us.
"It is still early in the season and the league is proving much like last season with everyone capable of beating everyone else.
"We know all about Joachim and he will be a threat. But I think we have enough threats of our own. Rather than dwell on their players, I will be looking to our players to cause them problems."
GOOD TIMES 'ROUND CORNER'
Evening Post, 25 September 2006
Stephen Dawson feels that everyone must take the blame for Stags' current defensive problems - not just the defenders.
"It is becoming a bit of a worry now, but you can't just blame the lads at the back for it," said Dawson.
"Defending starts with the forwards and then the midfield and maybe we need to start doing that better.
"We are trying hard to get things right but it is not quite going our way at the moment."
But Dawson also feels that the Stags are down on luck at the moment and that better times could be just around the corner.
He said: "If things had gone our way on Saturday then we could have easily won 6-2 against Accrington.
"We are very disappointed because we had the chances but we failed to take them.
"It is not as if they were opening us up time and time again at the other end. They only got in a couple of times but unfortunately they have scored from them.
"I believe that if we keep playing as we are, with a good level of performance, then it is going to start going our way."
Meanwhile Accrington boss John Coleman hailed the "absolutely magnificent" performance of keeper Ian Dunbavin that earned the visitors a point. "Ian kept us in the game today," he said. "He was superb."
NO MIRACLE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF LEAKY DEFENCE
Evening Post, 25 September 2006
Stags boss Peter Shirtliff was left scratching his head after Mansfield failed to kill off Accrington Stanley at Field Mill.
"It was a strange game in that we had an unbelievable amount of chances but still didn't win the game," said Shirtliff.
"I just can't understand some of the decisions our players make at both ends of the pitch. But the bottom line is if you don't take your chances and don't score goals then you don't win games.
"We are also not keeping any clean sheets, which is a massive concern. Accrington didn't do enough to hurt yet we have let them score two goals, which was too easy.
"I don't think you can legislate for the penalty misses because they were two good saves from the keeper.
"Even so, it was a game that we should have won because we had enough chances."
Shirtliff was pleased with the response from his players to coming in at half-time a goal down.
"We told them that they just needed to pass the ball a bit better and improve the final ball into the box," he said.
"We knew if we could do that then we could create chances. Unfortunately we have only converted two and then we couldn't keep them out until the end."
Mansfield failed to keep a clean sheet for the tenth game running and Shirtliff admits there is no miracle solution.
"I don't know if there is any money available to do anything in terms of changing personnel so we just have to keep working at it," he added.
"If you look at the defence individually they have had reasonable games but the odd wrong decision is proving costly."
Johnny Mullins was forced off in the 33rd minute with a leg sprain, but Shirtliff did not know if the player would be fit for tomorrow's visit of Darlington.
Latest | September 2006