PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
Stags out to spoil Walsall's 'perfect' home record
CHAD website, 28 September 2006
MANSFIELD Town, lifted by four points from two home games, face the toughest possible test on Saturday when they travel to leaders Walsall looking to spoil the Saddlers'perfect home record.
Played five, won five, scored 12, conceded none is an immaculate record at the Bescot Stadium and they have only lost once in League Two all season (at Grimsby) since their relegation.
But Stags keeper, Jason White, who celebrated his first clean sheet of the week on Tuesday night, said: "They are only a football team, and their record doesn't mean we are not going to go there and come away with the points.
"They haven't lost at home yet. But they will - and hopefully it will be Saturday.
"It was good to get a clean sheet against Darlington on Tuesday. We worked hard and deserved it on the night.
"I thought we defended magnificently. They all did well and I was pleased with my own performance.
"The return of Jon Hjelde probably made the difference later on with his experience. He kept his position and won some important headers."
Manager Peter Shirtliff added: "Walsall have had a great start. The points total they have from the number of games played is terrific. That is why they are top of the league.
"But we will stick to what we believe in and see what happens. We have no shortage of confidence going into the game."
Michael Boulding could be in contention for a place in the squad as the swelling on the kick on his knee he suffered last weekend is going down nicely on a daily basis.
Injury situation improves at the Mill
mansfieldtown.net, 28 September 2006
Stags' injury woes appear to be lightening with players starting to report back to duty this week. Jon Olav Hjelde managed a full ninety minutes on Tuesday Evening against Darlington and has come through the game with no ill effects.
Mickey Boulding who suffered a blow to the knee last weekend is improving and looks as though he could be in contention for Saturday's trip to Walsall.
"The swelling to his knee is now subsiding nicely and he is feeling a lot more comfortable than he has done so hopefully he will be in contention for Saturday" said Shirtliff.
Stags share Manager's Belief
mansfieldtown.net, 28 September 2006
Stags shot stopper Jason White secured his first clean sheet of the season and pays tribute to his team mates for the achievement.
"I would have liked to have got a clean sheet earlier on but it just didn't come. We worked hard and I think that we deserved it the other night (Vs Darlington).
"As a goal keeper you can't allow goals scored against you to grate on you, you just have to concentrate on your game and if a clean sheet comes it is a bonus. ON Tuesday evening I think the result game from a solid team performance with the defence being magnificent and I was pleased with my own performance as well.
" After the game on Saturday we were all a bit down because it was definitely a case of two points lost rather the one point gained but on Tuesday we got back up for the game against Darlington, in fact it couldn't come quick enough for us. Our goal before last weekend was to get six points from the two home games but a return of four points from six stands us in good stride for the trip to Walsall this Saturday.
"Walsall are playing well and top of the table but at the end of the day they are only a football team and there is no reason we can't go there and come away with the points. They may have lost at home yet this season but they are going to and hopefully it can be on Saturday. After the win in midweek we are feeling that bit more confident and will be travelling to Walsall with no fear."
Right Midfield man and contender for Stags' leading goal scorer Matt Hamshaw echoes these sentiments saying:
"With out doubt Walsall are a good team and they have some good players but so do we and I would like to echo my thoughts from the start of the season when I said we should not be wary about any side in this division. In fact I feel that if we had just had a little bit of luck we could be where they are now.
"We all picked up a boost in confidence from Tuesday and are all looking forward to the weekend's game at the League leaders. There are those who are still saying we are too good to be in the position we are but then again you still say that in may when we finish mid table, we think we are good enough to be in the top six if not the top three places. But it's not about that. It is ok thinking about it but we have to start doing something about it to make it real.
"The sooner we start climbing the league the better it will be! There is a great self belief in the dressing room and although we won on Tuesday we know that we have played better the only difference is we ground out the win and kept a clean sheet. It is pleasing to win games 1-0 when not at your best because we know we can do better and the win breeds confidence that drives you on.
"it is important that we believe in ourselves and our ability to get a few back to back to wins and hopefully we can start on Saturday." He said.
Gareth Jelleyman back from injury and into the side is almost back at full strength and is just happy to be back playing.
"I still get a few niggles but I am just glad to be back playing. It was really frustrating to pick up an injury so early in the season when you are trying to settle into the side. Luckily it wasn't as bad as was first thought so I got back earlier than I expected."
Playing in the mid field role he tells that although he prefers to play in the full back role he is happy to be getting forwards with the knowledge he has ample cover from loanee Alan Sheehan:
"I prefer to play as a left back but if the gaffer wants to play midfield I am happy to go there. Knowing Alan is behind me offers a lot of confidence. I think that we have linked up well together and have played well and hopefully if this continues we can start getting more good results like we did on Tuesday against Darlington.
"The good thing about having somebody like Alan behind you is you know you can drive forward up the pitch knowing that your back is covered offering a bit more freedom. You know that if somebody does beat you there is always cover to mop up the danger. Alan has been a great addition to the squad, he is a great player and is definitely one for the future."
Looking forward to the Saturday fixture against Walsall he said:
"They are a pretty formidable side but if show the same desire as we did on Tuesday night, you never know what can happen. In fact we are all confident of getting a result down there. We have burst teams wide open and come away with nothing more than a draw so to grind out a win on Tuesday has boosted confidence to new heights.
"if we can carry on performing like that we have nothing to fear from anybody in this league whether it be Walsall on Saturday or anybody else during the campaign.
"Not every game is going to be pretty but it is all about getting the results so if we can dig deep and grind it out then we will start putting points on the table and start making a bid for the top half of the league."
Shirtliff pleased as confidence soars
mansfieldtown.net, 28 September 2006
Having had time to watch the video from Tuesday evening's game versus Darlington Stags Boss Peter Shirtliff is pleased at the way his team 'ground out' the win and kept the first league clean sheet:
"It was a pleasing performance against a good team. I was particularly pleased with the effort put in by the players and naturally the clean sheet. If we can keep doing that we will start winning games!
"I still stand by my earlier comments that we have performed well for most of our games but just needed some luck. I know that there is a saying that says 'you make your own luck' and I do agree with that but we just haven't had the 'rub of the green' in a lot of the games but Tuesday we had our share of the breaks and we got the result. If you keep plugging away things will start to come your way.
"The longer the game went on Tuesday the more the players grew in confidence and started to play some good passing football but it was pleasing to see them competing in vital areas which I know they are capable of doing. Things got a bit closer late on in the game when Darlington made a come back bid but we ground out the win which shown character from my players."
On the back of this result the Stags will be travelling to Walsall's Bescot Stadium at the weekend for a difficult away game at the league leaders, but Shirtliff remains adamant that we should not fear any team in this division.
"Walsall have got off to a great start with their points total being terrific especially from their home form but we aren't going there with any fear. We will be sticking to what we believe we can do and we will see what happens but we are good enough not to have to fear any club in our league."
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