ASA CHARLTON SIGNS, PLUS PREVIEWS
ASA READY TO WAIT FOR HIS CHANCE AT STAGS
Evening Post, 17 November 2006
It may be Asa Charlton's first week as a Football League professional, but already he knows what he wants from his career with Mansfield Town.
The signing of the left-back from Conference North side Redditch has raised an eyebrow or two among the Stags supporters who have been heard to say 'Asa who?'
But the 28-year-old is determined to make the most of his late graduation to the full-time game by making a big impression on the fans and securing a first-team berth.
"It's my first involvement at a Football League club and it's the most important part of my career. I know at my age that not many people get the chance to move up from non-league," said Charlton.
"I know with how the side is playing at the moment and with the defence keeping some clean sheets that I might have to wait for my chance.
"I am prepared for that and can't complain if I don't start straight away, but at the same time at my age you can't afford to be sitting around for a long time not playing.
"I have got the opportunity to prove myself at league level and it is definitely one I want to take."
Cosford-born Charlton comes to Field Mill with a reputation as a tough tackler.
That has, at times, landed him in trouble with officials - and he has already been shown a red card this season for Redditch playing up at Workington.
But Charlton sees that trait as a positive and believes it makes him a better, more competitive player.
He said: "I think it is fair to say that I get stuck in, but I don't think it is a problem.
"I actually think that my tackling and aggression are assets, along with a decent left foot."
Although connected to Birmingham and Wolves as a schoolboy, Charlton spent his youth teams days at Kidderminster Harriers.
He has gone on to play for a host of sides in that area including Worcester City, Halesowen and Telford.
Already Charlton has found a useful ally in fellow West Midlander Simon Brown - particularly on the roads into training.
"The lads have been really good in helping me to settle in and have been very friendly to me," he said.
"But having another guy from the Black Country in Simon is nice. To have someone from the same area when you join a new club and don't know anyone makes you feel more at ease."
Charlton has been training with the club since last Thursday but he finally signed a deal until the end of the season on Tuesday after a registration hold up.
It means the player is available for selection for tomorrow's visit of Peterborough United -should he be required.
Mansfield boss Peter Shirtliff said: "I'm pleased that everything has now be confirmed and I know that Asa is looking forward to the challenge.
"He's not a kid anymore but he's one of the youngest 28-year-old's I've seen - he's like Peter Pan. Asa is a fit boy and will offer immediate competition for the first 16."
SHIRTLIFF: CLEAN SHEETS WILL BRING WINS
Evening Post, 17 November 2006
Peter Shirtliff is keen to see Mansfield extend their run of clean sheets and victories on home turf to four against Peterborough tomorrow.
The Stags have successfully shut out Wrexham, Grimsby and Accrington Stanley, in three consecutive wins at Field Mill - scoring seven goals in the process.
Shirtliff feels his defence is improving all the time and is hoping that will be reflected by another blank in the goals against column when they tackle the Posh.
"I'm pleased with the three clean sheets at home and long may it continue," he said.
"Even before that I thought the performances were good in front of our home fans and if we kept up a reasonable standard it would be inevitable that the results would follow.
"There has been better decision making, not just by the players at the back but also those in front of them as well.
"We have also had a bit of luck that you need but I think we have earned it. If we make ourselves difficult to beat then there is the capability throughout the squad to score goals."
Mansfield are at near full strength with only Stephen Dawson a doubt. He has a niggling back problem.
Shirtliff said: "It is something that he has had for a while but has been managing.
"It may that it needs to be rested but we will have it seen to by a doctor before we make a final decision."
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