PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
BARKER NOT DISAPPOINTED AT STAYING WITH STAGS
Evening Post, 25 November 2006
Richard Barker today revealed he is pleased to get back to concentrating on his football after recent uncertainty over his Mansfield future.
A bid for the Stags' captain of around £80,000 from Hartlepool was accepted by the club earlier this month - but the deal eventually broke down.
Speculation has been rife that this season's top scorer could still be on the move should another team come in with a suitable offer.
But the passing of the loan deadline on Thursday means that Barker will remain a Mansfield player until at least January.
That has come as a relief to the Sheffield-born player, who is on the hunt for more goals in the lead up to Christmas.
"I openly said that I never wanted to leave and I'm quite happy that I'm still here," said Barker.
"I like it at Mansfield and it is no disappointment to me at all that I am still coming in to the club every day.
"With the loan transfer window having now closed, I know I am here until January at the least - and I hope for even longer.
"I know things haven't gone that well on the pitch since the talk, but I don't think it has particularly affected my performances. I just want to get on with playing now."
Today's game at Rochdale brings back memories of Mansfield's 2-0 defeat at Spotland last season.
It saw Carlton Palmer resign immediately after the game and Peter Shirtliff take over, first in a caretaker capacity and then permanently.
Barker believes his boss has done an excellent job in improving the team since taking charge last September.
He said: "I think the result speak for themselves. After Peter took over we very nearly reached the play-offs last season.
"I said at the beginning of the season that if things go well then we would be struggling to keep hold of him so it is not surprise that he has been linked with the Sheffield Wednesday job.
"As long as he keeps getting results for Mansfield then he is always going to be linked with other jobs."
STAGS AT UNHAPPY HUNTING GROUND
Evening Post, 24 November 2006
Spotland has not proved the happiest of hunting grounds for the Stags.
In their last eight visits to the town famous as the birthplace of singers Lisa Stansfield and Gracie Fields - plus the Co-op - Mansfield have lost seven.
Last season in particular was a disaster, possibly the nadir of the Stags' 2005-2006 season. Having won just one of their first eight league games, Carlton Palmer took his side to Spotland desperate for a win.
But, after playing a strange formation that saw defender Jason Talbot employed in a floating role behind the front two - the victory was not forthcoming.
Straight after the 2-0 defeat, Palmer handed in his resignation and Peter Shirtliff was installed as caretaker.
But one Mansfield man travels north tomorrow with no such scars - in fact he is looking forward to the occasion.
Matt Hamshaw was a 1-0 winner with Stockport at Rochdale last season and is convinced the Stags can do the same.
"It's definitely a good chance to improve our away record because it's a match we can win," said Hamshaw.
"The fact they played extra-time and went to penalties on Monday (in the FA Cup at Hartlepool) is not going to help them.
"We were poor against Peterborough and we have to hold our hands up. We are keen to show that was a one-off because I think that is the worst we have played this season.
"I know things haven't gone well for the team at Rochdale in the past, particularly last year, but for me I have always enjoyed it.
"Hopefully, that will continue- we are certainly capable of getting something."
Rochdale - bossed by former Stags manager Steve Parkin - have been inconsistent this season, particularly at home.
But Hamshaw is well aware that they will not roll over.
He said: "I know they did not have the money to strengthen earlier in the season after a disappointing start, but they have been better of late."
Skipper Richard Barker recalls the Stags' last visit to Spotland and reckons it now serves as a timely reminder to how far they have come in just over a year.
"We were having a bad time of things and I recall Carlton coming in afterwards and telling us he felt it was a good time for him to call it a day," he said.
"But I think the results since then speak for themselves. It was a brave decision by the gaffer to take over a team bottom of the league."
Stephen Dawson (back) looks doubtful for the game but Asa Charlton (ankle) should be fit.
Rochdale (from): Gilks, Brown, Stanton, McArdle, Goodall, Jones, Doolan, Rundle, Dagnall, Murray, Sako, Barker, Cooksey, Ramsden, Boardman, Clarke, Rigby.
Mansfield (from): Muggleton, White, Charlton, Jelleyman, John-Baptiste, Hjelde, Buxton, Mullins, M. Boulding, Coke, D'Laryea, Lloyd, Hamshaw, Barker, Brown, Beardsley, Reet.
Team news: Midfielder Lee Crooks is out. Mark Jackson is struggling
History: Mansfield have had 38 wins to Dale's 28. with 23 draws. Last season's game in Lancashire saw Carlton Palmer resign as Mansfield boss after a 2-0 defeat.
Danger man: Chris Dagnall. Has scored seven goals.
One to watch: Gary Jones. captain.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire). 14 games, 39 yellow cards, one red.
Getting there: Take the M1 north and then the M62 west, exiting at junction 20. Take the A627 (M) towards Rochdale and at the end of that road turn left at the traffic lights.
Go straight on over the roundabout into Roch Valley Way and at the next crossroads (the Cemetery pub is on the corner) go straight over onto Sandy Lane.
The ground is on the right after three-quarters of a mile.
Preview: Rochdale v Mansfield
NOW out of all cup competitions and battling to avoid the bottom two places in League Two, Rochdale boss Steve Parkin could do with three points against one of his former clubs, fellow strugglers Mansfield, at Spotland.
"The simple fact is that we need to win football matches and we aren't doing it at the moment," Parkin said.
"It's been difficult for us at home all season but if the players perform as they did in the FA Cup replay at Hartlepool on Monday they should be able to give Mansfield a game."
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Though Mark Jackson is still out, John Doolan, Lee Crooks and Clive Modise have all returned to training this week.
Dale have signed 23-year-old Sunderland winger William Mocquet on loan.
Last season: Rochdale 2 Mansfield 0
Key opponent: Richard Barker - Forward has 11 goals to his name this season
Prediction: Rochdale 1 Mansfield 0
Latest | November 2006