FA CUP PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
REWARDS WILL COME, STAGS TOLD
Evening Post, 01 December 2006
Peter Shirtliff today assured his Mansfield side: "Keep producing good performances and the rewards will come."
The Stags go into the FA Cup second round tie with Doncaster Rovers at Field Mill tomorrow on the back of an encouraging display at Darlington in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday.
Although that match ended in a 1-0 defeat, it was an improvement on their previous performance in the 2-0 loss at Rochdale.
The Stags have lost four out of their last five matches, but Shirtliff believes that will change if they match their midweek display.
"Nine times out of ten if you play and perform like we did at Darlington then you will get some sort of result," he said.
"If we have to lose to a wonder goal, as was the case there, then I will accept that.
"The players who played up there did well and it gives us good competition for places.
"The more competition we have the better and hopefully that will help us to start picking up some results."
STAGS' MR VERSATILITY JAKE BUXTON SET TO PLAY
Evening Post, 01 December 2006
As Jake Buxton's fortunes over the past few weeks aptly demonstrate, being a versatile player can boost your chances of first team football, but also hinder them.
The benefits of being able to slot into a number of positions are well known. In fact, most manager's love to have someone of that ilk, dependable in whatever role they are employed.
But the problem with playing everywhere is that you can struggle to nail down a regular place in the team anywhere.
That is what happened to Buxton in October.
After being kept out at right-back in the early stages of the season by Johnny Mullins, he was asked to fill in as a central defender when Jon-Olav Hjelde was injured.
But, after a steady September, when he was one of the better players, he found himself dropped.
Understandably, boss Peter Shirtliff wanted the added height and experience of regular stopper Hjelde when the Norwegian returned from his hamstring problem.
But that meant either Alex John-Baptiste or Buxton had to miss out - and unfortunately for the former Ashfield School pupil, Shirtliff omitted him.
Now, though, a rib injury to Mullins means a likely return for the 21-year-old for tomorrow's cup tie with Doncaster in the position he started the season vying for, right-back.
"It has taken an injury to Johnny to get back in, but that's how it goes sometimes," said Buxton. "I've not been involved for six or seven games so it was nice to start on Tuesday, even if it was only the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
"It's nice to get 90 minutes under my belt and push for a starting place.
"For the first week after I was dropped I felt sorry for myself. I think the boss just wanted some more experience in there. He explained that to me and accepted that.
"Hopefully now I can help us get out of this mess. We can enjoy the cup game, but then we can crack on in the league and it would be great if I can keep my place too."
The winners of tomorrow's tie can look forward to a place in the third round draw with all the Premiership big boys.
And though he would love to play against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea, he would particularly relish a meeting with Tottenham.
Buxton said: "They have always been a club I have admired from some of their great matches with Forest that I watched when I was younger."
Stephen Dawson (back) is still out, but skipper Richard Barker should recover from illness and a slight groin problem.
Manager Peter Shirtliff is hoping that the derby atmosphere will bring out the best in his squad.
"It will be a great game for the players to be involved and we will give it a go and try to win the match," he said.
ARNOLD EYES FA CUP START
Evening Post, 30 November 2006
Mansfield teenager Nathan Arnold is itching to start Saturday's FA Cup tie against Doncaster.
The 19-year-old impressed on the right of midfield in Mansfield's 1-0 Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat on Tuesday night.
Now he hopes that has thrust him into the thoughts of manager Peter Shirtliff ahead of the visit of the League One side.
"When you come in you try to do enough to put yourself in the shop window. Hopefully the boss was pleased with my performance, but we'll just have to see," said Arnold.
"It is tough as a young lad because there are senior players who are already here.
"It means you have to take your chance when you get it and keep up a high consistency level in your performance - that's the main key."
It has been a difficult last few weeks for Arnold since he last appeared for the Stags as a substitute against Wrexham.
An injury sustained during that game kept him sidelined when several other fringe players were given a run-out against Grimsby in the previous round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
But Arnold believes his hard work in training can win him the approval of his manager.
"It is up to me to prove to the manager that he should have faith in me," he said.
Football fans in Mansfield will have a rare chance to get their hands on the FA Cup tomorrow.
The trophy will be at Kissingate Leisure Centre and at the Sports World store, Meadow Lane, Shirebrook.
It will also be on show before Stags' FA Cup second round tie against Doncaster on Saturday.
The trophy will be at Shirebrook School, before public appearances at Kissingate Leisure Centre between 12.30pm and 2pm and the Sports World between 3pm and 5pm.
FA Cup - Decision time for Shirtliff
CHAD website, 30 November 2006
PETER Shirtliff has a wealth of options open to him as he prepares his Stags squad for Saturday's mouthwatering FA Cup second round clash with Doncaster Rovers at Field Mill (3pm).
The Mansfield Town boss publicly savaged his players after their poor showing at Rochdale last Saturday and was much happier after making six changes in the unlucky midweek defeat at Darlington.
So with younger players champing at the bit and dropped regulars sweating on a recall, he has some big decisions to make.
"I believe Doncaster have pretty much sold their allocation so we should have a good atmosphere similar to the Portsmouth game," he said.
"They are higher league opposition but we will give it a go and to to win the football match.
"They have done well since coming back into the League but have had a lot of financial backing. They are moving to a new ground, have new training facilities and it just shows what can be achieved.
"We are concentrating on this game and not thinking any further ahead. If we can't win it then we want to at least be in the third round hat."
After an unbeaten October, Stags have now lost four of their last five games and failed to score in open play in any of those five games.
In contrast, Rovers have won four and drawn two of their last six games and are in mid-table in League One.
John Mullins is still suffering with his damaged ribs and it seems likely Jake Buxton will remain at right back.
With Asa Charlton cup-tied, Gareth Jelleyman is likely to play at left back.
Top scorer Richie Barker has recovered from his groin injury but is unwell after picking up something from his children. However, even though he is not back in training, he is expected to be back in contention by Saturday.
FA Cup - Buxton back in business
CHAD website, 30 November 2006
NOW he is back in the side, Mansfield Town defender Jake Buxton intends to stay there.
Buxton had played well at both right back and centre half earlier in the season before losing his place.
But he was back in the side at right back for the injured John Mullins on Tuesday. And with Mullins still struggling, Buxton look set to face Doncaster on Saturday.
He said: "I have not started for six or seven games so it was nice to get back in.
"It was terrible for the first month as I felt sorry for myself and hard done to.
"I felt I should be in the side but knew it was probably going to take an injury to get back in which is how it goes sometimes.
"When I lost my place it was just down to the manager preferring the experience of big Jon Hjelde. I am still only 21 and the manager explained it to me and I have to accept that.
"You have to get on with it and that has gone now.
"I have come on to play central midfield a couple of times which I don't mind. I will play anywhere and give 110 per cent and, as I am versatile, it probably goes against me as I am a useful player to have on the bench."
Buxton is looking forward to the FA Cup clash on Saturday and added: "This is a bigger game than some people think.
"They are only a league above us and just 45 minutes up the road so it is a bit of a local derby.
"Whoever wins this has a chance of drawing someone decent in the Third Round. Our trip last year to Newcastle was outstanding.
"Obviously we have got to do the business on Saturday but if we win it then it could kick-start our season as Swindon on Tuesday is a massive game for us.
"We can't keep talking about luck or changing personnel. Whoever is picked has to produce the goods."
FA Cup - Hamshaw sweats on a recall
CHAD website, 30 November 2006
STAGS winger Matt Hamshaw is sweating on a recall for Saturday's FA Cup second round clash with Doncaster Rovers.
Hamshaw was dropped for Tuesday's game at Darlington after some disappointing recent games.
"It was the gaffer's decision to leave me out and I have now got to work hard to get back in," he said.
"I have been disappointed in my form recently and I am big enough to hold my hands up.
"A few fans had been saying it was because I don't want it enough, but that's rubbish. I always give 100 per cent and you don't go out there to play badly.
"When you are playing well you are on the crest of a wave. But confidence comes and goes and things doesn't always go as you want.
"We should have a big crowd on Saturday and we always tend to do well with a big crowd there.
"Doncaster are a good side and, living in Rotherham, I am always reading a lot about them.
"They are winning more games 1-0 now than 4-3 under Dave Penney. They are a bit more professional.
"Last year's trip to Newcastle is still spoken about here and that's what we are all going for now.
"The financial rewards of a big third round tie to a club at this level is important."
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