TRANSFER NEWS AND PREVIEWS
No rush on midfield loan player
CHAD website, 08 February 2007
BILLY Dearden may still bring in a central midfield player on loan once the midweek games kick in again later in the month.
Dearden has his eye on bringing in a player to cover for the injured Giles Coke.
But he said: "It is still ongoing though, with everyone fit just now, it may be better to wait until we have midweek games as well.
"Sometimes you bring in a player on loan and only get two games out of him in the month while other times you get five or six in the month. You can get more out of the loan if you time it right.
"I may still bring one in. But I don't see the point of doing it just now."
Billy hoping for early birthday present
CHAD website, 08 February 2007
BILLY Dearden is hoping for an early birthday present with a result at high-flying Stockport County on Saturday (3pm).
The Stags boss is 63 on Sunday - the League's third oldest manager - but will be hoping his celebrations start a day early as Mansfield put their four-game unbeaten record up against a play-off chasing Stockport side who have just won five on the trot without conceding a goal.
"I always feel we are going to score goals in every match just now and they are coming from different areas of the team as well," said Dearden.
"So, with Stockport's recent clean sheets that will be our first target - to score a goal. And we are capable of doing that.
"Then we will need to shut them out and it will be nice to have big Jake Buxton back in there at the back after suspension. I thought the back four were looking very solid and confident before recent injuries and suspension.
"We will go up there and give it out best shot as we do in every game. We are going up there very, very positive and will be looking for a win.
"But we know it will be a very difficult game."
Alex John-Baptiste has returned to training after resting up hamstring and ankle injuries so the only absentee will be striker Barry Conlon who completes his three match ban.
Dearden took his squad out for a long walk over the Derbyshire moors on Tuesday, followed by a pub lunch, which he hopes will help boost the growing team spirit and cameradarie.
It was snowing in Stockport this morning where, appropriately, the Hatters have just signed Watford midfield Dominic Blizzard (23) who is expected to make his debut on Saturday, weather permitting.
Hamshaw hopes for a happy return
CHAD website, 08 February 2007
FORMER Stockport County captain Matt Hamshaw is heading for Edgeley Park with a point to prove on Saturday.
But he is still hoping for a good reception from his former fans.
The Stags winger said: "I expect I will get booed and anything else will be a bonus.
"But I really don't know what to expect as it is my first time back there.
"The fans certainly liked me when I was there but things happened off the field that were out of my control.
"I always got on with the fans and I have a lot of respect for them. They were brilliant and really got behind me and the team.
"I was made captain of the team which was a great honour and I owe a lot to the club.
"The things that happened behind the scenes I don't want to go into, but it would be nice to go back there and put one over on them.
"I did score against them at our place.
"It is going to be a tough game as they are on a good run but we are on not a bad one too just now.
"Even if Stockport have not scored in the first 20 minutes the fans won't get on their backs. They will still support them.
"But if we can hold them and try to nick that first goal that would be so important. It would be a real confidence booster and we don't usually lose if we've scored the first goal.
"It can be a massive thing to score first in our division as there is so little to choose between the teams from top right down to where we are."
He added: "The Stockport squad has changed round a lot since I was there but I know lads like Rob Clare, Ashley Williams and Tes Bramble and I was at Wednesday with Adam Proudlock."
Stockport only stayed in the League on the final day of last season while Stags briefly flirted with the Play-offs.
But now it is Mansfield who are well off the pace while Stockport are 12 points ahead of them in sixth place and talking about automatic promotion.
"To be honest I thought it would be the other way round this season but that's just how it is," said Hamshaw.
"We have been too inconsistent. But I have no regrets about coming here. We have a great bunch of lads and a great manager.
"Billy wants us to go out there with a smile on our face and enjoy what we are doing, even if we make mistakes.
"He is a brilliant man-manager. He knows who needs an arm around their shoulder and who needs a kick up the backside.
"I know I sometimes need both. But I am my own biggest critic anyway."
GRITTON: WE HAVE NO FEAR OF HIGH FLYERS
EVENING POST, 08 February 2007
Martin Gritton today insisted Mansfield can keep their unbeaten record going at League Two form side Stockport.
The Stags travel to Edgeley Park on Saturday to face a County side who have won their last five games without conceding a goal.
But Gritton insists the Stags go there without fear looking to extend their own unbeaten stint to five matches.
"There is no doubt that going to play a team who are in such good form is going to be difficult," he said.
"But every run must come to an end at some point, everyone has to concede goals and lose games no matter who you are.
"I think we will have to lift our game from how we have played in the last two home games because we have not played as well as we would have like, despite taking four points.
"But we have shown that we can raise our game to match the top sides in beating Walsall.
"No-one gave us a chance against them when they came to Field Mill because of their record but we managed to win."
Gritton was disappointed not to add to his five-goal tally in last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury.
He had a goal disallowed and also missed a decent headed chance as Mansfield's fortune in front of goal was out.
Gritton said: "We should have won with the chances we had and we were frustrated that we didn't.
"But that's how it goes sometimes. Everything we hit against Torquay seemed to go in, yet against Shrewsbury it wouldn't go in and their keeper played well.
"We just have to keep creating the chances, as we have been, and if we do that then hopefully we will take a couple of them up at Stockport."
And one man who is sure Mansfield are more than capable of scoring goals is former star striker Richard Barker.
The Stags' new-look strike duo Barry Conlon and Gritton have been given a ringing endorsement by the man they were brought in to replace.
The Stags' decision to allow their 15-goal top scorer and club captain to leave for Hartlepool in January was met by widespread dismay from the fans.
But manager Billy Dearden moved quickly to bring in Conlon and Gritton - and they have responded with eight goals between them.
Barker was at Field Mill himself on Saturday for Mansfield's 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury, although he did not get to see the suspended Conlon play.
But he spoke of his admiration for the way the pair have hit the ground running - and reckons they are a big reason why the Stags are now four games unbeaten.
"I'm not naive enough to think that everyone was devastated when I left Mansfield, but I do know there were fans who were worried about how the team would do," said Barker.
"But every player can be replaced - and that has been proved in this instance with how Barry Conlon and Martin Gritton have done.
"They have found the goals easy to come by and have done really well and helped the team.
"There is also Simon Brown, Danny Reet and Michael Boulding who can all play up front and score goals, so I can't see the team having a problem in that area."
Barker reaffirmed that he had never wanted to leave Field Mill, but manager Billy Dearden begged to differ.
He said: "Ultimately, the decision was down to him. I asked him to stay and if he'd wanted to do so, he could have done."
Latest | February 2007