HODGE`S ARREST LEAVES STAGS BOSS FUMING
Can Stags lay Lincoln bogey to rest?
CHAD, 28 February 2007
AFTER ending their 13-year Wycombe hoodoo last weekend, Stags head for Lincoln City this Saturday looking to also lay their Lincoln City bogey to rest.
Mansfield have not beaten their 'neighbours' in their last seven encounters.
The last Mansfield win was a 4-1 success at Sincil Bank back in February 2002.
But Billy Dearden's men head for Lincoln in good spirits after taking four points against two top sides last week, despite being beset with a host of off-field problems.
"All credit to the players and the staff after everything that happened last week," said Dearden.
"We had two bereavements, illness and injury but everyone battled on and did their best.
"It is a very good side and we were down to the bare bones. But they coped well and came up with an exciting performance. We were not at our best but we beat a very good side 3-2.
After Matt and Kerry Hamshaw lost their baby last Sunday, a throat bug tore through the club, badly affecting Martin Gritton, Michael and Rory Boulding, Gareth Jelleyman, assistant manager Paul Holland and physio Paul Madin.
On top of that Callum Lloyd joined Giles Coke on the injured list, Barry Conlon battled on with painkilling injections into his infected toe and young Nathan Arnold spent Friday night at hospital at his aunt's bedside as she passed away.
"Nathan had not had any sleep for two nights and I know they were very close," said Dearden.
"But he came on and performed well. Also it was lovely to see Matt Hamshaw back in the club on Monday.
"With the funeral being next Monday I have no idea if he will be involved at Lincoln. When he wants to start playing football again is up to Matt Hamshaw and not Bill Dearden.
"I know Matt and Kerry have been overwhelmed by the response of the people of Mansfield, the club and the fans."
Hamshaw sent a text after the win on Saturday to say that was the first time he and his wife had smiled all week.
A prayer was said for the Hamshaws by club chaplain Tim Mitchell prior to kick-off on Saturday with both teams lining up around the centre circle.
Saturday's game at Lincoln is all-ticket for away fans and these will only be on sale until 5pm tomorrow (Thursday) at Field Mill.
Dearden added: "We know how difficult it will be at Lincoln as they have been up there in the top six all season.
"John Schofield has done a terrific job there and has added another dimension to their game as they now get it down and pass the ball a lot more than in previous years.
"Having said that we have played well against the top teams and we will go there quietly confident without being over confident."
Dearden is then hoping for a decent crowd at Field Mill on Tuesday when Chester City are the visitors (7.45pm).
"I know the crowd was down on Saturday, despite our good result on Tuesday," said Dearden.
"But I can understand people not coming after the way we played against Grimsby the week before.
"Anyone who didn't come to the Wycombe game missed a cracking game. The entertainment level was first class."
The Mansfield Town match programme has just been voted as the 'Best Designed' in League Two in the annual Programme Monthly awards.
A Mansfield Town reserve side lost 2-1 away to a strong Wolves reserves side in a friendly yesterday, Danny Reet's deflected effort providing Stags' goal.
"A big thank you to Wolves for the game and putting a bit to eat on for the lads who enjoyed themselves and got a decent work out against a strong side," said Deaden.
HODGE'S ARREST LEAVES STAGS BOSS FUMING
Evening Post, 28 February 2007
Billy Dearden today expressed his disappointment in loan signing Bryan Hodge after the teenager was banned for drink-driving.
The midfielder, on loan from Blackburn, made his Football League debut for the Stags against Wycombe on Saturday and was man of the match.
But just a few hours later the 19-year-old Scot drove through a red light in Blackpool, was stopped by police and failed a breath test. Hodge has been banned from driving for three years and the incident left Stags boss Dearden fuming.
"I'm bitterly disappointed and it is up to him now to make his way down here because we still want him involved," he said.
Mansfield were beaten 2-1 in their behind-closed-doors friendly at Wolves yesterday. Danny Sleath scored their goal.
DEARDEN HOPES GOALS WILL BRING THE FANS BACK
Evening Post, 28 February 2007
Billy Dearden hopes stay-away fans will be lured back to home games by his free-scoring Mansfield side.
The Stags' exciting 3-2 home victory over Wycombe on Saturday took their tally to 31 goals in 17 League Two matches at Field Mill.
Only second-placed Walsall (33) have netted more times on their own patch.
But just 2,711 supporters saw the five-goal thriller - and 308 of those were Wycombe followers.
Boss Dearden hopes that figure will improve when Mansfield host Chester City next Tuesday.
"You could understand that the crowd wasn't that big against Wycombe because we didn't play very well the week before against Grimsby," he said.
"But if people who were at the game on Saturday were not satisfied then there is something wrong. If you were not involved with either team as a manager or coach, then the entertainment was first-class.
"There were five goals, 18 shots on target, meaning the goalkeepers have made good saves, and some very decent football from both sides.
"We have now scored 31 goals at home this season, which is not bad, and with the win that might persuade a few more to come out for the Chester game."
Dearden revealed that Nathan Arnold was included in the 16 on the Saturday despite his aunt dying on Thursday night.
It was the second family bereavement in a week for a Mansfield player, following the loss of Matt Hamshaw and his wife Kerry's baby.
Together with a flu bug spreading through the camp, which has affected Martin Gritton, Gareth Jelleyman and the Boulding brothers, it has been the most difficult week since Dearden returned to the club.
But the Stags manager has been impressed by the response. He said: "They have showed a lot of spirit among themselves, considering what a young squad we have.
"Micky went down with flu on Wednesday, Rory on Thursday and Jelleyman did exceptionally well to get through the game.
"We were down to the bare bones of 17 players and with all that has gone on and the two bereavements it is all credit to the players and all the staff at the football club to get the win against a decent Wycombe side."
Not surprisingly, Dearden was pleased with the performance of teenage debutant Bryan Hodge, who has joined on a month's loan from Blackburn.
"Someone asked me when Bryan signed what his strengths are and I said that he's a footballer. By that, I mean that he can pass the ball and sees things," he said.
"He worked very hard and I think he only gave it away twice in the whole 90 minutes.
"We played 4-4-3 with Browny (Simon Brown) supporting the front men on the right and Bryan tucked in on the left and if you have the three midfielders that we have then you can play that way.
"Bryan has settled in with the lads and I think they are going to enjoy playing with him.
"We'll have to see what happens as to whether we can keep him longer."
Dearden believes on-loan striker Gritton will be unavailable to face his club Lincoln on Saturday, though he is still to confirm that with City.
Stags fans must buy their tickets for Saturday's game at Lincoln no later 5pm on Thursday.
The club have so far sold around 650 tickets from an allocation of 1,600.
Fans will not be allowed to pay on the day. Tickets are priced £16 for adults, £11 for concessions and £5 for juniors.
Meanwhile, the clash with Notts County at Meadow Lane on March 10 will be pay on the day for away fans.
Tickets in the Kop Stand are priced at £16 for adults, £10 for OAPs, £9 for students and £5 for juniors.
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