PREVIEWS AND TEAM NEWS
INJURED JAKE IS DESPERATE TO PLAY
Evening Post, 09 March 2007
Ask Jake Buxton about tomorrow's derby and his eyes light up. Not every player in the Mansfield dressing room will be fully aware of the importance the match has in shaping local pride.
That may particularly be so for the likes of on-loan youngster Bryan Hodge and others, who were not around for October's Field Mill encounter.
But former Ashfield School pupil Buxton has been looking forward to the game for some time - particularly as there will, he hopes, be something slightly different this time.
When the sides battled to that 2-2 draw earlier in the campaign, the 22-year-old was just another player in a team of 11.
But now, following the departure of Richard Barker to Hartlepool, Buxton is first choice to lead out the Mansfield side for the derby as captain.
However, just one thing stands in his way of doing that - his fitness.
Central defender Buxton battled through the game at Lincoln while carrying a knee injury and helped the Stags to an impressive 2-1 victory.
But he was forced to sit out Tuesday night's 2-1 win at Chester and is facing a race against time to take to the field at Meadow Lane.
"It's a massive game and it would just be brilliant to lead Mansfield out in front of all those away supporters," said Buxton.
"When I was first named captain I was just concentrating on that, but the more it has gone along the more I have thought about the Notts game coming up.
"At the moment I am fighting to be fit and the knee is a bit of a worry. I shouldn't really have played at Lincoln last week and that meant I had to miss the Chester game.
"It is touch and go, but I would love to be out there. It would be a very difficult game for me to watch from the stands."
Traditionally, the form book goes out of the window in derby matches..
But Buxton insists the Stags can take encouragement from the fact that Mansfield have won their last three matches while Notts have gone five games without victory.
Buxton said: "We have shown a little bit of form and even though we didn't play that well against Chester, we got another result.
"I never realised I would be so excited at seeing us in the top half of the table as I was. I was sat watching Sky Sports with my dad on Wednesday and I thought it was brilliant.
"We go into the game with big ambitions of getting three points and turning County over on their own patch.
"They are sliding slowly. They have dipped and we have picked up, so hopefully it will mean Notts are not very confident and, with our confidence high, we can go and beat them."
Although Buxton acknowledges the game probably means more to the local lads such as himself, Jason White and Alex John-Baptiste, he insists the other players have been made aware of the intense rivalry.
"It is normally a better atmosphere at Notts (than at Mansfield) because we take more there than we get at a home game, but the fans on both sides are desperate to win.
"We have let everyone know in the dressing room the strength of feeling."
MATT OUT TO PAY BACK STAGS FOR RED CARD
Evening Post, 09 March 2007
Mansfield's Matt Hamshaw is desperate to make amends for his sending off against Notts County last October in tomorrow's derby at Meadow Lane.
The 24-year-old right winger has not started a game since the death of his baby son, Liam, almost three weeks ago.
But he has made substitute appearances at Lincoln and at home to Chester while stepping up his training to regain full fitness.
Now he is itching to play against the Magpies after seeing red following two bookable offences in the 2-2 draw at Field Mill earlier this season.
"County is the one team that everyone wants to play against at Mansfield and I would love to be involved," said Hamshaw.
"Regardless of what happened to me at Field Mill, I just want to make a contribution.
"Since I came here, this is the game that everyone talks about and the one that the players talk about.
"Hopefully I have done enough against Chester to be in contention and it will be my first derby at Notts."
Mansfield edged above the Magpies in the League Two table with Tuesday's 2-1 win over Chester.
But Hamshaw reckons the Stags have to look at the wider picture, whatever tomorrow's result. "What matters is about where we finish, not about other teams."
Injury worries for Stags ahead of big match
CHAD website, 08 March 2007
MANSFIELD Town have injury worries ahead of Saturday's big game at Notts County.
Central defenders Jake Buxton and Jon Hjelde are both on the treatment table and face a race against time to make the game.
"Jake was already touch and go and now Jon has come in and isn't training so we will just have to see what happens," said manager Billy Dearden.
"I think Jake is quite confident he will be fit in time, though.
"Matt Hamshaw is very much in my plans. It is up to him to decide when the time is right for him to start a game. But he played at Lincoln on Saturday and then played a bit longer on Tuesday and did very well."
Afterthree successive wins, Dearden will be going back to the club he managed after his last spell with Stags and where he is still highly thought of.
He said: "I am looking forward to going back on Saturday. I enjoyed my time there, despite the problems we had being in administration for 18 months.
"To fight the problems we had there and stay in the league we were in, the players did absolutely brilliant.
"It was tough but I always enjoy being involved in football.
"I don't know what manager from any level could have done a better job under those circumstances.
"But I am looking foward to going back and giving them a good game of football.
"Everyone is buzzing right now after our recent results. Some players can get caried away with the cut and thrust of local derbies. But I want to see us play football much better than we did on Tuesday.
"I watched the derby at Field Mill earlier this season and I thought Mansfield deserved to win it on the day. They were 2-0 up and had what I thought was a good goal disallowed before Notts came back with two goals from two set pieces.
"There are always goals when these teams meet and I hope there are goals on Saturday - though I'd like to think they would be for us. But I know Steve Thompson will be saying the same to their lads.
"It is a derby and there will be a big crowd - eight or nine thousand - and we will get a tremendous following from here, especially after winning our last three. I hope we can get the result our supporters deserve.
"I don't think the fact we have just gone above them makes any difference on Saturday. The form book won't count for anything either.
"Tommo will be winding them up to get the best out of them as we will here."
Buxton hoping to lead side out for derby
CHAD website, 08 March 2007
JAKE Buxton may be struggling with his knee injury.
But, as a local lad, the thought of leading his side out at Meadow Lane as Stags' skipper for the big local derby with Notts County is acting as an extra spur to be fit in time.
"Since I have been captain I have seen this fixture coming and thought about leading the lads out in front of all those supporters," he said.
"It is a big game and we have been showing a bit of form recently.
"I know we didn't play that well on Tuesday night but we still got the result.
"I never realised how excited I could get watching Sky Sports on Tuesday night and seeing us in the top half of the table in 12th. That was brilliant.
"Basically, we are enjoying our football and now the chairman has told us he will take us away if we get in the play-offs, that is a big incentive.
"The lads have had a laugh about it and the gaffer has had a laugh about it, but there is a serious chance that we can push on and sneak in through the back door.
"We are now looking relatively safe and you don't want to see the season just end with six or seven games with nothing to play for.
"There will be a cracking atmosphere there on Saturday. Notts are slowly sliding and have had a dip in form while we have picked our game up under the new gaffer.
"Hopefully Notts won't be feeling too confident about playing us."
On his injury, he added: "I probably shouldn't have played at Lincoln last Saturday but I am hoping I will be fit for Saturday. It is touch and go."
Hamshaw happy to be back
CHAD website, 08 March 2007
To the ovation of Stags fans home and away, it has been a great sight to see Matt Hamshaw back in a Stags shirt as a substitute in the last two games.
And no one is more delighted to be back than Hamshaw himself.
It is almost three weeks since he and wife Kerry suffered the agony of losing their first baby.
But Hamshaw gave a reminder of his capabilities on a football field with a superb last half-hour display in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Chester and said: "I really enjoyed it on Tuesday. With what my wife and I have been going through the last two or three weeks, it's just nice to be back on a football pitch.
"I got on at Lincoln but didn't really feel myself. Tuesday was better.
"This club has been out of this world with me and treated me so well right from the manager down. It has been a real rock for me and my wife.
"Billy, Paul, the lads, the fans - they've all been brilliant.
"We have had two bouquets of flowers and cards from fans. People didn't have to do that and it meant a lot to me.
"It has been difficult and a lot of people don't know how to react. But the fans have been great and I can't thank them enough.
"I am happy to be back in the dressing room. This is what I am used to. It's what I've done since I was young and I wanted to come back as quickly as I could and try to get back to normal.
"It is still difficult and I will never forget what my wife and I have been through. But I am sure in time it will get a little easier and it's nice to get out training and just think about football for a couple of hours.
"Driving in, you think about things. So training is then a bit of a release.
"It is nice that we have a great bunch of lads, a great manager and a great assistant manager who put smiles on people's faces.
"With our recent results that makes it an even better place to be. But they are like that through thick and thin and that's probably the secret to it all."
Hamshaw is in the squad for Saturday's game but has no idea if he will in the team or on the bench again.
"I think I have only done a couple of days training so it is difficult to talk about starting a game," he said.
"That is the manager's decision. He has spoken to me to see how I feel and has been fantastic. I am ready when he wants me and I don't want to miss another game this season for the world. I should be all right to start if selected."
Hamshaw has good reson to remember the first meeting between the sides this season when he was red-carded in the thrilling 2-2 draw at Field Mill back in October.
"I suppose I do have something to prove on Saturday if I play," he said.
"I thought Danny Reet's goal should have stood and I was sent off when I didn't think it was one. We were the best side for the 60 minutes that I saw. But those things happen in football.
"It is a massive game for the fans and the players and, even the lads who are not from round here can feel the rivalry. It would be nice to put one over on Notts.
"It probably means more to the fans than the players that we overtook Notts on Tuesday. We just look at our position in the table and we are not happy with 12th."
STAGS: WE MUST BE BETTER IN THE DERBY
Evening Post, 08 March 2007
Alex John-Baptiste reckons Mansfield will have to play a lot better than they did against Chester if they are to beat rivals Notts County on Saturday.
The Stags defender netted the winner against City with a late header to make it three wins on the spin for his side.
But he felt the performance was below par and feels they will come unstuck at Meadow Lane if things do not improve.
"We can play better than that and we need to if we are to get a result in the derby on Saturday," said John-Baptiste.
"As an 11, I didn't think we were good enough individually or collectively and Chester did well because they made it really hard for us.
"We are just happy with the win, even though we can get better and will be, I'm sure, at Notts County."
John-Baptiste revealed that Barry Conlon had guessed he would score as the 21-year-old went up for the corner that led to the goal.
It is the player's second goal in as many months after having failed to net at all during the rest of the season.
He said: "Baz told me that he fancied me to nick one and thankfully he was right. It was deflected across to me and I just concentrated on getting it high because I knew there was a defender on the line.
"At the end of the season that win could prove massive for us and at this point in the season performances mean nothing."
Latest | March 2007