DERRY: VOTE WITH YOUR FEET
Vote with your feet
CHAD website, 13 March 2007
Stags chairman James Derry has sent out a rallying call to the club's stayaway supporters: "If you want success, it's time to vote with your feet".
Mansfield moved into 11th place after Saturday's goalless draw against local rivals Notts County — eight points behind the play-off places —with nine games to go.
The point extended Stags' unbeaten run to five, with seven of the remaining games to come against teams in the bottom nine.
Yet despite the club's 'promotion form' since Christmas, attendances have continued to decline, and a supporters' group is now planning a match boycott.
Mr Derry, who met with manager Billy Dearden on Monday to discuss the club's plans for next season, told Chad: "It's time for the fans to put aside their historical prejudice, and give Billy and myself a chance to build for the future.
"By staying away they are having a major impact on the signings we can bring to the club next season. It's so frustrating to me as a chairman, and particularly galling when we take 4,000 away fans to Meadow Lane.
"Since Christmas we are top of the form league behind Stockport and Hartlepool. Billy is working his socks off and is very positive about the club's future.
"We know if we can add two or three new players we can be a major force next year. But we need the supporters to vote with their feet, because this season will have an influence on the new campaign."
It is the biggest hint yet that Dearden, who opened contract negotiations with some players this week, will pledge his future to Field Mill by signing a contract this summer.
On the pitch, Stags are busy preparing for two successive home games, with Boston United the visitors to Field Mill this Saturday in a game Dearden expects to be a physical encounter.
"They're a physical side, and it's fair enough to say that this is a must-win match for them," he said. "We must earn the right to play, and then, after that, the football will take over.
"I dare say they'll bring a fair few supporters with them, and after Saturday's victory over Bristol Rovers, will hope to put a run together. One thing is for sure, we will have to be at our best."
Stephen Dawson (ankle) and Jon D'Laryea (thigh) are in a race against time to be fit, but there is better news on defender Jon Olav Hjelde who has recovered from a calf strain.
Skipper Jake Buxton, who played through the pain barrier against Notts County, is expected to figure, while Dearden hopes to speak to striker Barry Conlon, who missed the local derby because of a 'personal problem'.
* For the latest Stags news, visit http://www.mansfieldtoday.co.uk.
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