EARLY TEAM NEWS
Stags hope on injured duo's return
CHAD website, 27 March 2007
MANSFIELD Town are hoping injured duo Jake Buxton and Jon D'Laryea could return from injury to help them avoid the embarrassment of a third successive defeat by sides from the foot of the table at Wrexham on Saturday (3pm).
"The injured lads will be missing from training again this week but Jake and Jon do have a 50-50 chance for the weekend," said assistant manager Paul Holland.
"The good thing is they are desperate to play which helps. We have certainly missed them.
"Jake has been brilliant this season, particularly since he became captain. He has been outstanding.
"And Jon has played all the games up until this last two and he does the nasty side of the game that fans perhaps don't see but coaches know they need in their team. Teams can't afford to lose two or three of their most influential players at once."
Stags should welcome back on-loan Blackburn midfielder Bryan Hodge, but Holland warned: "Bryan is not due back from Canada until Thursday and we will have to take it from there.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed. But he will have played two games in a few days and the travel will also take it out of him. We will have a look at him on Friday."
Hodge's loan has now been extended until the end of the season.
Holland added: "We have had a lot of players not training and just playing matches which is not helping.
"We will have them in all week this week and it will be a hard week. That's not intended as a punishment. We just seem to be at our best after that sort of preparation.
"It is important to get back on track on Saturday. They have been two disappointing performances but before that things were going well. We need to get back to working hard and earning the right to play.
"For some of them it's been their first full season in League football and there are a few tired legs out there. It has been a long season for some of them and, with the injuries we've had, we have not had the bodies to rest a few.
"I thought we played a bit better on Friday than the week before. The lads know our standards have dropped in the last two games and it is important they realise that themselves.
"We have had a good run and we can't afford to let two results change that.
"It will probably affect them a bit as they are a young side. So it is up to the senior players and staff to rally round them."
Stags were booed off for the second successive Field Mill game last Friday and Holland said: "Maybe it's a good thing we have an away game on Saturday.
"It has been the story of our season that when we have got ourselves into a good position and there is a game in which we could kick on, we always seem to fall short of what we are capable of.
"Wrexham are fighting for their lives but have lads fighting for new contracts so we can't ease up by any means.
"It was a great result for Wrexham last Saturday. But we have seen this season that anyone can beat anyone in this league.
"At this stage of the season it is all about results and not just performances.
"There is still everything to play for. We can't just let it peter out with eight games to go.
"Winning becomes a habit. If we can gets things ironed out between now and the end of the season it is better than the start of next season and we are looking to have a big year next year.
"Wrexham will be very similiar to Boston and Macclesfield. They are down there too and a lot of the struggling sides are winning games right now. So they will come out and have a go which might suit us.
"Any personnel we put out at Wrexham should be enough to get three points if we play as we can."
Stags had hoped to blood more youngsters at this stage of the season, but Holland said: "It is not an ideal situation after losing two out of two games to bring young lads in.
"But somewhere down the line you have to stand up and be counted."
Wrexham have failed to win any of their seven home games this year, losing four and drawing three, and sit in the bottom two.
But the Dragons have won two of their last four, both away from home.
Stags' out-of-favour striker Danny Reet has joined Rochdale on loan for the rest of the season.
A planned Stags reserves friendly against English Universities at Loughborough University tomorrow has been cancelled due to the club's injury problems.
STAGS MUST RETURN TO TOP FORM
EVENING POST, 27 March 2007
Mansfield must get things right at the end of this season if they want to get a flying start in 2007-2008, assistant boss Paul Holland today insisted.
The Stags have lost their last two games at home to Boston and Macclesfield, with injuries taking their toll on a small squad.
But Holland knows that the Stags cannot use that as an excuse and wants to see a quick return to form at Wrexham on Saturday.
And he feels a good run-in during the last seven games can only help preparations for what the club hopes will be a promotion assault from August.
"Winning becomes a habit and if we can iron things out between now and the end of the season, rather than at the start of next year, that is going to benefit us," said Holland. "We can't afford to let the season peter out. It's just the consistency that we need to get back.
"The lads don't need telling that they let themselves and the club down in the last two games but they proved in the five or six games before that what a good team they are.
"If we are right then we are a match for any team in the division but if we let the standards drop then we can be beaten by anyone.
"We will be working hard at the start of this week, not to punish them, but we seem to be at our best when we do that."
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