DEARDEN, KITCHEN, DAWSON AND HILL REACTION
KITCHEN ANXIOUS TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF IN FIRST TEAM
Evening Post, 16 April 2007
Ashley Kitchen believes his first taste of senior action has given him a snapshot of what it takes to succeed in the Football League.
The 18-year-old youth team captain was given just 20 minutes notice that he would be starting against Rochdale after Gareth Jelleyman pulled out in the warm-up.
He was picked to play at right-back by boss Billy Dearden when his usual position is in the centre.
But Kitchen, from Edwinstowe, did not do his future cause any harm with a solid display.
"I enjoyed the game apart from the result," he said. "It's a big step up from the youth team to the first team. It has given me confidence and made me hungry to play at this level again.
"The fitness is a lot better - I was struggling at the end with cramp - and players are a lot more physical too. There is also a better all-round quality. I am fairly happy with how I played, although I played them onside for their first goal when I should have stepped up."
Kitchen was surprised as anyone that he was playing on Saturday. He said: "I was just looking down the tunnel and I saw Jells limping off and the next thing I was told that I would be starting. Now I hope I can establish myself in the first-team squad."
TRANSFORMED ROCHDALE HAVE 'WINNING MENTALITY'
Evening Post, 16 April 2007
Keith Hill reckons Rochdale have a bright future because of the positive attitude his players have shown since he took charge.
Dale were struggling close to the foot of League Two when Hill was handed the job just before Christmas.
But the Lancashire outfit are now in excellent form and have propelled themselves well clear of the drop zone.
The 2-1 win at Mansfield was, in the Rochdale boss's eyes, the latest proof that next season could be one to enjoy.
"There is a winning mentality throughout the squad, which is a credit to the lads," said Hill.
"They have shown they want to be part of Rochdale's future and that's now ten wins in the 21 games since I took over. We are going in the right direction."
STAGS NEED TO STOP THE LATE GOALS - DEARDEN
Evening Post, 16 April 2007
Billy Dearden has warned his Mansfield side they must stop shipping late goals if they are to pull themselves out of their current slump.
The Stags have not won for seven matches and the 2-1 defeat to Rochdale on Saturday was their fourth home loss in a row.
They were heading for a point against Dale, and at Peterborough in their previous match, before conceding in the final moments.
It is a habit boss Dearden is keen to see the back of - and quickly.
"It was a last-minute winner against Rochdale, and it was two goals in the last five minutes against Peterborough," he said.
"We have to do something about it, but it is very difficult when you are changing the side every week.
"We haven't a lot of players available and those who were battled even if they didn't play that well.
"I thought we deserved a point. But I was very, very disappointed with the way we conceded the second goal. We just lost concentration at the end and it cost us.
"It was poor marking from the throw-in. It was too easy for them to get the cross in and then their lad has got in front of Jon Hjelde."
Gareth Jelleyman had to pull out of the game after an injury to his Achilles tendon flared up in the warm-up, while Stephen Dawson came off late on with a groin problem.
Dearden said that was typical of how the Stags' luck is going at the moment.
He said: "I just feel sorry for Jells because he has battled through last week, trained a couple of times this week and it had been OK.
"But then he has felt it in the warm-up and we have had to change it round again.
"I think he will be out for the rest of the season because it looks like it will take six weeks.
"Daws always runs himself into the ground but then he has had to come off with a groin strain.
"I can't see him being fit for Swindon so we'll just have to soldier on."
Dearden was pleased with the debut of Ashley Kitchen, who was promoted to the starting line-up following the injury to Jelleyman.
He said: "Sometimes it's better making your debut like that. If I'd have told him he was playing on Thursday or Friday he might have been worrying about it.
"He has had a go and done a job. He's been playing centre back all year in the youth team but he played on the right and did very well."
Audio interviews with Ashley Kitchen, Stephen Dawson and Billy Dearden from Mansfield 103.2 here
Audio interview with Billy Dearden from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/football/2007/stags_rochdale_home_manager.ram
Audio interview with Stephen Dawson from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/football/2007/stags_rochdale_home_player.ram
Injury list worsens for Mansfield
Mansfield manager Billy Dearden looks likely to be without both Gareth Jelleyman and Stephen Dawson at Swindon next week as Stags' crippling injury list grew in this afternoon's late 2-1 capitulation against Rochdale.
With more players in the treatment room than on the training field, he also lost skipper Gareth Jelleyman in the pre-match warm-up against Rochdale as yet another patched-up defence shipped another costly late goal for the second successive match.
Louis Dodds grabbed the winner in stoppage time for Rochdale to sentence Mansfield to a fourth successive home defeat and Dearden said: "I was very disappointed.
"With what we have had to put up with on injuries we did okay without playing particularly well.
"I thought we deserved at least a draw. Carl Muggleton has not had another save to make apart from the goals.
"I was very disappointed with their winner as we stood off their throw in, allowed them to get a cross in and their lad then got across Jon Hjelde at the near post.
"We had to change the back four yet again after Gareth got injured in the warm up - that's probably the end of his season too.
"We had few options and had to throw young Ashley Kithen in and I thought the lad did very, very well for his first game.
"I keep saying every week that we have to solider on but all I seem to talk about after the game every week at the moment is the latest injuries and not how we have played.
"Our equaliser gave us a lift before half time. We did enough in the second half without really playing well. But then we lost our concentration again in the last few minutes and it cost us.
"Unless something dramatic happens I can't see us getting any players back for next week and I doubt Stephen Dawson will be fit either after he came off with a groin strain."
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