Home is where heart is for Stags
Evening Post, 17/08/2007
Martin McIntosh wants Mansfield to start as they mean to go on - with a victory - in their first home game of the season against Lincoln tomorrow.
The Stags won ten of their 23 League Two matches at Field Mill last season, but lost nine.
As a veteran of almost 500 games, McIntosh, 36, knows that record is not good enough if Mansfield want to stage a strong challenge.
"There is no point getting good away results if you can't win your home matches," he said. "I think you have to be strong at home to do well in any league and then pick up points where you can away.
"We seem to be finishing games quite strongly, certainly against Brentford on Saturday when we were unlucky not to win. I think losing at Oldham on Tuesday night was fair enough - they were the better side.
"But the most important thing for us is the league and after the good point at Brentford on Saturday, a win over Lincoln would mean a good start to the season."
Last season Lincoln were the first team to beat Mansfield at Field Mill as Jamie Forrester netted all four in a 4-2 rout.
John Schofield's men lost 0-4 and 1-4 in their first two games this season, but McIntosh knows they still pose a threat.
"It'd be great to win local derby"
Evening Post, 17/08/2007
ALEX Ferguson was rumoured to have dished out his famous hairdryer treatment to Ronaldo on Wednesday night after the Portuguese star was sent off for Manchester United at Portsmouth.
But the only time Billy Dearden is likely to follow suit is when he is larking about at Mansfield's training ground.
Yesterday the Stags boss proudly showed off his 'office' at the John Fretwell Sports Complex – which acts as the umpires' room during the cricket season.
“Look at this,” Dearden said as he picked up the hairdryer attached to the wall and motioned it over his bald patch, “I can even dry my hair when I get out of the shower!”
Unlike Ferguson, though, the 63-year-old is not one for giving his players that kind of treatment – even when he is not entirely happy with them.
Tuesday night in the Carling Cup at Oldham was one of those occasions, when he felt the Stags defence could have done much better for at least two of the Latics' four goals.
Instead of a rollicking, Dearden quietly pointed out where his charges went wrong and has put his faith in them putting things right against Lincoln tomorrow.
“At times we did OK at Oldham but we also let ourselves down at times,” as well he said.
“It was more on the defensive side than anything else. I was disappointed with the way we conceded and we can do better.
“We didn't defend as we should but we have spoken about it, and now the defenders have to put it right.
“I didn't think we deserved to lose 4-1 but the scoreboard doesn't lie.
“When we lost 4-0 to Huddersfield in pre-season it didn't knock our confidence, so hopefully the Oldham result won't either.
“The people who went down to see the draw at Brentford will, hopefully, have been satisfied with the performance, even if we, as a team, were not happy with the result.
“If we can take how we played then into the Lincoln game then we will be OK and maybe get the win we deserved against Brentford.”
Mansfield have not beaten Lincoln at home since they were last promoted in the 2001-2002 season, winning 2-1 with goals from Chris Greenacre and Wayne Corden.
But Dearden is hoping to bury that unwanted record after overseeing Mansfield's 2-1 victory at Sincil Bank in March.
He said: “We had a good win there last season not long after I came back, but before that, Mansfield have been on the receiving end a few times against them.
“I'm not sure if it's a good time to play them or not with them having conceded four in their first two games.
“John Schofield has done well there since taking over from Keith Alexander and I speak to him quite often. He will be trying his hardest to get it right against us.
“They have had a bad start, but we have only played two games and there is a long, long way to go yet.”
After two tough away trips, Dearden is looking forward to the backing of a home crowd, especially for a derby clash.
“It is a tremendous benefit if you win your first home game in front of your supporters and it promises to be a good derby atmosphere.
“Lincoln might come and shut up shop after what has happened to them but, if they do, it is up to us to break them down.”
Alex John-Baptiste (back), Matt Hamshaw (toe) and Jason White (knee) were all back in training yesterday after missing the game at Oldham.
All three are expected to be fit for selection against the Imps.
Dawson hoping to get home fans onside
By John Lomas
STAGS midfielder Stephen Dawson is hoping for a winning start to Mansfield's home programme tomorrow to get the Field Mill fans behind the club.
Lincoln City provide Stags' first home opposition tomorrow (3pm) and Dawson said: "I hope the fans will come and show their support for us and that we put on a good show for them which they deserve.
"If we win we will have four points which will put us in the top half of the table.
"If we lose it looks like a bad start and we will have the fans on our backs.
"We have had two bad seasons and some folk predict we will struggle again.
"We want to prove them wrong and get a few wins under our belts, starting on Saturday.
"Last season we would win one and then lose two. But if we can be more consistent we can keep a few people quiet and creep up the league.
"We proved at Brentford last weekend that we can go behind away from home and come back strongly. Everyone could see we deserved to win it in the end."
He added: "Lincoln have not made the best of starts but we are taking nothing for granted. If we beat Lincoln it will set us up nicely for the big game at Morecambe the week after.
"It was a shame we lost at Oldham on Tuesday but the better team won on the night and we will now focus on the league."
Dawson has a new midfield partner this season in Lee Bell and Dawson said: "Lee is doing well.
"With Jon D'Laryea being injured, Lee has come in and is fast and strong and gets about the park. He is a good talker too."
Dawson looked set to quit the club in the summer after being unhappy with the contract he was offered.
But he eventually signed and said: "I always wanted to stay in the Football League and if I can stay injury-free for the year and get a few goals I will be in a lot better situation next summer.
"It was frustrating not knowing if I was coming or going but I am just glad I got it sorted out."
Takeover talk does not affect us - Dearden
By John Lomas
AS we approach the second weekend of the new season with still no take over deal sorted at Field Mill, Stags boss Billy Dearden insisted the continued speculation was not affecting him and his players.
Current owner Keith Haslam has at least three bids on the table and has continualy said he wants to sell.
But Dearden said: "This has been going on since I came here at Christmas and, to be honest, it's got a bit boring.
"We don't know what is happening and would like to think I would be one of the first to be told if something did happen.
"We are just getting on with it.
"People keep saying something is going to happen now or going to happen then but we are just concentrating on our football."
Stags warned as Lincoln head for Field Mill
By John Lomas
STAGS boss Billy Dearden demanded a repeat of last weekend's commitment as he prepared his squad for Saturday's first game of the season at Field Mill when neighbours Lincoln City are the visitors (3pm).
The Imps have lost their first two games, conceding eight goals.
But Dearden insisted his side need to match the level of performance they showed in the opening 1-1 draw at Brentford or risk being swept away by a Lincoln backlash on Saturday.
"We all knew it was going to be hard at Brentford but we did well down there and were disappointed to only get a point," he said.
"But if people think it will now be much easier at home, that is a load of rubbish.
"We will have to compete as hard as we did at Brentford to get anything out of this game.
"It is a bit of a local derby against Lincoln and I am sure they will bring a few fans with them.
"They will still be smarting from two heavy defeats and our point from Brentford won't count for anything if we let it slip on Saturday. Lincoln will come here more determined than ever to put it right.
"They might just come and try to shut up shop in which case it will be up to us to break them down.
"Attack-wise they look very strong with Forrester, Stallard and the big lad Torpey joining from Torquay. But we are quite strong going forwards too and I always fancy us to create chances.
"I know their manager John Schfield well and they will be trying to play football while still being a difficult team to defend against from set pieces.
"I speak to John on a regular basis and he is young manager learning his trade. He is prepared to listen to anyone and he will eventually make a good job of it."
Jason White (knee), Alex John-Baptiste (back strain and tonsilitis) and Matt Hamshaw (infected toe) should all be back in the squad after missing the midweek 4-1 Carling Cup first round exit at Oldham Athletic.
Lincoln enjoyed seven matches unbeaten against Stags before Mansfield won 2-1 at Sincil Bank in March.
Mansfield have not beaten the Imps at Field Mill in their last four meetings there.
Dearden on lookout as deadline approaches
By John Lomas
BILLY Dearden could still move to strengthen his squad before the current transfer window deadline arrives in two weeks.
"I am always looking for players and I have been out to games this week, though not to look at anyone specifically," he said.
"If I spot anyone I feel will improve the squad then I will try to bring them in.
"We are a bit light with about 20/21 pros and over half of them with very little experience."
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