BAPTISTE OUT OF MORECAMBE GAME
MATT: WE WILL BOUNCE BACK AFTER SETBACK
Evening Post, 25 August 2007
Midfielder Matt Hamshaw is not one to bury his head in the sand when things are not going well.
He admitted after last Saturday's disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Lincoln he was 'embarrassed' to receive the man of the match award.
And he is no less forthright in assessing the crowd's reaction to the Stags' performance in that game.
Not surprisingly, the supporters were keen to make their thoughts known as the Mansfield players trudged off.
But having been in the same position on the terraces as a youngster, he feels they were not without justification.
"I have been a fan and paid to watch games myself and have probably felt the same emotions as ours did last week," said Hamshaw.
"The expectation levels are high at the start of the season and I can only agree with them being unhappy because we didn't perform.
"The fans have to understand the players are feeling as bad as they are."
Mansfield got off to a reasonable start last season - winning one and drawing one of their first two League Two games and also beating Huddersfield in the Carling Cup.
But while things have not gone so well in 2007-08, Hamshaw is keen to point out it is early days and reckons he and his team-mates have enough strength of character to bounce back.
He said: "I don't think it has affected confidence. I just think that if you aren't winning games then you tend not to think about things as much.
"I speak for myself in that I would have liked us to have a midweek game this week to get last Saturday out of the system. The start has not been ideal, but the gaffer stressed pre-season that we're in this together through the rough patches."
This afternoon the Stags tackle newcomers Morecambe who are also searching for their first League Two victory of the season. "Morecambe are going to be up for it," said Hamshaw. "They have just come into the league and perhaps if the game against them had come in the middle of the season, it might have been easier.
"But they are on the crest of a wave and you don't get promoted from the Conference if you are not a good side.
"We have been in the league long enough to know the side who come up are good ones.
"Hopefully we can win this one and it is an opportunity to get our first. But they will see we are struggling and probably think it is a good time to have a crack at us."
Hamshaw knows boss Billy Dearden is desperate to get the three points at Christie Park.
But Morecambe have been a force to be reckoned with on their own patch, losing just five matches there last season.
Dearden lining up Stags' signing
Evening Post, 24 Aug 07
Billy Dearden is confident he will bring in a new face at Mansfield Town before next Wednesday's permanent transfer deadline - most likely in midfield or up front.
But the Stags boss said he is unlikely to bring in fresh faces in time for tomorrow's trip to Morecambe.
"I'm hoping to add to the squad before next Wednesday," said Dearden.
"It is most likely we will get someone in on loan.
"I have been looking for other players for three or four weeks now because I have always said from day one we are two or three short.
"I have been on the phone all week and I was up in the north-east on Wednesday watching Hartlepool against Hull reserves.
"We need people in midfield and we might need another striker and people might say in defence as well after last week.
"But I still think we have enough defenders when everyone is fit.
"Going back six or eight weeks, the chairman said it would be ok to bring in a couple of players and I haven't brought anyone in yet."
MULLINS OUT TO GRAB HIS BIG CHANCE
Evening Post, 24 Aug 07
After going through all 53 of Mansfield's competitive matches in 2006-2007 without missing a single one, Alex John-Baptiste is poised to miss his second game out of four this season at Morecambe tomorrow.
But while a niggling back problem must be an immense source of frustration to him, for right-back rival Johnny Mullins it is likely to be an opportunity to push his own claims for a first team spot.
Hampstead-born Mullins was a regular in most of manager Billy Dearden's starting line-ups last season.
He was hoping to build on his first season in the Football League with a greater consistency in his performances this year, as well as increasing his attacking input down the right flank.
But those plans have been put on hold by Dearden's decision to play John-Baptiste at right-back to accommodate summer signing Martin McIntosh alongside Jake Buxton in the centre of the defence.
Understandably, that has left Mullins a disappointed man. But the 21-year-old is professional enough to know a place in the Mansfield side is never a foregone conclusion - nor should it be.
"I would like to hope I am selected tomorrow with Bap set to miss out and if I get the chance then I will be looking to take it," said Mullins.
"Once I am in, my main objective is to stay in and I can only do that with some good performances.
"I was naturally very disappointed to be left out at the start of the season, but there is not much you can do about it.
"But you just have to try to knuckle down because there is no point moping about and dwelling on things.
"You aren't always going to be in the first team, but you just have to keep believing in your own ability and stay confident - and I am."
Fortunately for Mullins, he will not go into the game at Christie Park completely cold. He deputised for John-Baptiste when the former youth product was rested for the 4-1 Carling Cup defeat at Oldham.
Mullins acquitted himself reasonably well in that game and also scored the Stags' only goal after a half-cleared set piece.
He said: "It was nice to have a game at Oldham, which has helped keep my fitness up and I keep reminding everyone in training that I've got one in one!"
Mullins knows Mansfield will be in a fight up in north-west Lancashire against the League Two new boys.
"We know they are a very strong, physical side and press the ball well high up the field. But it is still a massive opportunity to get our first win of the season which always helps the confidence.
"If I do well then I hope that would be enough for me to keep my place."
Mullins hoping for a chance
CHAD website, 24Aug2007
WITH Alex John-Baptiste ruled out with a back strain, John Mullins will be hoping for a recall to right back and a chance to kickstart his season at Morecambe tomorrow.
Mullins has only started one game of the three so far, despite being the regular choice right back last season.
"I hope I will be selected," he said. "If I get my chance I will be looking to take it.
"If I can get in then my priority has to be staying in."
White calls on Stags fans to get behind the team
By John Lomas, CHAD, 23Aug2007
YOUNG Stags keeper Jason White called on the terrace boo boys to get behind the team at Morecambe tomorrow.
White was under fire during the game from a section of home fans last weekend, despite none of the three Lincoln goals being his fault.
"Fans pay their money and are entitled to their opinions," he said. "But I was a bit disappointed they didn't wait until the end of the game rather than doing it during the game.
"It would be nice if they can get behind us for the 90 minutes. At Brentford the support was superb. They sang their hearts out for the whole game.
"After we went a goal down at Brentford they just seemed to spur us on and that picked up the players and we equalised and I think we should have won it.
"We need the fans to do that at home too. We do not have the biggest of squads and if they can give us that extra few per cent when we are a bit down then that is what we need."
White was mystified why a section of fans started barracking him midway through the first half and said: "I was disappointed as we all want the same thing don't we? We all want to have success together.
"I am not sure if they thought the second goal was my fault if they didn't see Martin McIntosh deflect it past me into the corner of the goal.
"But there wasn't much I could do. It doesn't affect me during a game if the crowd are on my back as a keeper has to stay focused on the game. But when the whole crowd are behind you and singing it does perk everyone up.
"If the ball goes into the net I always look at what I could have done better. But if they want to have a go at me I just have to take it on the chin. It's up to them. It's not everyone – just a certain few.
"I wouldn't say it's better playing away as I love to run out at Field Mill – it's what I've wanted to do since I was a young lad.
"But I have to say our away supporters are absolutely superb. As soon as you run out away from home you can feel the atmosphere they create straight away."
CHAD VIDEO: Stags star out of Bank Holiday game
By John Lomas, CHAD, 23Aug2007
video clip here
STAGS defender Alex John-Baptiste is out of this weekend's trip to Morecambe.
And he is now hoping to get himself fully fit after a difficult start to the new season.
After struggling through the first two weeks with the effects of tonsilitis and a painful back strain, John-Baptiste will sit it out this weekend after a week off training and hope that a scan on his back reveals nothing serious.
"It has not been a good start for me," said the youngster, who penned a new three-year Stags contract in the summer after being tipped to move away.
"My back has been hurting and, after games I have not been able to move," he said. "Hopefully the scans will be all right and I will only miss a game.
"There were a lot of harsh words spoken after last weekend's defeat by Lincoln – and rightly so. We watched the goals again and we were our own undoing.
"But there's no mess or crisis here. There's still another 44 games to go and it would be nice to get a win against Morecambe on Saturday."
John-Baptiste has usually played centre half but has begun the season at right back.
"It is different playing there as instead of being up against someone, you have the winger coming onto you," he said. "But I do enjoy both positions and think I could play left back if needed too."
Click on the green icon to watch a Chad video, by Roger Grayson, of the player talking to Chad sports editor John Lomas about his back injury.
CHAD AUDIO: Dearden looking for loan signing?
By John Lomas, CHAD, 23Aug2007
Audio interview with Billy Dearden from CHAD website here
BILLY Dearden is hoping to bolster his threadbare squad with a new signing – though it may not happen in time for Saturday's testing clash at League new boys Morecambe (3pm).
With Alex John-Baptiste ruled out with a back strain, Dearden is down to 17 fit players, including all his young pros, as Stags bid to quickly bounce back from last weekend's poor 3-1 home defeat by Lincoln and chalk up their first win of the new campaign.
"I am waiting on a phone call and I hope to bring someone in by next Wednesday's deadline," he said.
"Initially it will probably be a loan but we will have to see where it goes from there.
"I have been looking round and talking to different managers for the last two or three weeks now. But having injuries and last weekend's result has just made it more important to act quickly.
"But I won't be panicking if we don't get them for the weekend. And, if it doesn't come off, we will start again and look elsewhere."
Dearden would not reveal the position his current target plays in but said: "Everyone knows we need people in midfield and maybe a striker as well.
"People might say we need defenders after last weekend as well! But I am putting that down as a bad day for them and I think we have enough defenders in the club.
"I have always said we are two or three players short from day one and we are down to the bare bones at the moment. I am quite hopeful this one will come off."
With the Bank Holiday traffic heading for the seaside, Stags are going up a day early on Friday. But Alex John-Baptiste looks set to be left behind as he awaits the results of a precautionary scan on his back problem.
"As you saw last Saturday Alex is not quite up to it at the moment with this back strain that has been causing him problems for two or three weeks," said Dearden.
"He didn't have the best of games on Saturday, though that goes for another eight or nine of them. But we think the best thing to do is get it looked at and rest it up this weekend.
"He hasn't trained this week and hopefully he will be available again next week."
Dearden is looking for an immediate reaction from his players after last weekend's home setback.
"It is only two games into the season so we have plenty of time to put it right," he said. "Whether that will be down to the people in the club now or if I have to get other players in to help them we will have to see.
"But they were as upset as the fans about last weekend and a lot of them held their hands up and admitted they didn't play to their potential for whatever reason. The goals we conceded were very poor.
"Now we need to go to Morecambe with the same attitude we showed at Brentford where no one gave us much of a hope. If that attitude is right on Saturday I can see us getting a good result.
"Morecambe have been playing very well and will be looking to make their home ground a very difficult place for every club to go to.
"It is a very small compact stadium with a decent playing surface. We will have to treat it like playing away at a non-League club in the cup, though they are not a non-League club anymore and have done brilliantly to get into the league."
Of the other injured Stags players, Jon D'Laryea is now off his crutches and onto a treadmill for running and is seeing his specialist again this week.
And Simon Brown is back at Field Mill next week after completing another week's muscle-strengthening at Lilleshall National Rehabilitation Centre.
BAP SET TO MISS OUT
Evening Post, 23 August 2007
Mansfield defender Alex John-Baptiste is set to miss Saturday's clash at Morecambe with a back injury.
The right-back has played through the pain at the start of the new season to start in the Stags' two league games so far.
But he was rested because of the problem for the Carling Cup tie at Oldham and has sat out training all this week.
"I don't think Bap will travel because he hasn't trained again today," said Dearden.
"The back strain is one he has had on and off for two or three weeks and maybe it has gradually caught up with him.
"We think the best thing is to check it out now, get to the bottom of it and see where we go from there.
"Bap wasn't quite up to it last Saturday (against Lincoln) but he won't put how he played down to injury.
"He knows he didn't have the best of games, but that could be said of another eight or nine players."
Simon Brown is expected to be back in training next week after undergoing rehabilitation on his knee at Lilleshall.
But Dearden knows the striker will not be immediately available because he is behind the rest of the squad in terms of base fitness.
He said: "Simon almost has his own pre-season to do before he can join up with the others. He will probably need another two to two-and-a-half weeks before he will be ready."
Latest | August 2007