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Billy Dearden talks ahead of FA Cup tie at Harrogate Railway
STAGS boss Billy Dearden was given an FA Cup booster this morning when, for the first time this season, he had an empty treatment room and his entire first team squad training with him.
And, while three or four of them are not yet fit enough to start a game, it may given him some exciting options for the substitutes' bench for the televised FA Cup second round tie at non-League Harrogate Railway on Sunday.
Central defender Martin McIntosh is already back on the bench after two months out with a hamstring strain.
And today Jon D'Laryea (Achille's tendon), Simon Brown (hamstring)and Nathan Arnold (ankle) all returned to full training after shaking off their respective knocks.
Let's concentrate on the football - Dawson
CHAD.co.uk, 29 Nov 2007
DESPITE all the off-field drama, Stags midfielder Stephen Dawson said the players must keep their minds firmly fixed on Sunday's FA Cup tie at Harrogate Railway.
And he emphasised how important the two home games in four days next week will be to easing the club's plight near the bottom of League Two.
"Obviously you hear stuff but we try to concentrate on the football and not get involved," he said.
"I really do not know all the ins and outs about the takeover.
"If James Derry does eventually take over he does seem to have some exciting ideas about what he wants to do here.
"But if Keith Haslam stays in charge then we will just get on with it as manager and players and get a few wins behind us. We cannot let it affect us on the pitch.
"I am sure he does want to sell it but it is just a matter of when
"I know the fans are unhappy but there is nothing we can do as players.
"We just want to go on a good cup run and we have two big League games coming up next week when we need the points to get away from the foot of the table."
OnSunday's opponents he said: "It is going to be very tough there and we have to give them a lot of respect as they have come through six or seven rounds to get this far already.
"You must give them the credit they deserve.
"I know nothing about them or their ground. But the gaffer has been around long enough to know how to prepare and he will give the lads the information we need on their players at Saturday's team talk. He will know their strengths and weaknesses so we can get at them a bit.
"For us it should be a day for expressing yourself. We are on the television so we should go out there and enjoy ourselves.
"An early goal would be nice to settle us down. Then we can play a bit of football.
"It would be nice to score. I know I should have had a couple of last weekend. But I am getting closer and getting in the right positions.
Hopefully it will come this weekend."
Excitement mounts in Harrogate for Mansfield visit
CHAD.co.uk, 29 Nov 2007
EXCITEMENT is mounting in Harrogate for Sunday's televised FA Cup clash between Harrogate Railway and Mansfield Town (1.10pm).
Stags are obviously the hot favourites to go through in front of BBC TV's Match of the Day cameras with the added incentive of a third round tie against a big name.
But that incentive is every bit as strong for the lowest ranked team left in the competition.
And their chairman Rob Northfield says Rail' could potentially net £1.5m should they beat Stags and draw Manchester United away - every reason for tossing and turning in the midst of the night.
"We had a committee meeting on Tuesday night, about 15 of us, and we all said we're having difficulty sleeping," said Northfield.
"You wake up at the four in the morning and you want to get on with it. It's like a little kid waking up for Christmas.
"I'm looking forward to it so much, and even my wife, who is normally the laid back one, is waking up at three or four in the morning.
"We've bought a new mascot, Barmy the Beaver, and she woke up thinking of him.
"He's arrived now, he's a seven foot mascot and everybody already loves him to death.
"He wants to train and warm up with the players but that will be up to Vinnie to see if he will let him."
Eighty league places higher, Mansfield arrive hot favourites tomorrow and Harrogate bookies Skybet make Railway 5-1 to pull off a shock victory.
However, Rail' have already beaten higher ranked Leigh RMI, Harrogate Town and Droylsden on their home turf and Northfield feels Rail' have every chance of pulling off their biggest scalp yet.
"I'm a gambling man and I put the chances at 50-50," said Northfield.
"They should come to us and beat us fairly convincingly, they are a full time professional outfit, they are four leagues above us but it's not like that.
"Our lads are winding themselves up for it, they are at our ground and most of the support is against them.
"It evens it up and so it's not as cut and dried as the bookmakers think.
"5-1 is an attractive price knowing our team. We may not beat them but we have got an opportunity that we believe we can take and that's nothing arrogant or over confident."
Northfield also has his usual pre-match motivational speech planned but has revealed Sunday's will involve something of a mystery twist.
"What I'm going to do would be considered a little bit unusual," said Northfield.
"It wouldn't be fair to say what it is, I'll tell you on Monday and you can tell me if it's worked."
The chairman is also planning wild celebrations should Rail' pull off Harrogate's biggest ever FA Cup shock.
"If we get through we'll have some special celebrations," he said.
"It would be four weeks until the next round and we'd have a massive Christmas party which I'd be happy to fund for the club. It would be amazing."
Boss Vinnie Brockie has a full strength squad to pick from on Sunday and says himself and his players will handle the media attention with no qualms at all.
"I'm excited, definitely, I'm looking forward to it - it's a big occasion," said Brockie.
"I'm like the players, I have no real experience of this sort of thing but we've just got to take it in our stride and that's all I'll be saying to them."
He also admits Rail' definitely have "a fighting chance."
"I think it's the same as the other ties in that we have to go out believing we've got a chance," he said.
"We can't underestimate Mansfield, they're a League Club and anybody who is thinking of doing that would be foolish.
"But we've got a chance, a fighting chance, and that's the way I see it."
Skipper Rob Morgan admits Station View will see wild scenes should Rail' send Mansfield packing.
"If we get past Mansfield it will be mental in the changing rooms afterwards," said Morgan.
"We've got to go out there thinking we've got a chance, we're at home and they won't know too much about us. I'm sure they won't be happy with our slope!"
Can Stags stay on the Cup rails?
CHAD.co.uk, 28 Nov 2007, by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town head full steam into unchartered territory at Harrogate Railway on Sunday (1.10pm) as much of the nation watches and hopes they will stumble to the minnows in this FA Cup second round tie.
And, hoping for a morale-booster before this live BBC TV Match of the Day tester, Stags slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Rochdale on Saturday and learned they will be without Jon D'Laryea, Simon Brown and Nathan Arnold for the Harrogate trip.
So manager Billy Dearden knows he has to lift his squad for Sunday and guard against any over-confidence against the humble Unibond Division One North opposition.
"Harrogate are a very handy team at that level and, to be fair to them, do try to play fotball," said Dearden.
"If we turn in the performance we are capable of doing then we will be okay. But if we think we only have to turn up to go through then we have a very, very big surprise awaiting us.
"It is up to me between now and then to get them fired up.
"We are preparing properly. I am taking the lads for a seven mile walk out on the Derbyshire moors today followed by a lunch to keep us all together.
"Then we will train hard every other day, including Saturday afternoon before going up to Harrogate Saturday evening and staying overnight.
"I was very disappointed with us at Rochdale on Saturday. But this is a completely different game and a chance to get Rochdale out of our system.
"The nation will be looking to Harrogate to provide an upset. It is up to us to make sure they don't get it.
"Hopefully we can get our first away win of the season. We certainly didn't deserve one at Rochdale. We were second best and it wasn't good enough."
On the injuries, he added: "Jon D'Laryea is having treatment on his Achille's tendon which has been bothering him for a week on and off.
"I think it is probably down to him over-compensating on his ankle injury and he has probably pushed himself too hard.
"He was so keen to get playing again which is a good attitude to have, but you have to be careful as it can rebound on you.
"Simon Brown and Nathan Arnold are not training either so it looks like we will be without all three while Martin McIntosh is still well short of being fit enough to start a game."
With D'Laryea in the treatment room, Dearden has resisted the temptation to accept an offer for a reserve friendly this week, prefering instead to keep his squad together and free of any further knocks ahead of such an important game on Saturday.
For, within 24 hours, if Stags see off the minnows, it is they who could be become the potential giantkillers if Sunday's third round draw is kind to them.
The lowest ranked club left in the cup, Harrogate have only lost once in their last eight games and sit 12th in their division.
Jelleyman ready for war of attrition
CHAD.co.uk, 28 Nov 2007
Gareth Jelleyman reckons it could be a war of attrition at Harrogate on Sunday.
"I am sure they will come out the traps flying at us," said the Stags utility man.
"We have to be very professional and do things right – then in the end I hope our fitness will tell.
"I am sure having such a big home crowd compared to normal will lift Harrogate. We know how it lifts us when our fans get behind us at Field Mill.
"We have got to be on our toes on Sunday.
"If we perform anywhere near how we are capable we should get our first away victory of the season on Sunday.
"Then hopefully we can kick on from there. But we know it will be tough.
"Saturday at Rochdale was disappointing and we know we can't slip back into how we were playing before in that first 10 games.
"But confidence is still high in the camp and we have just got to scrub that one off and be positive."
If they can get through, Jelleymen, like the rest of Mansfield, is hoping for a plum third round tie. He said:"I can remember being drawn away to Chelsea when I was at Peterborough and they beat us 5-1 which was quite demoralising.
"They had players like Hasselbaink, Zola, Poyet and Terry playing and we ended up taking a hammering.
"But when we went to Newcastle we pushed them all the way and could have won it on another day. Anything is possible in the FA Cup."
Buxton ready for TV spotlight
CHAD.co.uk, 28 Nov 2007, by John Lomas
STAGS skipper Jake Buxton is looking forward to his second live TV apearance on Sunday.
"It is a great opportunity for everyone out there," he said.
"You are in the shop window and everyone wants to play at the highest level possible that you can with Mansfied or with someone else.
"It will be a great occasion and the cameras will certainly lift the players to perform better. But they will have the same effect on Harrogate too.
"I played in front of the cameras against Grays which was a good experience.
"Obviously you get praised if you do things well and are ridiculed if things go wrong.
"The best players take the pressure well and thrive on it. We are favourites to win and we don't want any upsets.
"Harrogate are under pressure too. It is a big occasion for them and hopefully we can upset their party. We have a big week ahead of us so now everyone has to stake their claim for a shirt for the FA Cup game.
"Any 11 could be picked from the squad now as no one put in a good enough performance at Rochdale to claim one."
Stags boss Billy Dearden reveals that three first team players - Jon D'Laryea, Nathan Arnold and Simon Brown - are all rated as doubtful for Sunday's televised FA Cup tie at Harrogate Railway. D'Laryea has an achilles knock, Brown is still recovering from a hamstring injury and Arnold has an ankle problem which kept him out of the match at Rochdale on Saturday.
Pundits named for TV cup tie!
THE BBC has named the pundits and commentators who will be covering the Stags live FA Cup tie at Harrogate Railway on Sunday.
They will include former Stags' manager Carlton Palmer, Mark Lawrenson and Mark Bright. For more details go to the club's official website http://www.mansfieldtown.net.
Latest | November 2007