McEwan: Stags will not be distracted
Evening Post, 19 September 2008
AN investigation into whether Mansfield fielded an ineligible player in games earlier this season will not distract the team ahead of tomorrow's big game with Cambridge United, insists boss Billy McEwan.
As thisisnottingham.co.uk revealed on Wednesday, a club is being scrutinised by the Football Conference over an alleged offence.
Mansfield has since been confirmed as the club in question, in a statement from the Stags' management.
The club was adamant that, should any wrongdoing be identified, it would be down to a genuine mistake.
While the club could be docked points and fined if found guilty – the registration of Aaron O'Connor is thought to be the documentation under the microscope – McEwan is adamant it is business as usual.
With the biggest crowd of the season expected at Field Mill as Stags look to make it six home wins on the bounce, the Scot is concentrating on what will be a difficult game against a visiting side who have yet to lose on the road.
"We are not wanting to make an issue out of what is happening off the pitch. All we are thinking about is the game tomorrow; anything else is irrelevant," said McEwan.
"We have to be focussed and try to bounce back from what was a disappointing loss at Crawley. The most important thing is to try to get another clean sheet if we can."
McEwan glad Stags' England duo are fit to face Cambridge exam
CHAD.co.uk, 18 September 2008 , By John Lomas
BILLY McEwan was a happy and relieved man to see his two England C team youngsters return back from midweek international duty without injury ahead of Saturday's home crunch clash with fellow high-flyers Cambridge United (3pm).
Jon D'Laryea and Nathan Arnold suffered a nightmare journey to try to reach Sarajevo due to bad weather and cancelled flights and, after their flight had been turned away and they had endured a long bus journey in from Croatia, the young Lions unsurprisingly lost 6-2 against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"It is just nice to see them back safe and sound - that was my only concern," said the Stags boss on Thursday afternoon.
McEwan had been critical of the timing of the international friendly as he knew any problems could hit his hopes of beating Cambridge and, sure enough, the players returned very tired after the travel problems, though thankfully injury-free.
"What did I say? That's what can happen when you play away this time of season, traveling to other countries," he said.
"It wasn't the best preparation to play a game and they got beaten 6-2.
"Nathan played the whole game and Jon came off after an hour. They they both enjoyed the experience but not the result. But it won't have done them any harm at all in their development.
"I sent them a text before the game wishing them all the best from myself and the club.
"We have to be careful with them between now and Saturday. At least they didn't come straight home after the game and had a good night's sleep. I want them nice and refreshed for Saturday."
Stags, deposed as leaders in last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Crawley, will be looking to try to extend their perfect home record of five wins against a United side who have won two and drawn two of their four away games but only actually won once in their last five outings.
McEwan said: "We have a good home record and I want to build on it. We were disappointd to lose last weekend and we have been working hard on the training ground to put it right this weekend.
"Training has been a bit patchy this week due to the lads being away with England C, others having treatment for injuries and one lad at a funeral. But we were all back together today (Thursday).
"It will be a battle on Saturday and we have to persevere and be patient. The most important thing for me is to get another clean sheet and we have been working at that this week and will do so again tomorrow.
"We have to defend better when we are attacking and they launch an early ball or breakaway."
He added: "If we continue to only lose two out of every nine this season we have a great chance of doing something this year. It is a big ask but it can be done if we believe in it.
"Teams will come here aware of our home record and be difficult to break down. But our record is due to certain things we do in games and we have to make sure we carry on doing them.
"With no disrespect to most of the teams we've played, this weekend we are up against one of the so-called big guns who people said would do well before the season started.
"We have already got a good point at York and we know it will be a tough one on Saturday.
"One or two of the 'big guns' haven't really started yet and no one is running away with the league this time. We haven't played anyone that outstanding yet.
"My lads will be up for it after last weekend. They know if they are not right they could get turned over - the same as in any game but moreso against the so-called tougher sides in this league.
"Cambridge have a new manager and some new players. But the nucleus of this side is the one that got to Wembley last season so we know they will be a test for us.
"They have a good away record - they've not lost yet and have won twice and it will be a tough one. But that has to end some time and we have won all our home games, banging in threes and fours. That's what makes it a real humdinger.
"Cambridge got done in the last minute on Saturday at home which will have disappointed them.
"They are an ex-League club like ourselves so they will have a good following and I would like to think we will probably get our best gate of the season so far. I hope our fans come down and get behind us.
"They will come here and make it difficult for us. We are under no illusions how hard it will be."
Jason Lee, Aaron O'Connor and Alan O'Hare have all continued to get treatment for injuries and one of them hasn't trained all week, though McEwan would not reveal which one.
O'Hare: Stags must stop leaking 'silly goals'
Evening Post, 19 September 2008
It is all too easy to apportion the blame elsewhere after a disappointing defeat, but defender Alan O'Hare believes the best way to move forward is to take some responsibility.
After Mansfield surrendered top spot to Crawley following a 2-1 defeat in Sussex last weekend, it would have been much easier for each player to brush what went wrong under the carpet. To tell themselves it was someone else's fault.
But Irishman O'Hare has come to learn the best way to iron out any problems is to first get to the root of them.
So he was as pleased as anyone that the Stags have gone back and analysed what brought them down at Broadfield Stadium.
O'Hare was quick to point out he could have done better in the lead up to Crawley's second goal by getting more on his attempted header back to Paddy Gamble.
And he says the other players were equally ready to admit they could have done things better when Mansfield really struggled in the first hour.
That, O'Hare insists, has given the Stags a clear way to proceed in training this week ahead of tomorrow's clash with Cambridge United at Field Mill.
And he hopes it will yield a better result come the end of what promises to be an intriguing game.
"Sometimes someone can cut you open with a great piece of skill or score from 25 yards and you have to put your hands up and say there's not much you could have done," said O'Hare.
"But when you are conceding silly goals home and away you want to do something about it.
"You have to come in and talk about it and have it out with each other and then go out on the training ground and fix it.
"That's what happened after the Crawley game. We had a long chat on Monday and then got to work on specific things.
"These are things that go on all the way through the season - even when things are going better.
"Even if you have won a match comfortably there are always things you can still improve on.
"If things go wrong, we want to rectify it as soon as possible."
O'Hare feels manager Billy McEwan's professionalism is key to the Stags' continued drive for perfection.
And he recognises that his boss has every right to be frustrated and demand improvement from a side that has kept just two clean sheets this season.
Central defender O'Hare said: "The boss aims high and he has played and managed at a high level so he knows what he's on about.
"He has high standards he expects from his players and the players themselves expect to live up to that.
"At the moment, we are giving away silly goals, which makes individuals and the team look pretty silly when that should not be the case.
"We have some exceptional players, not just defenders, but also going forward and when we he cut out the mistakes and the miscalculations I think we will be a fantastic team and front runners."
Mansfield welcomed back Jonathan D'Laryea and Nathan Arnold from England C duty yesterday.
The pair endured a nightmare journey for their clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina as their original flight to Sarajevo was cancelled.
The team eventually had to fly to Spilt in Croatia and then get on a bus for six hours to reach their final destination a day late.
Not surprisingly, they were hammered 6-2
Stallard brings out best in O'Connor
Evening Post, 18 September 2008
AARON O'Connor believes his Mansfield Town strike partner Mark Stallard can help unlock his full potential.
O'Connor has impressed at Field Mill after a summer move from Grays Athletic.
And he believes much of the credit for that should go to Stallard.
O'Connor says the veteran former Notts County man's guidance has been invaluable.
"I enjoy playing up front with Mark and I think the experience he brings is priceless," said O'Connor.
"I am always watching and learning from him because he knows so much about the game.
"He might not have the pace he once had but he still has the speed of thought. You only have to look at his goals and the performances he's put in to see the impact he's made.
"I'm picking things up and Mark is always having a quiet word in my ear and telling me about things I can do better. He always wants to help."
O'Connor hopes to be fully fit for this weekend's clash with fellow high-flyers Cambridge United, as the Stags look to make it six straight home wins.
A knock confined him to the bench for the 2-1 defeat at Crawley last weekend.
Stags chairman Andy Perry said he is unaware of rumours his club could be deducted points for fielding an ineligible player.
The Football Conference have confirmed they are investigating one of their member clubs and it has been suggested the club is Mansfield
Silk: Stags defeat at Crawley a blip
Evening Post, 17 September 2008
GARY Silk believes Mansfield's defeat at Crawley will be no more than a blip.
Last Saturday's 2-1 reverse knocked them off the top of the Blue Square Premier League was only the Stags' second defeat of the season.
Right-back Silk, 24, was disappointed with the performance at Broadfield Stadium in a game where he opened his goals account for the club.
But he believes there is enough experience to put the setback to the back of their minds and to bounce back.
Next up is the visit of Cambridge United, who will be out to end Mansfield's 100 per cent home record.
But former Notts County and Boston player Silk is upbeat about the Stags' chances.
"It will be a tough game because although Cambridge lost their last game to Torquay, they are a decent side.
"I think we have already seen that every game in this league will be tough and there are no easy rides.
"But I'm confident that we can bounce back from the defeat at Crawley because we have done it before."
Mansfield's 2-1 reverse at newly-promoted Barrow in August sparked a run of three wins and a draw.
Silk is hoping their latest defeat will spark a similar response from the Mansfield players.
He said: "He have spirit in the side and we showed that against Crawley by coming back, even if we didn't get a point."
Stags striker Robinson told - cool it
CHAD.co.uk, 16 September 2008
MANSFIELD manager Billy McEwan has told Anthony Robinson to cool it after he picked up a second yellow card - which could have been a red - in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Crawley Town.
Robinson caught Lewis Killeen in the face as they tussled for the ball and the big striker, making his full debut, escaped with a booking.
"It was right in front of the dug-outs and the refere could easily have been swayed by the shouts for a red card," said boss Billy McEwan.
"We were a bit short up front with Jason Lee and Aaron O'Connor having treatment all week so Anthony has waited patiently for his chance, came in and didn't do too badly to be fair.
"But he has to cut out the bookings. I do want the aggression. I don't want them going out playing like fairies, but I want the aggression to be controlled.
"Matt Somner had a bad record at his previous club and Alan O'Hare has picked up a couple of bookings this season.
"Players will wind them up if they think they can get them sent off which they might think is their best chance of beating us.
"I will look at every booking we get and, if I think it was deliberate then they will be fined."
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