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PREVIEWS
11/December/2008 11:19:18

Commentary for tonight's game will be provided by BBC Radio Nottingham's David Jackson.
Follow the link from here

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Billy McEwan interview
Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

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Blackwood returns to training
Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

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Stags need to battle, says boss McEwan ahead of midweek game
CHAD.co.uk, 08 December 2008 , By Stephen Thirkill
STAGS boss Billy McEwan is calling on his side to stand up and be counted ahead of Tuesday night's tricky trip to high-flying Kidderminster.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here
http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Stags-need-to-battle-says.4772399.jp

The lowly Field Mill outfit go into the Blue Square clash without a win in their last three games - and with just one in nine League outings - against a Kidderminster side who boast the best home record in the league.

But McEwan believes his developing side, beaten 3-1 in front of the live TV cameras on Thursday, can upset the BSP odds if they fight hard and believe in their own ability.

"It is going to be a tough game and it will be a battle like any other game," he said. "We have got to make sure we go there believing in what we can do and give them a battle.

"This is an important game for us. We are looking good in training, but it's what we do in matches that matter. We are playing well in patches, but we are also playing badly in other patches. We need to string our good spells together for longer periods.

"There were positives in the Oxford game, which we will look to build on. We played well in the first half and got back into the game well, but in the second half we didn't play well.

"They are good at home but they are beatable. We cannot worry about them, we have to go their focusing on what we can do. If we are strong mentally and confident then we can achieve things."

Frustrated McEwan is also calling on his side to cut out defensive blunders which has cost Mansfield dear in recent games.

Said McEwan: "We cannot keep giving soft goals away, once we cut these out we will give ourselves a good chance. We need to stop giving teams the opportunities to punish us.

"We have not been carved open too many times this season and need to sort this out. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves, we have to work battle to get more wins and put that extra effort in."

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McEwan is up for the battle
Evening Post, December 09, 2008

BILLY McEwan often refers to Mansfield's current season as a battle, so it is only apt a quote from one of history's greatest war generals, Napoleon Bonaparte, sums up the Scot's line of thinking right now.
Full story at Evening Post website here

"Victory," said the former French leader, "belongs to the most persevering." The words could almost have been uttered by the Stags boss himself.
Right now, Mansfield's backs have been pressed firmly against the wall by a run of seven defeats in their last nine matches.
But McEwan remains as defiant as ever that things will get better. He does not know if it will be this week, next week or the week after that. Nor does he know what will act as the catalyst.
But what is obvious is his unstinting faith in finding success – providing the players don't give up and continue to share in his long-term vision.
%3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22adDiv%22%3E%3CA%20HREF%3D%22http%3A//ads.anm.co.uk/ADCLICK/CID%3Dfffffffcfffffffcfffffffc/AAMSZ%3D452x118/SITE%3DTHISISNOTT/AREA%3DFOOTBALL/SUBAREA%3D/ARTICLE%3D532479/acc_random%3D2617499168/pageid%3D/RS%3D10307.%22%20target%3D%22_new%22%3E%3CIMG%20SRC%3D%22http%3A//iad.anm.co.uk/anmdefaultad.gif%22%20ALT%3D%22%22%20border%3D0%20style%3D%22margin-bottom%3A%200px%3B%22%3E%3C/A%3E%3C/div%3E"You can't feel sorry for yourself – if you do that then you have lost before you start," said McEwan. "You have to believe you can do it or it's end of story.
"Not only do we have to believe in ourselves individually but also in each other as a group. I brought strangers in (at the start of the season), people who were rejects elsewhere and the fact they moulded into the team to do well at the start of the season speaks volumes.
"But they can lose form and confidence and the results have not been that gives you that extra energy. The fans are finding it tough, but how do we at the club feel? We cannot get away from it and there is no switching off.
"We have been victims of our early-season success in may ways, but I have seen teams put runs together from the bottom and climb right up the table.
But while McEwan is giving his side every chance to prove their worth, he will not wait forever. With the transfer window in January approaching, he insists the next three weeks will be make or break for some of his players.
McEwan said: "If players don't believe then they won't be here come January, it's as simple as that. You can only wait so long. They have had 20-odd games now and it's a question of whether they want to stay.
"You can't expect miracles because they are Conference players not league players, but there are others available in January if they don't produce."
While the other teams battled it out last Saturday, Mansfield were put through their paces in training.
McEwan was pleased with that session, and yesterday's, but knows it means nothing if it does not translate into performances in games.
"The lads are looking well in training, but it's what you do in matches that counts," he said.
"We are taking the positives out of the other night (Thursday's 3-1 defeat to Oxford) because we played some good stuff in he first half.
"I said after that game that if we eliminate the individual mistakes then the players will start giving themselves a chance."

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McEwan: Stags not fazed by Kidderminster home form
Evening Post, December 09, 2008

BILLY McEwan insists Mansfield are not fazed by Kidderminster's formidable home record ahead of tonight's clash.
Full story at Evening Post website here

Harriers have won nine of their 11 league games on home soil, losing and drawing once each. The Stags have lost seven of their 11 games on the road, winning just once at Salisbury.
"They have a good home record, but so what? We can't worry about that and we won't," said McEwan. "I have played against teams who have been up at the top and we have beaten them. I've also been beaten by a bottom of the league team when I've been up at the top.
"It's what you have got in your head that matters. It's called mental strength and if you have it you can do anything.
"They'll be thinking it's easy because we are down near the bottom, but let them think that. Everyone is beatable."

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It will be a tough game against Stags, says Harriers boss
Evening Post, December 09, 2008

KIDDERMINSTER boss Mark Yates will not be underestimating Mansfield, despite their current lowly position.
Full story at Evening Post website here

Harriers are flying high in fourth spot while the Stags are just two points and two places above the Blue Square Premier drop zone.
But Yates said: "It will be a tough game, without any shadow of a doubt. Things haven't been going for them lately but they've got some good players.
"They were here on Saturday (when Kidderminster struggled to beat Salisbury 3-2) and if I were them I'd fancy my chances. We weren't at our best but fortunately we managed to get a result.
"We've had a chat in the dressing room today and looked back at the game and the players know that they have got to up their game because if we perform like that against Mansfield we'll get beaten."

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Stags winger Blackwood back at Field Mill
CHAD.co.uk, 08 December 2008 , By Stephen Thirkill

WINGER Michael Blackwood returned to training with his Mansfield Town team-mates today for the first time since he was injured seven weeks ago.
Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The pacey left winger picked up a troublesome ankle injury in the F.A Cup qualifier away to York City and has been receiving intensive physio treatment at Lilleshall since.

He will now be working to build up his flagging fitness levels, but is unlikely to see a return to first-team action before Christmas.

Boss Billy McEwan said: "He will give us more options and flexibility with our starting line-up. He gives us a good balance down the left side, though Nathan Arnold has done a good job down that side.

"It is good to see him back in training. Blackwood is one of our better players and it is hard to cope with losing a player like him when we do not have a big squad."

But McEwan says the lack of squad depth is something he hopes to solve when the transfer window opens in January.

"At the start of the season we did not have a squad, I sat here searching for players and we have had to mould a team together from scratch.

"The players are still getting to know each other and have done very well. We have players that are junior professionals who lack experience and are still learning their trade.

"I will be looking to improve the squad and players that do not prove themselves and show what they can do will be out the door. We are trying to build this club up, it will take time but we can do it and the supporters need to understand that."

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Match preview Vs Mansfield Town
Date: 09-12-08 Venue: Aggborough Kick off: 19:45hrs

http://www.harriers-online.co.uk/season08-09/previews08-09/pre_mans8-12-08.shtml

The Harriers will be wanting to gain some kind of revenge for the 4-2 defeat early in the season at Mansfield's Field Mill ground. A shocking first half saw Mark Stallard give the Stags a dubious lead from a dubious penalty after Michael Bowler was adjudged to have fouled him in the area but the evidence of the Harriers fans own eyes say that was untrue.

His second goal was scored on the stroke of half time and in-between the ex Harrier Michael Blackwood (right) scored to give his new side a 3-0 lead.

After the break the game took a different complexion with the Harriers beginning to wake up and in the space of ten minutes we pulled the score line back to 3-2 with goals from Barnes-Homer and Richards. The first real sign that our new striking partnership was starting to work.

Sadly our comeback hopes were wrecked when Aaron O'Connor capitalised on us going all out for a last minute equaliser and went and scored Towns fourth goal in the final seconds of the game.

Since then our respective fortunes have reversed with Mansfield plummeting down the League but that is also in part due to a four point penalty for fielding an illegible player in the first two games of the season. Ironically that player was O'Connor but he had been registered by the time he played, and scored, against us.

We have gone the other way and now sit in fourth place and that could be down to the backlash of that original game back in August.

For the game tomorrow evening Mansfield will be without Blackwood until at least Christmas due to an ankle injury but many of their fans are not too impressed with our former player saying he is lazy and couldn't give a flying fig about his team mates. They're not too keen on Alex Jeannin or Gavin Hurren either with Jeannin being blamed for most of their more recent defeats with his un-deniable ability to hoof the ball into the middle of next week.

They'll also be without regular goalkeeper Jason White with him out long term with a knee injury. The stand-in keeper, Paddy Gamble, is also a victim of the fans contempt with many of them not happy with him either.

Again we have no injuries going into this game with everyone fully fit. We will also include Andy Ferrell who missed the Salisbury because of a one game ban following five yellow cards. Mark Creighton picked up his fifth yellow in that game but he'll miss out on the visit of Burscough in the FA Trophy instead.

If the game's on tomorrow night - it promises to be a cold one so wrap up well - I think it's another one we should win. Just watch me proved wrong now.

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