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Archived News from February 2009

PREVIEWS+VOLUNTEERS NEEDED ON SATURDAY MORNING
11th February 2009 23:55


COMMENTARY: If the game against York goes ahead, as usual you will be able to hear full match commentary on StagsWorld.
Meanwhile StagsWorld subscribers will be able to view the goals of our game at Eastbourne on Saturday morning.
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06 February 2009
Perry thanks SSA and OSSC for putting money towards a JCB. Perry audio: at mansfieldtown.net here

Perry text: at mansfieldtown.net here

David Holdsworth free audio on Friday: here

Quarry lane stand shut: Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

Car park will be limited: Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

Pitch watch: Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

Programme size reduced: Read full story at mansfieldtown.net here

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Mansfield Town require volunteers to help clear the Field Mill pitch and surrounding areas in order for Saturday's home match against York City to go ahead.
This will now take place on Saturday morning. If you available then please book prior to arrival, by calling Mark Stevenson at the club on 0871 971 1897 or by e-mailing markstevenson@mansfieldtown.net.

Please bring a shovel and a sweeping brush. Should you have a wheelbarrow this would also be most useful.
Warm drinks and food will be provided.

Full details at mansfieldtown.net, here and at CHAD.co.uk here.

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Stags game ON - thanks to fans
York matches passes Friday lunchtime pitch inspection, but Quarry Lane stand will be closed UPDATED
CHAD.co.uk, 06 February 2009, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town's match on Saturday at home to York looks set to beat the snowy weather - with a lot of help from the supporters.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The match passed a second pitch inspection by local referee Russell Booth on Friday lunchtime and now fans are responding to a club appeal to help on Saturday clear the pitch, of four inches of snow, and the stands and walking areas at Field Mill.

But the local matches involving Rainworth, Shirebrook and Teversal are off - see report below - and all Mansfield District Council pitches are out of action this weekend.

The Ollerton Stags Supporters Club (OSSC) and Stags Supporters Association (SSA) have also agreed to pay towards the cost of hiring a JCB to remove ice and snow from the car park.

The Stags are desperate for the game to go ahead as they have had only two Saturday home games since 16th November and are desperate for income after a spate of postponements.

Heavy snow on Monday and Thursday, coupled with freezing overnight temperatures, had threatened a postponement - particularly as snow had left the car park and parts of the Lower West Stand in a treacherous condition.

However, the heavy snow has acted as a blanket to keep the pitch insulated and playable. And once the snow is cleared on Saturday morning, the pitch is expected to pass a third usual 'routine' pre-match inspection.

The club had appealed for volunteers to go to the ground on Saturday morning with a shovel and brush to help the clear-up and around 50 have responded - so now the Stags have closed the appeal.

The Quarry Lane Stand will be shut, however, if the game gets the final go-ahead. Season ticket holders for that stand are asked to sit in an unreserved seat in the West Stand.

All home fans will seated in both tiers of the West Stand. The North Stand will be open to the York fans.

Safety officer Les Norman told mansfieldtown.net: "We have to make sure that one home stand is clear of snow and ice and this will allow us to concentrate fully on ensuring the entire West Stand is safe for our supporters.

"The volunteers who are coming tomorrow to help us clear the pitch and its surrounding areas will be able to clear the snow onto the Quarry Lane end."

Stags welcome back Paul Mayo and Nathan Arnold from injury but will be without suspended right back Gary Silk which will see a debut for either Scott Gardner or Gianluca Harvern.

York look set to welcome back one of their best players at Field Mill - centre half David McGurk who has been out a calf strain.

But a stomach strain looks certain to rule out right back Ben Purkiss who was selected for the England C squad this week.

Kyle Crichell, who has filled in for McGurk, is likely to switch to right back to cover for Purkiss.

City's results have been erratic of late. But after two defeats, a switch to a 4-3-3 formation has brought them two good successive 1-1 away draws at Altrincham and Kidderminster Harriers – the latter producing possibly their best performance of the season.

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Stags fixture pile-up worry
Evening Post, 6 Feb 09
David Holdsworth is worried about the possible fixture pile-up facing Mansfield Town.

Full story at Evening Post website here

Tomorrow's home game with York City is in serious doubt due to the snow.

An inspection is scheduled for later today, but if the match is called off it will become the fifth Stags fixture to be postponed this season.

Games against Altrincham, Kettering, Histon and Ebbsfleet have already been re-arranged.

As a result, Mansfield will face two games a week for much of the rest of the campaign.

Boss Holdsworth said: "It is a concern to have so many games left to play in such a short space of time.

"Injuries and suspensions can mount up and if you lose your key players during a busy time it can affect you badly.

"It also makes it harder to get ready for games, because you prepare differently for each of them."

Holdsworth has this week released Ashley Kitchen, who has joined Glapwell, and keeper Dan Whatsize.

"Ashley has come to me and told me he is frustrated," said Holdsworth. "I don't want to stand in anyone's way if their mind is not at the club.

"I have had a look at Dan, but I don't think he is ready for first-team football. Jason White is back doing ball work (after a knee operation) and now he can show me what he can do."

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Meanwhile details of a pitch inspection on Thursday, including a video interview with local ref Russell Booth here.

Chairman Andy Perry appeals for volunteers here.

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Blackwood: A buzz is back at Field Mill
Evening Post Saturday, February 07, 2009

THERE has never been much doubt that there were rumblings of discontent among the Mansfield players in the latter stages of Billy McEwan's reign.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/football/Blackwood-buzz-Field/article-677601-detail/article.html

But now, with the Scot's influence at Field Mill over, Michael Blackwood is forthright in his criticism of what happened at Field Mill in the first five months of the season.
The left midfielder was out with an ankle injury for much of the Stags' dismal run under McEwan that saw them lose eight Blue Square Premier games out of ten.
But he was still involved enough to see his team-mates spirits knocked back and the Stags slump alarmingly down the table.
That, in Blackwood's eyes, has been in great contrast to the arrival of new manager David Holdsworth.
%3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22adDiv%22%3E%3CA%20HREF%3D%22http%3A//ads.anm.co.uk/ADCLICK/CID%3D0000b139f7f5f6ff00000000/AAMSZ%3D452x118/SITE%3DTHISISNOTT/AREA%3DFOOTBALL/SUBAREA%3D/ARTICLE%3D677601/acc_random%3D3306662886/pageid%3D/RS%3D10223.10197.10202.10232.10244.10257.10278.10253.10307.10323.10364.10427.10450.%22%20target%3D%22_new%22%3E%3CIMG%20SRC%3D%22http%3A//iad.anm.co.uk/house/1x1.gif%22%20ALT%3D%22Click%20here%21%22%20border%3D0%20style%3D%22margin-bottom%3A%200px%3B%22%3E%3C/A%3E%3C/div%3EPerhaps the mood swing has been reflected best in the turnaround in results, which has seen Mansfield win three and draw one of their last four matches.
"The last time I played for Billy in that game at York you could see the confidence of the lads oozing away," said Blackwood.
"The atmosphere around the place was hollow and when he (McEwan) went it was a relief to some of the players.
"The new gaffer coming in has given everyone a buzz and he has instilled confidence back into the players as well as a lot of professionalism.
"The players have really taken what he is trying to do on board and they respect him because he knows how to talk to you. He knows how to talk with respect.
"You want to play for him and try hard for him on the pitch with how he goes about it and you can see that from the lads in training.
"It is all good for a manager when you are winning, but the test comes when you start losing.
"There is a difference between getting players up for it and knocking their confidence.
"A lot of players went into their shell and that made it hard for us. Some had never come across a manager like him before who was so strict – I had – and some of them couldn't handle it."
One of the biggest changes under Holdsworth has been to personnel, bringing in 11 permanent signings before the close of the transfer window and another – Tomi Ameobi – on loan.
That has put a question mark over many in the Mansfield squad, but Blackwood thinks the influx of new players is a good thing.
He said: "You need competition and I think it is good for every individual to keep them on their toes.
"Of course, certain players are going to be left out or moved on because it is all about opinions.
"If you don't fit into the jigsaw then sometimes you have to go. I have been in that situation myself.
"It has been very important to get off to a good start, especially keeping three clean sheets in the first four games.
"We have never done that before this season. We were leaking at the back before but now the gaffer has stopped that.
"We have got every belief now in what we are trying to do and hopefully that will continue to reflect in an improving league position.
"If we can't make the play-offs this season then I will be more than confident of us going for promotion next season."
For Blackwood personally, the season has been immensely frustrating after injuries have kept him out for long stretches.
"No one likes to be injured, especially for the amount of time I have been out," he said. "We were losing out on the pitch but I couldn't help to turn things around.
"It was disheartening and tough but I had a worse injury at Lincoln – a ruptured abdominal muscle that kept me out for four months.
"I think coming through that made it slightly easier to cope this time."
Blackwood sustained his injury in an FA Cup tie at York.
He said: "I knew straight away this injury was a bad one – I thought I'd broken my ankle.
"I went in for the ball along with Paddy (Gamble) and landed awkwardly.
"I went home but I couldn't take the pain so I had to go to hospital that night and have it X-rayed.
"It turns out it was badly bruised and I had damaged ligaments.
"I went to Lilleshall and it was great to get the proper rehab there.
"It is still a bit stiff in the mornings but I am working on strengthening it all the time."
Blackwood firmly believes he can get back to his best.
"I have been pleased with the way I have started under David – it's been good to get back in the swing of things," he added.
"A lot of things happened behind the scenes before, which didn't help. I'm more confident now and feel like a new player.
"I feel much fitter and stronger than ever before. All I can say to the fans is to judge me at the end of the season.
"I have spoken to the gaffer already about my future and I would love to stick around and show what I can do. I want to get up into the league with Mansfield."

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Stags stay focused as weather wrecks training
CHAD.co.uk, 05 February 2009
By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth on Thursday spoke of his frustration as the weather hit his preparations for Saturday's visit of York City.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The pitch survived an inspection today but faces another tomorrow lunchtime after the latest heavy snowfall.

However, training had to be cancelled today and the manager said: "I had been delighted with their efforts this week in the gym.

"We had a couple of days of really hard work and we are already seeing a slight increase in their strengthening which is pleasing.

"But it was so frustrating to wake up to that snow today. I wanted to get out there and do shape and some football work.

"But cancelling training had to be done with regard to people's safety. You can't ask them to travel in under these circumstances.

"I am a hard taskmaster - but not that brutal! You have to be sensible.

"We will definitely train tomorrow and start at noon to give them ample opportunity to get in.

"I have had a couple of days on the internet doing my homework on the next couple of games. Hopefully we will get the chance to put it into practice on Saturday. If the game is on we will be properly focused."

Gary Silk misses out through suspension. But Paul Mayo is definitely back and Nathan Arnold has half a chance too if he can prove his fitness.

Holdsworth must choose between the two new signings Scott Gardner and Gianluca Harvern to make heir debut and cover for Silk at right back and he must also select between Luke Herriott and fit-again Jason White for the reserve keeper slot on the bench.

"For the first time since I came here I have got a few real selection and formation headaches which is good," he added. "I have people champing at the bit to play."

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Stags game to face second inspection/'Help clear ground of snow' appeal
CHAD.co.uk, 5 February 2009
By John Lomas
SATURDAY's match with York has survived a Thursday lunchtime pitch inspection - but a second inspection is planned for 1.30pm on Friday

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

City are due to visit on Saturday, but heavy overnight snow on Wednesday and bad forecasts have put the game in huge doubt.

However, four inches of snow is 'protecting' the pitch from the worst of the freezing temperatures and it has been decided to hold a second inspection.

Local referee Russell Booth was at Field Mill on Thursday lunchtime to carry out the early inspection.

Booth found the pitch surface playable underneath the snow blanket and kept hopes alive that the game could still yet be played with mixed messages from weather forecasters on what is still to come.

However, there is concern over the state of the Field Mill car park, stands and surrounding area.

Stags will be hoping they don't find themselves with another game to fit in. With bad weather and other club's cup commitments, Stags have only had two Saturday home games since 16th November and they already have five midweek dates booked between now and the season's end.

However, the trip to Oxford on Tuesday, 24th February, may yet be moved to Saturday, 21st February if York City (Oxford's scheduled 21st February opponents) beat Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Trophy next week as the 21st in the next round of the Trophy and it would free Oxford up.

If the game gets the go-ahead on Friday, the Stags are appealing for fans with a shovel and sweeping brush to help clear snow at Field Mill. Volunteers are needed on Saturday morning, but asked to contact the club first - ring Mark Stevenson on 0871 971 1897 or e-mail markstevenson@mansfieldtown.net Stags chairman Andy Perry says he would like to see around 50 volunteers at the ground on Saturday morning and by Thursday evening 20 people had signed up.

If the game gets the go ahead, the lower West Stand my be closed if it is still covered in snow and icy.

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Gardner out to prove his worth
Evening Post, 5 Feb 09

There is no doubting Scott Gardner's pedigree.

An England international at under-16 and under-17 level, he came through the ranks at Leeds with a crop of players that included Aaron Lennon and Fabian Delph.

But reputations count for very little in the Blue Square Premier, as the 20-year-old knows only too well.

Gardner only joined Mansfield on Monday, but he is not totally alien to life in the top tier of English non-league football.

Only last year the right-sided player swapped the plush surroundings of Elland Road for the less salubrious Throstle Nest, home of Farsley Celtic.

There he gained a valuable insight into life away from a big club.

Now he finds himself in a similar situation at the Stags, having been released from his Leeds contract last week by mutual consent.

Gardner has plenty to prove, but is hoping to show that former Leeds first-team coach Neil McDonald, now assistant manager at Blackburn, was right to recommend him to Stags boss David Holdsworth.

He said: "I was at Leeds for about ten years and it was brilliant to sign for them because they were my team when I was growing up.

"I played at every level for them but I had to move on to progress my career.

"While I was there they had Aaron Lennon (now at Tottenham) and Fabian Delph, who is doing well for Leeds and has played for England at under-21 level.

"There were also other lads there who are playing in Leagues One and Two now, and I would like to think I have learned from being with them."

But Gardner says he knows all about how tough Conference football really is.

"It is obviously not quite as good as the first-team level at Leeds, but it is still a high standard and a lot more competitive than reserve team football," he said.

"Every player has to be ambitious - you shouldn't be playing otherwise - and I want to get back in the league and play as high as I can.

"I'm hoping I can do that by coming to Mansfield, because the manager here is just as ambitious as I am.

"With the ground and past history, Mansfield are not a Conference club. If we can't make the play-offs this season hopefully we can get promoted the following year."

Gardner was born in Luxembourg but grew up in Harrogate and joined his favourite team when he was "ten or 11."

He made his senior Leeds debut in a 1-0 Carling Cup win over Macclesfield Town in August 2007, and played his first league game for the club in a 2-1 victory over Gillingham at the end of last season.

But Gardner feels the move to Field Mill is a positive one.

He said: "When I spoke to the manager at Mansfield I liked what I heard. "We both want to achieve things and hopefully we can help each other.

"He's played at a good level and had a very good career, so he knows the game inside out. I'm sure I can learn a few things from him.

"It is a good time to join because the team is going well and the spirits are high."

With Gary Silk suspended for tomorrow's game with York, Gardner faces a straight battle with fellow new signing Gianluca Havern for the right-back spot.

But the 20-year-old believes he can impress just as much on the right wing in the long-term, where he can utilise his attacking instincts.

He said: "I have a bit of pace, I like to get forward whether I play at right-back or right midfield, and I like to beat my man and get in the crosses.

"But at the same time I am young and there are plenty of things I can improve on.

"There are a few good players who can play in my positions and the team is on a good run.

"But I am just hoping to show in training exactly what I can do."


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Stags boss refuses to get carried away
Evening Post, 5 Feb 09
No-one should get carried away by Mansfield Town's recent resurgence, David Holdsworth said today.

The Stags manager was shortlisted for the Blue Square manager of the month award after three wins and a draw in his first four games in charge.

But he has warned his players they must not relax.

"It feels like I have been here three months, not one," said Holdsworth, who has made nine signings and brought in another player on loan since his arrival.

"There are a lot of things that still need addressing, despite our good results.

"I'm a realist. We have come a long way in four weeks and the players have worked hard and adapted quite well.

"I'm still demanding more, but ten points out of 12 is a great return. You have to work to a formula if you are going to take the club forward.

"There are a lot more happy people around, but I have not finished in my drive to make this club a success."

Mansfield have conceded just one goal since Holdsworth took charge.

He said: "We can't be gung ho, we have to defend correctly, in number and as a group. If you are going to win anything you have to be powerful and strong.

"That has not been the case here for a number of years."

Gary Silk will be banned for one match ban after collecting five bookings.

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New Stags pair to fight it out as Silk suspended
eVENING pOST 4 fEB 09
MANSFIELD'S new signings Scott Gardner and Gianluca Havern will battle it out for the right-back slot against York City after it was confirmed Gary Silk is suspended.

The former Notts County man has been a model of consistency in a difficult season for the Stags.

But he picked up his fifth caution in the 2-1 win at Eastbourne last weekend and now faces a one-game ban.

Saturday's clash with the Minstermen will see Mansfield bid to extend their run to five matches under new boss David Holdsworth.

Meanwhile, the Stags' game with Ebbsfleet on Saturday 21st February has been postponed and rearranged for Tuesday April 7.

The change has been made because of the Fleet's involvement in the FA Trophy.

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Latest | February 2009