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Sibling rivalry an extra spur for Stags boss
Evening Post, July 17, 2009
MANSFIELD'S trip to Newport County is not your average opening pre-season friendly – two brothers' instinctive rivalry sees to that.
Ever since the Holdsworth twins, David and Dean, caught the football bug, they have been bidding to get the better of each other.
As players, Dean arguably came out on top in their personal battle, starring in the Premier League for Wimbledon's Crazy Gang, along with the likes of Vinnie Jones and John Fashanu, and also at Bolton.
David, meanwhile, was content to ply his trade at what is now Championship level with the likes of Watford, Sheffield United and Birmingham City.
Yet the tables, so far at least, look to have been turned in the management game.
While Dean has bossed Redbridge and now Welsh Blue Square South side Newport, sibling David has coached at Gretna and managed UniBond Premier Ilkeston Town before taking charge at the Stags.
Normally a game between two clubs who share such little in the way of recent history might make for a tame curtain-raiser to the season.
But the first managerial meeting of the two Holdsworths – together with the return of Rob Duffy to his old stamping ground – should instead add a fair bit of extra spice.
"People always judged us against each other as players but he was a centre forward and I was a centre half," said the Stags manager.
"I stayed as a player at Watford for ten years and he took the opportunity to move higher.
"We both wanted to be the best we could be. I wanted to beat him and he wanted to beat me and when we played against each other it was very competitive.
"Now we are managers it is the same. I always want to win and Dean does too."
The two brothers frequently keep in contact with each other, helping them to keep abreast of the non-league scene.
David reckons his brother is in for a decent season with County after finishing last season strongly and is ready for a stern test.
He said: "Dean has shown his capabilities with some of the good players he has managed to sign for Newport.
"They had a sticky start but finished their campaign very well. He doesn't mind rotating players and like me has a healthy set of contacts.
"The main thing is to get prepared just as well as we expect to throughout the season.
"The boys are not ready for 90 minutes yet but most will get 45 and some will play an hour.
"If we can come through unscathed on the injury front that will be even better."
Holdsworth says the game will be largely experimental and is keen to start with a 4-2-1-3 formation.
That could see Louis Briscoe and Kyle Perry play either side of Duffy in a three-pronged attack.
"It is difficult to pick an 11 because there is great competition for places. I could put two different starting elevens out," he said.
"The players have brought into the team ethic rather than me, me, me. No one is trying to outdo each other – they are trying to help each other.
"It's not about just getting the players who you want, it's about the mentality.
" Now there is a whole different culture at this club.
"It is no longer about those who are happy and those who are not – everyone is happy.
"We are working hard as a unit rather than indivi- duals."
Luke warms to Stags' challenge
Evening Post, July 17, 2009
LUKE Graham insists it is not a straight fight between himself and Luke Jones to partner Scott Garner in the centre of Mansfield's defence.
The two new signings have joined the established Garner at Field Mill this summer and will vie for a starting berth. Graham, signed from Blue Square rivals Kettering, feels they will all have a clean slate under boss David Holdsworth.
But he knows it is important from a personal point of view to start well against Newport County tomorrow to enhance his claims.
"These pre-season games are important for the new boys to show what we can do," said Graham.
"The gaffer knows what the players who are already here can do and this is our chance.
"There are three central defenders playing for two starting places."
Latest | July 2009