FRIENDLY: HARTLEPOOL - PREVIEWS
Better news, but Heckingbottom misses Hartlepool clash
CHAD.co.uk, 30 July 2009, By John Lomas
Although Paul Heckingbottom will not face Hartlepool United in Saturday's penultimate pre-season friendly at Field Mill (3pm), the news on his hamstring injury today was good.
Defender Heckingbottom has been struggling with a hamstring problem since his summer arrival from Bradford City and, worryingly, he limped off the pitch against Walsall in midweek.
However, boss David Holdsworth today told Chad: "Paul has been to see a specialist and it is not a pull which is good news.
"We will rest him for 10 days or so now and see how he goes."
Stags' only other injury worry is striker Kyle Perry who has a sore foot and Stags will take a late look at him before deciding if he is fit enough to join the squad.
"Apart from that, Gary Silk is due back in full training on Friday after his sore toe and it was good to see Kyle Nix, Steve Istead and Jake Speight all come through Tuesday night with no problems."
Stags were convincing 3-1 winners over Walsall on Tuesday and are now gunning for the Saddlers' League One rivals Hartlepool on Saturday.
"I have been really pleased with our home games so far," added Holdsworth. "They have been entertaining and given us the physical demands we are going to need during the season.
"They have been very fruitful and to beat Walsall as convincingly as we did on Tuesday was great.
"But we won't underestimate the Hartlepool squad. They have some very talented players and it should be a very competitive match."
Holdsworth said he would not decide on what sort of team to put out in the final friendly at home to Ilkeston on Monday until he has assessed the squad after the Hartlepool clash.
"It will all depend on injuries and fitness levels after Saturday and the most important thing is to come through the Hartlepool game unscathed," he said.
Williams believes Stags are gelling ahead of big kick off
Evening Post, July 31, 2009
THE Field Mill roundabout has been in full swing this summer, with players regularly departing and arriving through the main gates on Quarry Lane.
But one man who has seen it all before is Ryan Williams.
The diminutive winger started out his career with Mansfield Town before enjoying spells at Chesterfield, Hull, Bristol Rovers.
He has seen this happen in the past and even since his return to Field Mill from Weymouth last February, there has been plenty of change in personnel.
But the one thing that has impressed the 30-year-old is how quickly manager David Holdsworth has managed to gel his new-look squad together.
And he believes the performance in the 3-1 victory against League One Walsall in midweek proved that point.
Another double session of training followed the day after victory, before the manager took all his squad out for a curry in Mansfield.
With the squad-bonding, Williams is in optimistic mood ahead of the new season kicking off in eight days' time against Crawley.
He said: "There were something like 11 new faces at the beginning of the season and sometimes it does take time to gel.
"But we have worked hard on the training ground and day by day, everyone is getting to know each other.
"It was our fourth outing and things are shaping up. Not just going forward, the back four was superb as well.
"They made it easy for us because it takes the pressure off us as we know we can play in front of them to create chances.
"Personally, I felt sharper and that is coming with games and I thought the boys in general were fantastic. As a team we attacked well."
The Stags face another stern test from League One opposition in the form of Hartlepool at Field Mill tomorrow.
And Williams added: "The season is almost here and Hartlepool are tough opposition again, league opposition which is good.
"They are all good tests for us and we have to respect them but we will go out to try to give a good account of ourselves, like we did against Walsall.
"We all want to start against Crawley and it is healthy. There are a lot of quality players here now but only 11 places up for grabs.
"It keeps you on your toes which is good for the club.
"The gaffer knew what he wanted from day one and there is a good blend. There are a lot of young, exciting players and a mix of experience as well.
"There is a great fellowship among us and we cannot wait for August 8."
Defender Paul Heckingbottom remains a doubt with a hamstring niggle which forced him off in the first half against Walsall in midweek.
But Holdsworth was delighted with that performance and is hoping for a repeat tomorrow.
"We were thoroughly pleased with the workout against good opposition," said the Stags boss.
"There were a lot of good performances. The work-rate was excellent so I was delighted with the contribution everybody made.
"There were a lot of pleasing aspects as we were hard to play against and there was really good phases of play.
"Hartlepool will be another tough test and we are looking forward to it."
Richie Barker guest of honour for Hartlepool friendly -->
Barker back at the Mill
CHAD.co.uk, 30 July 2009
Old fans' favourite Richie Barker will return to Field Mill this weekend as the club's guest of honour as Mansfield take Hartlepool United, his former club, in their penultimate pre-season friendly.
Barker scored 48 goals in 106 appearances for the Stags from November 2004 until January 2007 - when he joined Hartlepool United.
Mansfield's old captain is now retired after being unable to recover from a long-term knee injury while on the books at Rotherham United last season.
The 34 year old also had spells with Doncaster, Ards, Linfield, Brighton and Macclesfield.
Chairman Andrew Perry told the club's website http://www.mansfieldtown.net: "We thought this would be a fitting way of showing our respect to a 'younger' legend of the Stags.
"All of our supporters will fondly remember Richie from his very successful time here."
Barker, along with a selected number of Stags 'legends', have been offered a season ticket as a token of thanks for their contributions to the club through the years.
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