David Holdsworth video interview on Monday morning --->
Confident Stags looking for upturn in away
CHAD.co.uk, 10 August 2009 , By Stephen Thirkill
MANSFIELD Town go into tomorrow's away trip to Luton Town looking for a major improvement in away form.
The Stags stuttered badly on the road last season and know they need to pick up many more points on their travels if they are to have a realistic push for promotion.
And boss David Holdsworth is confident Mansfield now have the players capable of dealing with the demands of away football.
Said Holdsworth: "We enjoyed our win on Saturday but we are not going to get carried away.
"We know that last season's points total away from home was not good enough.
"The ball did not stick enough when we were away, but I believe that with the players we now have we will be ok.
"We have to respect Luton. They have a lot of quality, it is their first home game of the season and it will be a big night for their fans.
"We need to quieten their fans down in the first 20 minutes. Luton are a benchmark and I have great respect for them.
"We are going there to win the game and we believe we can win the game."
Stags could welcome back captain Gary Mills, who is now back in training after being forced out of the Crawley game after eight minutes with a hamstring injury.
Mills, Heckingbottom back in frame for Stags
Evening Post, August 10, 2009
MANSFIELD skipper Gary Mills could be back in the squad to face Luton tomorrow night.
He limped off after just nine minutes of Saturday's 4-0 opening day win over Crawley with a hamstring problem.
But the injury is not as bad as first feared and Mills may be back in the reckoning for the trip to Kenilworth Road.
Paul Heckingbottom has also returned to training today from his own hamstring injury, meaning the Stags hope to be at full strength to take on the title favourites.
"I think Gary is going to be okay. It's not as bad as we first feared and hopefully he will be on the training ground today," said Holdsworth.
"I think the weather affected a lot of players because of the high temperatures and the heat.
"Hecks is fit now and we are pleased to have him available and training. It's very pleasing to have nearly everyone 100 per cent."
Graham targets Luton win
Evening Post, August 10, 2009
LUKE Graham believes there is never a better time to face Blue Square Premier new boys Luton Town.
The Stags travel to Kenilworth Road tomorrow night to face the title favourites in their first away game.
And central defender Graham is hoping he and his team-mates can catch the Hatters cold.
"Luton may be the favourites for the title, but we just have to go into it as if it is just another game," he said.
"I think it does benefit us that we are playing them early because they haven't had the chance to build up any kind of momentum.
"If we prepare well, which we will, I think we can upset them.
"It will be a good test for both clubs and give an indication of how well pre-season has gone.
Luton have signed a number of big-name players as they bid to make a swift return to the Football League.
But Graham is also eyeing a good start of his own after Saturday's superb win at home to Crawley Town.
He added: "If you look at the progress of teams over the last couple of years, the teams who have won it have started well.
"Burton were first for a long time last season and had a good lead going into Christmas.
"But every team is going to want to start well and not everyone can."
Stags boss out to make rivals take notice
Evening Post, August 11, 2009
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth says the Stags can lay down a marker with victory tonight at Blue Square Premier title favourites Luton Town.
The Stags got their campaign off to a perfect start with a 4-0 home win over Crawley Town on Saturday.
They are likely to face a sterner examination at Kenilworth Road against a club determined to bounce back into the Football League at the first attempt.
But Holdsworth insists his team are far from intimidated at the prospect of taking on Mick Harford's side.
"Everyone has been talking about them (as title favourites) but games are not won on paper," he said.
"Luton will set the standard and will be the team everyone wants to beat. I have got great respect for them and Mick, but I don't mind who we play.
"Luton are certainly a team who will have the quality to unlock many doors.
"But this is their first home game and it will be a big night for their fans. We have to quieten them down.
"It is not just about the 90 minutes as a whole but dividing the game into fractions. In the first 20 minutes we don't need to be too expansive.
"We have to go there with an appetite and belief. We had that before and we still have that after Saturday's performance and win.
"We are going there to try to win. We want to be hard to beat but we also want to make an impression.
"If we beat Luton, people might sit up and take notice of what we are all about."
Holdsworth believes his squad is now better equipped to pick up points on the road.
The team won only five of their 23 away games last season – a record he wants to see improved.
He said: "We clearly know that last season's tally of points was not good enough.
"But it's not just about points, it's about personnel. The ball didn't stick enough when we played away from home last year.
"Some of the players didn't realise how important little things like that are.
"When you look at the personnel now, I think we will be OK."
Town's injury curse strikes again
10 August 2009 , By Mark Wood
Depleted Luton have again been hit by their injury jinx prior to the visit of Mansfield Town tomorrow night.
Both Lewis Emanuel and Liam Hatch will be out for some time after it was confirmed they both need operations.
Midfielder Asa Hall is also struggling, but manager Mick Harford is hoping he will be fit to play in the Hatters' first home Blue Square Premier game of the season. Fit-again George Beavan has been added to the squad and, while Ed Asafu-Adjaye has returned to training he is unlikely to be risked.
HARFORD HIT BY MORE INJURIES
Posted on: Mon 10 Aug 2009
Hatters boss Mick Harford has selection problems for Tuesday night's home fixture with Mansfield Town following news that Lewis Emanuel has broken a toe in his left foot and could be out for up to three months.
The defender was withdrawn during Saturday's draw at AFC Wimbledon and joins a growing list of walking wounded with Liam Hatch, Ryan Charles, Asa Hall and Ed Asafu-Adjaye on the treatment table, although Hall should be available for selection against the Stags as he shakes off an Achilles problem.
If that wasn't bad enough, the manager could be without defender Shane Blackett who was red-card in Saturday's match.
The Hatters are thinking about lodging an appeal against the red card, however, despite also having Alan White and Kevin Nicholls suspended, Harford was in upbeat mood ahead of the visit of a Mansfield side fresh from a 4-0 opening day with over Crawley.
He said: "Mansfield are a very big and strong outfit. They're very well organised, well drilled and tenacious.
"They have big strikers up-front who between them scored three of their four goals on Saturday.
"From what I've heard they're a team that could be up there at the end of the season but we're confident.
"If we can win on Tuesday and win our home match against Gateshead on Saturday we'll have seven points from our first three games and, knowing that we should have won Saturday at Wimbledon, we'll be near the top of the table."
Reflecting on the latest injury to hit the squad, a sympathetic Harford said: "I feel sorry for Lewis. He's had his injury problems last year and when he wasn't in the team he was a big miss.
"But we've put this squad together to deal with these injuries and we believe that the squad we've got can get through it and go on and win promotion."
Liam Hatch is due to see a consultant on Tuesday for advice on his ankle injury and may have an operation on Wednesday that could see the striker sidelined for six to eight weeks.
With Blackett potentially suspended for the visit of David Holdsworth's Stags, Harford looked back at Saturday's performance which saw the defender dismissed.
He said: "I've said to the players we've got to be more ruthless. When we are on top we've got to take our chances.
"It was always going to be difficult going down there on the first game of the season but if we draw our away games and win our home games we'll get promoted.
"Hopefully at the end of the season it will prove to be a good result."
And the manager quashed rumours that striker Tom Craddock was on his way to Southampton.
Reports online and on television reported that Alan Pardew is keen to take the former Middlesbrough striker to St Mary's but Harford assisted there has been no approach from the Saints or any other club.
He said: "We've had no offers from anybody. I'm not surprised if I'm honest with you. But I've not heard anything. It'll have to be the right offer for Tom but it would have to be a helleva lot of money to take Tom Craddock away from here."
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