David Holdsworth video interview --->
Gary Silk video interview --->
Stags better prepared for a Barrow bruiser
CHAD.co.uk, 17 August 2009, By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth reckons his side are better prepared to face up to the bruising challenge posed by Barrow when they visit Field Mill tomorrow night (7.45pm).
The sides battled out a very physical match at Field Mill at the end of last season which resulted in a 2-2 draw and home keeper Alan Marriott red-carded.
But Stags, who have started the season well with two out of three wins, have brought in bigger and stronger players over the summer and boss David Holdsworth said: "I am sure the boys won't need reminding of last year's fixture and the crowd will play their part too.
"We expect a similar type of encounter and we will pay Barrow the respect they deserve.
"It will be all about tempo, atmosphere and creating opportunities. But we are more equipped now to deal with the physical element of it. We showed that against Crawley and in winning away on Saturday.
"Salisbury manager Tommy Widderington said he saw a big difference in us which was nice to hear."
He added: "We now have two home games this week. We have an impeccable home record since I came here and want to maintain that. We feel we can beat anyone here.
"Hopefully we can deliver again for the quality of crowd we have at home. They have turned up in their numbers and been very vocal. The numbers have improved and so have the decibels. It makes a huge difference."
Although skipper Gary Mills has shaken off his hamstring strain, it is unlikely he will return to the 16 as Stags try to maintain their unbeaten home record for 2009.
"Gary is doing well and travelled to Salisbury and wanted to be part of it," he said. "But it will be hard for me to change the bench tomorrow after the big impact they made when they came on at Salisbury.
"We value his ability hugely but you don't want to change too much when you are winning."
Paul Heckingbottom's hamstring injury is also improving and he has half a chance of being involved on Saturday when Scott Gardner will also complete his three-match ban, which Stags decided not to appeal against.
Barrow have begun the season with a defeat and a draw at home but pulled off a 2-0 away win at fancied Cambridge United.
Holdsworth: Stags can cope with rough stuff
Evening Post, August 18, 2009
DAVID Holdsworth has not forgotten the last time Barrow came to Field Mill – not by a long chalk.
The basic details of the game show the clash, back in April, finished as a 2-2 draw, with the Bluebirds netting a last-minute leveller.
But there was much more to the match than that.
For a start, Mansfield had dominated the play but were unable to put their opponents out of sight, failing to take advantage of a succession of chances.
It was that scenario that allowed Nick Rogan to bag a share of the spoils for the then part-timers.
But it was the visitors' physical approach to the game that remains etched in the memory _ and led to Holdsworth criticising Barrow for their tactics.
Alan Marriott was sent off for retaliating to provocation from Paul Jones in the closing stages, leading the Stags boss to claim: "You might as well bring in a gang to play against that."
A few months down the line and Holdsworth is expecting little to have changed in Barrow's approach. He knows the side jointly bossed by Dave Bayliss and Darren Sheridan will be uncompromising and rugged once more.
The difference this time, though, is that he firmly believes his new-look squad can stand up to anything thrown at them.
"I'm sure the boys won't need reminding of the fixture last year and the crowd will play their part," said Holdsworth.
"We expect a similar type of encounter to last time and we will have to play them the respect they deserve.
"But we are more equipped now to deal with the physical elements of any game and we have shown that against Crawley and going and winning away from home at Salisbury.
"Tommy Widdrington (Salisbury's first team coach) was very complimentary and said he saw a big difference in us from last season, which is nice to hear.
"It is something he have addressed over the summer with size and pace, bringing in the right type of player for this league. It is horses for courses."
Mansfield have played just one game at home since the start of the new season and that saw them begin in style with a 4-0 success over Crawley.
The Stags boss is looking for something similar tonight as the club looks to build momentum.
Holdsworth said: "Our home form is impeccable ion the league and we want to maintain that.
"Certainly we feel at home we can beat anyone.
"We feel it is imperative to get off to a bright start and we will be putting that into the players' mindset and hoping they can deliver again."
More than 3,000 were at Field Mill on the first day of the season – a figure the Stags surpassed only twice last season against Burton and Stevenage.
Holdsworth says the improvement to the atmosphere with more bums on seats – largely as a result of the club's cut-price season ticket offer – has been tangible.
"The difference in the vocal support is huge," he said.
"The numbers have improved and so has the decibels. They are making a fantastic contribution."
Holdsworth has confirmed he will not be appealing against the sending off of Scott Gardner at Luton, for which the right-back has been handed a three-game ban.
Of the two other players unavailable through injury, Gary Mills and Paul Heckingbottom, the skipper is closest to a return. Both are suffering from hamstring problems.
Holdsworth said: "Gary is doing really well. He travelled down to Salisbury and wanted to be part of the squad.
"He probably won't be ready for this although he might be fit for the bench, if selected.
"But we don't want to put him in a situation where he has a setback.
"Hecks is improving but he won't be fit for tonight, although he should be back sooner rather than later and possibly for the weekend."
Stags revel in home atmosphere – Silk
Evening Post, August 18, 2009
MANSFIELD Town right-back Gary Silk believes Field Mill is now an intimidating place for rival clubs to visit.
The Stags have not lost at home under current boss David Holdsworth ahead of tonight's clash with Barrow.
And that is the way Silk and his team-mates are determined it will stay for some time yet.
Far from feeling anxious in front of their home fans, the former Notts County man says the Stags revel in it.
"There is pressure at home, but sometimes that can help," said Silk.
"Other teams coming here now know they are going to be in a really difficult game.
"They know it is not going to be very easy and that they will have to play well to beat us.
"If we could win the two home games we have coming up (they play Ebbsfleet on Saturday) we would be delighted with our start.
"It's important to set the foundations early for the rest of the season and if we can win four out of our first five, we would be more than happy.
"We play good football at home but we are more than capable of mixing it up with the big lads if that is needed."
The right-back admits there is now an expectation of a Stags win from home supporters.
With Scott Gardner suspended, Silk made his first start of the season in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Salisbury City.
He now hopes to show he deserves to stay in the side.
Latest | August 2009