audio interview with David Holdsworth --->
'Stags will learn from Kidderminster and come back stronger'
CHAD.co.uk, 10 September 2009
By Stephen Thirkill
STAGS first team coach Gareth Holmes believes Mansfield will bounce back from their 3-1 thumping against Kidderminster when they face Stevenage on Saturday.
CHAD audio --> http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/39Stags-will-learn-from-Kidderminster.5636175.jp
Stags were second best throughout the Aggborough horror show and will be determined to repay the fans and get back to winning ways when they face promotion rivals Stevenage Borough at Field Mill.
The disapointing defeat left boss David Holdsworth fuming at the display and blasting his players for "not turning up."
But despite the poor defeat, which leaves Stags without a win in their last three outings, confidence is still high in the camp as Mansfield look to consolidate their play-off place.
Stags boss: Let's put Harriers woe behind us
Evening Post, September 11, 2009
DAVID Holdsworth is definitely a glass half-full type of guy.
Mansfield Town put in what he described as the most disappointing performance from any side he has managed on Tuesday
in losing 3-1 at Kidderminster.
Yet the Stags boss is keen to quickly put that disappointment behind him; to forget what can't be changed; to focus on the future.
He knows what would put the smiles back on the faces of his players and the fans quicker than anything would be three points against Stevenage tomorrow.
Of course, that will be far from easy. Graham Westley's men have won their last three games and lost only once this season to Blue Square Premier leaders Oxford United.
Borough have quietly climbed the table after drawing their opening three encounters and sit seventh in the table with a game in hand.
But Mansfield are confident at Field Mill, still unbeaten in 15 games there under Holdsworth.
"I have had time to reflect on the game at Kidderminster and now it is time to draw a line under it," said Holdsworth.
"It is important you move on after a disappointing performance.
"We have spoken about it as a squad and the players are intelligent enough to know that is what was needed. It was a constructive discussion.
"The defeat wasn't down to our preparation being wrong or anything like that. It was just a performance that was not up to standard.
"The players have acknowledged that they were not up to scratch and now I expect a response.
"The players know they let people down, including the fans and have been very apologetic about that. They know they didn't perform.
"Technically there were some things that were not right. We didn't make it stick up front and we didn't take players on out wide.
"The forward players have been outstanding but on Tuesday they under-performed.
"We needed to have a better retention of the ball and because there wasn't, the defence was under a lot of pressure.
"It is all about the players taking more responsibility."
Holdsworth has been frustrated by problems at left-back for the last two matches.
Craig Armstrong has been out injured while Paul Heckingbottom has not figured since pre-season.
Luke Graham and Scott Gardner have each filled in for one game.
Holdsworth said: "It is difficult sometimes when you go into a game and are papering over cracks.
"People have been doing their best playing out of position, but it is not an easy thing to do.
"Left-back is a very specialist area but neither of our players for that position have been fit for the last couple of games.
"But we're hoping Craig will be fit and both of them came through training yesterday."
Holdsworth is looking forward to home comforts after just one point from six on the road.
He believes the Stags supporters can once again play an important role.
"I thought to myself on Tuesday night that I couldn't wait to get back to Field Mill," he said.
"We've got a tremendous support wherever we play, but particularly at home.
"It will do us good after two away trips because the fans have been outstanding and really get behind us.
"I think they recognise that we need to put on a performance for them."
Stevenage no longer have star striker Steve Morison to call on after he joined Millwall in the summer, but Holdsworth knows Borough will still be strong.
He said: "They are well-organised and also have some very good players.
"We are playing against a team that got to the play-offs last season, which shows you how capable they are.
"They have lost Morison, but they have got a good replacement in Charlie Griffin, who was one of the top scorers in the league last season.
"But we are at home and hopefully our players will respond to that."
Stags' Clare in fitness battle
Evening Post, September 10, 2009
STRIKER Daryl Clare is fighting to be fit for Mansfield Town's clash at home to Stevenage Borough on Saturday.
The former Rushden man started in Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat at Kidderminster Harriers.
But he had to leave the field shortly before half-time with an ankle injury.
"Daryl was struggling. You never want to take a striker off that early in a game but he had a sore ankle," said Stags boss David Holdsworth today.
"He was honest enough to admit that he couldn't get about the field enough to do his job in the right way.
"We will have to see if he recovers in time for the weekend."
Craig Armstrong and Paul Heckingbottom are making good progress in recovering from their injuries.
Holdsworth hopes left-back Armstrong will be available after missing the last two games with an inflamed tendon at the back of his knee.
No split loyalties for Stags skipper Mills
Saturday, September 12, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
ONCE a Borough boy now a Mansfield Town man – Gary Mills has no split loyalties.
When the Stags skipper reported to Field Mill for this fixture last season, he was on play-off chasing Stevenage's books.
This time, though, he will head for the home dressing room and take his orders from David Holdsworth rather than Graham Westley.
Mills enjoyed his time at Stevenage and remains good friends with a big chunk of the Hertfordshire side's squad.
But after turning down a new deal at Broadhall Way to sign for Mansfield in the summer, the 28-year-old's allegiance is now very much to his current club.
Mills intends to show that by leading his side to victory this afternoon as they bid to put Tuesday night's poor performance at Kidderminster, which brought a 3-1 defeat, behind them.
"I still speak to the Stevenage boys," said Mills. "I'm quite good mates with the likes of Ashley Bayes, Mark Albrighton, Laurie Wilson, Andy Drury and Lee Boylan.
"But I won't talk to them in the lead up to the game. I'm sure I will after, but my mind will be totally on the match.
"They have lost Steve Morison who was captain and if you take 30 goals out of any team, as he scored, then you are going to miss them.
"They have had a slow start to the season but they have picked up now and have a very good budget, so it's going to be tough.
"I have got a lot of time for Graham Westley. He's a good manager who did well at Farnborough and then at Stevenage last year.
"He knows what this level of football is all about and puts that knowledge to good use.
"It won't mean more to me if we win this one because every game you win is just as important, whether it's Stevenage or Forest Green."
England's players, who beat Croatia 5-1 on Wednesday to book their place at next summer's World Cup finals, are not the only ones to have enjoyed that winning feeling at Wembley in the last few months.
Mills and Stevenage won the FA Trophy in May under the arch after beating York City 2-0.
But the midfielder insists league success is his biggest motivation after previously winning promotion out of the Conference with Rushden.
Mills said: "We started off pretty badly at Stevenage last season, but towards the end we won the FA Trophy.
"It was a downer losing in the play-offs, but people can never take playing at Wembley away from you.
"It was great to play there but the bread and butter is doing well in the league – and that is what we want to do here at Mansfield."
Stevenage could well feature former Mansfield player Chris Beardsley, who joined Borough from Kettering.
"I think Chris is enjoying it at Stevenage," said Mills.
"I think the travelling is starting to get to him because he still lives up this way, but I think he is planning on moving down there and give it a good go."
Today's visitors will be out to end Mansfield's 15-game unbeaten streak at home under manager Holdsworth.
But Mills said: "It's a tough place for teams to come. The fans are very vocal in our favour and really get behind the boys. They lift us that extra notch.
"Anyone coming here knows they are going to be in a difficult game and they would be disappointed now if they weren't.
"To get 4,000 behind us for the Kettering game was a massive boost and I hope we can repay the supporters' faith."
While disappointed, Mills feels the competitiveness of the Blue Square Premier means Mansfield recent stutter should not come as a complete surprise.
"There are 11 other players out there who are doing everything to stop you winning a game," he said.
"The gaffer has brought in a lot of new players, so to be where we are, third in the table, is still quite encouraging.
"There is already a good chemistry there, but at the same time we are still learning about each other."
Westley ready for Mansfield challenge
11 September 2009
Boro boss Graham Westley says his team cannot wait to go to Field Mill tomorrow and challenge one of the best home records in the division.
The Stags have not lost at home since David Holdsworth took over there in December last year and Westley is desperate to bring their run to a halt at the second time of asking having lost 2-1 there on the final day of last season.
"We will hear a lot of talk in the next few days about their great home record but we've got a habit of breaking records," said Westley.
"We don't get fazed by the psychological aspect. We've got a good record in general - we've won four of our last five games.
"We're feeling confident. We know we are going to have to go and earn the points on Saturday but we're going there to win the points, we're not going there to come second."
Westley insists he will not be worrying about his opponents' strengths ahead of the game, instead choosing to focus on how his own side can leave with all three points under their belts on Saturday.
"I think more importantly we know what we are going to give ourselves rather than worry about what we're going to get from anybody else," he added.
"We're in good form in terms of our defensive record at the moment. The back line is really working hard to keep clean sheets - I think we've only conceded five goals in eight games which is healthy and we need to keep building on that.
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