FOREST GREEN PREVIEWS
Mansfield 103.2 Sport on Friday --->
Somner and Speight video interviews --->
Holdsworth calls for Stags consistency
Evening Post, October 02, 2009
DAVID Holdsworth has demanded an end to Mansfield's Jekyll and Hyde displays – starting with the visit of Forest Green tomorrow.
The Stags have often looked impressive this season, particularly in front of their own supporters, to raise hopes they could be promotion contenders.
But on other occasions, usually on their travels, they have flattered to deceive in a way that threatens to render them also-rans.
And Holdsworth warned that players who cannot find a level of consistency will be left out.
"You have to apply yourself in a different fashion away from home and we didn't in certain aspects at Barrow," said Holdsworth.
"This is the Conference and sometimes players find themselves at this level for a reason.
"But if they have aspirations of going to a higher level, then they have to turn out performances every week.
"There will be changes for our next away game. But playing back at home, we have to produce more of the same as we have been doing – attacking and up and at 'em."
Mansfield have not kept a clean sheet in their last seven games.
That is something Holdsworth wants to see put right against David Hockday's Rovers side who are unbeaten in six.
"There are a couple of games where we could and should have had one and sometimes things don't always go you way," he said.
"But we have to put that right and players must step up to the mark and defend correctly, whether it's against Oxford or Forest Green."
Stags' Speight keen to right the wrongs of Barrow
Evening Post, October 02, 2009
DAVID Holdsworth let rip at his players after Tuesday night's defeat at Barrow – and Jake Speight insists they totally deserved it.
After successive home wins over Oxford United and Hayes and Yeading, Mansfield looked to have put their season firmly back on track.
But a below-par showing from the Stags on a rainy evening at Holker Street brought that resurgence to an abrupt halt with a 3-1 defeat.
It was a third loss in a row on the road for Mansfield – far from ideal form for a side who have aspirations of figuring in the Blue Square Premier play-offs come the end of the season.
Speight knows Mansfield have to start picking up points on their travels against sides in the lower reaches of the division.
Barrow had not won in their previous seven games prior to Tuesday night.
But he knows the first and most important thing is to bounce back quickly where the team are at their best – Field Mill.
In contrast to their recent travel sickness, Mansfield have won five out of their seven home games and scored 18 goals in the process.
Speight is hoping for more Stags joy in front of their own fans when Forest Green come to town tomorrow.
"We accepted the manager's criticism at Barrow because we went away from home and didn't perform," he said.
"The fingers deserved to be pointed and all the players had to look at themselves because we did things wrong as individuals.
"We started off all right on the road, getting wins at Salisbury and Chester and we have to get back to being gritty like then.
"It is not always going to be pretty, but we have to work hard on the training ground to find a way of being successful.
"It is just putting our finger on what is going wrong in away games because we certainly have the quality of players to do better.
"But I would back us against anyone at home. Home games are not a problem for us.
"Forest Green may be on a decent run (six games unbeaten) but we proved against Oxford what we can do."
Speight had to bide his time to win a first team spot at Mansfield after boss David Holdsworth chose to pair Rob Duffy and Kyle Perry up front in the early stages of this season.
At that point, the man who turned 24 on Monday saw most of his action off the bench and was often used, highly effectively, as a right-sided midfielder.
But a three-game suspension for Perry after his sending off against Stevenage has given the former Sheffield United and Bury man the chance to operate in his favourite position.
And now he has a taste of regular first team action, Speight is not about to give it up easily.
He said: "I have really enjoyed playing up top. I know I am capable of playing well from the start and getting goals.
"I always work hard in training and have been doing a bit of extra work – on touch, dribbling and finishing.
"I have been patient in waiting for my chance and now I am just hoping I can stay in the team."
Although Speight already has five goals to his credit, he believes their is scope to become even more prolific.
He points to missed chances in recent games as an area for improvement.
"I was really disappointed not to score against Hayes and Yeading and even more so against Barrow," said Speight.
"I won two penalties (and had a goal disallowed) last Saturday, but I was pleased to see Rob Duffy get a hat-trick.
"On Tuesday I should have scored when Gary Silk teed me up and then I did everything but in hitting the post later on.
"I also hit the post against Oxford (he later went on the score), but I am working hard on the finishing and hopefully I can put right not scoring in my last couple with a goal at the weekend."
Ameobi determined to emerge from big brother's shadow
Evening Post, October 02, 2009
FORMER Mansfield striker Tomi Ameobi (pictured) is determined to emerge from his famous brother's shadow and make a name for himself at Forest Green Rovers.
The younger sibling of Newcastle United's Shola, made an impressive debut in Rovers' first league win of the season against Grays Athletic.
Now as the 21-year-old prepares to return to Field Mill – where he spent a short loan spell last season soon after David Holdsworth took charge – he is hoping the time has come to prove himself
"Shola has always been a big influence for me, guiding me through some ups and downs, and I'm glad I've got him there," he said.
"But I'm trying to make a name for myself, so if anyone mentions my brother I try to show them we're two different people.
"I'm glad I'm down here. The set-up and facilities are impressive and there are a great bunch of boys.
"First and foremost I'm here to work hard and hopefully I'll score some goals as well."
Ameobi has struck up a promising partnership with Sean Rigg, who is on loan from Bristol Rovers.
Forest Green have lacked an old-fashioned target man since the departure of Mike Symons, although the striker insists he is no battering ram.
"I like to think there's a bit more to my game but my job is to be a target man and bring other people into the game," said Ameobi. "You don't get anything without working hard – that's always been instilled in me."
Meanwhile, banned Forest Green striker Andy Mangan could discover today the result of his appeal over FA betting charges.
The 23-year-old has been unable to play or even train with the Rovers squad since July 22, when he was hit with a five-month ban for betting on a victory for previous club Bury against Accrington.
Mangan – who scored 30 goals last season – was alleged to have placed £3,500 on his team to win at Accrington – which they did, 2-0.
Green snap up King ahead of Stags clash
Evening Post, October 02, 2009
TEENAGE midfielder Dave King has signed on loan for Mansfield Town's opponents tomorrow, Forest Green.
Manager Dave Hockaday has persuaded MK Dons boss Paul Ince to allow the 19-year-old to link up with the New Lawn club for a month.
It is expected the necessary paperwork will be completed to allow King to be available at Field Mill.
Ex-Stags duo move on
Evening Post, October 02, 2009
TWO former Mansfield Town players have been on the move.
Defender Alan O'Hare has left York City to link up with new Gainsborough Trinity boss Brian Little.
Iyseden Christie, meanwhile has ended a brief spell at Conference North side AFC Telford United.
Stags' walking wounded prepare for Forest Green
CHAD.co.uk, 01 October 2009, By John Lomas
THINGS get no better for Mansfield Town's walking wounded as eight players are on the treatment table today (Thursday) ahead of Saturday's visit of Forest Green Rovers.
Biggest worry is the left back position with Craig Armstrong, as it stands today, almost certain to be ruled out after battling on in recent games with a hamstring injury.
Boss David Holdsworrth, who was furious with his side for their display in Tuesday's 3-1 defeat at Barrow, has organised a full scale inter-squad practice match today and is hopeful summer signing Paul Heckingbottom may come through to provide the perfect replacement for Armstrong after suffering a hamstring strain in pre-season training.
"I am really looking forward to seeing Paul play as he was signed as our first choice left back. Craig Armstrong has done a great job there but can play in a number of positions.
"Paul is a great player at this level and we are grateful to him for coming here. He is as frustrated as I am.
"If Craig can't play and Paul comes through the practice match then I may play him even though it may be putting him in at the deep end.
"He has experience and is a very good character. But I will only play him if its 100 per cent right for him.
"I know if he can play then Craig will want to stay in the team."
Of the other key players struggling, Rob Duffy is sitting out training today with stitches in his eye from Tuesday and Kyle Nix has a dead leg though skipper Gary Mills is at least available again after a three game ban if Nix doesn't make it.
"I am having to manage the situation and the recovery time is all-important, Holdsworth added.
"We have eight being treated today and it's not ideal. We are down to bare bones. But next week is kinder as we will have all week to recover.
"We have a full scale training match today with some of the youth team drafted and we will see who is up for the fight and wanting to pull that shirt on this Saturday. I expect players to train as they would play."
Holdsworth is still fuming from Tuesday's drop in standards at Barrow and hopes Forest Green will suffer the full backlash.
He said: "I expect us to be up and at em and set the standard. I want to see us come out the traps.
"We must show a reaction after Tuesday and roll our sleeves up.
"I would definitely make changes if we were away from home and I make no bones about that.
"I will approach our next away game differently. I have been going with two wingers and trying to play good football but I perhaps now need to look at that if certain plaayers are not going to turn up away from Field Mill. You have to apply yourself in a different fashion away from home.
"But, without being disrespectful, this is the Conference and that's why players sometimes find themselves down at this level.
"Any player with aspirations of playing a higher level must turn out performances every week, home or away and not just at our wonderful stadium.
"You have to deliver. You can't just live on expectations and might-be's. It's all about the facts."
Forest Green, who have former Stags loanee Tommy Ameobi up front, won 2-1 at Chester this week and, after that 7-1 drubbing by Cambridge have drawn four and then won two in a six match unbeaten run.
Heckingbottom back in Stags contention
Evening Post, October 01, 2009
MANSFIELD have eight players on the treatment table ahead of Saturday's game with Forest Green Rovers – but long-term absentee Paul Heckingbottom is on the verge of a return.
Stags boss David Holdsworth is sweating on the fitness, of Alan Marriott, Craig Armstrong, Kyle Nix and Rob Duffy.
Luke Jones, Jason Bradley, Tom Sandercombe and Grant Ryan are definitely out of the equation.
But Heckingbottom, who has not played since pre-season after signing from Bradford City, is back in full training.
He will play in and inter-club practice game and if he comes through that, will be considered to face Rovers.
Armstrong and Duffy are not training today, but may still figure at the weekend.
""It is not an ideal situation for us, but we are doing our best to keep the fitness levels up," said Holdsworth.
"But next week is kinder because there is no midweek game and hopefully we can come through against Forest Green unscathed.
"Hecks is training, though. When you bring someone in to be your first choice left back and they get injured, it is frustrating.
"Craig Armstrong has been playing there but he can play in a number of positions.
"I know Paul will be just as frustrated by what has happened as me, but when he does get back I'm sure he'll show what a very good player he is.
"If he comes through this afternoon, then it will put him in my thinking for the weekend.
"But it will only happen if things are 100 per cent right, so it may be a case of patching Craig up or turning to one of the youth team."
Gary Mills will return from his three-game suspension to be available.
Latest | October 2009