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4th December 2009
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Burgess: Right decision to join Stags
Evening Post, December 04, 2009
IT might have upset one or two members of his family, but Andy Burgess is adamant he has made the right decision in joining Mansfield Town.
Having been at Rushden and Diamonds last season, the Bedford-born midfielder jumped at the chance to join Luton Town, the club he supported as a boy.
Yet just a few months later, the 28-year-old has left Kenilworth Road behind to join David Holdsworth's Mansfield Town.
The reason for turning his back on a place he loves so much? Simple, an urge to play regular first team football.
While Burgess was almost certain to be involved with a squad who were pushing for promotion this season in joining the Hatters, he quickly found that he was down the pecking order in terms of selection.
For a man who has played more than 350 senior matches, that was a situation he was not willing to sit back and accept.
Several clubs came in for 6ft 2ins Burgess's services, but it was Mansfield's offer that tempted him most.
He has joined on loan until January initially but will then sign until the summer of 2010 in the upcoming transfer window.
"I'm a Luton fan and my family have been Luton season ticket holders for a long time, but I still didn't have to think too much about leaving," said Burgess.
"It was purely a football decision and I couldn't let anything else influence me.
"I was fifth choice in central midfield and they said they were not even considering me for a role on the wing, so it was not difficult in those circumstances.
"David Holdsworth has been a player at the top level and he had a big hand in me joining Mansfield. I was very impressed by what he said to me.
"He was a determined player and is the same as a manager. His wish is that he can get this team promoted and he is trying his best to do that.
"I wanted to join a club with ambition and I saw that desire here more than the other clubs I spoke to.
"I wouldn't have left Luton for any club and I told manager Richard Money that. But I was eager to come here."
When he clinched the signing of Burgess, Holdsworth pointed to the player's creative ability as something he felt was needed in the Mansfield side.
The former Rushden and Diamonds man is keen to live up to that expectation and also hopes to score a few goals as well.
Burgess has certainly got off to a good start in that regard in amber and blue, netting the second goal in Mansfield's 3-1 win at Gateshead on Tuesday night, direct from a corner.
He said: "What I'm here for is to create chances for the front men.
"Hopefully, I can get some good crosses into the box, which is what the front men thrive on.
"The boss tells me have a lot of battlers, but there has been a lot on Willo's (Ryan Williams) shoulders to create.
"If I can help that the pressure off him in that, then it can only help the team.
"I have played quite a bit in the middle, which is probably slightly my favourite position because you are more involved.
"But I am more than happy to play out wide as well. It just depends where the gaffer sees me operating best."
Although he has been with the club just a week, Burgess has hardly had chance to catch his breath after playing at Ebbsfleet and Gateshead.
He says it has been made a whole lot easier to integrate into the new group of players because he has come across so many of them before.
"It's gone really well so far and it helps that I have played with people like Rob Duffy, Gary Mills, Alan Marriott and Daryl Clare before and I have also come up against others on opposing sides such as Willo," said Burgess.
"The gaffer and everyone else has made it easy and I am really enjoying it so far.
"It has not been all plain sailing with the results so far, but if we can win this weekend, it will make for a happier dressing room."
Burgess is looking forward to what he hopes will be his first game in front of his new home fans at Field Mill against Grays tomorrow.
He has heard good things about the support Stags have had on home turf this season and is keen to quickly win their backing.
Burgess said: "I have played at Mansfield quite a few times with Rushden and I know speaking to Duffers (Duffy) that they have been getting good crowds all season.
"Hopefully we can put in the performances to keep on bringing people to the club.
"I'm looking forward to making my home debut and it's massively important to make a good start.
"You always want people to be impressed and they say that first impressions count double.
"I'm hoping to be the type of player who can entertain."
If he does, then Luton and his family's loss will most definitely be Mansfield's gain
Stags points tally on target for play-offs
Evening Post, December 04, 2009
MANSFIELD Town can be well satisfied with a 43-point haul at the halfway stage of their BSP campaign – should they beat Grays Athletic tomorrow.
That's the view of first team coach Gareth Holmes, who insists the facts and figures point to a successful season to date.
The Stags have not won any of their last three games at Field Mill after a storming start to the season on home turf.
But a win over Julian Dicks' strugglers would round off an excellent first few months of 2009-2010.
And Holmes knows if they could repeat that in the second 23 matches, then a play-off place would beckon.
"There is a target that we want to hit in terms of games we want to win both home and away," said Holmes.
"It doesn't matter whether you win those games against Ebbsfleet or Oxford – what matters is getting points on the board.
"We have 40 points and the middle barrier in terms of the season is after our next game.
"We have to prepare right and perform well against Grays, but the hope is we can have 43 points at the halfway stage.
"If we can replicate that in the second half of the season that would take us to 86 points.
"Of course, we want to improve, that's what we should always be doing, but I think if you said to teams they would have 43 points just before Christmas, they would be happy with that.
"It puts you right in the mix going into the New Year and we would be pleased with that."
Midfielder Ollie Hotchkiss came on to equalise with a stunning free-kick and also played a key part in Mansfield's 3-1 win at Gateshead on Tuesday night.
He will come into the thoughts of manager David Holdsworth to start tomorrow.
Holmes added: "The gaffer has always said you are judged on your merits – and Ollie played well up there.
"He will always take into consideration how people have played in their last game and in training while also taking into consideration the other team's strengths."
Grays have tough test on Saturday
Thurrock Gazette, Friday 4th December 2009
Grays face Mansfield Town tomorrow.
Their Stags hosts will go into the match in buoyant mood after pulling off an fine 3-1 win at Gateshead on Tuesday night.
Mansfield are currently filling fifth position, the final play-off place, and have lost just once in 10 league outings at home.
In stark contrast, Julian Dicks's men - having picked up four points from their previous two games - slipped back in midweek when they crashed 1-0 at home to Histon.
They currently stand fourth from bottom, the final relegation place, and Ebbsfleet United, moved to within a point of the New Rec side on Tuesday with a fine 2-1 home win over Stevenage Borough. Grays then play their fourth round Essex Senior Cup tie at Blue Square South Chelmsford City on Monday.
Garner misses Grays visit but Duffy back in business
CHAD.co.uk, 03 December 2009, By John Lomas
ROB Duffy and Kyle Perry could resume their rich 22-goal partnership up front as we reach the halfway point of the season struggling Grays Athletic at Field Mill this Saturday.
Perry went through the pain barrier as he recovers from a thigh injury to play in the 3-1 win at Gateshead on Tuesday night in a game in which Duffy served a one-match ban.
However, The Stags do have a headache at the back as central defender Scott Garner picked up his fifth booking of the season on Tuesday and misses Saturday with suspension.
To make matters worse versatile Michael Brough, who is very experienced in that position, may also miss out with injury while Luke Graham is out on loan.
"Michael would be the obvious choice but went over on his ankle on Tuesday and has to be a doubt," said Mansfield Town coach Gareth Holmes.
"It's not ideal but we do have a few options of lads who would fit in there like Craig Armstrong, Paul Heckingbottom and Matt Somner."
However, Heckingbottom is also on the treatment table at the moment with a rib injury that kept him out in midweek.
Stags will hope Perry has no adverse reaction from Tuesday and has been given a couple of days off training as a precation.
"The lads had Wednesday off and Kyle is with physio Jason today as a precaution and hopefully he will be back in full training tomorrow," said Holmes.
"I thought he was outstanding on Tuesday. He held the ball up well and battled hard.
"Kyle had an injection into the injury to settle it down and showed a lot of character.
"He went through the pain barrier for the cause and it was a calculated decision.
"It is always the player's choice at the end of the day. We would not force a player to do something he didn't want to do.
"But 'Pezzer' is one of those players who desperately wants to be involved and you sometimes have to hold him back to protect him against himself."
He added: "After losing at Ebbsfleet that was a massive result on Tuesday and we were really proud of the players.
"They were hurting as much as the fans and that helped spur them on to win at Gateshead.
"The gaffer deserves credit too for what was said at half time on Tuesday to promote that reaction.
"It just shows how much they respect him and want to do well for him and the football club."
Grays, like several teams before them, are unlikely to be too adventurous and Holmes said: "A lot of clubs are starting to get men behind the ball against us as they know we are doing things right here and understand we are a good side.
"So they know they have to defend for their lives and really work hard to be able to compete.
"We are very happy where we are. We are fifth in the league with a game in hand on York and, if we win as we hope to on Saturday, we will have 43 points for the first half of the season which puts us right in the mix.
"We have already won six away games before Christmas and we only won four times away from home all last season.
"Those are the facts when you are defending options flying about.
"If we can replicate that in the second half of the season, or better it, then we will be in the mix."
Fitness race for Stags defenders
Evening Post, December 03, 2009
MANSFIELD Town are facing a race to get key defenders fit for Saturday's home clash with grays Athletic.
The Stags were 3-1 victors at Gateshead on Tuesday night, but at a cost.
Scott Garner picked up a fifth booking of the campaign, so will definitely miss the clash with the Essex side.
Michael Brough also limped off at the end of the first half with an ankle problem.
And with Paul Heckingbottm missing the Gateshead game with a rib injury and Luke Graham out on loan at York, Mansfield are suddenly a little short at the back.
Brough and Heckingbottom are rated 50-50 and first team coach Gareth Holmes is hoping both will be available.
"Broughy has done ankle – he got it tucked underneath himself. Like a lot of ankle injuries, there was quite a lot of swelling," he said.
"But we don't know the full extent of the injury at the minute – it's not clear. We'll know better when the swelling has gone down.
"Hecks has been in with the physio after taking a knock on the ribs which kept him out at Gateshead.
"But we're hoping he will be back fit for selection."
Mansfield made a late decision to throw in striker Kyle Perry at the International Stadium.
He needed a pain-killing injection in his thigh to get through the 90 minutes.
Fellow striker Rob Duffy will return from a one-game suspension this weekend.
Holmes added: "I thought Pezz was outstanding up there, he held the ball up very well.
"We gave him as much time as posdsible to get back and he's the type where he is desperate to play.
"He is with the physio as a precaution today after resting up yesterday but he should be in training tomorrow morning."
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