FA TROPHY PREVIEWS
video interview with David Holdsworth, Rob Duffy and Jon Challinor --->
Jon Challinor on Andy Burgess --->
Holdsworth: 'We're in FA Trophy to win it'
Evening Post, December 11, 2009
DAVID Holdsworth insists Mansfield Town are taking the FA Trophy seriously.
Tomorrow's clash at home to Tamworth is only the Stags' second game in the competition following their relegation from the Football League in 2008.
Last season they went out at the first hurdle as they lost 2-1 at Wrexham under the temporary managership of Adie Moses and Mark Stallard, following the sacking of Billy McEwan.
But this time manager Holdsworth is hoping to go much further.
And he promises Mansfield will put out a strong side, while not taking any undue risks with those players carrying injury.
"I went to the FA Trophy final at Wembley with the chairman this year and having just beaten Stevenage on the last day of the season and played very well, I was a bit envious," said Holdsworth.
"I would like to have my side walking out at Wembley for one of those games.
"For the fans it would be a wonderful occasion and the new stadium is a glorious venue.
"But of course, we would have to earn that right – and we are looking to do it.
"I will be picking an attacking side, although we have to make sure we manage the players."
Holdsworth recognises a good run in a knock-out competition can boost Mansfield's Blue Square Premier form.
"The winning of games can give you confidence and lift any club. It lifted York and it kept Stevenage on a roll as they made the play-offs," he said.
"The supporters can help. They can make a big difference."
Pitfalls await for fancied Stags, warns Jones
Evening Post, December 11, 2009
LOOKING at it logically, Mansfield have to be considered one of the favourites to win the 2010 FA Trophy at Wembley.
They will face no team in a higher league than their own Blue Square Premier and, according to the table, are the fourth best team in it.
They are big fish in a not so overwhelming pond.
But central defender and vice-captain Luke Jones knows that being well fancied can bring its own pitfalls.
Just like the Premiership big guns when they play cup games, there will be plenty of teams wanting to claim Mansfield's scalp– not least tomorrow's first round opponents Tamworth.
"You feel Mansfield have got a chance because we are not playing teams way above us in the pyramid," said Jones.
"We are either being pitted against teams at our level or the levels below us.
"But sometimes that makes it more dangerous for the teams in our position. Everyone wants to beat you and you can't really look at league positions.
"We were strong favourites in the FA Cup against Forest Green, so you have to perform or you are out."
Jones says the Stags squad have had their appetite whetted for a run in the competition by skipper Gary Mills.
He was part of the Stevenage Borough side who beat York City 2-0 underneath the arch in May.
Jones said: "Millsy have told everyone about what a massive occasion it is and a great day.
"It makes you want to try to emulate that here. There would be no bigger buzz than running out at Wembley."
Jones has been ill this week, along with a host of other Stags players, but expects to be available for selection tomorrow.
"The gaffer has done his homework on Tamworth so we know their strengths," he said.
"All we have to do is look to replicate what we did against Grays last week but just put our chances away."
Macca pumped up for Stags return
Evening Post, December 11, 2009
NEIL MacKenzie is relishing a return to Mansfield tomorrow – months after ending his second spell at Field Mill.
The midfielder is back with Tamworth, who he joined in the summer, for what will be his first game in the FA Trophy.
MacKenzie had two spells at Field Mill having played 71 times between 2002 and 2004.
He also had seven games on loan with David Holdsworth's Stags last season from Notts.
"I had some great times at Mansfield – one of my most enjoyable spells in football was my first there," said MacKenzie.
"My loan spell last year didn't work out. I went there needing to play some games but only started a couple of matches.
"Those things happen sometimes, but manager David Holdsworthis a good guy and he's doing well there.
"I still look out for their results. It'll be a tough test for us."
On-loan Simon Brown looks to inspire Tamworth to victory over former club Mansfield
Dec 11 2009 by Colin Stoner, Birmingham Mail
ON-LOAN front-runner Simon Brown will have the chance to end Tamworth's goal drought tomorrow – and shoot down his former team-mates in the process.
Brown has been given permission by his parent club Wrexham to feature in the Lambs' ranks for their FA Trophy tie at Mansfield Town where he had four seasons, making more than 100 appearances.
Manager Gary Mills is delighted to have Brown available as his attacking options to face their Blue Square Premier rivals have been once again depleted.
The Lambs have not scored in four games but they have to rule out Simon Russell after York City did not want the on-loan winger to be cup-tied, while Nick Wright is a fitness doubt.
Alex Rodman and Michael Blackwood are again absent.
Kidderminster Harriers will be waiting on a phone call from rivals Kettering Town before settling on their line-up for their tie at Matlock Town.
Harriers will find out whether the Poppies will allow on-loan forward Damian Spencer to play or will prevent him from becoming cup-tied by facing the UniBond Premier side.
Luton Town have already told Aggborough manager Mark Yates he cannot include on-loan Ryan Charles while centre-back Martin Riley is also absent through a one-match suspension.
Tom Sharpe, who has made just one start since his summer move from Nottingham Forest, could slot into Riley's role.
Wide man Kyle Hadley is doubtful with a groin injury while a groin problem will sideline John Finnigan.
Gary Whild will be simply hoping for a change of fortune in cup competitions when Redditch United head to Guiseley tomorrow.
The Reds' FA Cup dreams were shattered in the cruellest of fashions losing to an injury-time goal against Kettering – who went on to enjoy two money-spinning ties against Leeds United.
And they hope for better luck in a tricky tie at UniBond Premier side Guiseley.
“They always say luck evens itself out so let's hope we get some good fortune on Saturday,” said manager Whild. “We certainly had no luck against Kettering.”
The Reds have to omit the suspended Matt Blair but midfielder Jack Byrne is added to the squad which lost at Farsley Celtic last week. Former Stratford Town player Byrne returns after a one-match ban.
Shock comeback for Speight
CHAD.co.uk, 10 December 2009, By John Lomas
JAKE Speight may make a shock comeback on the Mansfield Town bench for Saturday's FA Trophy first round clash with BSP rivals Tamworth at Field Mill (3pm).
Speight has been out with a knee injury since 17th November but was given the all-clear this week to resume training.
With the current illness bug at the club and several players nursing injuries, boss David Holdsworth admitted: "I may have to throw Jake back into it sooner than expected.
"It is good news he has the all-clear. He is a young player who in the past suffered a bad injury and I think a lot of it is in his mind.
"He may have to be on the bench if players don't recover in time. I will have to leave everything as late as possible."
Ryan Williams, Gary Mills, Luke Jones, Craig Armstrong and Kyle Nix have all had the bug and Holdsworth said: "Even the chairman has had it. It's not ideal preparation when players can't train."
Kyle Perry now has another problem on top of his thigh injury as he took a blow to his ankle on Saturday.
Michael Brough is a big doubt while Paul Heckingbottom is nursing a rib injury.
Holdsworth added: "We want to win every game and we know a cup run could be good for us. Look at Stevenage last season. They had a very good league campaign and won the Trophy.
"Tamworth have made a lot of changes this season and, while the momentum of coming up can hold you in good stead, you can find you reach a plateau, though they did go through a decent spell.
"They have an experienced manager in Gary Mills and a few ex-Stags players which is no surprise as they are local to them.
"They are good lads and I have respect for them."
Admission prices have been cut to £12, £6 and £3 this Saturday.
Third time lucky for Challinor?
CHAD.co.uk, 10 December 2009, By John Lomas
JON Challinor is hoping to make it third time lucky and be a Wembley winner with Mansfield Town in the FA Trophy this season.
Challinor was a beaten play-off finalist at the national stadium with Exeter City against Morecambe and then with Cambridge City last season against Torquay United.
"It would be nice to get there again and make it third time lucky," he said.
"I have also lost an FA Trophy semi-final with Aldershot against Hednesford which wasn't nice.
"It would be nice to go all the way and win one and hopefully that will be this season.
"Any chance you get to play at Wembley you have to take it. Some players never get there and I have been lucky enough to play there twice."
Challinor is enjoying being back in action after becoming a forgotten man at Cambridge.
He said: "The main thing as a footballer is to be playing which is what I came here to do.
"I hadn't played for two months when I arrived but I am getting my match fitness and it certainly helps that I know a lot of the lads here already from Rushden and playing against others.
"In my last couple of teams I have ended up playing off the front man or even as an out and out forward with two up front.
"I like to put the ball in the net and help take the pressure off the strikers."
Challinor took an elbow to the face just before half-time last week which saw Grays player Harlee Dean yellow carded and Challinor unable to come back out for the second half.
As the referee clearly felt there was intent rather than it being accidental, Mansfield were unhappy the card he produced was only a yellow one.
But Challinor said: "It could have worked against us if he had been sent off though as 10 men can sometimes be harder to beat as they sit everyone behind the ball.
"We will never know. To be honest I can't remember much about it. I finished the half and went in and then ended up on the physio's couch very groggy.
"I have seen the video and the lad leads with his elbow and, intentionally or not, caught me on the cheek. Thankfully it didn't cause the damage it could have done."
Challinor was delighted to see former Rushden team mate Andy Burgess join Stags two weeks agao and feels he could be a key player in any success ahead.
"It was such a surprise when Andy came back to Rushden. When he walked back in I though what a capture. Now it's happened again and he's here.
"He should be playing at a much higher level but for whatever reason he is with us. The skills and what he can do are unreal.
"He is a big capture as he is a big time player who can produce.
"He can find that one pass or cross you need to get onto and I hope I can be the one on the end of them.
"Along with a team of grafters you need that extra bit of quality which he brings."
CHAD VIDEO: Duffy vows to make amends from the spot
CHAD.co.uk, 10 December 2009, By Stephen Thirkill
STAGS striker Rob Duffy is vowing to put his Grays penalty miss behind him and continue to be the club's penalty king.
The 12 goal striker has successfully netted five times from the spot this season, but experienced his first failure of the campaign after Grays keeper Stuart Robinson saved the Welshman's cheeky 57th minute penalty.
But despite that setback Duffy says he will gladly step up with and take on the penalty responsibilities in future games.
In an interview with Chad Sport, Duffy also spoke of his hopes of a good run in the FA Trophy and the rest of the Blue Square Premier campaign.
Stags' Speight on the mend
Evening Post, December 10, 2009
MANSFIELD Town's Jake Speight has been boosted by the news he does not need an operation and can return to training immediately.
The winger-cum-striker feared he might be out until well into the New Year after damaging his knee.
But the full results of a scan have shown he should now make a full recovery without going under the surgeon's knife.
"We are delighted for Jake, it's very good news," said boss David Holdsworth.
"We will look to get him working on his own today and if it goers well put him in with the rest of the players tomorrow.
"There is a chance he could even be on the bench on Saturday – he might have to be.
Holdsworth refers to a number of Mansfield players who are battling for fitness ahead of Saturday's FA Trophy first round tie at home to Tamworth.
Kyle Perry (thigh) and Michael Brough (ankle) were both set to miss training today while Luke Jones, Ryan Williams, Gary Mills and Craig Armstrong have all been struggling with illness.
Kyle Nix (ankle), who had begun his rehab, is also now unwell.
Holdsworth added: "We are short of numbers with the bug sweeping through the camp – even the chairman has got it.
"But we look forward to welcoming Tamworth to Field Mill and we want to put right not getting the win (against Grays) last weekend.
"They have got one or two former Mansfield players, who are good people and we have respect for.
"But you have to move on sometimes and now we are looking to go through to the next round."
Stags home win close, says Brough
Evening Post, December 10, 2009
IT is only a matter of time before Mansfield Town come good at home, Michael Brough predicted today.
The Stags' 0-0 draw with Grays was their fourth game without a victory at Field Mill since they beat Altrincham in the FA Cup in October.
Frustratingly, that has come at a time when the team has won four away victories in six matches.
By common consent, Mansfield were desperately unlucky not to beat Grays last time out as visiting keeper Stuart Robinson had a second-half blinder.
But Brough feels if the Stags can repeat that level of performance, then a home win will be just around the corner.
Mansfield host Tamworth in the FA Trophy first round on Saturday.
"People ask what we need to change to get a home win and judging on the display against Grays, I would say not a lot," said Brough.
"Maybe in the Eastbourne and Forest Green games we probably didn't play as well as we know we can.
"But some of the football we played against Grays was excellent and if we had applied the finishing touch, then everyone would have been happy."
The versatile Brough has previously played in central midfield and right-back for the Stags, but figured in his preferred role as a central defender last weekend.
Fitness permitting, manager David Holdsworth admits he now has a tough decision to make with Scott Garner returning from a one-match suspension.
"It gives us good competition in there with Scott now available again."
Striker Jason Bradley has joined Harrogate Town on loan.
Bradley happy with underdog tag against Mansfield Town
thisistamworth.co.uk, December 10, 2009
BRADLEY Pritchard says Tamworth can revel in the role of underdog as they travel to Mansfield in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
The Lambs will be unfancied by many ahead of the mouthwatering tie having picked up one point from 12, while Mansfield are flying high in the Conference Premier.
But Pritchard (pictured above) said: "It's a game we can't wait for to be honest.
"We have yet to play Mansfield in the league so it will be a good test for us.
"I don't think league form matters as it's a one-off tie and besides, we have shown against the big clubs that we can match them on our day.
"We enjoy playing the more established teams like Mansfield. We enjoy the challenge of trying to prove ourselves against them.
"We certainly won't be lacking motivation on the day. We have some former Mansfield players who will be out to prove a point.
"And I for one have not really been involved in a cup run in my career so far and it's something you want.
"The FA Trophy gives you the chance to have a long run.
"With the FA Cup, you get the short-term euphoria of a run and that's great, but with the FA Trophy you can actually go and win it, or at least get to the last four or final.
"So, hopefully, we can take up the challenge.
"People will have already written us off.
"The pressure will be on Mansfield because of their size and the fact they are at home – hopefully we can capitalise on that."
Meanwhile, Pritchard believes that Tamworth will soon turnaround their league fortunes and rediscover their early season form.
And he believes the busy Christmas period will give them the chance to do that.
"I'm looking forward to the festive period where the games come thick and fast," he said.
"You tend to lose track of time over Christmas – it's always a bit of a rush in terms of games but it's good.
"It's also funny because you get the lads coming in on Boxing Day with all their presents.
"Everyone seems to have lots of Hugo Boss body wash.
"I wore a new pair of trainers last year and got stick for them – but not as much as Gareth Sheldon, who had a new earring!
"It always adds to the banter around that time.
"Hopefully, we'll start getting league results too over Christmas.
"I talk to my dad after every game and it's been getting repetitive lately – we played well, but the final ball was lacking or finishing wasn't up to scratch.
"It's the same conversation every week but I'm sure the results will come.
"I think people need to remember that we are a very young set of players here and we are learning all the time.
"Last season was a learning curve and now, being in a new, tougher league, means we have to learn more, on the next step, but I think we are doing a good job."
Latest | December 2009