David Holdsworth video interview --->
Suspensions hit Kettering hard
23 August 2010
KETTERING Town manager Lee Harper will serve a one-match touchline ban against Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
The Poppies boss was handed the suspension after confronting referee Mark Heywood following his team's controversial 3-1 home defeat to Luton Town.
Sol Davis missed Saturday's game as he is now serving a three-match ban for an incident during the Luton game that was picked up by the referee's assessor.
It means both left-back Davis and Iyseden Christie, who was sent-off in the same game, will now miss the Mansfield trip and Saturday's visit to Histon.
“Sol was involved in an off-the-ball incident, which was stupid,” Harper told northantset.co.uk.
“There was no need for it and it was picked up by the referee's assessor.
“Unfortunately, he seemed to pick up everything that went wrong for us but he didn't say anything about the bad decisions that went against us.
“It is really frustrating but Sol can't be defended for what he did. He was totally wrong and it will also be dealt with internally by the football club.
“I know that he is absolutely gutted with what he did. He has apologised to us and I know he feels he has let the fans down as well.
“I have also received a one-match ban for swearing at the referee and I am not proud of that. So I will be in the stands at Mansfield.”
Holdsworth weighing up strike options ahead of Poppies clash
DAVID Holdsworth is sorely tempted to hand Luke Medley his first Mansfield Town start in tonight's home clash with Kettering Town.
The 21-year-old striker played a central role in the Stags overturning a 1-0 half-time deficit to win 3-1 at Kidderminster on Saturday.
Medley not only scored the equaliser and laid on a game-clinching third for Rob Duffy, but his overall play was superb.
That has given boss Holdsworth food for thought after Paul Connor and Keigan Parker have started Mansfield's first three league games.
"I think this kind of competition is healthy and keeps everyone on their toes. No-one is guaranteed their place and it's a nice headache to have," he said.
"You want players to be champing at the bit to play and all our strikers are.
"It is tempting to start Luke after Saturday, but it is a case of getting the best out of him.
"He has only been at the club for about three weeks now and he's probably not got 90 minutes of fitness yet.
"We don't want him to get injured and when you have options, it's a case of getting the balance right.
"I think we have probably got a greater balance in forward areas than last season.
"They have all got different attributes and over the longer term it looks healthy, so long as they keep up their standards."
Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Kettering Town
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Collett, Silk, C. Smith, Naylor Foster, Stonehouse, Sandwith, Briscoe, Cain, Mills, Thompson, Nix, A. Smith, Williams, Parker, Connor, Medley, Duffy, Gregory.
Kettering (from): Abbey, Dempster, Westwood, Graham, Taylor, Noubissie, Boucaud, Dance, Makofo, Furlong, Marna, Ashikodi, Roper, Solkhon, Smith, Jaszczun.
Team news: Mark Preece (calf) is back in training but unlikely to figure as he works his way back to full fitness.
Rob Duffy (appendix).
Midfielder Matt Somner has gone down with illness that will keep him out.
Kettering, who play 4-3-3, will have to make do without Marcus Kelly (thigh), along with the suspended Sol Davis and Iyseden Christie.
One to watch: Luke Graham. The former Mansfield defender re-signed for the Poppies from York in the summer and will be out to prove his pedigree on returning to Field Mill.
Manager: Lee Harper. The goalkeeper stepped up to take over the reins when Mark Cooper left and guided his troops to a sixth-place finish last season.
Briscoe out to keep his place and maintain good form at Mansfield Town
JUST like Mansfield Town as a collective unit, Louis Briscoe is determined to find some consistency in his own performances.
No-one can doubt the 22-year-old's raw ability. His pace power, skill and awareness make him one of the most capable players in the Stags squad and a handful for the best of defenders when on song.
But, the former Port Vale and Ilkeston player can be frustrating in equal measure which, at times, sees him fail to produce an end-product and go missing in games.
So far this season, Briscoe has been in impressive form, none more so than in Saturday's 3-1 win at Kidderminster where he was a threat to the Harriers backline throughout.
But. ahead of tonight's home clash with Kettering, the right winger knows the key is to keep up that level of excellence.
So far the Stags have endured an up and down start to the season with an opening day win over Forest Green, followed by a defeat at Fleetwood and then another victory at Aggborough.
Briscoe is hoping that as the campaign unfolds, both he and his team-mates can perform to the peak of their powers week in, week out.
"The manager (David Holdsworth) and assistant (Duncan Russell) have been very good with me," said Briscoe.
"They have told me to be confident and to express myself. I have tried to do that and it has come off to some extent.
"We are doing work on our crossing and finishing and the gaffer has been taking me to one side and trying to work on a few other things.
"When you're on the wing and putting the ball over, it's all about beating that first man.
"I didn't really have so much competition last year. Speighty (Jake Speight) played wide right on occasions, but now there is Ashley Cain who has looked sharp and is breathing down my neck.
"But I think I perform better under pressure and hopefully I can keep my form going and so can the team."
Including substitute appearances, Briscoe made a total of 38 appearances last season.
But he knows that could have been more but for injury and loss of form.
He said: "I would prefer to have played more games in a row, because they were spread out last season.
"When I'm in the side I want to stay in it and have a run. That means I need to keep away from stairs! (he damaged his knee falling down them last October).
"I want to try again to get in double figures for goals and I can only do that if I'm playing regularly and playing well."
The Poppies come to Field Mill having yet to pick up a win in their opening three fixtures.
But manager Holdsworth insists they will be no easy touch having signed a host of new faces in the summer.
"This is the first of two home games against sides who have spent extensively in the summer, so we may be considered underdogs," he said.
"Hopefully we can prove a point, but I expect Kettering and Cambridge (who Mansfield play on Saturday) to be in the top six come the end of the season.
"Last season the two games were both draws, but I felt we were the better team in both matches.
"They have a habit of keeping teams quiet, as they did in keeping a clean sheet against Darlington on Saturday, which makes them hard to play.
"Last year they came here with a game plan and will want to frustrate us, but we have to back ourselves.
"We have certainly taken a lot of positives out of the game on Saturday, but there are still aspects we can work on and develop.
"We created a lot of chances and exposed a well-organised side. Individually and collectively, we were solid."
Mansfield striker Duffy taking it steady in return to full fitness
MANSFIELD Town striker Rob Duffy says he will not rush himself back to full fitness – despite his goalscoring return off the substitutes' bench at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.
The Welshman was introduced for the closing stages at Aggborough and quickly made an impact by converting Luke Medley's cross to seal a 3-1 success.
It marked an ahead-of-schedule comeback from an appendix operation that kept him out of the majority of pre-season games.
But Duffy knows he still has some way to go before he can start a full 90 minutes and is content to play a cameo role as a substitute for the time being.
"It was a great feeling to be back and to score. I've not had any match practice, but I've worked hard in training," he said.
"The gaffer has helped me with extra sessions to get my fitness levels up.
"I had a chat with the gaffer at the end of last week and persuaded him I was in contention.
"I have had no reaction and felt fine, but having missed pre-season I'm going to need time to catch up and there's no need to rush.
"But it was a good start to get 15 minutes under my belt at Kidderminster and play a part in our victory.
"Hopefully we can continue that when we play Kettering tonight."