Holdsworth: Stags need two more players to challenge at the top
Evening Post, 27 Aug 2010, By matt halfpenny
MANSFIELD Town are two players short of having a squad that can challenge for the play-offs, manager David Holdsworth insisted today.
The Stags have made a bright start to the season, losing only one of their opening four Blue Square Bet Premier matches.
After releasing a host of players in the summer and losing Jake Speight to Bradford for £25,000, Holdsworth recruited 11 new faces.
He is also making enquiries about adding to that ahead of the close of the permanent transfer window on Tuesday at 6pm.
But with the purse strings tight, he is well aware he will have to move players on. who are already at the club.
That could even be done in the shape of loan agreements, with several of the Stags' current personnel having yet to figure this season.
"I still think we are two quality players short of having what we need to fight for a place in the play-offs," said Holdsworth.
"But it's probably a case of players going out before we bring any in because we have to juggle things financially."
"Some of the players may wish to go out on loan because I know they all want to be playing – and they should do.
"It may look like we have a lot of players kicking their heels, but that's only because almost everyone is fit.
"What I don't want to do is let people go out and then leave ourselves short."
Meanwhile, chairman Andy Saunders says the club will not know until next week if they have broken even on last Saturday's Westlife gig.
It is understood the club needed to sell in the region of 10,000 tickets to ensure they didn't make a loss.
"Aside from a few ticketing problems, we feel the event itself went very well
"We are not in a position yet to say how we have done financially because we don't know the numbers of final ticket sales yet," said Saunders.
Reliable Silk looks to strike up partnership with new-look Stags defence
Evening Post, 27 Aug 2010, By matt halfpenny
OTHER players come and players go at Field Mill, but the presence of Gary Silk on the right-hand side of the Mansfield Town defence is ever-constant.
Only he and best pal Matt Somner have been with the Stags since the very start of their journey into non-league football.
And by the way the trustworthy former Notts County man has begun the 2010-11 campaign, Silk looks set to be part of the Stags' furniture for some time yet.
Only once in his time at north Notts – that has now taken in two and-a-bit campaigns and three pre-seasons – has Silk had his authority as first choice right-back really challenged.
Youngster Scott Gardner was given the nod ahead of him at the start of last season, but it was a threat he saw off before the month of August was out.
This summer, Silk's biggest concern has been slotting into what is, himself aside, an entirely new back four.
Steve Foster, Chris Smith and either Paul Stonehouse or Kevin Sandwith have been drafted in to replace the likes of Luke Foster, Luke Jones, Scott Garner, Craig Armstrong and Paul Heckingbottom.
And while the new-look rearguard has yet to record a clean sheet in their first four matches, Silk is optimistic they can improve on the concession of 60 goals last year.
"Scoring goals is great but if you are conceding a lot too, they just cancel each other out," said Silk.
"I think there probably is the making of a better back four than last season. We are looking to give the midfielders and forwards a good platform to go and do their thing because they have looked good so far.
"Some things you do instinctively like tucking in and covering around behind people, because they are things you have done throughout your career.
"But other bits of understanding only come over time and you can't tell how long that is going to take. Sometimes it comes quicker than others.
"The good thing is that the new lads have all got plenty of experience and we are getting stronger, which has shown in the performances. We are certainly defending better now as a unit than we did against Fleetwood.
"I think we are just a little bit of luck away from getting that first clean sheet."
Mansfield thought they had recorded their first shut-out at home to Kettering on Tuesday night, leading 1-0 late on through a Sandwith free-kick.
But a Moses Ashikodi strike three minutes from time saw the visitors grab a share of the spoils.
Silk said: "After the game when the lads came in on Wednesday you could tell everyone was very disappointed. It felt like a defeat because they had scored late on.
"On another day the strikers could have easily had two or three goals and it is probably the best we have played defensively, so there are good signs."
Tomorrow, Mansfield face Cambridge United where they are likely to come up against a familiar face in Daryl Clare.
The striker left the Stags under something of a cloud last season having, according to David Holdsworth, 'let the club down'.
The Mansfield boss expected the striker to fight for his place having, he felt, helped nurse him through injury and personal problems.
But Clare instead expressed a desire to leave for Gateshead, where he had been out on loan, and was eventually granted his wish.
"I think Daryl (after a summer glute injury) is just about fit now and I'm sure he'll play some part," said Silk. "He's always a threat and comes alive when he gets in a box.
"I'm sure he'll come back wanting to make an impact and it's up to us to make sure he doesn't."
Stags v Cambridge United match preview panel
Mansfield (from): Alan Marriott, Collett, Silk, Preece, C. Smith, Foster, Naylor, Sandwith, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Cain, Mills, Thompson, Nix, A. Smith, Williams, Connor, Medley, Parker.
Cambridge (from): Brown, Roberts, Saah, Coulson, Partridge, Russell, Carden, Miller, Platt, Wright, Clare, Naisbitt, Ives, Adam Marriott, Jennings.
Team news: Mansfield are waiting on the fitness of Paul Stonehouse (thigh) who missed Tuesday night's draw with Kettering.
But he may find his path back into the team barred anyway after replacement Kevin Sandwith scored ad acquitted himself well.
Cambridge's only expected absentee is Rory McAuley (knee).
Former Mansfield striker Daryl Clare could be in line to start his first game after coming off the bench in his last two games following a muscle problem.
One to watch: Simon Russell. A consistent performer on the right-hand side of midfield, the former York man is often involved in the Us' best football going forward.
Manager: Martin Ling. In his second season in charge of Cambridge, the former Leyton Orient boss is expected to deliver a play-off place come the end of the season after a busy summer of recruitment.
Clare set fair for U's starting berth
by Aaron Mason, cambridge-news.co.uk
Daryl Clare could make his first start for Cambridge United in tomorrow's trip to former club Mansfield.
Clare left Field Mill for Gateshead in January amid controversy, with Stags boss David Holdsworth claiming the striker had refused to play for the club again – allegations denied by the player.
But after coming off the bench twice, manager Martin Ling said he was considering putting the former Republic of Ireland B international into the side if he proves his fitness after picking up a virus.
He said: "Daryl has come to the stage where he has been getting 20 minutes, and he's a big part of our gameplan and where we want to go this season, so he's a special case.
"He's running behind people in terms of fitness, but, if I had to pick him for one game this weekend, it would probably be Mansfield just above Eastbourne.
"He was complaining about a sore throat on Tuesday and he has been put on antibiotics by his doctor.
"Daryl did a training session with the injured lads yesterday so he could get some fitness work in, but we'll see how he feels today to assess whether he's fit enough."
James Jennings could also be in contention as he was set to return to training today after recovering from a knee problem suffered in last Saturday's goalless draw at home to Southport, but Dave Partridge is likely to remain at left-back.
Ling also hopes Danny Naisbitt will be okay for the bench after missing training yesterday with sickness and diarrhoea.
But he is confident can kick off the bank holiday with their first win of the Blue Square Bet Premier campaign.
"Mansfield have had a half-decent start, but it's about being patient and believing what we're doing is right," said Ling.
"They'll be looking to play rather than frustrate us, and I think that could work in our favour as we can open them up on the counter-attack."
Mansfield (probable): Marriott, Silk, C Smith, Foster, Sandwith, Briscoe, Thompson, Mills, A Smith, Connor, Medley.
Cambridge United (probable): Brown, Roberts, Partridge, Coulson, Saah, Carden, Miller, Russell, Platt, Clare, Wright.
* United's trip to Luton on September 11 has been made all-ticket, with 1,500 seating tickets available to away fans.
They are available to season ticket holders from today from the ticket office or by filling out an application form at http://www.cambridge-united.co.uk, before going on general sale on Monday.
Sandwith likely to keep place
CHAD.co.uk, 26 August 2010
By John Lomas
KEVIN Sandwith is likely to keep his place at left back for Mansfield Town's home clash with Cambridge United on Saturday (3pm).
Sandwith deputised for Stonehouse on Tuesday night, scoring Stags' goal with a superb free kick in the 1-1 draw with Kettering Town, after Stonehouse suffered a thigh strain.
And, with a tough trip to Altrincham ahead on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm), it is unlikely Holdsworth would risk Stonehouse if he is anything less than 100 per cent fit.
"Paul is touch and go," said the Mansfield manager. "But I won't risk him unnecessarily as we have Kevin.
"Other than that we don't have any problems. Mark Preece is back in training as is Matt Somner after illness, though he I still on medication and won't be involved.
"I am trying to get a 'reserve' game for these two and those not involved but it's really difficult with no youth team. You can't even do a full practice game in training. But the professionalism everyone has shown on the training ground has been exemplary.
"Apart from those two defensive lapses in the first half at Fleetwood I feel we have started the season really, really well.
"The first half against Kettering was as good a performance as you could get without scoring the number of goals we should have had from the good chances we created."
Cambridge arrive at Field Mill with no wins in their first four games, drawing three of them.
But a cautious Holdsworth is aware the visitors are a better side than those results suggest.
"Cambridge will be a top six side," he said. "They have gone out and had a go in the transfer market and brought in players like Conal Platt, who is someone I admire.
"But my wingers are playing very well right now."
There is little time to rest before Mansfield then head off to Altrincham, also without a win, on Monday, scene of a bruising 2-1 win for the Stags last season which saw two home players red-carded.
"We had some interesting scenarios against Altrincham last season," said Holdsworth.
"They let themselves down discipline-wise, but I do feel we played extremely well against them home and away.
"Altrincham always provide a tough battle and I expect nothing less from a side that fights for everything, which is what I admire in the sides Mr Heathcote puts out."
Latest | September 2010