RUSSELL - STAGS CAN WIN THE TITLE
Russell - 'Stags can win title'
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 29 Nov 2010
Caretaker Manager Duncan Russell believes that the BSBP title is not yet out of our reach.
Although the gap between us and first placed AFC Wimbledon currently stands at 10 points, Russell says that he expects some of the division's top sides to start dropping points.
He added that with top three sides Luton and Crawley both facing the distraction of possible Third Round ties in the FA Cup, now is an excellent time to start our rise up the league.
"Why can't we go on a run?," he told mansfieldtown.net. "We've got a team of players who can do it. We are 10 points off the top but who says that we can't go and win the next five or six games? I believe we can.
"History proves that all teams have a bad patch. All I can say is that we need to look after our results as we can't affect other teams.
"Other teams will drop points and we will be there to overtake them.
"It's great to have a run in the cup but it does take you away from the league. If you pick up injuries along the way then it can sometimes tell."
Freezing conditions nationwide have inevitably affected our training routine with the side currently training at indoor facilities in Derby. Russell said that were some advantages to this but that he is desperate not to see Saturday's home fixture with Barrow fall foul of the weather.
He added: "We've got no option but to train indoors. We can't get on the pitches because it's too dangerous so you've got to do the next best things and go indoors.
"On the plus side, we are looking sharp. I've noticed that our passing has been slicker on the 3G surface so I don't mind it in that way.
"But, I would like that (Stags Vs Barrow) game to be on. We've won a game and drawn a game so I want it on but I will do my damndest so that it (a possible postponement) doesn't affect our momentum.
"We could start to go on a run, and that's what I really feel we will do, so I hope that there's no hurdle."
The interim manager reserved special praise for the hardy contingent of supporters who made their way to Wrexham at the weekend despite the poor weather saying: "I would like to thank the fans who travelled because it was an awful day to travel all that way to support the team.
"It really does help and my hat goes off to them."
In terms of team news, midfielder Steven Istead will miss out on the visit of Barrow through suspension handing Russell a potential selection dilemma. Kyle Nix (ankle) and Alan Marriott (groin) are the only other absentees as Russell looks forward to having an almost full squad to pick from.
He added: "He (Istead) is a player that every manager loves to have but it does open up opportunities for other players.
"He is a brave player and a productive midfielder. I don't like to change too many things when we're doing well but it does show us what else we've got.
"Everyone in the squad has a fair chance of making the 16 man squad. They've got to train hard all week with 100% commitment.
"If they can show that then me and Paul (Hall) have a selection headache that we would rather have than not."
Russell hopeful of bossing Mansfield against Barrow
Evening Post, 30 Nov 2010
DUNCAN Russell hopes he can stay in the Mansfield Town caretaker manager's role long enough to convince the board he deserves the job full-time.
The Stags are currently sifting through applications to replace David Holdsworth, who was relieved of his duties almost two weeks ago.
Dave Penney is still favourite to take over, with Nicky Law and Martin Foyle other names being linked with the post. But after helping to steady the Stags' ship with a 3-2 win over Hayes and Yeading and 1-1 draw at Wrexham, Russell is keen to strengthen his own case against Barrow.
"I have not yet been told I will definitely be in charge for the weekend, but the chairman (John Radford) told me I had three games," he said.
"I would be very disappointed if I'm not in charge and I don't think I would deserve that.
"I think the one thing Paul Hall and myself have done is change the atmosphere in the dressing room for the better.
"To bring in someone now, when the players are starting to believe, would undo all that work, in my opinion.
"If I'd lost my first game and then lost at Wrexham, then I would expect the club to be wanting to appoint straight away.
"But we have four points from two games and if we could win again on Saturday, that is play-off form.
"I would love to take over the helm because we have a good bunch of players."
Meanwhile, Russell has challenged Mansfield Town's out-of-favour midfielders to earn the right to replace the suspended Steven Istead against the Cumbrians.
The former Ilkeston man is unavailable after reaching five bookings at the Racecourse Ground.
Options alongside Adam Murray could include Tyrone Thompson, Gary Mills or loanee Peter Vincenti.
Russell said: "Stevie does all the nasty work that allows others to go and play, so he will be missed.
"But it is an opportunity for the others and they can push their claims in training this week."
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