PAUL HALL, NAYLOR, CAIN, GREENWOOD REACTION
audio interviews with Paul Hall and Eastbourne assistant manager Greenwood --->
I want to stay in Stags' back four, says youngster Naylor
SMILES of relief were etched across the faces of everyone connected to Mansfield Town today as a 3-1 win at Eastbourne Borough began to repair the damage done by last weekend's back-to-back defeats, reports John Lomas.
“That was a huge result for us – massively needed,” said assistant manager Paul Hall.
“We are very, very pleased to come down here and win after such a long journey. We knew a result here was going to put us in good stead. It was really, really important to get three points after last weekend.
“We wanted to do it for ourselves and for the fans. It's not nice to see your fans upset at home and now we want to give them a result at home on Tuesday and lots more after that.
“You can't disrespect Eastbourne. I know they are down there but they are a great team and battled hard and we let them back in it. They were at home and they are quite hard to beat here.
“It can be harder playing against lower sides but we came here and were very professional and did a magnificent job.”
He added: “Even at 0-0 I thought we were playing the ball around with Adam Murray and Kyle Nix marshalling the midfield well.
“I was pleased for Keigan Parker to get his goal eventually. After missing those two chances he probably thought it wasn't going to be his day. But he kept plugging away and that's perseverance for you.
“Young Tom Naylor was a man-mountain for us alongside the oldest player in the team. Ever since I came here he has never put a foot wrong but has had to wait for his chance.”
Naylor, one of six changes to the side, said: “Hopefully I have proved myself today.
“I am a confident person and I know my own ability. Now I just want to stay in this back four, stay strong and see what happens.
“I want to play against the big clubs and against the best players and hopefully I can do that in the next few games.
“Fozzy (Steve Foster) is a great leader alongside me and talks to you all game which is what you want.
“That was a massive win today after last weekend.
“It was a very hard game. We wanted to hit them early in the second half and get the second goal but instead they equalised.
“But we won it in the end and hopefully now we can get back into the play-offs spots where we belong.”
Ashley Cain also enjoyed a rare appearance, setting up the first goal, and said: “As a young player you are champing at the bit to play so when I got the nod today I couldn't wait to get out there and show them what I am about.
“My game is about getting at defenders and putting the ball across and today Nixy (Kyle Nix) got on the end of it with a great finish. It was a ground-out result in the end.”
'Perfect time' for Mansfield to add new faces to squad, says Hall
ASSISTANT manager Paul Hall feels this week will be the 'perfect time' to add new faces to the Mansfield Town squad.
The Stags were 3-1 victors at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday after making six changes to their team.
Ahead of tomorrow night's home game with Fleetwood Town, that has really intensified competition for places.
Hall believes new blood, which boss Duncan Russell is determined to secure over the next few days, will create yet more of a healthy clamour for first team spots.
"It's important to bring people in during January and it is a perfect time when you have just had an excellent away win," said Hall.
"It gives people a nudge and keeps them on their toes. It shows them they can't afford to relax.
"When you are expecting high standards of the players, as we are, it helps to have replacements who can come in when needed.
"January is going to be a tough month. We need to have people available to take the pressure off those who could otherwise be playing three games in a week."
Having lost their first two games of 2011, Hall admits it was a relief for the Stags to get off the mark on the south coast.
He said: "That's what we have in the squad: the ability and the character to keep bouncing back.
"We let ourselves down in our previous two games. I don't think anyone could say they turned up at Grimsby, while against Altrincham we did ourselves no favours with the chances we missed.
"But this was the type of response we were looking for, so all credit to the players."
While Hall and boss Duncan Russell were pleased with Mansfield's performance going forward, they were again disappointed the Stags conceded.
"If you look at our recent games, we have scored a decent amount of goals but we wanted a clean sheet and didn't get it," said Hall.
"We know we can go and score, we're always confident of that, but we want to start keeping them out – and it wasn't to be again. It is something we will keep working on.
"Having said that, both Tom Naylor and Steve Foster came in and did a very good job for us.
"Tom is still very young but I'm a big fan. He can pass the ball out from the back on the floor, as well as head and kick it.
"Foz is a true professional to come back after being out for a while and was an excellent foil for Tom."
Teenager delighted to play a part in Mansfield victory
TOM Naylor was pleased with the part he played in Mansfield Town's 3-1 victory at Eastbourne Borough.
The teenage central defender has been forced to bide his time for a first team opportunity since playing in the 1-1 draw with Gateshead in October.
But alongside Steve Foster, the former youth team player performed admirably to largely keep the Sports at bay and allow goals from Kyle Nix, Adam Murray and Keigan Parker to win it for the Stags.
"It was good to get back into the side and help the team to a great result after disappointment in our previous two," said Naylor.
"We needed that win badly and Eastbourne were not just going to lie down and give it us. They made us fight hard.
"It was disappointing from a defensive point of view that we couldn't keep a clean sheet, but that's football.
"The main thing was that we bounced back with the right result.
"From my own point of view, I'm a confident person and I believe in my ability.
"I missed a few headers, but I thought I handled it quite well overall."
Naylor was happy to be playing alongside an experienced campaigner in Steve Foster at Priory Lane.
They complemented each other well in a partnership that could well feature against Fleetwood tomorrow night in their Blue Square Bet Premier match at Field Mill.
Naylor said: "As a young lad you want someone with experience at the side of you – and Foz has exactly that.
"He's great to play alongside and he was giving me advice all through the game. He was keeping me on my toes and not frightened to give me a telling off!"
Victory highlights how every member of Stags squad has a part to play – Cain
ASHLEY Cain believes Mansfield Town's success at Eastbourne highlights that every single member of the squad can make a meaningful contribution.
The Stags made six changes on the south coast yet were still able to record victory after two disappointing defeats to start the year.
Cain was one of those drafted in for a rare start, along with the likes of Ryan Williams and Tom Naylor, who have also seen little first team action.
He feels all played their part – and will continue to do so whenever called upon.
"It's important to have a good squad, not just a first team, because you never know what can happen over the course of the season," said Cain.
"Players can get injured or suspended, or lose form, and you need people to come in and be able to cover for them well.
"I think we proved against Eastbourne that we have players in our ranks who can come in and do that. No matter who is thrown out there, we can go and get the right result.
"Personally it was great to be back in the side, I have been champing at the bit to get out there.
"What I'm about is trying to get at defenders and put crosses into the box, which is what I tried to do.
"Then it's all about someone getting on the end of it, which is what Nixy (Kyle Nix) did for the first goal."
Cain is urging Mansfield to capitalise on their sixth away win of the season by following it up with another three points against Fleetwood.
He said: "There is nothing better than winning in front of your own fans. It is a great stadium that can have a very good atmosphere.
"But we need to start putting some more points on the board there and we can do that if we put in a good performance."
Greenwood blames weak defending as Borough suffer sixth straight defeat
theargus.co.uk, By Steve Hollis
Head coach Nick Greenwood blamed weak defending as Eastbourne Borough slumped to a sixth consecutive defeat in Blue Square premier against Mansfield Town.
Jamie Taylor cancelled out Kyle Nix's opening goal in the 54th minute but Mansfield scored twice in the final 15 minutes through Adam Murray and Keigan Parker to win 3-1.
Greenwood said: "At 1-1 we should have gone on to win it nad probably would have done earlier in the season. We had to change our shape when Andy Atkin came off injured and that knocked the stuffing out of us.
"We weren't strong enough in the challenge for the second goal and the third goal particularly. We were lacking physical strength and that has been a constant factor in the last couple of games."
Teenager Naylor out to seize his chance at Mansfield
THERE would have been no-one more pleased to hear Duncan Russell say that everyone in the Mansfield Town squad would be getting a chance under his management than Tom Naylor.
It was back in April 2009 that the central defender first made his debut for the Stags, impressing in a 2-0 home success over Altrincham as a raw 17-year-old.
But the now 19-year-old has only seen sporadic first team action at Field Mill since, no doubt much to his frustration.
In the remainder of David Holdsworth's reign, Naylor was only called into action twice more as he spent a spell on loan at Alfreton Town earlier this campaign.
It was not until Steve Foster was shown a red card at Luton in late September, that Naylor got to don the amber and blue once more, coming on for the second half as Mansfield were forced to play out the game with ten men and went down to a 2-0 defeat.
The former youth team player was given licence to build on that performance when retaining his place for the 1-1 draw with Gateshead that followed.
However, Holdsworth then chose to bring in defensive reinforcements, with Rhys Day, Simon Grand and Steve Cook all being brought to the club on loan.
The result was that Naylor went, once again, to the back of the queue.
But things can change quickly in football. Mansfield have since appointed a new manager in Russell following Holdsworth's departure.
And when injuries to Day and Cook forced a rethink for the trip to Eastbourne, Naylor was duly given the nod to partner veteran Foster.
A 3-1 win at Priory Lane saw Naylor acquit himself well and this time he aims to capitalise with an extended run in the team, starting against Fleetwood Town at Field Mill tonight.
"I'm out to nail down a first team place. I want to play every week," said Naylor.
"Hopefully, in the game against Eastbourne, I showed I am capable of playing at this level.
"You have to have confidence in yourself, so I'm hoping to play against Fleetwood and in the game after that as well.
"In the long run, I want to be the first name on the team sheet.
"I can't really say if I have deserved a chance before now. That is for the gaffer and other people to decide, who have their own thoughts and opinions.
"All I know is that every training session I give 100 per cent, which has thankfully got me this chance."
Naylor admits there was a sense of relief for Mansfield to get their first win of 2011 at their third attempt in East Sussex.
He believes the team's tenacity can serve them well in the second half of the season – and earn them a place in the top five.
Naylor said: "We played at Cambridge and won 5-1 and we should have gone on from that but the two games that followed weren't the best.
"But we went away to Eastbourne on a very long journey and got the result we were looking for.
"Even when it went back to 1-1 we were still confident of winning because we know we have always got the players in the side with the ability to get goals.
"Adam Murray and Keigan Parker got us going again and it showed how determined we all are.
"We just have to try to find the right blend between defending well and attacking.
"Our aim is still to get into the play-offs. I think we have a great bunch of lads here and if we start playing consistently, we will get into them."
Mansfield have played three more away games than on their own patch, where they have stuttered either side of Christmas.
In their last five games on home soil, the Stags have lost three times, to AFC Wimbledon, Crawley and Altrincham, and won just once, against Hayes and Yeading.
"Our home form is important," said Naylor. "We need to get things going at home and it is important for any team to do that.
"We want to please our fans because we have not been brilliant there recently and we need to get back to winning regularly.
"Away from home we have picked up quite a few positive results and we need to start doing that at home as well."
Standing in the way of Mansfield tonight are a Fleetwood side who were comfortable 3-0 victors when the sides met at Highbury back in August.
It will be Naylor's job to help police one-time Stags target Magno Vieira, who scored twice on that occasion to inspire the Cod Army.
He said: "Vieira played well for them up there, but I enjoy playing against the good players and I believe I am capable of doing a job against the big teams.
"You want to play against the best and Vieira is one of the best strikers in this league.
"If I get the nod, then hopefully I can do my bit and help the side to another three points."
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