DARLINGTON PREVIEWS + DUFFY STAYS
Evening Gazette: Sources claim Wright was offered terms by Mansfield, with Connor part of the deal.
Wright's start in balance
by Andrew Wilkinson, Evening Gazette, Jan 25 2011
DARLINGTON are waiting to see whether Tommy Wright can face Mansfield at The Arena tonight.
The club has appealed against the red card he received, after coming off the bench for the second half, in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Tamworth, and expect to get the result of the appeal before tonight's game.
Quakers manager Mark Cooper said: “We think it was an unfair dismissal. We've gathered evidence using the DVD, photographs and statements, and we're hopeful we'll have it overturned.
“If we had 11 men I'm sure we would have won the game.”
Wright has not figured regularly this season, and the Gazette understands that he might have been playing for Mansfield tonight.
Sources claim Wright had been offered terms by Mansfield, with ex-Boro striker Paul Connor set to come to The Arena as part of the deal. But Mansfield also wanted cash for a player who has scored 11 goals this season, and that is understood to have been the stumbling block.
However the potential deal has not been confirmed by either club, and Wright remains a Darlington player, while Connor, who comes from Bishop Auckland, remains with The Stags.
Tonight's game is an intriguing one between two former members of the Football League. Mansfield are just outside the Blue Square Premier play-off zone, five points ahead of Quakers, though the Stags have played two more games.
Mansfield, who may include former Quakers skipper Steve Foster, have won six times on their travels.
Cooper said: “We would love a big turnout. We appreciate the good following we had at Tamworth.
“I never look more than two games ahead, and we have two important home games this week. With the players we have brought in we are better equipped than we were a few weeks ago.
“The players in the side know that they have to play well to stay in it, because we have competition for places.”
Cooper may name an unchanged side, giving on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker Nathan Modest another chance to shine.
Russ - We've turned the corner
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 24 Jan 2011
Duncan Russell is delighted with our recent string of improved results.
After starting the New Year with two straight defeats, Saturday's 1-0 win over Histon represented our third victory in four games as we continued our sharp turnabout in form.
Russ credited much of our winning performances to the players' ability to show patience whilst slowly breaking down our opponents - demonstrated perfectly by a 93rd minute winner against bottom-placed Histon at the weekend.
He said: "You have got to look at the last couple of results and they have been good results. We have beaten teams below us and above us.
"Its about having patience. You cannot go all gung ho because that has cost us goals in the past.
"I would love to entertain fans week in week out but sometimes you have to play ugly football like we did on Saturday.
"You have to show the same determination and will to stick to a game plan because at the moment, they are working.
"I know some fans thought that because it was Histon, it should have been six of seven nil but when you play teams from down there it's a dogfight."
Russ reserved particular praise for young goalkeeper Neil Collett who rewarded the Gaffer's decision to hand the 21-year-old a first ever league start with a clean sheet.
He added: "He put in a very good performance and kept a clean sheet. Neil played well against Newport and deserved a fair chance. I made a decision to stick with him and it paid off.
"We played well and the pleasing thing was that we defended well. The biggest thing was to keep a clean sheet which we haven't done for a while.
"We should have been a couple of goals up at half time and I think that if we had got an early goal, it would've been a landslide. I had no doubt that we would win the game."
In terms of transfer news, Russ confirmed that a fee had been agreed between us and Grimsby for the transfer of Rob Duffy but that the striker was unable to agree personal terms over the weekend. He also said that efforts were being made to extend 'keeper Kevin Pilkington's loan deal from Luton to beyond this friday.
"Rob went to Grimsby for a chat but it did not go as planned for him so he is still a Mansfield Town player.
"I will sit down with the Chief Executive Officer (Steve Barker) on Thursday to see about coming to an agreement about Kevin. I would like for us to have him longer but it looks like Luton do not want to lose him."
Finally, two players have been ruled out of making the 112 mile trip to Darlington for tomorrow night's game as Rob Duffy completes his three match suspension and Adam Smith (groin) is making good progress but is still a couple of days away from going back into full time training.
Matt Somner (ankle) has not yet fully recovered from an injury suffered during his loan stint at Altrincham but is expected to travel with the squad as is Rhys Day, who will be in contention for a place after sitting out recently with knee injury.
Mansfield defender Foster warns of tough task at old club Darlington
Evening Post, 25 Jan 2011
THEY'LL be no arduous coach journey for Steve Foster ahead of Mansfield Town's game at Darlington tonight.
It's normally the central defender who spends several hours a week ploughing up and down the roads from his Sedgefield family home to train with the Stags.
But this evening he will be able to put his feet up and relax while his team-mates travel north, safe in the knowledge he can make the 12-mile trip to the Darlington Arena in next to no time.
Foster spent almost three seasons with the Quakers before they dropped out of the Football League at the end of last season.
As such, this is a fixture that has been marked in the calendar since the 2010-11 fixtures were released – and not just because it will be his shortest trip for an away match this season.
"It was one of the first fixtures I looked for when I signed for Mansfield and I'm looking forward to it," said Foster.
"There are a few of the lads still there who I know such as Tommy Wright, Ian Miller and a few of the younger lads.
"I have still got a place up there with the Mrs and the kids and I find myself on the A1 all the time.
"It's like a home game for me. The facilities and stadium are second to none, especially in this division.
"They've had quite a few managers in the last couple of years but they have a good one now (Mark Cooper) and look to have steadied the ship.
"It will be two teams who are desperate to win to keep themselves in with a chance of a play-off spot."
Foster had an up and down time of things during his stint in the north-east.
He went there under his former boss at Doncaster Rovers, Dave Penney, with the club very ambitious to move up into League One.
But after coming close, the club eventually hit financial troubles and ended up exiting League Two in the other direction.
Foster said: "The first 18 months I had there, we had a very good side and with ambitions to win promotion.
"I was just disappointed that it didn't quite happen. We lost in the play-offs after being in a strong position at the turn of the year.
"We were put into administration, unfortunately, when we were top of the league and suffered a ten-point deduction.
"Then came the whole change to the side and it was a tough time last season which ended up with me leaving the club and them getting relegated. It's obviously not nice to be involved in that."
Foster eventually left Darlington in March, joining Blyth Spartans until the end of the season after failing to see eye to eye with then boss Steve Staunton.
"I had two more games left to play to trigger another contract," he said.
"The manager said he wouldn't be able to put me on that contract and would have to change it. I wanted to renegotiate something but he wasn't prepared to do it.
"I took that in other words that he wanted me out of the club. But I spoke to the chairman Mr Singh and I shook hands with him and I left amicably."
But there will be no divided loyalties when Foster takes to the field for his home-town club, determined to lead them to a third straight victory after home wins against Newport in the FA Trophy (4-2) and Histon (1-0).
Foster said: "They are in good form but we are looking to keep things going ourselves after back-to-back wins. We have to draw confidence from that.
"The game against Histon wasn't the greatest of games to watch, but it is important to win games like that.
"Darlington are a hard team to beat but if we can get at least a point, we will have done well."
Spotlight on Darlington v Mansfield Town
Evening Post, 25 Jan 2011
Darlington (from): Russell, Quinn, Brown, Arnison, Main, Miller, Smith, Taylor, Bridge-Wilkinson, Chandler, Verma, Hatch, Modest, Gray, Moore, Burn.
Mansfield (from): Collett, Pilkington, Silk, Foster Sandwith, Naylor, Stonehouse, Cain, Thompson, Murray, Nix, Istead, Briscoe, Williams, Medley, Connor, Parker.
Team news: Darlington will be without Tommy Wright, subject to a possible appeal, after he was sent off in the Quakers' 1-1 draw with Tamworth on Saturday.
Mansfield have Rob Duffy serving the final match of his three-game ban and are waiting on the fitness of Rhys Day (knee).
One to watch: Marc Bridge-Wilkinson. The goalscoring, former Port Vale midfielder joined Darlington permanently last week after a successful loan spell.
Manager. Mark Cooper. The former Kettering boss has lost just six of 25 league games in charge at Darlington, although the team will have drawn too many games for his liking
Collett selection sends out right message –Stags boss Russell
Evening Post, 25 Jan 2011, By matt halfpenny
NEIL Collett's inclusion for Mansfield Town's match against Histon has sent out an important message ahead of their trip to Darlington tonight, believes boss Duncan Russell.
The young keeper was chosen in the 1-0 win over the Stutes despite the more experienced Kevin Pilkington being available.
That came as a surprise to many fans but Russell insists it is important to show his squad he has no favourites and that players will retain their places if they produce the goods.
"It was a big decision to make to play Neil and I didn't take it lightly but I stick to my word. If the players can't trust me, then that's no use," said Russell.
"Neil did well against Newport and wasn't at fault for either of the goals.
"I spoke to Kevin Pilkington and told him my reasons and, like a good pro, he accepted it.
"I have come out and said that players will stay in the team if they do well, so it's important they perform.
"There were a lot of changes before but I will only make them if it's tactically right to do so or if players don't perform on the pitch or in training.
"I pick the team on merit and if the players follow that they have a good chance of keeping their shirt. If they aren't pulling their weight, they will be out."
Russell confirmed Rhys Day is back training after a knee problem but still needs match practice.
He said: "Rhys is just making his way back and I don't want to lose him for six or seven weeks.
"Players always want to play, but sometimes you have to say 'no', as I did for him against Histon."
Duffy in talks over move
chad.co.uk, Mon Jan 24 2011
STAGS have said that striker Rob Duffy could be leaving the club as they prepare for tomorrow's tough trip north to Darlington.
Duffy, with five goals to his name this season after two decent campaigns, has already spoken to BSBP rivals Grimsby Town and has another club tailing him too.
Duffy completes a three-match suspension tomorrow and manager Duncan Russell said: “Rob was granted permission to speak to Grimsby at the weekend but didn't come to an agreement over personal terms.
“It is not definitely over, though, and I am waiting a call from their manager.
“Another club is also interested in him so we will see what happens.”
Russell is still hard at work chasing new faces during the current transfer window and said: “I am still hopeful we can get someone in this week before the Wrexham game on Saturday.
“There are another couple of enquiries too but you can't do these things overnight as you are talking to players and then to agents and then have to wait for agents to talk to the players before you speak to them again.
“We will keep trying but if the right players are not available for the right price then we won't bring anyone in for the sake of it.”
Rhys Day and Tom Naylor are both in tomorrow night's squad after injury but Adam Smith and Matt Somner won't be risked and it is hoped they will be fit for the weekend.
Russell must once again choose between keepers Kevin Pilkington and reserve Neil Collett, who kept a clean sheet on Saturday, away to the Quakers, who are five games unbeaten and will be without the suspended Tommy Smith.
Woods confirms Town's interest in Mansfield striker Rob Duffy
thisisgrimsby.co.uk, 25 Jan 2011
MANAGER Neil Woods has confirmed Grimsby Town's interest in Mansfield striker Rob Duffy, but remains tight-lipped on whether a transfer to Blundell Park is imminent.
Reports in Nottinghamshire at the weekend linked the 28-year-old Welshman with a switch to Cleethorpes this week.
Woods says things haven't gone that far, but did reveal his admiration for the man who scored for the Stags in their 7-2 drubbing at Blundell Park on New Year's Day.
He also said discussions are continuing with former Birmingham and Hull midfielder Bryan Hughes after he trained with the Mariners yesterday.
Woods said: "We've had a look at Rob Duffy (pictured) and he's a player we like, but nothing is going to happen with that yet.
Latest | January 2011