Video interviews with Louis Moult, David Grof and Duncan Russell --->
VIDEO: Russ on 'massive' cup tie
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 03 Feb 2011
Manager Duncan Russell has outlined the importance of getting a positive result in this weekend's FA Trophy tie with Alfreton.
A win over the Blue Square Bet North title-favourites, who have a 100% record on their travels this season, would put us just two rounds away from an appearance at Wembley in May.
In team news, 'Russ' has a completely fit squad to pick from with the exceptions of winger Adam Smith and goalkeeper Alan Marriott who both sit out with groin injuries.
He added: "It's a massive cup tie for us. They are a good side, I've had them watched for a few weeks and got reports on them. They've been near the top of their league all season and have got some experienced players.
"Stridy (Ex-Burton skipper Darren Stride) and (our new signing) Louis's brother (Jake Moult) are just a few of their really good players and they will come here to win the game.
"We just need to make sure that they don't get it."
Meanwhile, deadline day signing and Stoke loanee striker Louis Moult, who may his debut in the game, is excited about the prospect of lining up against his brother Jake who could feature in The Reds' midfield.
He said: "Stoke are a few divisions higher (than Stags) but my brother plays for Alfreton in the league below and I've watched a few games so I know what its all about.
"(Whilst on loan) at Bradford earlier in the season I didn't score as many goals as I would've liked but I was playing on the wing and I'm a centre forward really. I'm hardworking and hopefully I can chip in with a few goals.
"It'll be the first time it (playing against Jake) has ever happened. My brother rang me last night and he's buzzing.
"They seem to have a good squad but they've lost a couple of players recently. Their centre half (Aden Flint) has gone so that could be a bit of a weakness for them - hopefully, anyway, for my liking. They're doing well, they're a solid team but I think we'll give them a good game."
Fellow new arrival David Grof (pictured), who has joined us on loan from Notts County until the end of the season, will be going up against Neil Collett for the no.1 jersey on Saturday - a challenge he says he is relishing.
He added: "I came in under Craig Short at Notts County, I was the youngest goalkeeper at the club so I knew it would be difficult to get into the side. I went on loan to Tamworth but was called back after only six games to sit on the bench.
"When Rob Burch (County's reserve 'keeper) came back from injury, I found myself at no.3 again and I knew that I needed to get some more experience.
"First I just want to get to know the boys and the set up but then get the no.1 jersey. He (Collett) is the same age as me and very talented but I'm up for the challenge.
"I played against some of the best players in the world when I was at Hibs. I played against Barcelona and kept a clean sheet - that's against Messi, Eto'o and Thierry Henry so I don't think it can get any harder than that. I'm up for the challenge (of the BSBP) and I want to test myself."
Moult in running to start in Mansfield's FA Trophy tie with Alfreton
Evening Post, 3 Feb 2011
LOUIS Moult could be thrust straight into the Mansfield Town team for their FA Trophy derby clash with Alfreton Town, manager Duncan Russell hinted today.
The pressure-cooker atmosphere of what could be Field Mill's biggest crowd of the season is likely to test the 18-year-old Stoke loanee.
But Russell has every faith the young striker will cope, if he is given the nod.
Moult's chances are enhanced because Danny Mitchley has not nailed down his own place in the last two games playing alongside Paul Connor against Darlington and Wrexham.
And Keigan Parker, though back in training, may not be match fit after missing the last two weeks with an ankle injury.
"I've brought him in with a view to starting games, no question," he said.
"At the start of the week Paul Connor had a bit of a problem and Keigan Parker has also been struggling, which left us with two strikers.
"But even if everyone is fit, Louis has got a chance. I will pick the 16 on merit and see how they train first."
Russell wants to see Moult given every chance to prove his goalscoring credentials.
The Stoke-born player was loaned out to League Two Bradford City before Christmas but operated mainly on the wing.
Russell said: "I've brought him in to play up front – that's where he plays.
"It's nice to have a player who can play in different positions in case you need to change things.
"But I can see him being so dangerous up front, he has got that bit extra about him.
"He's hungry to do well and score goals. He doesn't want to stay at Mansfield Town for good, he wants to be knocking on the first team door at Stoke, but that's good while he's here.
"They (Stoke) know what type of league and what type of standard he will be playing at while he's with us."
Mansfield's injury worries look to be clearing up, although winger Adam Smith has suffered a setback with his groin injury.
He came on last weekend in the 3-2 defeat against Wrexham but was pulled out on training earlier in the week.
"He didn't look right against Wrexham and it was the same in training, so I've told him to go and get some more treatment," said Russell.
"I think it's just that he was so keen to get back in the squad when he really should have been a bit more honest about his injury.
"If the physio says he looks okay and he says he's fine, you have to take a player's word for it because only they can know if they are still feeling pain.
"He may have a scan now to check there is nothing more sinister."
Moult dreaming of sibling rivalry
chad.co.uk, Thu Feb 03 2011
Mansfield new boy Louis Moult will be hoping to make his debut this Saturday and put one over on his brother in what is sure to be a white-hot atmosphere at Field Mill when the Stags entertain in-form local rivals Alfreton Town in the FA Trophy (3pm), writes Tom Head.
This clash is one of the more notable ties of the third round and 18-year-old striker Moult, who joined on loan from Stoke this week, could come face to face on the field with older brother Jake, who plays for the high-flying Reds.
Rated highly enough by Tony Pulis to earn himself a two-year contract at the Premier League outfit, he has some League experience too, having spent the earlier part of the season at Bradford.
“Bradford was a good experience for me, even though I was played out of position a lot of the time,” he said. “.I scored once, but was put on the wing when I'm a centre forward. I want to be up front and scoring goals”
This desire to put the ball in the net will only be intensified by a certain someone in the Alfreton side - Louis' brother Jake, a central-midfielder, is set to be playing for Town on Saturday, and this could be the first time that the sibling rivalry has made it into a professional environment if both play.
Louis said: “When we were growing up, it certainly was competitive. We learned from each other but I would always end up chasing his shadow - he'd probably try and beat me up if we win!”
The banter will be a little less light-hearted come Saturday afternoon.
Moult was one of three transfer window deadline day signings on Monday.
Another was David Grof, a young goalkeeper with a lot of confidence, who has been brought in to provide some competition for Neil Colllett and is likely to begin the day on the bench.
Signed just before the transfer window closed from Notts County, the Hungarian is on loan until the end of April and relishing the chance to play for the Stags.
He said: “I'm here to gain some experience, I'm up for the physical challenge the Conference has to offer, and I believe Mansfield should be in the Football League.”
Grof (21) has already impressed early on in his career. Although his time at County has been short and included a six-day loan spell at Tamworth, it was at Hibernian where he had his finest hour.
In the summer of 2008, Hibs took on Barcelona in a glamorous pre-season friendly. By the time their Catalan counterparts had stuck six past the Scots, Grof came on for the last 20 minutes, an experience he will never forget:
He said: “I was facing people like Messi, and Henry. Even though we lost 6-0, we didn't concede while I was on the pitch, and so I can say I kept a clean sheet against Barcelona!”
Also bolstering the defensive ranks on deadline day was right-back Dan Spence, a graduate of the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain, who can also play left back and in midfield.
Working with former Stags boss George Foster, a trial was arranged for Spence and, after impressing in training, boss Duncan Russell offered him a contract.
Saturday's renewal of rivalries between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire appears to be too close to call.
Alfreton are flying high in the Conference North, and have won all seven of their away games in a season decimated by postponed fixtures.
They are four points off the top in their division, with six games in hand on leaders Nuneaton Borough. Losing once all season, their charge towards the Blue Square Premier looks impervious. Even their FA Trophy form has been formidable, knocking six past Cambridge in the previous round.
Mansfield have been a relatively free-scoring side, but their mid-table struggles have been down to the 46 goals they have shipped this season. Only the bottom three have conceded more league goals.
Winning on Saturday would leave Mansfield just three games away from a Wembley final, but Russell knows Alfreton will not make it easy for them and said: “The cup is a level playing field and we don't have a divine right to say we should win. Alfreton are a success because of their determination and will to win.
“It's still an exciting time, all the players want to reach the final, and I would love to lead them out at Wembley, but we have to take these games one at a time.”
Russell also defended his policy of investing in youth, and spoke highly of the new additions to the team, saying: “These three will give us the strength in depth that we need. There is now more pressure on positions, and players know they have to perform to keep their place in the team.
“I wasn't ready to throw a lot of money at 'journeymen', who wanted ridiculous amounts of money and Moult and Grof are rated very highly by their clubs.”
Mansfield are still without goalkeeper Alan Marriott and front man Adam Smith is back on the treatment table after last week's cameo role against Wrexham, but new trio Grof, Spence and Moult are all available to bolster the squad.
With just under 1,000 Alfreton fans expected and reduced ticket prices still on offer for just £12 for adults and £6 concessions, another bumper crowd is hoped for at Field Mill, after last week's barnstorming encounter with Wrexham.
Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Alfreton Town
Evening Post, 4 Feb 2011
Mansfield (from): Collett, Grof, Silk, Spence, Foster, Sandwith, Day, Naylor, Stonehouse, Cain, Murray, Thompson, Nix, Istead, Briscoe, Medley, Connor, Moult, Mitchley, Parker.
Alfreton (from): O'Donnell, Dillon, Law, M. Wilson, Stride, Franklin, Hall, Brown, L. Wilson, Arnold, Clayton, Hearn, Turner, Moult, Ross.
Team news: Mansfield are set to be without Adam Smith, who has suffered a reoccurrence of his groin injury.
But Keigan Parker (ankle) has returned to training and could be in contention.
Louis Moult, Dan Spence and David Grof will all hope to get their first taste of Mansfield action after being drafted in on Monday as boss Duncan Russell's first signings.
Anthony Howell will miss out against his old club through suspension while Paul Lister is cup tied after playing for Hinckley in an earlier round.
Josh Law is rated 50-50 with a thigh injury. Richard O'Donnell will make his de but in goal after joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.
One to watch: Liam Hearn. The striker has scored 15 goals in 14 starts and five substitute appearances for Alfreton this season, forming a deadly partnership with Paul Clayton, who has netted 14 times.
Manager. Nicky Law. Was linked with the job at Field Mill before Duncan Russell's appointment, but has stayed loyal to the Reds since May 2007 and has a good chance of leading them into the Blue Square Premier come the end of the season.
Moult relishing showdown with brother as he eyes Mansfield debut
Evening Post, 4 Feb 2011
LOUIS Moult is out to fire Mansfield Town to FA Trophy victory against derby rivals Alfreton Town tomorrow – and earn bragging rights over his brother at the same time.
The 18-year-old striker is in line to make his Stags debut after joining from Premier League Stoke City on loan.
He knows the match is one of the biggest of his new club's season, especially with Notts-Derbyshire pride at stake.
But he also has a personal interest in finishing on the winning side as brother Jake is in the Alfreton squad and could line up against him.
"If we do play against each other, it would be the first time we will have done it, so I can't wait," said Moult.
"Jake's three years older and we always played football together in the garden, so I would be the one running around chasing shadows.
"We used to do everything together and we were always really competitive, even playing FIFA on the Playstation.
"He's usually been the one to get the better of me – and if not, he's usually beaten me up!
"But hopefully, things will change tomorrow and I can help Mansfield get through in what is a massive match.
"The only pity is that there is a family wedding on the day, so not everyone can make it, but hopefully our dad will be there."
Spence aims to make most of second chance at Mansfield after Spanish spell
Evening Post, 4 Feb 2011
HE feared it was the end of his dream. Instead it proved to be the start of one of the most rewarding chapters of his life.
Dan Spence always wanted to be a professional footballer from the time he chose to support Arsenal, just like his dad.
He admired a young Ashley Cole and dreamed of one-day emulating his success and making it as a Premier League player.
The right-back's hopes of playing professionally were still on course in his teens when he was taken on by hometown club Reading, where he was once Steve Coppell's tea-boy.
But Spence's hopes were shattered when he was released from the Royals having failed to make a big breakthrough, leaving him to wonder, 'what next?'
The answer was something that not only transformed his way of life, but has eventually given him a second chance at the professional game with Mansfield Town.
Spence was picked up by the Glenn Hoddle Academy out in Spain and has been working out in Jerez for the last 18 months. One recommendation later – from former Stags legend and academy employee George Foster – and Spence, now 21, secured the trial from which he has earned a deal at the Stags until the end of the season.
"I have been out of the professional game in England for 18 months, so I'm delighted to get this chance at Mansfield," said Spence, who hopes to be in the squad to take on Alfreton in the FA Trophy third round tomorrow.
"When I was released by Reading it was a bad time, but then I was recommended to the Glenn Hoddle Academy by one of the club's coaches and ended up out there.
"They obviously have good contacts with clubs and they put me in touch with Duncan Russell.
"Luckily I was able to impress him enough in my trial and now it's up to me to make the most of it.
"The good thing is you can tell the manager and the chairman have the ambition to take the club forward.
"I know Mansfield's a big club and they want to be in the Football League.
"Hopefully we can still get in the play-offs this season."
Spence revelled working for Hoddle out in Spain, where he felt he learned so much as a person, as well as a player.
In addition to training, players were also given the chance to play for Spanish League Two side Jerez Industrial.
Spence said: "It's something I'm really glad I did now looking back. I've improved a lot since I've been there.
"The coaching from Glenn Hoddle himself and the others is excellent. It was a great experience to learn from someone who has played international football.
"You sign on for Jerez Industrial as well, which gives you competitive action.
"It was good to mix with all the English and Brit players in the team, but you also learned about the Spanish culture as well. The climate was also a bit different!
"It's an experience that not many people will get at that age, so getting released by Reading wasn't an entirely bad thing in the long run."
While in Berkshire, Spence played out on loan for then-Blue Square Bet Premier sides Woking and Salisbury. He believes those experiences will come in handy.
"I know the style of play that a lot of teams adopt, I had a good 20-odd games at this level," said Spence. "Hopefully, it will give me a heads up on what to expect."
Facing Messi and Eto'o means Mansfield holds no fears for Grof
Evening Post, 4 Feb 2011
MANSFIELD Town holds no fears for goalkeeper David Grof having faced Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o in the past.
The 21-year-old was drafted in just before Monday's 11pm transfer deadline on loan for the rest of the season from neighbours Notts County.
The Hungarian is hoping to get himself some first team action after finding himself behind Stuart Nelson and Rob Burch at Meadow Lane.
"I have played against some of the best players in the world in Messi and Eto'o," he said. "It doesn't get any harder than that, so I believe I can do well here.
"That was in a pre-season friendly for Hibs and, though we lost 6-0, at least I can say I didn't let in any of the goals after coming off the bench!
"I love English football and always followed it, so I want to make a success of it here."
But Grof (pictured) will have to fight hard for a start with boss Duncan Russell saying: "Neil (Collett) retains the shirt until he does something that means Grofy needs to be put in."
Skipper Murray wants Mansfield team to learn a plan B
ADAM Murray believes Mansfield Town must learn to adopt a Plan B in matches.
The Stags captain was 'gutted' to lose an end-to-end game with Wrexham last weekend 3-2 when leading 2-1 at the break.
And he feels the team must address the problem of defending too deeply.
"We played really well for the first hour against Wrexham but then we dropped in too much and couldn't get out," said Murray. "We always knew we were going to be put under a bit of pressure but we have to learn how to weather it.
"We have to impose ourselves again like we did in the first half and change it. Whether that means changing the formation, I don't know.
"I'm sure the manager (Duncan Russell) and Hally (Paul Hall) will be looking at it to see how we can be better."
Murray is pleased to see new arrivals this week in the shape of striker Louis Moult, right-back Dan Spence and goalkeeper David Grof.
"It has increased the competition and means a lot of people are fighting for their careers, not just a place in the side," he said.
Mansfield take on Alfreton in a keenly-anticipated FA Trophy third round game at Field Mill this afternoon.
Murray hopes the home fans will generate a similar kind of backing to that he experienced against the Red Dragons.
"It really does make such a difference and more of the same against Alfreton would be fantastic," he said.
Clayton now plotting Stags' downfall as Alfreton's Trophy adventure continues
By chris watson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4 Feb 2011
ALFRETON Town hot-shot Paul Clayton is hoping to produce more FA Trophy heroics this weekend as the Reds aim to move a step closer to Wembley.
Clayton hit a hat-trick to help knock out Cambridge United and set up a trip to another Blue Square Bet Premier side, Mansfield Town, in the last 16 of the competition.
Alfreton travel to Field Mill tomorrow, with a place in the quarter-finals and £7,000 prize money at stake.
And after seeing off Cambridge on their own patch – 6-3 after extra-time in a replay following a 3-3 draw at the Impact Arena – Nicky Law's Blue Square Bet North title-chasers believe they can cause another upset.
"Our main priority is still the league, as we want to be playing the likes of Cambridge and Mansfield week in, week out next season," said Clayton, who also scored in the Trophy wins against Hyde and Kendal Town.
"But if we could keep going and maybe even get to Wembley, that would be unbelievable – a dream come true.
"This is another massive game for us. It should be a tasty tie and a good day out for the fans.
"It was a great feeling to score a hat-trick in the replay against Cambridge but all the lads did well.
"We were the underdogs but we matched them in every department and, in the end, we were the fitter side.
"It would be nice to score another hat-trick at Mansfield but I would take scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory!
"We have a squad of lads now who believe they have enough in their locker to take the next step up.
"They say there is a big difference between the Conference North and the Conference Premier but people at Cambridge said after our games that we would comfortably be a mid-table side in their division.
"We will be underdogs again against Mansfield but we will be going for the win. We won't be holding back.
"We've started to show that we can perform in the big games and there is a strong belief within the squad. We're more relentless this season."
Alfreton will be cheered on by more than 800 travelling fans, with some tickets for away supporters still available.
Law, who was this week named BSBN manager of the month for January, is set to give a debut to goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell.
O'Donnell, 22, has been drafted in on a month's loan from Sheffield Wednesday after recent signing James McKeown opted to take up the offer of playing in Holland and left the club without playing a game.
Meanwhile, forward Anthony Howell misses out on the chance to face his former club as he serves the final game of a three-match ban.
And chairman Wayne Bradley has revealed there will be no loan return for defender Aden Flint, who recently left Alfreton to join League One side Swindon Town in a club record transfer.
Flint was given the option to rejoin the Reds for the remainder of the campaign but has decided to stay and fight for a first-team place at Swindon, having been on the bench for the past two games.
With Anthony Wilson and Chris Hall having been loaned out to Matlock Town and Stocksbridge Park Steels respectively until the end of the month, there are likely to be more new faces arriving at the Impact Arena in the next week or so.
"The fans can look forward to at least two more new faces coming into the club in the next few days and we will be strengthening still further if necessary," said Bradley.
Latest | February 2011