MURRAY OUT OF SEMI-FINAL, AND NOW MOULT TOO
Audio interview with Adam Murray from BBC Radio Nottm, explaining how he pleaded with the Luton assistant manager.
Stags owner gambling on Wembley victory!
CHAD.co.uk, Friday 11 March 2011
MANSFIELD Town owner John Radford has offered the Stags players an extra incentive to overcome Luton in Sunday's FA Trophy semi-final first leg at Field Mill.
Writing in the programme for the big cup tie, Mr Radford has revealed that the players will be handed an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas if they lift the FA Trophy at Wembley in May.
The Stags face a daunting trip to Luton for the second leg of the semi-final next Saturday and will be looking to gain an advantage in the first leg at Field Mill on Sunday, kick-off 12noon.
Murray's angst at absence from Mansfield's FA Trophy tie with old club Luton
Evening Post, 12 March 2011
ADAM Murray could hardly have more of a reason to wish for Mansfield Town to reach the 2011 FA Trophy final.
Just under a year ago, the 29-year-old cut a dejected figure as injury denied him the chance to fulfil an ambition to play at Wembley.
As his Oxford United team-mates celebrated promotion after a play-off final victory over York, the midfielder was left to rue a back injury that ruled him out of the second half of the campaign.
Now, for a second time, the midfielder's dreams could cruelly be ended through no fault of his own.
A quirk of fate has dictated Mansfield have been paired with Luton Town in the two-legged semi-final – the very club Murray left to join the Stags.
The Birmingham-born player was, of course, desperate to take on his old colleagues.
But an agreement made when the player first signed for the club before Christmas means he can't figure in either of these FA Trophy matches, nor the league clash between the two sides in April.
It is immensely disappointing for the Birmingham-born player, who has done his best to set a positive example since being handed the skipper's armband.
Defeat against the Hatters would mean kissing goodbye to playing under the famous arch for another season.
Yet he retains the belief his team-mates can help keep alive his dream of leading the team out in north London, even though their opponents are overwhelming favourites.
"I missed out on playing at Wembley with Oxford, which was pretty hard to take at the time," he said.
"I had played an important part in the side up until January and was captain before I had to have an operation.
"Even though I got to pick up the trophy it wasn't the same. It would be good to go back and be able to play this time.
"I don't think I have anything to prove to Luton, I think I have done enough in my time to show what kind of player I am, but I was obviously keen to get the better of them in this one.
"It's a blow not to be able to play because my focus has been on trying to help Mansfield to Wembley and we are only a couple of games away.
"This is going to be the most important part of the season.
"If you look at the league we are still in with a shot of the play-offs, although we are going to have a lot of games in hand and have to catch them up.
"Realistically, though, when you have a chance to go to Wembley you have to put that at the top of the list for importance.
"To get out of this league is still a key ambition, whether this season or next, but this semi-final is a big opportunity."
After signing for Luton from Oxford in the summer, Murray was set on leading the Kenilworth Road club back into League Two.
But after falling out of favour following seven appearances at the start of the campaign, he was lured by David Holdsworth to join the Stags on loan.
That move became permanent in January, Murray's third spell at Field Mill.
With so many of the same faces still at Luton, the former Derby trainee is in a good position to assess the threat they will pose.
Murray said: "There's no doubt it's going to be a big step up against Luton
"They are a passing team, but we know we will have to mix it up as well because they are strong in all areas. We are going to have to put our bodies on the line."
Mansfield full-back Spence out for own taste of cup success
Evening Post, 12 March 2011
DAN Spence is desperate to lead Mansfield Town to a Wembley appearance after missing out on Reading's recent FA Cup exploits.
The full-back was released by the Royals prior to them beating Liverpool in last season's FA Cup.
They have also accounted for Everton on their way to this season's quarter-finals.
But after signing for Mansfield in January following a spell at the Glenn Hoddle Soccer School in Spain, Spence has now broken into the first team.
And with now just a two-legged FA Trophy semi-final tie against Luton – the first at Field Mill tomorrow (12 noon) – between the Stags and a trip to the capital, he is eager to enjoy some cup success of his own.
"I've never personally been involved in a cup run like this before because it was just after my time at Reading that they started doing well," said Spence.
"But it's great to be part of it now and an appearance for any club at Wembley is massive for any club, no matter what level you are at, which is what we have a chance of doing.
"I don't know much about Luton – they are a team I have never come across in my relatively short career so far.
"But they have been in the league and they are doing well in the Blue Square Bet Premier this year and looking good for a play-off place.
"I'm sure I will be busier than I was on Tuesday against Chasetown and we will probably go in as underdogs.
"But I'm sure if the fans get behind us then we can get a decent result which will set it up nicely for the second leg."
Mansfield will be without the services of Adam Murray against his old club as part of the agreement that saw him join the Stags in the autumn.
And while Spence admits that is a setback he insists Mansfield are well equipped to cope.
He said: "It is a massive blow because Muzza is our captain and he's been influential in all the games I've seen and been involved in, and probably those before that as well.
"But at the same time we have got plenty of people who can fill in, do a job and be just as strong.
"We certainly can't afford to worry about it too much. We have to make sure we are strongly focused on what we have to do."
lutontown.co.uk, Fri 11 Mar 2011
Just 180 minutes separate the Town from a second Wembley appearance in three years and manager Richard Money is hoping his side can set themselves up for the second leg by beating Mansfield in Sunday's first leg at Field Mill.
While the Hatters' young stars have helped the club to the latter stages of the tournament it's the turn of the senior pros to do the business against the Stags.
When prompted to see if his team on Sunday would consist of first team regulars the boss simply answered "we want to get to Wembley."
Goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington is likely to be one of the changes that Money makes for the trip north having made it clear that the stopper - who has already played on-loan at Mansfield this season - would be his number one for the rest of the competition.
But with a big league match with Cambridge on Tuesday, the Hatters boss is approaching the tie with some caution after the first leg was put back to Sunday at the request of Nottinghamshire Police.
"It's a difficult one, isn't?" he said. "Maybe for once somebody should be in the manager's shoes! It could be argued that Tuesday is far more important than Sunday but we want to go to Wembley and want to take the supporters to Wembley.
"It's a difficult balancing act and we'll have to see where we go. Most players in this day and age can cope with two games in three days. We've done it before in October and we'll do it again over Easter.
"Bearing in mind our hectic schedule it might take its toll on a few at some stage.
"Sunday's match should be no problem because we've had a day's extra rest between the Tamworth game and the Mansfield one, but the way we repair and cover after Sunday in readiness for Tuesday is crucial and that's the difficult part."
Mansfield come into the game off the back of their quarter-final replay win over Northern League Chasetown and the manager is well aware of the threat that Duncan Russell's outfit pose.
"Along with ourselves their one of the so-called 'bigger' teams in the division and they try to play football the right way," Money said.
"We're going to have to be very good over the two games to achieve what we want to achieve.
"It's the first leg and it's a double-edged sword. You just want to stay in contention for next week but putting yourself in the driving seat would make things a heck of a lot easier.
"But we'll approach it like we do any away game - by wanting to play the right way and to trying to win."
Joining Kevin Pilkington in the squad for the trip to Field Mill is Adam Newton whose recovery from an Achilles injury has surprised even the Town boss.
The former West Ham trainee hasn't featured since September's 2-0 win over the Stags at Kenilworth Road and has been recovering ever since an operation.
"Adam trained this week and is in the squad for Sunday," Money confirmed. "It's given everyone around the place a boost. He's a very popular member of the dressing room and is a good voice to have around the place.
"Dan Gleeson has a slight knock on the knee and we'll assess him on Saturday while Shane Blackett is probably a week from returning to fitness as he continues to recover from a groin operation."
Ed Asafu-Adjaye is also in the squad but cup-tied duo Robbie Willmott and Paul Carden cannot feature. Willmott, however, is available for selection for Tuesday's trip to his former club Cambridge after overcoming a thigh strain.
While the Town look for a first leg lead on Sunday, the manager will be looking out for the results of Crawley and AFC Wimbledon in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday.
The Red Devils make the long journey to Fleetwood whilst the Dons entertain in-form Kidderminster.
"It'll be different watching the results come in on Saturday," he said. "The two teams above us in the table have two difficult games so all we can hope is that the opposition of those teams can do us a favour."
VIDEO: Hall 'We've 180 minutes to reach Promised Land'
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 10 Mar 2011
Assistant manager Paul Hall says his players should be proud to be just 180 minutes away from Wembley.
Although seperated by 10 places and 19 points in the BSBP, Hall believes that we have nothing to fear from Luton as we stand toe-to-toe in the last four of the FA Trophy.
"It's the biggest game of the season and the biggest game in some of these players' lives," he said. "To be involved in Semi-Final against a team with such a good history can only be a good thing and we're looking forward to it.
"To play in a game of this magnitude and to go and win it would be massive for some of these players. It'll have a massive effect in their lives.
"They're (Luton) up there on merit and they're in these Semi-Finals on merit but so are we. We can't afford to look at the history, we can give them respect but as soon as the whistle goes, we've got 180 minutes to get to the Promised Land."
In a message to the fans, the 38-year-old for Jamaican international called for a large crowd on Sunday to give the players a mental boost as we look to take an advantage into the second leg to be played at Kenilworth Road in 10 days time.
He added: "They're just another team in front of us who we've got to knock down to get to where we want to go.
"Come in your droves because we need all the support we can get to make this place a fortress. Luton will come here fancying themselves and we need to make them as uncomfortable as we can."
In team news, three players are set to miss out on Sunday's game. Defender Rhys Day underwent a knee operation earlier this week and is not expected to feature again this season whilst skipper Adam Murray is barred from facing his former side due to the terms of his transfer from Luton in January.
Loanee striker Louis Moult will also sit out with a back injury and under the instruction of medical staff at his parent club Stoke City.
Hall explained: "We've got a problem with Louis Moult who went to see a specialist this morning. He is not going to be right which is a big blow for us but it's another opportunity for someone else to step in and show what they're about.
"We've got to play it by ear. He belongs to Stoke who don't want him to perform for us at this moment in time so we have to look after him."
On the prospect of progressing past Luton and into the Final on May 7th, winger Louis Briscoe added: "Luton are probably a bit unfortunate to be in this division but we've got to not fear them and enjoy it.
"The pressures off us and all on them. They're expected to win this game and the competition so we can go out there and just enjoy it.
"It's (a Wembley appearance) obviously in the back of my mind. We're two games away and I think we've got more than a good chance to get through to the final."
Stags striker Moult set to miss first leg of crunch FA Trophy tie with Luton
Evening Post, 10 Mar 2011
LOUIS Moult is almost certainly out of the first leg of Mansfield Town's big FA Trophy semi-final with Luton Town at Field Mill on Sunday.
The striker, who has impressed since joining on loan from Stoke City, was forced to sit out Tuesday's 3-1 quarter-final replay win over Chasetown with back trouble.
And despite treatment, it seems the injury will not have cleared up in time for him to face the Hatters.
It means Danny Mitchley is set to continue to deputise.
"We have got a problem with Louis. We have spoken to a specialist this morning and he's not going to be right," said Hall.
"We are not sure how long it will take, we just have to play it by ear. He belongs to Stoke and they don't want him to perform at this moment in time.
"But it's another opportunity for someone to step in and show what they can do."
Moult is the second player to be ruled out after it was announced captain Adam Murray would not play against his former side as part of the agreement that saw him join the Stags in the autumn
New Trophy blow for Mansfield
chad.co.uk, Thursday 10 March 2011
AFTER losing skipper Adam Murray for both legs of their semi-final with Luton Town, Mansfield Town were today dealt another FA Trophy blow with the news that on-loan striker Louis Moult is unlikely to play in Sunday's first leg at Field Mill (noon).
The teenager aggravated an existing back problem at Tamworth last weekend and missed the midweek quarter-final win over Chasetown on the advice of parent club Stoke City's medical staff.
Stoke said today that Moult's back was still not right and, as things stood, he would not be available on Sunday unless there was a sudden and significant improvement.
Murray is unable to play due to an agreement between the clubs that he would not be able to play against Luton this season after joining Stags from the Hatters.
Kyle Nix looks certain to replace him while Danny Mitchley, who scored against Chasetown, is set to continue in place of Moult up front.
Mansfield have now gone seven games unbeaten while the Hatters have only lost once in their last 18 outings but have only won once in the club's 10 visits to Field Mill.
With Luton expected to sell their 1,800 allocation, Stags are hoping for a 5,000-plus crowd with reduced admission prices of £14, £7 and £2
Skipper Murray out of Mansfield's FA Trophy semi-final against old club Luton
Evening Post, 9 Mar 2011
MANSFIELD Town captain Adam Murray has been ruled out of both legs of the club's FA Trophy semi-final tie with Luton Town.
The 29-year-old cannot play as part of the agreement made when he moved to Field Mill from the Hatters earlier this season.
That is a blow to Mansfield for whom Murray has been a consistent performer in recent weeks.
He scored the Stags' first goal in their 3-1 quarter-final replay win over Chasetown last night – his fourth since signing for a third spell.
Murray has also been ruled out of the league meeting between the two teams in April
Murray blow for Mansfield
chad.co.uk, Wednesday 9 March 2011
MANSFIELD Town were today dealt a blow to their Wembley ambitions when they learned skipper Adam Murray would not be able to play in the two-legged FA Trophy semi-final with his former club Luton Town.
The influential Murray joined Stags from the Hatters on loan at the start of October, one game after Stags had lost 2-0 at Luton, and signed permanently at the start of this year.
Although knowing he was unable to play in the return BSBP league encounter at Field Mill next month, Stags were unsure if the wording of the agreement covered the cup too but today announced it did.
Murray's absence may give a chance to Kyle Nix or Stevie Istead although Dan Spence can play in there too.
Luton visit Field Mill for the first leg at noon on Sunday
Money hits out at FA over Mansfield tie
lutontoday.co.uk, Wednesday 9 March 2011 13:49
Hatters forced to play on Sunday afternoon
Luton Town boss Richard Money has hit out at the FA for organising Town's FA Trophy semi-final first leg tie at Mansfield on Sunday afternoon, writes Mike Simmonds.
The Stags earned the right to face Hatters after seeing off Chasetown 3-1 in midweek, but with Town in action away at Cambridge the following Tuesday, Money warned he may have to rest some of his stars.
He said: “That makes life difficult for us. It would have been nice for people to show us a bit of consideration.”
Mansfield striker Connor admits play-off bid is long shot
Evening Post, 10 Mar 2011
PAUL Connor admits Mansfield Town's quest for a play-off place is now a long shot – because the Stags have such a tricky run-in.
The Stags have games in hand on all the teams between them and the top five because of postponements and FA Trophy games.
But a number are against high-flying sides or those bidding to avoid relegation.
Mansfield have still to travel to Crawley, AFC Wimbledon and York, while hosting Luton, Kidderminster, Rushden, Grimsby and Gateshead.
They will also visit Hayes and Yeading and Histon and host fellow strugglers Barrow and Southport.
Not only that, but their two-legged FA Trophy semi-final with Luton Town over the next two weekends means league clashes with Bath City and Histon (now March 22) must be re-arranged.
It makes an already packed fixture list even more congested and is sure to mean some heavy limbs in the Mansfield dressing room.
But Connor insists the Stags will not give up, even with the odds stacked against them.
"We have to go again in the league as if it is the start of the season and see how many wins we can get," said Connor.
"As long as we can make the play-off positions, that's what we'll be going for, but it is going to be tough.
"On our day we are as good as anyone – it's just we haven't had the consistency. If we find that, you never know."
Assistant Hall hopes Mansfield are on the Money against Luton
Evening Post, 11 Mar 2011
PAUL Hall today revealed his own personal motivation helping Mansfield Town to Wembley – getting the better of former coach Richard Money.
The Stags play the first leg of their FA Trophy semi-final tie with Money's Luton Town at Field Mill on Sunday.
They are bidding to make their first trip to England's national stadium since their famous Freight Rover Trophy win of 1987.
The significance of the two matches has not been lost on assistant-manager Hall, who knows it is a huge occasion for the club and the town.
But he would also consider it a feather in his cap to knock out someone who he respects from their time together at Walsall.
"I played under Richard and like any ex-player you want to get the better of a former manager," said Hall.
"You wish them all the best in all they do, expect when they come up against you.
"It will be interesting to compare myself to him tactically now I am coaching as well.
"He's a good coach, having been at some good clubs, and I would like to think I have picked up some things from him that I now use myself."
Mansfield's on-loan striker, Louis Moult, missed Tuesday's 3-1 quarter-final replay victory over Chasetown with a back injury.
He is almost certain to miss out again on the advice of parent club Stoke City, but Hall is backing his likely replacement to do a job.
He said: "Danny Mitchley did himself no harm against Chasetown. He's a very good player and he showed the other night he gets into some very good goalscoring positions."
Striker Mitchley eager for FA Trophy crack at Luton
Evening Post, 11 Mar 2011
DANNY Mitchley is itching to play in Mansfield Town's biggest home game of the season against Luton Town, where a place at Wembley is at stake.
The Stags face a two-legged FA Trophy semi-final against the Bedfordshire big-hitters for the right to meet either Gateshead or Darlington under the famous arch on May 7.
Mitchley was drafted into the side to replaced back injury victim Louis Moult for Tuesday's quarter-final 3-1 replay win over Chasetown and responded by weighing in with the third goal.
Now he hopes he will retain his place against the Hatters for the vital first leg on Sunday, with Moult almost certainly ruled out.
However, he is well aware either himself or the teenager will be left disappointed against Richard Money's men.
Mitchley has made just three starts and a handful of substitute appearances since joining the Stags in November, scoring three times.
"I got a couple of games in towards the end of January (at Darlington and against Wrexham) after scoring a couple of times off the bench," he said.
"But it is frustrating when you train with the rest of the lads and then they go out on the pitch while you're on the bench.
"You just have to bide your time and wait for your chance and keep trying to do the right things in training.
"I enjoyed playing the other night and just hope I've done enough to keep hold of my shirt and shown I deserve it because I am desperate to play.
"Everyone is looking forward to the Luton games because there is a lot to play for
FA Trophy: Spotlight on Luton v Mansfield
Evening Post, 11 Mar 2011
Line-up (from): Grof, Marriott, Silk, Naylor, Sandwith, Foster, Spence, Stonehouse, Cain, Istead, Nix, Thompson, Briscoe, Smith, Connor, Mitchley.
Team news: Skipper Adam Murray is ineligible to play as part of the agreement that saw him switch from Mansfield to Luton earlier this season.
Louis Moult has a back problem and is poised to miss out, with Danny Mitchley likely to deputise.
Rhys Day has already been ruled out for the rest of the season after having a knee operation earlier this week.
Line-up (from): Luton: K. Pilkington, Tyler, Gleeson, Murray, Keane, G. Pilkington, Barnes-Homer, Kroca, Lawless, Howells, Gnakpa, Owusu, Walker, Crow, Morgan-Smith, Graham, Poku, O'Donnell.
Team news: Luton are definitely without long-term injury victims Adam Newton (calf), Charlie Henry (ankle), Shane Blackett (groin) and Alex Lacey (bruised bone), while ex-Cambridge duo Robbie Willmott and Paul Carden are cup tied.
Alex Lawless is expected to figure in midfield after successfully returning from a hip injury in the 2-0 win over Tamworth in midweek.
One to watch: Zdenek Kroca. The 6ft 5ins central defender from the Czech Republic is a real threat from set pieces and a steadying influence at the back.
Manager: Richard Money. The one-time Liverpool player took over the reins at Kenilworth Road in October 2009, having previously managed at Scunthorpe and Walsall, as well as in Sweden and Australia.
Five meetings to remember: September 1989: Mansfield 3 Luton 4 The Division One Hatters had won the League Cup in 1988 and finished runners-up in 1989, but were pushed all the way by Mansfield at Field Mill. The return at Kenilworth Road saw the Stags go down 7-2 and 11-5 on aggregate.
November 2001: Mansfield 4 Luton 1 Chris Greenacre (2), Martin Pemberton and Shayne Bradley netted in a memorable day for Billy Dearden's men in a battle of the promotion contenders, the only disappointment being late red cards for the latter two players.
April 2002: Luton 5 Mansfield 3 Revenge was sweet for Luton in the return match as the Stags were well beaten despite strikes from Adam Murray Scott Sellars and Chris Greenacre. Both sides went on to automatic promotion.
September 2002: Luton 2 Mansfield 3 Mansfield's last win at Kenilworth Road came in a season the Stags fought unsuccessfully against relegation from what is now League One. Liam Lawrence, Scott Sellars and Iyseden Christie netted the visitors' goals.
August 2009. Luton 4 Mansfield 1 After thumping Crawley 4-0 on the opening day of the season, the Stags were brought crashing down to earth with this heavy defeat. Scott garner gave Mansfield an early lead but Luton powered back to win convincingly with two goals from George Pilkington, a Tom Craddock penalty and a Kyle Perry own goal
Pilkington staying professional ahead of potential Mansfield return with Luton
Evening Post, 11 Mar 2011
THE irony of the situation has not been lost on him and he admits it will be a slightly surreal afternoon.
But that will not stop Kevin Pilkington doing his utmost to deny Mansfield Town a place in the FA Trophy final at Wembley if he plays against them in Sunday's semi-final first leg against Luton Town.
Either side of Christmas, the club's regular goalkeeper during the Stags' promotion season of 2001-2002 returned to Field Mill on loan from Richard Money's team to fill in for the injured Alan Marriott.
It was only a matter of weeks ago that he was lining up alongside the likes of Adam Murray, Paul Connor and the rest for Mansfield as they took on Fleetwood Town in the Blue Square Premier.
Yet the man who turned 37 on Tuesday – the day Mansfield secured their progression to the last four with a 3-1 quarter-final replay win over Chasetown – could be now be lining up for the Hatters against the Stags.
In another twist of fate, Pilkington is only available for Luton because of their insistence he did not get cup tied in earlier rounds with the Stags.
It was that scenario that saw Neil Collett establish himself as Mansfield No.1 for a short time and sideline Pilkington prior to him being called back to Kenilworth Road at the end of a second month's loan.
"I always knew this could potentially happen, especially after I saw the quarter-final draw, where the Blue Square sides were all drawn apart," said Pilkington.
"I had hoped this game might be the final at Wembley but it doesn't always work out that way.
"It was said all along that Luton were likely to call me back from Mansfield and I was happy with that arrangement.
"It will be strange going back to Field Mill so soon, but I am a Luton player and I will just get on with it if I'm selected. Hopefully we can come out on top.
"It's a chance to get to Wembley if we win and I have never played there before.
"I was in the Manchester United squad when they won the FA Cup final in the 1990s against Liverpool when Eric Cantona scored.
"But Sir Alex (Ferguson) chose not to have a keeper on the bench, but all outfield players, so I wasn't involved.
"It would be great to put that right and playing there is a massive prize."
Pilkington has figured in Luton's victories in the last two rounds of the Trophy, against Gloucester and Guiseley.
But he has played second fiddle to Mark Tyler for league action and feels unsure he will be given the nod this time, even though boss Richard Money has stated he will be his number one for the competition.
Pilkington said: "I don't know who is going to play. I've played the last two rounds, so hopefully I will be selected again. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.
"It's the same for the rest of the squad – they don't know if the gaffer will change it around like he has done in previous rounds or play the first team.
"But whatever team is picked it will be a strong 11 because there are a lot of good players to choose from."
Luton are fighting with Crawley and AFC Wimbledon to go up automatically to the Football League as Blue Square Bet Premier champions.
But Pilkington does not believe that will diminish the Hatters' thirst for getting to Wembley.
"It's a great opportunity for both teams and I know our players will be just as keen to get to Wembley as Mansfield's," he said.
"Promotion is obviously a big prize for us but that doesn't mean we will give anything less in this.
"You want to win every competition you are in and we believe we can keep it going on both fronts."
Luton boss Money has got on record as saying that the semi-finals of the FA Trophy should be just one leg in midweek. He believes the current format causes too much disruption to the league programme.
Pilkington said: "The best solution would be a neutral venue and a one-off match where it goes to extra-time and penalties if need be.
"That way it is done and dusted because now we have got a lot of games to pull in during the week, as have Mansfield.
"They are playing on Tuesday in between the two legs, like us, and then the Tuesday after the second leg as well.
"That might be manageable earlier in the season, but it's a very tough ask now."
As it stands, though, no matter what the score, nothing will be decided on Sunday afternoon.
Hope will spring eternal for Pilkington – or Mansfield – until a week tomorrow at least
Latest | March 2011