Wembley talk ban as Stags boss hits back at Luton manager
CHAD.co.uk, Monday 21 March 2011
STAGS boss Duncan Russell today branded Luton manager Richard Money 'a sore loser' and told Mansfield Town's players that mention of Wembley is now banned until the end off the season ahead of their BSBP league trip to bottom side Histon tomorrow night (7.45pm).
Money believed the referee got key decisions wrong on Saturday as the Hatters had two players sent off and conceded a late penalty in Stags' nail-biting FA Trophy semi-final success at Kenilworth Road on Saturday and also allegedly made comments to Stags' assistant manager Paul Hall.
But, in his final press conference in which he will discuss the FA Trophy before the 7th May final, Russell today said: “I am not happy with what Richard Money said to Paul Hall, who is one of his former players. He said they had battered us and we needed to learn how to win.
“But we're the ones who won the tie and we're the ones who are going to Wembley.
“I am going to call him 'Mr Richard Mancini' from now on, because his handshake was like when Mancini shook (Mark) Hughes' hand.
“It was pathetic and I can't stand poor losers. You have to be chivalrous in defeat and modest in victory.
“No one likes losing, but you have to have respect for other managers whether you want to shake them by the hand or by the neck.
“You have to keep your feelings private and for a man of his experience it has shocked me really.”
On the 'Wembley ban', he added: “This is the last time I will mention Wembley now. We will put it to bed. We are going there on 7th May and will think about it nearer the time.
“In the meantime we will stay professional and I don't want to hear the lads talking about it.
“Histon's manager will think we are going there on a high tomorrow and it is probably the best time to get hold of us. Instead we must go there and show them why we are going to Wembley. We must make a statement and come out of the game with three points.”
Stags are now 14th, 16 points off the play-offs with five games in hand but refused to concede their promotion dream is over.
“I know our chances are slim but while ever we can mathematically do it we will scrap and fight every point we can get to try and get on a run as other teams are slipping up,” he said.
“I know what my players are capable of and any of them not performing at their optimum could jeopardise their chances of starting at Wembley.
“It is not just about what happens on a Saturday. It is all about the effort and enthusiasm they show from Monday to Friday too. The Wembley shirts are up for grabs.”
That begins tomorrow at a Histon side who are 10 points from safety and have lost four on the bounce.
Russell said: “We needed a late winner to beat them up here. They need the three points and won't be sitting back and didn't play at the weekend so will have fresh legs.
“Our fans will expect us to win but we will show Histon respect. They are a resilient side and very dangerous.”
Louis Moult (back strain) is unlikely to figure while decisions have also to be made on Kyle Nix (concussion), Ashley Cain (thigh strain), and Gary Silk (knee).
With such a hard 120 minutes of football on Saturday, Russell admitted he may have to tweak things tomorrow with skipper Adam Murray ready to step in for Nix while Adam Smith would be a straight swap for Cain.
If Silk is ruled out then Dan Spence would switch to right back with Paul Stonehouse at left back.
He could also use Kevin Sandwith there and recall Steve Foster to centre half
Stags in line for £250k cash windfall
MANSFIELD Town hope to pocket at least £250,000 from their FA Trophy run and Wembley visit – with a chunk of that earmarked for next season's playing budget.
The Stags have already claimed £42,000 in prize money for their five victories en route to the May 7 showpiece against Darlington.
They will also be handed a further £50,000 if they win the competition, or £25,000 if they finish as runners-up.
But the club have also benefited with a share of their gate money from matches with Worksop, Newport, Alfreton, Chasetown and the two semi-final legs with Luton.
And with the promise of more revenue to come from Wembley ticket sales, merchandise and other spin-offs, it is welcome cash that chief executive Steve Barker says can help spur a serious play-off push in 2011-12.
"We have spoken to the chairman and the directors at York (who reached the final in 2009) and they made £200,000 to £250,000, so we can use that as a benchmark.
"We will push to try to make as much profit as we can and we are meeting today to discuss ways to do it.
"We would like to see 20,000 to 25,000 people going because it's a great occasion for the town. John (Radford, chairman) and I will be sitting down and looking at how much money from this we can put towards the playing budget. I can't say how much but there definitely will be some."
Russell fires 'Wembley' warning to players ahead of Histon test
DUNCAN Russell today warned his Mansfield Town players they risk losing their places for Wembley if they coast through to the end of the league season.
The Stags visit Histon tonight just three days after clinching a place in the FA Trophy final against Darlington on May 7 thanks to Saturday's 1-1 draw at Luton that resulted in a 2-1 aggregate semi-final triumph.
Russell was happy for his players to let their hair down that night, have a drink and celebrate on Saturday night.
But he is demanding his troops now get their minds back on the rest of their Blue Square Premier campaign where they still have more games (13) left to play than any other team in the division.
He said: "The players have to do it in the league as well as the FA Trophy and if any of them are not up to their optimum performance levels I will know.
"If they are not up to scratch, then those players will be jeopardising their chances of playing at Wembley.
"They have to be professional and maintain their standards.
"I said when they came in yesterday morning that we have to put Wembley to bed for now.
"Can they do it? Well, we are going to find out because most of them and myself as a manager have not been in this position before."
Russell expects a far-from-easy ride at Histon, even though they are bottom of the table and ten points off safety.
Russell added: "When you are playing teams in a dogfight, you don't know what you are going to get. Our fans will expect us to beat every side below us."
Stags boss hits out at 'sore loser' Money
MANSFIELD Town manager Duncan Russell today hit out at his Luton opposite number Richard Money, accusing the Hatters manager of being a sore loser.
The Stags booked their place at Wembley for the FA Trophy final by drawing 1-1 after extra-time at Kenilworth Road on Saturday, having won the first leg 1-0 at Field Mill.
Mansfield were understandably delighted, but Luton were left unhappy about the performance of referee Graham Scott, who sent off two home players and awarded a penalty against them.
Money voiced his displeasure at the Oxfordshire official's display after the full-time whistle at the weekend.
But it was comments that Russell says were made by the Luton manager towards the Stags' assistant, Paul Hall, which has enraged him.
And he was also unhappy about the traditional handshake at full-time, which he compared to the one between Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and Fulham's Mark Hughes, where the former was said to have failed to make eye contact.
Luton are due to visit Field Mill for a league clash on Saturday April 16.
"Richard Money apparently said to Paul that they battered us and we have to learn how to win," said Russell.
"But we're the ones who won the tie and we're the ones who are going to Wembley.
"I am going to call him (Money) Mr Richard Mancini from now on, because his handshake was like when Mancini shook (Mark) Hughes' hand.
"I can't stand poor losers. You have to be chivalrous in defeat and modest in victory.
"No-one likes losing, but you have to have nothing but respect for other managers whether you want to shake them by the hand or the neck.
"You have to keep your feelings to yourself and for a man of his experience it has shocked me really."
Meanwhile, Ashley Cain (thigh) and loanee Louis Moult (back) look likely to miss Mansfield Town's clash at Histon tomorrow, while Gary Silk (knee) faces a fitness test and Kyle Nix (concussion) must first consult a doctor.
Russell said: "I don't think Ashley will be ready for tomorrow but you never know.
"We are waiting for the results of another scan with Louis, but he will likely be out.
"But we are expecting to see him back here from Stoke at some point and we want him back."
Stags boss Russell: Teen ace Naylor has it all
FROM relative obscurity to the likelihood of a Wembley appearance – it's been quite a season for teenage defender Tom Naylor.
The story of the 19-year-old's 2010-11 is a clear lesson to any youngster with talent that patience is truly a virtue.
Although Naylor was rated highly enough to be given a two-year contract by now-departed boss David Holdsworth, there was a sense that he was generally regarded as too raw to throw into first-team action at such a tender age.
Naylor did appear in Mansfield's 1-1 draw with Gateshead at the start of October, but before the month was out he had been sent out on loan to Blue Square North near-neighbours Alfreton Town.
That put paid to any immediate hopes of the former Ashfield School pupil adding to his senior starts, but the exit of Holdsworth in November brought a change in fortune.
On-loan defenders Simon Grand and Steve Cook were allowed to leave, Steve Foster was suspended and Rhys Day was sidelined with a knee injury that has now ended his season.
Suddenly, Naylor was thrust into the limelight once more as new boss Duncan Russell handed him an opportunity.
Things started well as the Stags triumphed 3-1 on the south coast at Eastbourne.
However, his next game brought disappointment – and not just because of a 5-2 home reverse against Fleetwood.
The former youth team player was ruled out with a hamstring injury and, once fit again, was forced to watch on in frustration as Foster and Kevin Sandwith enjoyed a run as the central defensive pairing.
However, an unfortunate illness to Foster let Naylor back in – ironically to face former loan club Alfreton on their home ground for a 2-1 FA Trophy third round replay win – and he has never looked back.
That run in the team culminated with an imperious display as Mansfield clinched their Wembley spot in the FA Trophy final with a 1-1 draw at Luton's Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
Defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Naylor did not put a foot wrong and held the Stags together at the back when the Hatters threatened to take control.
It was a display that marked him out as the best prospect to come through the Field Mill ranks since Alex John-Baptiste.
Typically, though, Naylor remains phlegmatic and modest about his progress, even if he did everything he could to savour the memorable occasion at Kenilworth Road.
"Every game I play I just try to keep my nose down, win my share of headers and do the basics well," said Naylor.
"The Luton game was probably one of the best games I have had since I came into the side and it was nice to do that in a big game.
"Saturday was a great day and means everything to me because I used to watch the club.
"I know exactly what it means to the fans, who were going mad at the end. I wasn't born for the last Wembley trip, but I have heard all the stories.
"My dad came down to the game and my mum and step dad came down too and they always support me. It was my step dad who first took me to Stags.
"Wembley will be great but we know we have to concentrate on the league and the game against Histon (tonight)."
The corresponding game at Field Mill, which Mansfield won 1-0, was one of those Naylor missed during his injury absence.
Russell is looking forward to seeing the former youth team midfielder back in action in Cambridgeshire and is unequivocal that it is only a matter of time before Naylor is playing in the Football League.
He said: "It is not going to be long before people are knocking on the door about him.
"I spoke to Kevin Sandwith about him and asked him what he thought and he said the best compliment he could pay him for one so young is that he didn't have to think for him.
"He makes great decisions. Yes, he has made the odd mistake, but he is still learning and we all make them when we're learning.
"In training again yesterday he showed he is such a cut above other players I have seen in his position.
"You look at the forwards they had at Luton, yet he stopped people playing. He is definitely capable of playing at the next few levels."
If Russell is right, then you sense Naylor's predicted May outing against Darlington at the home of English football may not be his last
Spotlight on Histon v Mansfield Town
Histon (from): Welch, Oyebanjo, Clerima, Livermore, Mills, L. Smith, Okay, Stevenson, Sparkes, Murray, Riza, Dowie, Sessions, Okojie, Lawton, Stewart, York.
Mansfield (from): Grof, Marriott, Silk, Naylor, Sandwith, Foster, Spence, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Thompson, Murray, Nix, Istead, A. Smith, Connor, Mitchley, O'Rafferty.
Team news: Histon are missing Lee Wootton and Zac Attwood through suspension for sendings off while keeper Joe Welch is back from his own one-game ban.
Midfielder Lewis Taffe could miss out with a knock picked up in last week's 4-3 defeat to Kettering.
Mansfield are again likely to be without loan striker Louis Moult (back) and Ashley Cain (thigh) is also set to miss out with a thigh problem picked up in Saturday's FA Trophy game at Luton.
Kyle Nix suffered concussion in the same game and must see a doctor before it is established if he is available, while Gary Silk (knee) faces a fitness test.
But the Stags are set to welcome back Adam Murray after he was unavailable for the clash with the Hatters after moving from Kenilworth Road earlier in the season.
One to watch: Lanre Oyebanjo. Part of the Histon side that reached the play-offs and beat Leeds United in the FA Cup in 2008-09, had a trial at Oldham last summer and has been a consistent performer throughout this campaign at either right-back or as a central defender.
Manager: David Livermore. The player-manager could come back into the Stutes' side after missing their last game because he had been up all the previous night while his wife gave birth to their second child
Latest | March 2011