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Archived News from March 2011

28th March 2011 14:08


Mansfield keeper Grof pleased to show fans his true colours

DAVID Grof is delighted to have shown fans what he is really about after a shaky start to his Mansfield Town career.


With Alan Marriott out injured, the keeper was drafted in on loan from Notts County during January as cover for Neil Collett.

And when the former Coventry man picked up a knee problem, Grof was given the chance to prove his worth.

The Hungarian started uneasily and gifted Chasetown an FA Trophy quarter-final replay by dropping the ball into his own goal in the final minute of a 2-2 draw.

But the shot-stopper has since come back with some strong displays – most notably in the two FA Trophy semi-finals with Luton – to keep the fit-again Marriott out of the team.

Grof is set to retain his place in manager Duncan Russell's line-up for the home clash with fifth-placed Kidderminster Harriers today (12noon), which would be his eighth consecutive start.

"After what happened at Chasetown, I wanted to show even more how good I really am," said Grof. "I don't think it had helped that I had not played many games leading into that, but I tried to put it to the back of my mind.

"I think I have bounced back with some decent performances, so I'm pleased with that.

"Now my confidence is back and I'm hoping I can get some clean sheets under my belt.

"We have lots of games coming up at the end of March and in April and hopefully I can keep my jersey ahead of the other two keepers."


Mansfield goalkeeper Grof: Histon scare will do us good

DAVID Grof believes Mansfield Town's scare at Histon on Tuesday will give the players the jolt they need to re-focus after their Wembley high.


The Stags clinched a place in the FA Trophy final at the home of football by beating Luton Town 2-1 on aggregate last weekend.

Louis Briscoe's goal in the semi-final second leg sealed a vital 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road and sparked wild celebrations.

The team appeared to be suffering a collective hangover as they trailed 2-0 at the break against the bottom-of-the-table Stutes before eventually winning 3-2.

But goalkeeper Grof says that experience should help ensure a similar thing does not happen again in Mansfield's 12 remaining league games.

"Since I have been here, the last 30 minutes of the first half (against Histon) is probably the worst we have played," said Grof.

"We were favourites and after they had a man sent off, people expected us to score a few goals and win easily.

"But the gaffer had a bit of a go at us and that's what we needed.

"We had to try to stay professional, but we didn't do it very well.

"It didn't help that we went from playing in front of 6,000 to under 400 people.

"And I think you had to take into account that the boys had played 120 minutes.

"But we know we have to do better in the games coming up against some good sides and hopefully it will be out of our system now."

Grof feels Mansfield are in something of a false position because of postponements and FA Trophy games and expects the side to show that by winning some of their matches in hand.

They have currently played fewer games than any other side in the Blue Square Bet Premier and sit 12th.

He said: "The way we have played since I have been here shows we are a better team than where we are in the table, but now we have to go out and prove it.

"If we can turn some of the league draws into wins, then that will do the trick."

Tickets for Mansfield's visit to Wembley for the FA Trophy final against Darlington on May 7 will go on sale on Tuesday.

Season ticket holders get the first opportunity to purchase before tickets are put on general sale by the Stags from Wednesday.

They are priced £30 for adults and £15 for U16s and O65s


Harriers happy with squad for run-in
worcesternews.co.uk, Friday 25th March 2011, By Michael Reeves, twitter.com/michaelreevesWN

KIDDERMINSTER Harriers assistant boss Gary Whild revealed there are no plans to strengthen the squad ahead of tomorrow's Blue Square Bet Premier trip to Mansfield Town (noon).


The Aggborough number two and manager Steve Burr have faith in the team's ability to maintain their play-off push.

“I don't imagine us bringing in any new faces today,” said Whild, ahead of the closure of the loan window at 5pm tonight.

“We have secured Sean Canham until the end of the season and have faith in the players here who have done fantastically considering all that has gone on off the pitch.”

Harriers, who were without a match last weekend, saw their five-point cushion in the final play-off spot cut to two but they now have a game in hand over sixth-placed Fleetwood Town.

Their Field Mill trip will see the return of England 'C' international midfielder Jack Byrne after a four-match ban for his dismissal in the Darlington clash on February 22.

Harriers will also welcome back defender Mark Albrighton after he missed the AFC Wimbledon victory with a tooth abscess.

The Worcestershire outfit have announced four new deals with Whild and Burr penning contracts until the end of the 2014 campaign, while keeper Danny Lewis and midfielder Callum Gittings have signed two and one year extensions respectively.

“It is good that we are able to start planning for next season,” Whild added.

“In the past, this club have had to start from scratch each summer so it is good to be able to have some continuity.”

Harriers are taking a large support to Mansfield tomorrow with the club filling three coaches


Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Kidderminster Harriers
Evening Post, 25 Mar 11

Mansfield (from): Grof, Marriott, Silk, Naylor, Sandwith, Foster, Preece, Spence, Stonehouse, L. Briscoe, Istead, Thompson, Murray, Nix, Smith, Connor, Mitchley, O'Rafferty.


Kidderminster (from): Lewis, Vaughan, M. Briscoe, Albrighton, Williams, Gittings, Briggs, Shaw, Blair, McPhee, Wright, Canham, Byrne, Stevens, Morris, Matt, Hankin, Lowe.

Team news: Mansfield will almost certainly have to do without Ashley Cain (thigh), who missed the 3-2 midweek victory at Histon.

But Gary Silk (foot) and Kyle Nix (concussion) have returned to training.

Danny Mitchley (groin) and Dan Spence (hamstring) face fitness tests.

Mansfield are waiting to hear from parent club Stoke City if and when loanee Louis Moult (back) will be available.

Kidderminster are without Tom Sharpe (knee), but Mark Albrighton is expected to return after an abscess and Jack Byrne is back in contention after serving a suspension.

One to watch: Keith Briggs. The former Mansfield midfielder has been a 'steady Eddie' for Harriers as skipper all season, occupying a holding roll that enables his team to strike the right balance between attack and defence.

Manager. Steve Burr. The former Hucknall boss has steered his side to 11 games unbeaten and this week signed a three-year contract extension with Harriers after seeking reassurances about their future financial stability

Hall: Stags' small squad can cope with hectic run-in
Evening Post, 25 Mar 11

PAUL Hall admits Mansfield Town's squad is wearing thin, but insists they have enough to cope – even without reinforcements.


The Stags still have 12 games to play before the end of April, including a re-arranged Thursday night game with Bath City on April 14.

Already, the effects of a hectic schedule are being felt, with Ashley Cain (dead leg) unlikely to figure against Kidderminster tomorrow, while Danny Mitchley (groin) and Dan Spence (hamstring) are also struggling.

Kyle Nix (concussion) and Gary Silk (foot) also missed Tuesday's 3-2 win over Histon, although both are now back in training.

"We have got to look at bringing people in, because we are down to the bare bones," said assistant boss Hall.

"The squad is getting a bit thin, but a few months ago it was too big.

"We can, of course, call people back from loans like Conor Higginson, Luke Medley and Ben Turner and we will probably look to do that.

"It is a good chance for them to come in and show what they can do, as Tom Naylor has done so well.

"But the good thing is we know the 16 or so senior players we do have available can all come in and do a job."

Mansfield have accrued 49 points so far this season, but Hall is setting no targets for their final tally.

He said: "We just want to get somewhere near the play-offs and we know we can do that with a good run."


Briscoe excellence for Mansfield was only a matter of time, says Sandwith
Evening Post, 25 Mar 11

KEVIN Sandwith is not surprised by Louis Briscoe's second half of the season explosion in form, believing the winger has always had it within him.


Briscoe has been Mansfield's best player of 2011 and has bagged 12 goals since the turn of the year operating down either flank.

But the former Port Vale man has really hit the headlines in past week, following his goal that clinched Mansfield's place at Wembley against Luton with a superb hat-trick in Tuesday's 3-2 win at Histon.

"The 15 goals he has got this season is impressive for someone playing on the wing and he still has 12 league games left plus one we can't speak about to get up to 20," said defender Sandwith.

"That would be an exceptional effort and reflects the hard work he is putting in. He said to me before the Histon game that he fancied a hat-trick, but I didn't think he would get it when he missed the penalty, but his second half goals were excellent.

"He has bundles of energy and is strong and quick, he has all the attributes.

"Now he has added some consistency to his game and he can definitely go on and play higher."

Tickets for Mansfield's visit to Wembley for the FA Trophy final against Darlington on May 7 will go on sale on Tuesday.

Season ticket holders get the first opportunity to purchase, from 9am. Tickets will then be put on general sale by the Stags from Wednesday.

They are priced £30 for adults and £15 for U16s and O65s


Murray in no doubt that management duo are taking Stags upwards
Evening Post, 25 Mar 11

ADAM Murray is in absolutely no doubt – and believes there is no better week to highlight it.


In his eyes, any doubts over the impact that manager Duncan Russell and assistant Paul Hall have made since taking over the reins at Mansfield Town, have been swatted away by the club's achievement of reaching the FA Trophy final.

The journey through five rounds and eight matches unbeaten began with the management duo's second game in charge on a cold December midweek night at Ilkeston's New Manor Ground.

At the time, a 5-0 victory over Worksop barely registered a tremor on the club's Richter scale of importance.

Having just been kicked out of their Field Mill ground by landlord Keith Haslam, bigger issues seemed to be on the agenda.

But Mansfield got the job done, with a degree of comfort in the end, and led a delighted Murray to speak afterwards of the appreciation he had for Russell and Hall in trying to keep team spirits up during a difficult time.

Now three months on and with further cup victories over Newport, Alfreton, Chasetown and Luton under their belts, the team captain is no less fulsome in his praise for what they have achieved during unsettling times.

"I'm really pleased about Wembley for the fans because it gives them something to cheer about," said Murray.

"They have had a lot of downs in the last few years and this year there have been a lot of off-the-field hurdles

"To get there is terrific for them and I never dreamed this would happen when we were playing Worksop in December.

"With some of the positions the club has been in, you have thought, 'where do we go from here?'

"But I think you have to give a lot of credit to Russ and Hally because they have come in and sorted it out, even with everything going off.

"I think we have gone from what was one of the worst dressing rooms around at the time to one of the best.

"The priority when our old manager left was to turn things around and I think slowly they have done that. We are starting to see the results.

"Every dressing room I have been involved in that has reached the play-offs or a final has everyone pulling in the same direction.

"At the start of the season I don't think the club had that.

"But everyone wants to play for each other now and give that extra bit and the management deserve the credit for that."

The Stags claimed their place at Wembley without Murray, who was absent in both semi-final matches against Luton – which brought a 2-1 aggregate victory.

That was part of the agreement that saw Murray move from Kenilworth Road to Field Mill at the end of September.

It meant the midfielder went through 180 minutes of agony, particularly when he returned to his old stomping ground last Saturday.

He said: "It was absolutely horrible sitting out the two games against Luton.

"I knew it would be rubbish, but I didn't realise how bad it would be.

"I couldn't watch because it's out of your control and there is nothing you can do.

"You can do your bit in the dressing room before you go out, but that's it.

"We were out celebrating after the game on Saturday and I was telling some of the fans that I don't know how they can sit through a season – it's bad enough for a couple of games!

"I didn't even watch Louis Briscoe's penalty.

"I just heard the roar when it went in.

"But overall, with the scenes afterwards, Saturday was right up there in terms of great moments in my career."

Murray will come up against another of his former employers when Kidderminster Harriers, for whom he played 19 games in the second half of the 2003-04 season, visit Field Mill this weekend.

Like the Stags, the West Midlanders have been hampered this season by off-the-field troubles.

Yet Steve Burr's side have managed to climb firmly into the final play-off spots, which has brought respect from Murray.

"Looking ahead to my future, I think Steve has done what I would look to do – he has got the players on his side," said the 29-year-old.

"If they are all fighting your corner, that is half the battle, and they have certainly done that.

"He's a good manager who's done well at a number of clubs including Hucknall."

The game will see Murray come up against Kidderminster – and former team-mate Chris McPhee – for the first time this season.

The skipper was still with Luton when Mansfield were 3-1 winners at Aggborough back in August but left Kenilworth Road before the Hatters played them.

Murray said: "I have heard a lot of good things about them.

"We know they have some good players and have a reputation of trying to play in the right way.

"I know Chris from our time together at Torquay and he has done very well for them this season.

"He is a player who is not outstanding in any area, but he is very good in just about all and he's one of several players we will have to look out for."

Three points against the high-flying Harriers would certainly add credence to Murray's argument that the influence of Russell and Hall means Mansfield are finally heading towards better tim


Duncan Russell deserves his chance at Stags next season
Evening Post, 25 Mar 11

MANSFIELD Town boss Duncan Russell deserves a crack at leading the club to promotion next year if they win the FA Trophy at Wembley.


That's the view of captain Adam Murray, who says the Stags could be fighting for a top three finish in 2011-12 – if they are given the right backing.

Russell, together with assistant Paul Hall, took over the reins when David Holdsworth exited the club in November.

Chairman John Radford appointed the pair on a caretaker basis before confirming deals until the end of the season.

"If I'm honest, and I think he put his hands up and admitted this himself, Russ was a bit of a surprise choice," said Murray.

"But if you look at the situations he has had to deal with, you couldn't have asked for any more.

"The first thing he had to do was to stop us losing regularly and we have turned those losses into draws.

"Now our next hurdle is to turn those draws into wins – and I believe we can do that.

"You can always improve and I think we are two or three players away from being a really strong side who can challenge for the top-three places.

"If Russ is given the licence to bring in a few players who have done it at a good level, then I don't see why he shouldn't get a chance because you can't argue with his record.

"He has got a team to Wembley and if we go on to win it, hopefully it can be a springboard and bring some of the fans back."



Latest | March 2011