MEDLEY BACK AT FIELD MILL / MOULT LEAVES
Strikers on the move
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 28 Mar 2011
Luke Medley has today returned to Field Mill following a one month loan spell at Aldershot, while fellow front man Louis Moult has returned to his parent club Stoke City.
Medley made four substitute appearances for the League Two side but was unable to find the net for Dean Holdsworth's side.
18-year-old striker Moult scored twice in six starts but was lately sidelined with a back problem before returning to the Britannia Stadium
Mansfield Town loan striker returns to parent club
Evening Post, 28 Mar 2011
MANSFIELD Town have today lost the services of striker Louis Moult as the youngster has returned to parent club Stoke City.
The teenager impressed during his six games at Field Mill, scoring twice in the 3-3 draw with Newport County.
But he has been troubled by a back injury, which has seen him missed a good chunk of games in his second month in north Nottinghamshire.
However, the Stags have been bolstered by the return of Luke Medley from his loan spell at Aldershot.
He made four substitute appearances for Dean Holdsworth's League Two side
Stags welcome back Medley to ease striking problems
Evening Post, 28 Mar 2011
MANSFIELD Town will bid to ease their striker crisis by welcoming Luke Medley back into the squad for tomorrow night's clash at league leaders Crawley.
Medley was sent out on loan to League Two Aldershot after being given a public dressing down by manager Duncan Russell for his 'unprofessional attitude'.
But Mansfield are in desperate need of more firepower after their 2-1 home defeat by Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.
With Stoke loanee Louis Moult (back) and Danny Mitchley (groin) missing, the Stags turned to youngster Niall O'Rafferty to partner Paul Connor in attack.
But he struggled to make an impact and the re-appearance of Medley – who has scored six times off the bench this season – will strengthen Russell's hand ahead of the trip to the Broadfield Stadium.
"It was disappointing that we couldn't bring anyone in (ahead of Friday's loan deadline) and in terms of the FA Trophy we couldn't have added anymore anyway," said assistant manager Paul Hall.
"But Luke Medley will be back with us from today and that will be a massive boost for the team.
"Luke has been away playing for a league team and he can only have learned good things from that.
Mansfield Town's Hall backing Medley to fill void left by Moult
Evening Post, 29 Mar 2011
PAUL Hall admits losing the service of Louis Moult is a serious blow to Mansfield Town – but is backing Luke Medley to fill the void.
Teenager Moult has returned to Premier League Stoke City because of a back injury.
But the loanee's exit has been cushioned by the return of Medley from a one-month loan at Aldershot.
The former Bradford man is in immediate contention to start at league leaders Crawley Town tonight.
"It's a huge disappointment to lose Louis because in this league you are as good as your forwards and I believe he was one of the best," said assistant manager Hall.
"But there was no prospect of him playing for the rest of this season and we have to respect he is not our player.
"He got on well with the fans and players and enjoyed it, so hopefully he might think about coming back next season.
"Luke will definitely come into the reckoning at Crawley because his attitude in training yesterday was first-class. It was like having a new player.
"He looks very sharp and has always had it in him but now he is looking very hungry as well.
"He's never really established himself as a regular starter (his six goals have all come off the bench), but I know he will be determined to do that and he definitely can, especially in this mood."
FA Trophy finalists and play-off contenders Mansfield Town are next up at the Broadfield Stadium for more Blue Square Bet Premier action on Tuesday and Reds boss Steve Evans is expecting a tough encounter.
Led by manager Duncan Russell the Stags travel to Crawley in a confident mood after recently beating high-flying Luton Town over two legs to qualify for the FA Trophy final spot at Wembley. The Stags are expected to be at full strength and will be very dangerous opponents in what is a big night for the Reds. The evening will start with a minutes' applause in memory of Bruce Winfield who sadly lost his battle with cancer last week. Let us all ensure this brings the house down as without his massive contribution Crawley Town would not be what it is today.
Manager Steve Evans has a number of injuries and a suspension to Dannie Bulman to consider before he makes his team selection. On the plus side, Richard Brodie and Kyle McFadzean are back after suspension and Willie Gibson is now 100% ready to return. Michel Kuipers, Scott Neilson and James Dance are injured whilst skipper Pablo Mills will be subject to a late fitness test.
Speaking to the press on Monday morning Steve said: "We are all looking forward to playing at home after two very tough away matches at Eastbourne Borough and Gateshead respectively.
"Mansfield Town are a decent team, they have some excellent players and a good manager in Duncan Russell. I watched Mansfield recently beat Luton in The FA Trophy. They deserved to win and played some super football. No one should think anything other than the fact that this is one of the toughest matches we have left this season.
"We have a few injuries to key players and we will of course miss Dannie Bulman but that is why we have the squad in place that we do. The good news is that Richard Brodie and Kyle McFadzean are available whilst Willie Gibson is now ready to play again. We had Willie on the bench on Saturday at Gateshead but he needed a few more days to be spot on. The wee man is raring to go.
'' The boys have come back in this morning and they are looking fresh. This lot love training and playing, it is a pleasure to work with them.
'' They all know Mansfield Town are a decent side and only a big performance will be enough to get the result we want."
Supporters are advised in the interests of safety and comfort to arrive in plenty of time as the routes around the Broadfield Stadium are expected to be congested. The match kicks off at 7.45pm
Spotlight on Crawley Town v Mansfield Town
Evening Post, 29 Mar 2011
Mansfield (from): Grof, Marriott, Silk, Naylor, Sandwith, Foster, Preece, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Istead, Thompson, Murray, Nix, A. Smith, Connor, O'Rafferty, Medley.
Crawley (from): Kuipers, Wilson, McFadzean, Wassmer, Howell, Gibson, Simpson, Hunt, Torres, Tubbs, Brodie, Rusk, Jordan, B. Smith, McAllister, Cook, Dempster.
Team news: Crawley are likely to be without Michel Kuipers (thigh), Scott Neilson (foot), James Dance (ankle) and Danie Bulman (suspended).
Pablo Mills (ankle) will face a fitness test.
For Mansfield, Danny Mitchley (groin) and Dan Spence (hamstring) are both 50-50 after missing Saturday's 2-1 defeat at home to Kidderminster, while Ashley Cain (thigh) is almost certainly out.
It is hoped Niall O'Rafferty (bruising around his ribs) will be available after suffering his injury against Harriers.
The Stags have lost the services of loanee Louis Moult, who has returned to parent club Stoke City after continued back problems.
But they have been boosted by the return of Luke Medley following his one-month loan at Aldershot.
One to watch: Matt Tubbs. Signed from Salisbury City in the summer for a fee in the region of £80,000, the striker has been a revelation, netting 33 goals in 41 games in all competitions, heading the Blue Square Bet Premier scoring charts.
Manager Steve Evans. The former Boston United boss has had a war chest to take the Red Devils into the Football League and has spent wisely, leading them to the top of the Blue Square Premier with a ten point-lead and three games in hand of second-placed AFC Wimbledon
Hall insists Mansfield Town can end Crawley's length unbeaten run
Evening Post, 29 Mar 2011
MANSFIELD Town can upset the odds and end Crawley's long unbeaten stint, insists assistant manager Paul Hall.
The Stags travel to Sussex to take on a team who have not lost in 21 Blue Square Bet Premier outings (since October) and almost forced a replay against Manchester United in the FA Cup before going down 1-0.
Crawley have also won their last ten consecutive home league games.
But Hall is adamant recent experiences mean Mansfield should not be fazed at the Broadfield Stadium.
"They were the underdogs when the went to play at Old Trafford and they deserve massive respect for the way they played up there and in the league," he said.
"We are the underdogs this time but we have shown we can do it.
"Man for man, we had no right to get the better of Luton in the FA Trophy, but we did it.
"They might be unbeaten for a long time, but there is no reason why we can't be the team to end their run."
In Matt Tubbs and Richard Brodie, the Red Devils boast the most feared front pairing in the division.
But Hall is looking forward to seeing teenager Tom Naylor match up against the duo.
He said: "They have got strikers who can score goals and we need to be aware of them.
"It's going to be another step in Tom's education but he has come through all the tests so far with flying colours.
"I played with Scott Dann at Walsall, who has gone on to play in the Premier League, and he reminds me of him."
O'Rafferty out to prove his worth _ and clinch new deal at Mansfield Town
Evening Post, 29 Mar 2011
JUST like Mansfield Town's, Niall O'Rafferty's season could have a silver lining.
After a league campaign in which a Blue Square Bet Premier challenge has failed to materialise, the Stags could make up for that disappointment by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley on May 7.
Unfortunately, for teenager O'Rafferty, he will be unable to play any part in that occasion against Darlington, having been cup tied in an earlier round.
Even so, the 18-year-old has his sights set on a successful conclusion to 2010-11 on a personal level, one he hopes will catapult him into the forefront of manager Duncan Russell's thinking when new contracts are handed out.
O'Rafferty, a former pupil at Rushcliffe School, West Bridgford and student at South Nottingham College, is desperate to stay with the Stags.
Having graduated from the youth team to be handed a senior deal by ex-boss David Holdsworth, he does not want his dream of being a professional footballer to be over almost before it has started.
That's why the striker is aiming to use the final month of the season – during which Mansfield will have ten games to play following tonight's clash at Crawley – to push his case.
"I would love to still be here next year. I really like the club and all the players. It would be a great place to learn the game," said O'Rafferty.
"But I know it is up to me to put myself in the shop window. Clubs don't just hand out contracts for nothing.
"I know I will have to work hard and I'm prepared to do that. Hopefully, my performances in the games coming up will be good enough.
"The thing I have in my favour is that I am a lot fresher than most of the other players, some of whom we will need to rest ahead of Wembley.
"I'm hoping to take advantage when I get the chance."
O'Rafferty began the season on the fringes of the first team as he was part of Holdsworth's pre-season squad.
But a reluctance from the former Ilkeston boss to turn to youth meant O'Rafferty was never given a chance at senior level in a competitive clash.
He has since spent loan spells at Frickley and Grantham, as well as suffering a frustrating knee injury that kept him out from October until Christmas.
However, his fortunes have now changed for the better following a number of injuries to other forwards and the appointment of Russell as manager.
Current policy, reflected in the regular selection of Tom Naylor, shows that if you are good enough then you are old enough.
"It's been very encouraging to see Duncan give some of us young lads a go," said O'Rafferty.
"David Holdsworth liked me, but he wasn't one to give the youngsters a chance. Duncan came in and said if I worked hard, then I would get in and he has been true to his word.
"Now I want to repay him for that. I want to get that first goal, as every striker does and hopefully a few more after that.
"It's been difficult coming in because I haven't played many games recently but I'm getting fitness back all the time and I feel I can do a job."
O'Rafferty made his senior bow for Mansfield two weeks ago in the 2-1 defeat at Gary Mills' York City.
He was given another chance to impress in Saturday's 2-1 reverse to Kidderminster but was not helped by a nasty gash on his side that he sustained in the lead up to the Harriers' controversial second goal.
But he has declared himself fit for the trip to the Broadfield Stadium and is keen to retain his place alongside the experienced Paul Connor.
O'Rafferty said: "I was advised to go and check it out at the hospital because it was close to the kidney area, but they said it would be all right with a day's rest, so that's what I've done.
"You want to shake off something like that because once you have got in the team, you want to stay there.
"The competition has been increased now Luke Medley is back. We are different types of strikers but I will just hope to get the nod."
Crawley are in an imperious run of form and few are giving Mansfield any hope on their trip to Sussex.
Yet O'Rafferty and his team-mates are confident they can spring a surprise.
He said: "Their manager (Steve Evans) may have had a lot of money to spend, but he has spent it wisely. It is not easy to get the right blend.
"They will not be taking their foot off the gas because they want to win the league, but there is belief in our dressing room we can beat them."
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