GROF HEARTBREAK / HIGGINSON BACK / HALL REGISTERED
Wembley heartbreak for Grof
CHAD.co.uk, 31 Mar 11
STAGS' FA Trophy hero David Grof is facing up to Wembley heartbreak after learning he won't be allowed to play in the final.
Grof's loan spell from Notts County ends on 30th April at Bath City and, despite pleas from Stags and the Magpies, the FA will not budge.
Grof's semi-final displays against Luton were a major part of the success and Russell said: “It is devastating for him as he has been outstanding for us.
“I am so upset for him. It is every boy's dream to play at Wembley. Ourselves and Notts did everything we could but he can't play and that's that.
“He is certainly a young keeper who will play at a higher level and I would love to have him here.
“But in the short term I now need to think about getting the other keepers, Alan Marriott and Neil Collett, ready for Wembley.
“Groffy will be invited to come down to Wembley with us with his family and friends.”
Mansfield Town keeper Grof ruled out of Wembley final
Evening Post, 31 Mar 11
KEEPER David Grof has been ruled out of Mansfield Town's FA Trophy final with Darlington at Wembley.
The Hungarian played a key part in both legs of the two-legged play-off semi-final win over Luton Town.
But the terms of his emergency loan – signing for the club from Notts County in January – means the last game he is available is the final league match against Bath City on April 30.
Mansfield have spoken to the FA in a bid to get that extended to cover the match with the Quakers.
But they have been rebuffed, meaning massive disappointment for Grof, who has grown in confidence in the Mansfield goal after a shaky start.
"We have tried everything to make David eligible for the Trophy game, and Notts County have tried as well, but he won't be," said manager Duncan Russell.
"I'm devastated for David because he has been outstanding for us. He has a great attitude and is a keeper I would like to keep here next season.
"It's every boys dream to play at Wembley, but that has been pulled from under his feet.
"I'm really upset for him and his family -– who would have loved to come along and see him play there.
"But. of course. he will be invited along to be part of the proceedings on the day."
Meanwhile, Paul Hall has been registered as a player to boost Mansfield's injury-hit squad.
The Stags had just 14 players available for Tuesday's trip to Crawley, meaning they were able to name just three substitutes.
Ex-Jamaican international Hall, 38, has been allocated squad number 31 and is available for Mansfield's home clash with Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday
Hall registered as a player
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 31 Mar 2011
Assistant manager Paul Hall has come out of retirement to boost our injury-hit squad.
The ex-Jamaican international has been allocated squad number 31 and is available for selection ahead of our home match to Rushden & Diamonds this Saturday, Hall's former club.
The 38-year-old winger now becomes the most experienced member of our squad, having amassed over 600 appearances during a career spanning two decades.
Manager Duncan Russell told mansfieldtown.net: "We still have a number of players in the treatment room and I do not want to be left in the same position as mid-week [at Crawley] where I was only able to name three subs because of our long injury list.
"Paul still has fine ability and is fit," he added.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old forward Conor Higginson has returned from his loan spell at Glapwell and is now available for selection.
St Johnstone left back Johnny Lindsay is on trial with us, Duncan Russell revealed today
Assistant boss Hall registers as player
CHAD.co.uk, 31 Mar 11
ASSISTANT manager Paul Hall has come out of retirement to boost Mansfield Town's injury-hit squad.
The ex-Jamaican international has been allocated squad number 31 and is available for selection ahead of Mansfield's home match to Rushden and Diamonds this Saturday, Hall's former club.
The 38-year-old winger now becomes the most experienced member of the Stags squad, having amassed over 600 appearances during a career spanning two decades.
Manager Duncan Russell told mansfieldtown.net: “We still have a number of players in the treatment room and I do not want to be left in the same position as mid-week (at Crawley) where I was only able to name three subs because of our long injury list.
“Paul still has fine ability and is fit,” he added
Mansfield Town close in on Scottish full-back
Evening Post, 31 Mar 11
MANSFIELD Town are hoping to swoop for St Johnstone left-back Johnny Lindsay.
Today is the cut-off point for being able to sign players, but only if they are free agents or playing outside England.
Lindsay clearly falls into the latter category and manager Duncan Russell is keen to take the 18-year-old until the end of the season.
The Bellshill-born player has made one senior start for St Johnstone and has spent the earlier part of this year on loan at Dumbarton.
"Johnny is very quick, a good size and can double up as a left-sided centre back," said Russell.
"He can get up and down the pitch and has a lovely left foot. Some of the Scots also have a certain arrogance about them – in a good way – and I like it."
Russell is also keen on strengthening up front with recent injuries to Danny Mitchley and Niall O'Rafferty.
He said: "We were trying to get a forward in from Burton, but they are in danger themselves and not in a position to let players out.
"But we have a few other irons in the fire and we are looking to get a couple of strikers in."
Conor Higginson is also back in the Mansfield first team squad after his loan at Glapwell has expired.
He has netted 24 goals to help in their Evo-Stik Division One South campaign
Mansfield manager Russell hit with FA charge
Evening Post, 31 Mar 11
DUNCAN Russell is set to watch Mansfield Town's match this weekend's against Rushden and Diamonds from the stands after being hit with an improper conduct charge by the FA.
The Stags boss has landed himself in hot water after comments he made to referee Steve Martin after Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers.
Russell was incensed that play was allowed to continue after Niall O'Rafferty was caught high, sustaining a nasty injury to his side that saw him miss Tuesday's trip to Crawley.
Play was waved on and former Stag Keith Briggs duly scored what turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 success.
The Staffordshire official has included the incident in his match report and Russell has received notice of his charge from the FA in writing.
He will not contest the charge –which will bring a one-game touchline ban and fine – but still feels he was justified in his criticism of Mr Martin.
"I'm just really annoyed that referees can't accept that when they have a bad game, you should be allowed to have a go at them.," said Russell.
"They have a go at us, with the fourth official telling us to sit down and don't say this and that.
"I may have said a few expletives but that's because the referee didn't protect my player.
"We had a player (Adam Smith) sent off at Gateshead for that earlier in the season. There was scarring on the lad and I will send a photo of it in my report to the FA where I will get my point across.
"I will accept the punishment because I will never win an appeal.
"I will be in the directors' box for the Rushden game, but I will be wired up to speak to Paul Hall.
"All the players have got total respect for him anyway and he will do a good job on the touchline."
Russell hit by FA misconduct charge
CHAD.co.uk, 31 Mar 11
MANSFIELD Town manager Duncan Russell will have to watch Saturday's home clash with Rushden and Diamonds from the stand after being slapped with an FA misconduct charge following comments he made to Staffordshire match referee Steve Martin last weekend.
Martin was criticised by management and players for his 'attitude' during and after the home defeat by Harriers in which he decided a high boot on Niall O'Rafferty, which left the youngster badly damaged down his side and facing a trip to hospital, was not a foul.
Kidderminster broke upfield and scored with the youngster down injured and comments were made which have landed Russell in hot water.
“I am really angry that in this day and age referees can have a go at the manager but you can't have a go at them.
“I might have said a few expletives at him but I was upset he didn't protect my player. We had Adam Smith sent off at Gateshead for exactly the same challenge. Even Paul Hall was angry with the referee which is unusual as he is normally so calm.
“Some of the quotes from the referee to the FA about the day are not quite true and I will be writing back to make sure I get my point across.
“But I am going to have to accept my punishment, which will include a fine, as you are never going to win an appeal. They will just shut up shop.
“So I will probably watch from the directors' box on Saturday though I will be wired up to speak to Paul in the dug-out. Some managers usually sit in the stand but it's not my style.”
Russell is hoping all his injured players, apart from Rhys Day, will be fit for selection after only being able to name three substitutes at Crawley in midweek.
There could also be a recall in goal for Alan Marriott with Notts County loanee David Grof told his loan cannot be extended by a week ton enable him to play in the FA Trophy final at Wembley.
Conor Higginson is back from his loan at Glapwell and, with today being the final transfer deadline, Stags were hoping to bring in another two or three faces for the busy final run-in.
One is young defender Johnny Lindsay, who can play left back or centre half, from St Johnstone, while the other two are believed to be strikers
Mansfield's Hall feels season should be extended in exceptional circumstances
Evening Post, 31 Mar 2011
THE Blue Square Premier Bet season should be extended in exceptional circumstances to avoid burn-out, says Mansfield Town's Paul Hall.
The Stags face an energy-sapping ten league games in their final month of the campaign – starting with Saturday's home game against Rushden – because of postponements and the club's run to the FA Trophy final.
Assistant boss Hall feels it is asking too much of the players and says that when unexpected problems arise, such as this winter's cold snap, the authorities should consider allowing teams to play on into May.
"I have played four games in five days in international football before but I've never been in this situation in club football," said Hall.
"I know the league wants to get all the games wrapped up by a certain date but it would be better if this final run of games could be spread out.
"It is going to be very difficult for the players to give their best. It is asking too much.
"It's not fair on the supporters, who are going to find it hard to pay for the run of home games we have in quick succession, unless they have a season ticket already.
"The Football League doesn't finish until later, so I don't see why we couldn't finish a week later, or even two, when there are special cases like we've had this season."
Higginson ready to answer Mansfield Town's call
THERE'S no doubting Conor Higginson's passion for Mansfield Town.
And there is nothing the Ollerton-born youngster would love more than to make a first start for his nearest senior club.
Unlike the majority of the Stags squad, Higginson does not have the lure of a Wembley appearance to drive him on.
Having been cup tied in playing for Glapwell during his loan spell, he already knows playing under the arch is not going to happen.
But after returning from the Derbyshire club, where he scored 24 goals in 34 games, Higginson remains as motivated as any other player at Field Mill.
Never given licence to prove his worth in the first team under David Holdsworth, the 19-year-old is desperate to get the nod from current manger Duncan Russell.
And with Rob Duffy and Keigan Parker now departed, and Danny Mitchley and Niall O'Rafferty struggling with injury, the door may finally be ajar for him.
"Duncan seems to give the young lads a chance and I feel if he is to give me a chance then I won't let him down," said Higginson.
"When David was in charge there was a lot more pressure on the youngsters to develop and I think that made some of them scared to play. With this gaffer in charge there is more of a relaxed environment.
"I wouldn't say I was never going to get a chance – I think the old manager wanted me to grow up a bit and develop physically. That's the sort of players he chose.
"I did need to become more professional and it was a reality check. If you look at the size of some players, I did need to be more like that.
"The club have put me on a great weight programme so I have now put a lot of weight on and I have been playing men's football at Glapwell, which has helped.
"I was very young, naive and erratic when I was first selected for the first team squad. I got too excited.
"But I don't think I'm a million miles away from what I need to be now and I'm waiting to test my skills."
A glut of injuries, which meant no less than seven absentees for Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Crawley, meant Mansfield were only able to field three substitutes.
Higginson said: "I was pulling my hair out that I wasn't available on Tuesday (at Crawley) because we only had three substitutes, two centre backs and a goalkeeper on the bench.
"I could have been there, got on and maybe made a difference because we were really short."
Higginson is on a high after forming a lethal partnership at Glapwell with former Stag Ian Holmes.
He is hoping to continue that rich vein of form and demonstrate he is worth keeping around as Mansfield look to assemble a squad capable of challenging for promotion in 2011-12.
"All strikers are the same in that goals breed confidence. It's been the same here where Paul Connor has been scoring," said Higginson.
"We are all different strikers and I feel I can bring something else.
"I have been speaking to my dad about my future because I am out of contract at the end of the season, like most of the players.
"I would like to think I can further my case before then and prove I have enough to stay at this level.
"I'm a young lad and I want to be a professional footballer rather than working in a factory."
The next month or two should reveal if Higginson is successful in that goal
Higginson back to fight for contract
CHAD.co.uk, 31 Mar 11
CONOR Higginson is back with Stags today after a successful loan spell at Glapwell, knowing he has a great chance of making the first team.
But there will be no fairytale ending to the season for the local lad at Wembley as he is already cup-tied, having played for Glapwell in the competition this season.
The 19-year-old, with one Stags first team game under his belt from two seasons back, has fired in 24 goals in 34 games for Glapwell in his second loan spell there and, with Stags short on strikers, said: “I know I have a chance of getting a game and scoring for Mansfield would be a dream come true.
“I was pulling my hair out on Tuesday as we only had three subs at Crawley and I could have gone there and maybe made a difference. But I have had to bide my time and today, 31st March, is the date I can return and be available.
“I am out of contract in the summer and now need to show I am good enough to stay at this level.
“I know Duncan Russell is good with giving young players a chance. There was more pressure with David Holdsworth and you were almost scared to play.
“He wanted me to grow up and become more physical and that was the sort of player he liked.
“The new manager creates a relaxed environment and I have worked on my diet and strength and feel I am ready.
“It is a bit heart wrenching to know I can't play at Wembley. But hopefully I will travel down with the squad and enjoy the Wembley experience. If I am lucky they might let me go out on the pitch for the warm-up.”
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