SOUTHPORT PREVIEWS / MARRIOTT SCAN
Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Southport
Evening Post, 5 April 2011
Mansfield (from): Grof, Silk, Istead, Naylor, Foster, Sandwith, Preece, Stonehouse, Higginson, Thompson, Murray, Briscoe, Connor, Medley, Hall, Nix, Smith, Spence, Mitchley, Cain.
Southport (from): McMillan, Davis, Marsh-Evans, Moogan, Williams, Daly, Kissock, McGinn, Ledsham, Turner, Whalley, Gray, McNeil, Barratt, Dickinson, Blakeman.
Team news: Stags could be boosted by the return of Ashley Cain (thigh), Gary Silk (foot), Kevin Sandwith (illness), Danny Mitchley (groin), Dan Spence (hamstring) and Kyle Nix and Adam Smith (both ankle) after they all trained yesterday.
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott was today set to have a scan on a finger injury.
Southport will be without Chris Lever, who serves the second game of a three-match suspension.
Kevin Lee (hamstring is another likely absentee.
One to watch: Shaun Whalley. The wide midfielder has been in superb form since signing for Southport from Hyde just before the close of the January transfer window, netting seven times in 11 games. Scored the winner for Accrington against Mansfield back in January 2007.
Manager: Liam Watson. After taking over at Haig Avenue in June 2008, led the Sandgrounders to the Blue Square Bet North title last season. The Liverpudlian is desperate to help his side avoid an instant return to that level, sitting above the relegation zone on goal difference only
VIDEO: Paul Hall on Marriott injury --->
mansfieldtown.net Mon 04 Apr 2011
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott is to undergo a scan tomorrow to assess the damage to his finger, Assistant Manager Paul Hall reveals.
The 32-year-old shotstopper sustained the injury during Saturday's 2-1 win over Rushden & Diamonds which was the former Lincoln man's first appearance since October.
Paul Hall is speaking to Jason Harrison (Mansfield 103.2), Craig Priest (Takeover 106.9), John Lomas (Chad) and Matt Halfpenny (Nottingham Post).
A suspected dislocated finger resulted in his substitution shortly before half time and is now hoped that the full severity of that injury will be known tomorrow.
"We are awaiting the results on a scan for him tomorrow afternoon and as soon as we know more we can let the rest of the World know," Hall said earlier today.
"He (Marriott) just come back in, was looking good in the game and then all of a sudden spills one and leaves the pitch with nine fingers.
"We've still got two goalkeepers to choose from (Grof & Collett) so come tomorrow (and our game against Southport) we've got a good choice. That's why we've got such a diverse choice of 'keepers and we've just got to hope for Marriott that it's not too bad.
"There's a few big games coming up so we can only hope that we get some good news from the scan tomorrow."
Hall himself was a substitute against Rushden on Saturday after the 38-year-old came out of retirement to register himself as a player due an extensive injury list. He said that despite some doubts still persisting over the fitness of Gary Silk (foot), Kevin Sandwith (illness), Alan Marriott (suspected dislocated finger), Adam Smith (ankle), Ashley Cain (dead leg), Dan Mitchley (tonsillitis) and Neil Collett (ear and throat), all seven players had returned to training and are approaching full fitness.
He added: "I was itching to get on and had my top off but had the Gaffer in my ear saying 'don't do it'. I was desperate to get on but the boys did very well on Saturday.
"It was nice to see alot of the injured on the training pitch today. Alot of them were looking good in their running today and hopefully this week we should have afew back. But, with the way the boys played on Saturday, the others are going to have a very difficult time getting back in."
Russell slams Notts decision to axe Ince
Evening Post, 5 April 2011
PAUL Ince's exit as Notts County boss has been greeted with shock by former colleague and now Mansfield Town boss Duncan Russell.
The former England midfielder left his post on Sunday by mutual consent only five months into a three-and-a-half year contract.
It followed a run of five consecutive defeats where the Magpies failed to register a goal.
But Russell – part of Ince's coaching team at Blackburn, MK Dons and Macclesfield – insists the ex-Manchester United and Liverpool ace was not given enough time.
"I was very surprised when I found out and it doesn't make any sense to me for such a decision to be made at this point with nine games to go," said Russell.
"There's no way five months is long enough. He said he needed his own players and to change things but he was only part-way through that process.
"He should have given until the end of the season and then he could have had his own pre-season and got in exactly who he wanted.
"I worked with him closely and I have no doubts that once he had done all the ground work he would have gone from strength-to-strength."
Mansfield Town boss Russell delighted with Medley's attitude improvement
Evening Post, 5 April 2011
LUKE Medley has been a reformed character since returning to Mansfield Town, according to delighted boss Duncan Russell.
The striker served the Stags well before Christmas, scoring six goals coming off the substitutes' bench.
But Medley subsequently angered Russell, leading to a public dressing down in which his attitude was labelled 'unprofessional.'
The 21-year-old was made available for loan as a result and spent a short spell at League Two Aldershot, where he made four appearances off the bench.
But with Mansfield suffering a striker crisis because of injuries to Louis Moult, Danny Mitchley and Niall O'Rafferty, Medley was swiftly recalled when his month was up.
The former Bradford City man was thrust straight into the side for last week's 2-0 defeat at Crawley.
And he retained his place in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Rushden, scoring Mansfield's opening goal.
Russell has been impressed by what he has seen from Medley not only on the pitch but on the training ground.
"I thought Luke was tremendous against Rushden and I was so pleased for him to get the goal," said Russell.
"I said to him when he came back to go and prove me wrong and the boy has gone out and played very well.
"I have seen the perfect improvement in attitude from Luke, which was the only thing that was ever in question. He is 100 per cent different.
"It's almost like having a new signing and I'm sure he will get a few more for us between now and the end of the season."
Istead has so much to play for at Stags
Evening Post, 5 April 2011
TALK to Steven Istead about the last month of Mansfield Town's 2010-11 season and there is no outlandish assertion they will reach the play-offs, more a modest determination to progress back up the Blue Square Premier table.
Yet not for one minute does it mean he believes the team has nothing to play for – far from it, in fact.
Of course there is the very obvious incentive for individuals to play well right through to April 30 because they know that will give them the best possible chance of starting the club's FA Trophy Wembley final against Darlington.
But Istead is looking at other issues too that he insists will drive Mansfield on strongly between now and their final league game at Bath City.
For a start, there is the issue of personal pride. After challenging towards the top end of the Blue Square Bet Premier table for much of the campaign, it does not sit very well with the Mansfield players to have slipped into the bottom half.
Most onlookers would agree that situation has developed largely because the club's FA Trophy run has resulted in them falling behind with their league fixtures.
But Istead is well aware that points on the board are what matters. Games in hand are only useful if you win them.
Another pressing matter on the mind of the man signed from Ilkeston by former boss David Holdsworth is his longer-term future.
Like many in the Mansfield squad, Istead is out of contract at the end of the season and does not know if he is part of Duncan Russell's plans for 2011-12.
What he does know, however, is that there are enough games remaining to be able to influence his manager's thoughts.
"People might say that we have nothing to play for in the league, but I don't think the players agree, as they showed at the weekend," said Istead.
"We want to finish as high up as we can and we want to take advantage of these home games to do that.
"I think we deserve to be higher in the league than we are with the quality we have, although we have not been helped recently by injuries.
"But we have to go out and win games if we want to get back in the top half.
"Wembley is a massive incentive as well, you can't deny that. The lads who have come in for other injured players see this as their chance.
"And there is also a lot of people fighting for contracts. I know I will be trying to use these last few matches to push my claims.
"I think we have already shown as a team we want to finish the season on a high and hopefully we can post a few more wins yet."
Having not started a game since the disappointing early January 1-0 home defeat by Altrincham, Istead was suddenly thrust back into contention at Crawley a week ago.
With Ashley Cain and Adam Smith out injured, Louis Briscoe switched to the left flank at the Broadfield Stadium, while the former Hartlepool man was asked to fill in on the right.
Istead retained his place in the team on Saturday for the game with Rushden and Diamonds at Field Mill but was once again required to fill in, this time at right-back, with Gary Silk ruled out due to a foot injury.
He said: "Like most players I just like to be out there on the pitch, wherever position that may be.
"I know the situation with injuries and I'm just glad to be able to do a job for the team.
"It's harder for me to play at right-back than right-midfield. When I was at Hartlepool I played right-midfield and it felt quite natural – it was only under David Holdsworth that I moved into the middle.
"But playing at right-back you don't quite have that understanding with your back-four straight away. I think I need a bit more coaching in that position!
"People say you should be able to play anywhere as a professional, but it's not always as easy as that.
"The good thing was that Fozzie (Steve Foster) organised us brilliantly against Rushden and kept us together."
Istead's only goal of the season so far came in Mansfield's visit to tonight's opponents Southport in September, opening the scoring in a 2-1 success.
The Sandgrounders were beaten 3-1 on home turf by fellow strugglers Eastbourne Borough at the weekend, but the 24-year-old knows securing a second home win inside four days will not be a foregone conclusion.
"Sometimes it is harder playing the teams at the bottom. They are fighting for their lives and it's a very important match for them," said Istead.
"I remember the game up there because I was given a chance after missing out early in the season and I had a point to prove.
"It's not often I get on the scoresheet but I was pleased with that finish. Lee Gregory scored after that and we were 2-0 up at half-time.
"They came back strongly and had a go at us in the second half. They were direct and well-organised.
"I don't know if they will have changed for this match, but I'm sure the gaffer and Hally (assistant manager Paul Hall) will have done their homework."
Mansfield have conceded first in each of their last five games, something Istead is keen to avoid tonight.
The former Ilkeston man said: "We were scratching our heads against Rushden at being a goal down because we started well and their keeper made some great saves.
"But it is something we need to address because we can't keep leaking goals.
"The one on Saturday was one I was involved with as Aaron (O'Connor) missed the ball and then so did I.
"The good thing was we came back very strongly and got the win in the end."
Keeper dilemma for Stags
CHAD.co.uk, Monday 4 April 2011
STAGS have a big decision to make over the keeper's shirt for tomorrow night's visit of relegation-threatened Southport.
With Alan Marriott breaking a finger on his return from a six-month lay-off at the weekend, he won't know his chances of making the FA Trophy final at Wembley on 7th May until after a scan on the digit tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime the Stags have to decide whether to play the in-form Notts County loanee David Grof or bring back reserve keeper Neil Collett, who hasn't played since12th February, to possibly start getting him ready for Wembley if needed with Grof ineligible.
“We are lucky to have three good keepers here so we still have two very able replacements for Alan,” said assistant boss Paul Hall.
“Alan was doing well on his return until he spilled the ball and one of their forwards goes in and leaves him with nine fingers. We are now hoping it's not too bad when he goes for his scan tomorrow.
“We are as devastated as Alan about this injury as we have so many big games coming up.”
Apart from Marriott and Rhys Day, every Stags player was back in training today after seven were left on the treatment table at the weekend, though not all are expected to be fit enough to rejoin the squad by tomorrow.
Hall added: “Southport are fighting for their lives and we will give them the same respect as we would for clubs like Crawley and Luton.
“If you don't do that in this league you will come unstuck.
“It would be nice not to go behind as well. We are certainly the comeback kings in this league and, even though we keep going behind, we always fight back and no one should ever leave one of our games early.
“Four of our next five games are at home which is a great opportunity to get some points on the board. We can still turn this into a great season for us.
“You look at playing Southport tomorrow and then Hayes and Yeading on Saturday and we have got to fancy ourselves in both those games.”
Stags stopper to have scan on finger injury
Evening Post, 4 April 2011
MANSFIELD Town goalkeeper Alan Marriott will have to wait until a scan tomorrow to discover his likely Wembley fate.
The 32-year-old was brought back into the side for the first time since October after recovering from a hip injury for Saturday's 2-1 win over former club Rushden and Diamonds.
The idea was to ease him back into the action ahead of the Stags' FA Trophy final clash with Darlington on May 7, where fellow custodian David Grof cannot play.
But Marriott was forced off before-half time as he picked up a suspected dislocated finger in attempting to collect a cross at the second attempt.
However, Mansfield are concerned that the damage may be a break and have booked the player in for a comprehensive assessment.
"The scan is for 2.15pm tomorrow and as soon as we know, then we will let the world know," said assistant manager Paul Hall.
"The boy has just come back and is a great keeper and he is devastated as you are going to be.
"We just have to hope for his sake that the damage is not too bad because we have some big games coming up and the Wembley final."
Hall revealed all but Rhys Day of the eight players who missed Saturday's game were back in training this morning.
But he said it was still unclear who of Ashley Cain (thigh), Gary Silk (foot), Kevin Sandwith (illness), Danny Mitchley (groin), Dan Spence (hamstring) and Kyle Nix and Adam Smith (both ankle) would be fit for tomorrow's game with Southport.
He said: "They will all be doing fitness tests and all are on their way back, which is good news.
"But the way the boys who played on Saturday performed, it is going to be very difficult for those who have been injured to get back in."
Latest | April 2011