VIDEO: 'We owe them one' - Hall ---->
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 18 Apr 2011
Assistant Manager Paul Hall is looking forward to having the opportunity tomorrow night to avenge our 7-2 away defeat to Grimsby.
The heavy loss which came at Blundell Park on New Year's Day is still imprinted in Hall's mind and a win tomorrow would help to banish those painful memories.
We go into the game on the back of two consecutive clean sheets and a three match unbeaten run - something which the former Jamaican international believes can give us the edge over a Mariners side just two points behind us in the BSBP standings.
He said: "We owe them one because that 7-2 game was never a 7-2 game. Everything they hit seemed to go into the net and we want to redress that. They're at our place now so if we can get the three points off them then all then better.
"We can take stock of two clean sheets. The boys at the back have done what's been asked of them and decided to be stingy at home with the clean sheets."
Pleased with our five point haul from the three home fixtures we have had to play in less than a week, Hall was keen to point out that nobody would be taking their foot off the gas despite a Play-Off place no longer being mathematically attainable.
He added: "If football was 100 minutes long as opposed to 90 then on Saturday we would have been looking at three points because we were getting stronger.
"As long as the points are there, you want to do as much in the games as you can. We always go out there with the intention of scoring as many goals as we can and getting all three points."
In team news, defender Tom Naylor (hamstring) will undergo a late fitness test after being substituted against Luton on Saturday whilst forward Luke Medley's (cramp) chances have been rated at 50/50.
Neither Rhys Day or Kevin Sandwith (both knee) are expected to feature for the rest of the season whilst tomorrow night will come too soon for Alan Marriott (dislocated finger) although he is on track to return to match fitness before the end of the campaign.
Dan Spence (hamstring) is available after being sidelined in recent weeks whilst Paul Connor will be in contention after serving a three match suspension
Stags v Grimsby match panel
Mansfield (from): Grof, Collett, Silk, Spence, Foster, Preece, Naylor, Stonehouse, Cain, Istead, Nix, Murray, Thompson, Briscoe, Smith, Connor, Mitchley, Higginson, O'Rafferty.
Grimsby (from): Croudson, Bore, Garner, Atkinson, Wood, Leary, Hudson, Cummins, Coulson, Peacock, Connell, Watt, Thanoj, Fuller, Makofo, Arthur.
Team news: Mansfield are definitely without Rhys Day and Kevin Sandwith (both knee) and Alan Marriott (finger).
Luke Medley and Tom Naylor (both hamstring) are both rated 50-50 and face fitness tests, but will not be risked if there are any doubts with the club's May Wembley visit in mind.
Adam Murray is back available after sitting out the clash with former club Luton on Saturday, as is Paul Connor, who has completed a three-game suspension following his sending off at Hayes and Yeading.
Grimsby will be missing Charles Ademeno (adductor muscle), Dwayne Samuels (back), Darran Kempson (broken metatarsal), Bryan Hughes (Achilles), Robert Eagle (ankle) and Lee Ridley (calf).
Rob Duffy is ineligible as part of the contract he signed when he moved from the Stags.
One to watch: Alan Connell. Scored twice in Grimsby's 7-2 trouncing of Mansfield on New Year's Day and has 27 goals this season in all competitions. The former Bournemouth man netted both in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bath City but then missed a late penalty.
Joint managers. Rob Scott and Paul Hurst. The duo took Ilkeston to promotion from the then UniBond Premier Division and guided Boston United in the play-off places before leaving to take up the helm at Blundell Park last month. They are still looking for their first win in charge of the Mariners after six games
Stags have to keep on grinding out the games
IT'S not just the Mansfield Town players who are feeling the effects of a punishing end-of season run-in, it would seem.
Answering a question about how pleasing it was the club had reached Wembley ticket sales of 10,000, assistant manager Paul Hall made the kind of momentary slip-up that could easily be attributed to tiredness ahead of a fourth home game in eight days.
"We might even pull in a few from a further afield for the big day, such as Chesterfield and a few other places…" said Hall, not realising just how unlikely the Stags getting backing from their deadly rivals would be.
It certainly brought a few smiles from all those present, including Hall once the comment was pointed out to him.
In seriousness, though, it serves to illustrate just how demanding the last few weeks have been on the Stags.
It has been hard enough for the club's management and supporters just to keep track of the never-ending conveyor belt of fixtures, so for those squad members who have slogged their way through them, it has been an undoubtedly severe test of body and mind.
Since they clinched their FA Trophy final spot at Wembley at Luton a month ago today, the schedule has been unforgiving. Mansfield have played no less than nine games during that time and form has been mixed, winning three, drawing three and losing three.
But Hall is pleased with the way the players have responded to the challenge and retained a desire to pick up points, rather than coast through until April 30.
Buoyed by a 2-0 victory over Bath City and encouraging 0-0 draw with third-placed Luton, Hall is now hoping for another bright showing against Grimsby tonight as Mansfield bid to finish their league campaign on a high.
"It's amazing what the body can do," said Hall. "On paper you looked at all the games and worried if we could handle it, but the lads have got through it with flying colours.
"We're pleased with the five points from the three home games so far and if football matches last 100 minutes rather than 90 we might have been looking at three points on Saturday – and Luton are fighting for promotion.
"People talk about Louis Briscoe needing a rest but you could say that about a lot of the players, they all need a rest.
"We have had a heavy schedule and we have to look at managing the amount of minutes that players are spending on the pitch.
"But the aim is still to finish in the top seven or eight and come away from the season with as many points as we can."
It will not have escaped the attention of the Mansfield fans that tonight's opponents inflicted the club's worst defeat of the season at Blundell Park on New Year's Day, a 7-2 thrashing.
But the Mariners have since dispensed with the services of Neil Woods and replaced him with joint bosses Ron Scott and Paul Hurst. The Stags have also climbed two points and three places above their rivals.
Hall said: "I think it's similar to the Luton game in that it's a good time to be playing them.
"They will be out to impress their new managers, like Luton were, but we are already into our stride and we want to pick up three points.
"We may have lost 7-2 there but it was never a 7-2 game – everything they hit went in the back of the net.
"But they didn't get an extra point for scoring all those goals and if we get just one more than them and win, we will be happy."
"It is at our place now and the fact they have not been playing too well is an extra incentive to go out there and do it."
Top on Mansfield's list of priorities will be to blunt the threat of Grimsby's top scorer Alan Connell.
"He is a good player and we have got a lot of respect for him because he destroyed us at their place," added Hall.
"But we have every faith in Fozzie (Steve Foster) and Preecey (Mark Preece) being able to police him."
Field Mill so vital to Stags' future, says defender Naylor
TOM Naylor is optimistic Field Mill will soon be back in Mansfield Town's hands – and is excited about the club's prospects for 2011-12 if it happens this summer.
The Stags are set to go to court with landlord Keith Haslam, who they claim owns the ground illegally.
But Mansfield chairman John Radford has also made attempts to find a solution out of court, which is still a possibility.
Either way, central defender Naylor feels the Stags re-acquiring their long-term home would be a massive step forward.
Radford's promise to give promotion 'a really good go' by investing in the team at that stage is of particular encouragement to the 19-year-old prospect.
"It is very exciting if we can get the ground back and I have 100 per cent faith in the chairman," said Naylor.
"He has big ambitions for the club and if the ground were to be in place by next season, then that would be a massive bonus.
"It would allow the club to build over the next five to ten years and move forward.
"Next season would be a good season and we could look to get the right players in to go with the ones we already have here.
"It is good we have got some experienced players already signed up like Alan Marriott and Paul Connor and also some good youngsters as well. It looks like a bright future."
Naylor, who limped off against Luton on Saturday with a hamstring injury and looks set to miss tonight's game against Grimsby at Field Mill, has not played in a settled partnership in the middle of the back four since becoming a first team regular.
Steve Foster and Kevin Sandwith have been in and out alongside him because of injury and illness.
Naylor said: "It's not really that difficult to play with different players. You get to know each player's capabilities because you train with them every day.
"You get to know what they can do and what they can't. I have played with Fozzie and Sandy at times and I think they have both done a great job."
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