LIAM LAWRENCE INTERVIEW
THE VERY BEST OF ENEMIES
Evening Post, 07 November 2002
Mansfield Town's Liam Lawrence and Notts County's Michael Brough are great mates off the field, but on Saturday they will be on opposite sides in the big Nottinghamshire derby. We asked them for their thoughts ahead of the clash
1. What's the mood in the camp?
Liam Lawrence: We're confident at the moment. We put in a good performance against Cardiff and then got a win against Colchester, which we definitely deserved. If we can concentrate on our passing game, we can definitely get a win.
Michael Brough: Everyone in the dressing room is always confident, that is never a problem and this match is no different. We know we need to be a little more consistent, but we have shown more than once this season what we can do. We did really well against Crewe, Cheltenham and Northampton, we just have to start doing that in every match.
2. What does the match mean to you?
LL: One or two people in Retford have talked to me about the game and they are really looking forward to it. It should be a great atmosphere but we have to treat it like just another game.
MB: Purely because of the position of the two teams, it is vitally important. It is a clich??, but it is a six pointer. If they win they go level on points with us, but on the other hand it is an opportunity for us to open up a gap between us and some of the sides at the bottom. If we beat Mansfield we will be six points ahead of them and the situation will be a little more comfortable.
3. Who do you think will be their key players?
LL: Notts have got lots of good players but I'm not going to say Broughy. Mark Stallard and Danny Allsopp are quality and Paul Bolland in midfield is a very good player.
MB: It has to be Iyseden Christie. He scored four goals in Mansfield's last game and that says it all. I would have said Liam, because he is a good player, but I will get enough stick from him already if they get a result.
4. Who do you think will be your key players?
LL: I think we have got a number, including Lee Williamson and Craig Disley but I have been very impressed with Colin Little since he came to the club.
MB: The strikers we have in the team are always likely to get you goals. Paul Heffernan is a natural finisher, Mark Stallard can get his fair share too, but he also has that creativity you need. And you have to remember that they are keeping out Danny Allsopp - and look what he did last season.
5. What experience do you have of Notts v Mansfield matches?
LL: I played in the Worthington Cup game when their keeper scored but it was a game we should have won. They were always tough games when we were in the youth team as the tackles flew in a bit. Paul Heffernan used to play against us and I have played against Broughy a couple of times for the reserves.
MB: I played against some of the Mansfield lads at youth team level, the likes of Lee Williamson, Craig Disley and Danny Bacon, but I haven't really played in a derby in the first team. I am looking forward to it a lot, there should be a big crowd and a good atmosphere.
6. Are local derbies just about the fans?
LL: The excitement is really generated by the fans and the media. I try to think about it as just another game. It is important anyway because we will be on the same points if we can get a win.
MB: Obviously the fans want us to win, because it is a local derby and it means that little bit more to them. But it is important to the players too, without a doubt. The fans have a part to play, in that they will create an electric atmosphere and give us their backing. But it means just as much to us. To be honest I probably won't hear the end of it if Mansfield do get a result and I don't want that to happen.
7. Is it as intense as the match against your nearest rivals?
LL: The Chesterfield game was something else because people were talking about it for weeks. Some people have even said to me they would be happy if we lost every game but beat the Spireites so it's not quite on that level but the fans still want to beat them because they are so close.
MB: Most fans would probably say that games against Forest are bigger, they probably are. But that does not mean that this is not important to us.
8. What are your manager's qualities?
LL: The gaffer is going through his first big test and I think people forget that he brought most of the team through when he was youth team manager. He is a good motivator and has plenty of qualities.
MB: Communication. You always know that you can talk to him. He gets the best out of players all the time. If you get left out of the side, he will take you to one side and explain why and tell you how you can improve to get your place back in the side. He is obviously also very experienced and is tactically aware.
9. How are you going to prepare for the match?
LL: We are told to go home and get our feet up. Fortunately I'll be all right because there's Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders. I might watch a video after that but I will be in bed by ten.
MB: My usual routine really. Tomorrow, we will probably play a few small sided matches in training and do a bit of work on our shape. I like to have a quiet night in the evening, I never like to go out or do much. I don't like to have my mates round either, I don't lock myself away, but I like to keep myself to myself. I will cook myself some pasta and chicken and put my feet up. Just relax. Get a nice early night and probably have a lie in in the morning to, make sure I am fully rested up for the match.
10. Will you two still be friends afterwards?
LL: I expect we will go out for a few beers after the game and Broughy has already said he will be slaughtering me if we lose. I just hope I will be doing that to him.
MB: That depends on the result. We are supposed to be going out together after the game, but we will have to see. If we beat them I am not sure if he will be in the mood for going out. And, to be fair, I am not sure I will be up for it if we lose. I won't be in the mood for it. One way or another one of us is going to be in a bad frame of mind.
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