KETTERING PREVIEWS / THOMPSON OP GOES WELL
"home after op, everything went well Thank God, another 6 weeks until I can train with the lads, good game last night by all reports, #COYS"
Mansfield Town likely to name unchanged starting eleven for Kettering Town clash
chad.co.uk, Friday 26 August 2011
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox is likely to name and unchanged team for this Saturday's home tester against Kettering Town.
It would be the second time in a row that the Stags gaffer has kept his faith in the same starting eleven, who performed so impressivingly during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Luton Town.
But midfielder Paul Bolland and defender Ritchie Sutton could be set for a place on the bench following returns from injury.
Said Cox: “There is not much wrong wtih the side at the moment and I don't see many changes if any.
“I want the team to gel and bond together and that cannot happen if changes are being made every game.
“We have seen a progressive improvement in our performances over the last two games.
“The successful teams are built on continuity and I am a believer that if it's not broke then don't fix it.
Stags go into the fixture lookin for their first three point haul of the season after picking up just three points from their opening four fixtures - despite a string of solid displays.
Kettering, with four points from their four matches, head to Field Mill looking to prove a point after they were hammed 5-1 at home to York City in midweek.
But Cox says he is not focusing on what the Northamptonshire side will bring to the game.
“I want to concentrate on us and what we do good and what we do that is not so good,”he said.
“If the lads really start to believe in themselves then they can affect this league in the way we all want.
“We have to go into Saturday's game in the same mindset as we did against Luton.
“We are not a bad side and if we keep playing in the way we have done then we cannot keep drawing. The wins will soon come.”
Spotlight on Mansfield v Kettering
Nottingham Post, Friday, August 26, 2011
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Futcher, Wood, Kendrick, Bell, Briscoe, Murray, Howell, Worthington, Bolland, Meikle, Smith, Dyer, Green, Connor.
Kettering (from): Walker, P Ifil, J Ifil, Taft, Clapham, Navarro, Meecham, Ashikodi, Verma, Marna, Cunnington, Haxhia, Davis, Thomson, McKenzie, Koo-Boothe.
Mansfield's Tom Naylor serves the third of a four-game suspension, while John Thompson is expected to be out for a further four to six weeks after an operation on his facial injury on Monday and Rhys Day (calf) is also out.
Paul Bolland (ankle) and Riche Sutton (shoulder) may have a chance of making the bench after returning to training.
Kettering have a host of injury problems, with Craig Dobson (knee), David Bridges (knee) and Djoumin Sangare (foot).
Other doubts are Leon McKenzie (hamstring), Moses Ashikodi (hamstring), Nathan Koo-Boothe (hamstring), Jamie Navarro (ribs) and Laurie Walker (groin).
One to watch: Jean-Paul Marna. The exciting, pacey forward netted twice in the Poppies' opening day victory over Newport after signing a new three-year deal in the summer and was top scorer last season with 19.
Manager: Morell Maison. In his second spell in charge of Kettering, took over in the close season after previous boss Marcus Law left to join Tamworth
Marriott welcomes old head Futcher
Nottingham Post, Friday, August 26, 2011
GREAT minds think alike – as Alan Marriott discovered to his delight late last week.
The Mansfield Town goalkeeper had been speaking to his old mate Ben Futcher and saying what a good signing he would be if he joined on loan from Bury.
So imagine his surprise when just a couple of days later manager Paul Cox was unveiling the giant defender as the club's latest signing.
Futcher has already settled in to the Mansfield back line, playing in both the game at Braintree and Tuesday night's clash with Luton.
And even though results have not been to the Stags' liking, the former Lincoln man has by no means let himself down.
Marriott, a close former colleague at Sincil Bank has no doubts about the wisdom of Futcher's signing.
"I've played with him before but he's probably one of my best mates as well and someone I know very well," he said.
"It's amazing how it has happened really because I was only speaking to him the week before he signed and he was saying how frustrated he was at Bury not getting a look in.
"I said he would do us a great job and he said could I put a word in for him, but I said it was up to the gaffer to decide who he wants to sign.
"But the next thing I know the gaffer had gone in for Ben anyway!"
Having seen him at close hand, Marriott knows Futcher is first and foremost a good defender.
And considering that Mansfield were leaky at the back throughout 2010-11 that can only be a good thing.
Marriott said: "He will head it away all day long and I think we have missed someone like him for a while.
"I'm going to be biased as but I think he will improve our defence.
" He wants to win in training just as much as he does in games. He's a bit of a sore loser.
"But he will get people organised and tell them what to do and be a bit of a leader.
"He is no Franco Baresi, but he will head, clear and block and that is something we have been desperate for."
Marriott is particularly pleased to see someone of Futcher's aerial strength drafted into the club.
Mansfield have already shown in the early stages of the season, especially before his arrival, they are vulnerable to conceding from set pieces.
"It's a physical league and most teams now carry a long- throw exponent and are dangerous at set pieces, so it's good to have Ben around at 6ft 7ins," said Marriott.
"He's not strongly built, but he's certainly not afraid to put his head in and he has experience too.
"Speaking to people like Paul Connor, I don't think there are many strikers who enjoy playing against him.
"I know we only have him for a month but, you never, know, it might go further if things go well."
While Marriott is pleased to be back playing regularly after missing a good chunk of last season through injury, he is still frustrated.
The Bedford-born player has yet to keep a clean sheet in his four games to date – the bread and butter of any good keeper.
Marriott said: "I'm a bit disappointed by how we started the season, giving away sloppy goals. It's been a bit of a weird start really.
"I don't think we have been 100 per cent firing and the new system the gaffer wants us to play is going to take time to get used to.
"If we were not winning because of world-class goals then I could understand but we have largely brought about our own downfall."
Despite Mansfield's indifferent start to their campaign, Marriott is convinced they are heading for better times.
"No disrespect to Duncan Russell, but there is now a lot more emphasis on keeping our shape, as well as understanding our individual roles and responsibilities," he said.
"We have not got there but the gaffer and Micky Moore are working hard to ensure it does.
"They are trying to get us to make the most of our strengths and limit our weaknesses.
"You can see it is a professional approach on and off the pitch. They cover every detail and you can't question their desire, which is second to none."
Marriott believes Mansfield can reverse their form of the previous three seasons and improve as the months go by.
He added: "In the past we have had fantastic starts but then fallen away at Christmas.
"Hopefully this time we can finish strongly and it will be the other way around.
"You have to get to know people on a personal and professional level when there are a lot of new players and I just hope people will be a little bit patient."
Shot-stopper Alan Marriott says Mansfield Town must learn from defensive errors
chad.co.uk,Thursday 25 August 2011
STAGS shot-stopper says his side must cut out the costly defensive errors to mount a major promotion push.
Mansfield Town have so far failed to keep a clean sheet this season and have been blighted by conceding costly goals from set-piececs.
The lapses in concentration were once again punished on Tuesday night when Stags had to settle for a share of the spoils against promotion-chasing Luton after switching off at a free-kick.
Said Marriott: “We do not have many points for the performances we have put in the league table does not reflect how we have played.
“We have switched off at set-pieces and been punished for them.
“Really we should have seven or eight points more, which is a bit soul-destroying.
“Braintree had one set-piece which cost us and we switched off against Luton. We need a clean sheet to built on.”
And the ex-Lincon City goalkeeper is backing new loan defender Ben Futcher, a former team-mate at Sincil Bank, to help steady the defensive ship.
“Futcher is an organiser and a great leader on and off the field and that is something we need,”said Marriott.
“He is an excellent player at this level. We are good friends off the pitch and it certainly helps having your mate in front of you.
“At the moment we need to cope better with set-pieces, it is something that cost us last season.
“It is a case of learning from our mistakes.”
Cox: Stags win is vital for confidence
Nottingham Post, Saturday, August 27, 2011
PAUL Cox is desperate for Mansfield Town to register their first win against Kettering today – to avoid their confidence levels ebbing away.
The Stags have still to pick up their first victory of the season after four games, despite encouraging performances in 1-1 draws with Braintree and Luton.
?Cox is keen for that to change this afternoon to take the pressure of his new-look squad.
"Psychology and the mental side of the game has a bigger impact on the game than the physical side," said Cox.
"Whatever you say to players, there is nothing better for them than a win.
"As much as we have played well in the last two games, we have only got two points.
"The longer it goes on, there's always that bit of doubt that can materialise in people's minds.
"But our body language after the game on Tuesday was good and the belief is there."
Kendrick out to draw on Champions League experience
Nottingham Post, Saturday, August 27, 2011
FROM Champions League to Blue Square Bet Premier, Mansfield Town's Joe Kendrick has certainly done the rounds as a professional footballer.
The Irishman started out at Premier League Newcastle United, where he spent four years trying to force his way into the St James' Park first team picture.
?Since then he has gone on to experience life at a host of clubs across Europe, including TSV 1860 Munich in Germany and PFC Neftchi of Azerbaijan, as well as a host of clubs in England and at home.
But the well-travelled left-back's most memorable time came in August 2008 when he had the chance to play Champions League football.
Kendrick was part of the Drogheda United side that took on Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kiev over a two-legged qualifier in the world's most prestigious club competition.
And despite an expected defeat, it is an experience the 28-year-old will never forget as he and his team-mates pushed the former European Cup Winners' Cup holders all the way.
Drogheda were beaten 2-1 at their Dalymount Park home in the first leg.
But they battled hard in the second match in Kiev to earn a 2-2 draw – and hit the post late on when an on target effort would have clinched a dramatic victory.
"If we'd have won we would have gone through to the third qualifying round and could have ended up playing some really big sides," said Kendrick.
"But we ended up going out in Kiev, even though we managed to draw in their stadium, which was a brilliant experience for us.
"At the time, Drogheda were probably the biggest team in Ireland and the only professional side, with investment from the chairman.
"I signed a three-year contract and was looking forward to seeing that out, but then the chairman pulled the plug and we were left without jobs.
"I was one of the lucky ones because I managed to get something lined up pretty quickly to play in Azerbaijan.
"But it was a disappointing time because a lot of the lads struggled to find other clubs."
It is the lure of a professional contract that has seen Kendrick return to England, where he had last played in 2008.
His previous time on these shores has included spells at Darlington, Workington and Tamworth – and he is out to make the most of this latest opportunity.
Kendrick said: "I'm pleased with the way I've settled in, even though it's not been the easiest of times with the wife and kids moving over from Ireland.
"But I'm happy to be here and there is certainly a buzz about the squad.
"Being a bit older now I am trying to help some of the younger lads out.
"We have some talented lads, including Lindon Meikle who has been playing just in front of me, which bodes well.
"I think the league is a good standard now. The previous time I was at Tamworth where I only played something like 14 or 15 games.
"Coming back to this level there are some very strong teams now and all of them have good players, which makes it hard for us."
Like his manager Paul Cox, Kendrick feels it is only a matter of team before Stags get their season up and running with a first victory.
They have lost one and drawn the other three of their matches so far.
"It was frustrating that we didn't get the first win against Luton, but we have to realise who we were playing. They are one of the strongest teams in the league," he said.
"Considering the Gateshead game was such a disappointment, it's great to see the performance levels since have been raised 100 per cent.
"We want to do the best for the fans and we realise how important it is to them and the part they will have to play.
"It was nice to go off to a big ovation the other night.
"We are trying our best to get things right and I think the fans appreciated that.
"It would be nice to get that first win against Kettering today, but it will happen at some point even if it doesn't happen against them."
The former Republic or Ireland U21 international believes that the slow start is indicative of just how tight things will be this season.
He said: "It has been a bit of a crazy league so far where no one has won all their games and no one has lost them all either, which shows everyone is capable of beating everyone else.
"If you can get a bit of consistency going in the middle of that then you are going to soon shoot up the league."
Latest | August 2011