FLEETWOOD FA CUP PREVIEWS + OGDEN INTERVIEW
video interviews with Cox, Bolland and Dyer
Injury Worries For Stags + Trialist News
mansfield103.co.uk, Thursday 27th October, 2011
Mansfield Town have a couple of fresh doubts for their FA Cup clash with Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
The Stags, who already have Louis Briscoe and Tom Naylor on the sidelines, could be without the services of left-backs Joe Kendrick and Matt Bell.
One piece of good news, however, is that centre-back Ben Futcher will be available for the Fourth Qualifying Round tie at Field Mill.
Meanwhile, boss Paul Cox has revealed that his interest has ended in all-but-one of the four trialists who played in Tuesday's friendly.
Marco Zoro, Youssef Sofiane and Michelli Ezequiel took part in the 1-0 win at Tamworth.
But, only ex-Bradford midfielder Leon Osborne is being retained by the Stags manager.
Waiting game for Stags over wide man Osborne
Nottingham Post, Friday, October 28, 2011
LEON Osborne can win himself a contract at Mansfield Town in the New Year if he continues to impress, manager Paul Cox has revealed.
The wide man-cum-striker, 22 today, has been training with the Stags and playing in their friendly games, including Tuesday's 1-0 win at Tamworth.
But he cannot be signed until the January transfer window after having his contract cancelled at Bradford City.
"Leon has been doing well. He has shown a lot of promise and I'd like to see him when he's fully match fit," said Cox.
"You don't play in the Football League if you are not a good player. He has power and pace.
"We can't wait until Christmas to sign players, we can't afford to. But if he continues to do well then we could sign him at that point."
Another player on the radar is Stamford's former Hucknall Town player Nathan Watson.
Cox watched Watson score in Stamford's 2-0 win over his former employers in midweek, but says he will not be making an approach at this time.
Louis Briscoe could be out for a while after a scan revealed the abductor muscle in his groin has come away from the bone
Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Fleetwood
Nottingham Post, Friday, October 28, 2011
Squad: Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Futcher, Day, Kendrick, Bell, Dyer, Bolland, Murray, Worthington, Howell, Meikle, Todd, Green, Connor.
Team news: Louis Briscoe (groin) is out along with Tom Naylor (hamstring) and John Thompson (facial injury).
Matt Bell (knee) and Joe Kendrick (back) face fitness tests, meaning Luke O'Neill may have to switch flanks, but Ben Futcher (calf) could return.
Squad: Davies, Beeley, Wassmer, McNulty, J Brown, Vardy, McGuire, Milligan, Clancy, Brodie, Mangan, Seddon, Pond, Wilson, Goodall, St Louis-Hamilton.
Team news: Fleetwood are without long-term injury victims Magno Vieira (hamstring), Paul Linwood (knee), Keith Briggs (knee), Anthony Barry (knee) and Peter Cavanagh (ankle).
One to watch: Jamie Vardy. Signed in August from FC Halifax for a fee believed to be in the region of £100,000, the pacy right winger has scored ten goals in 10 games, including five in his last two against Alfreton and Bath City.
Manager: Micky Mellon (pictured). Has won 84 and lost 40 of his 166 games in charge of Fleetwood since taking over in September 2008, his first game being a 3-0 FA Cup victory over Wakefield
Left back problems for Stags ahead of Fleetwood FA Cup tester
chad.co.uk, Thursday 27 October 2011
MANSFIELD Town have a problem over who will play left back for Saturdays' big home FA Cup fourth qualifying round with moneybags BSBP rivals Fleetwood Town (3pm).
Joe Kendrick faces a fitness test but is struggling with a back injury while likely replacement Matt Bell has a knee injury.
“We will have a look at it tomorrow,” said manager Paul Cox. “It is looking unlikely we will be able to get anyone in on loan as no one wants players to become cup-tied.
“It looks like Ben Futcher will be fit again to play centre half, which is a massive boost, so we could play Ritchie Sutton at right back and move Luke O'Neill to left back if need be.”
Tom Naylor and Louis Briscoe remained sidelined with their injuries, Briscoe awaiting the results of a scan on his groin problem.
Cox continues to look at strengthening his squad but, with it being the FA Cup, says it is unlikely anything will materialise before next week.
He said he won't be pursuing any of the trialists who played in the midweek behind-closed-doors friendly with Tamworth, feeling none looked strong enough for the BSBP, although winger Leon Osbourne impressed and will continue to train but cannot sign for anyone until the turn of the year as his contract with Bradford City was cancelled.
Fleetwood may have their attention distracted by keeping a firm eye on the BSBP title they have thrown so much at already.
But Cox assured fans he is desperate to be in the first round draw and won't take the game lightly.
“I will be taking the FA Cup seriously as I want to win every game we play,” he said. “It is probably one of the hardest draws we could have had and it will be interesting to see how we react on Saturday.
“We have got to be brave and start enjoying our football at home. We mustn't let anything affect us.
“Having watched the DVD, on reflection we didn't play that badly last weekend and had enough chances to have won three matches early on. We were just a bit powderpuff.
“Now Fleetwood gives us a nice, juicy game to get our teeth into. I don't want the lads to walk round like they have the world on their shoulders at home. I want them to express themselves.”
Midfielder Anthony Howell will be hoping for a recall after being an unused sub on his return from suspension last weekend
Mansfield midfielder Bolland hopes hopes to add to happy FA Cup memories
chad.co.uk; Friday 28 October 2011
EXPERIENCED midfielder Paul Bolland is hoping he can add to his good memories of FA Cup campaigns past when Stags host big-spending Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
“I do love the magic of the cup,” he said. “A good cup run can lift teams in the league and we want to make sure we are in that hat for round one.
“I have had quite a few first round exits but also haad one or two decent runs, getting to the third round and playing Premier League teams.
“I can remember when I was at Notts County playing Middlesbrough at home. I managed to grab Ray Parlour's shirt at the end but we didn't progress.
“Last year at Macclesfield we got through the first round but then got spanked 6-0 at Huddersfield in the second round so it was one to forget.”
Bolland has started the last two games after patiently waiting all season for a chance.
He added: “It has been a frustrating season so far for me personally.
“I picked up an injury in pre-season and have been playing catch-up ever since. I have had to be patient but the lads have been doing well.
“I am experienced enough to know that football can change quickly and it's a long season. So I have just kept my head down and worked hard.
“It is the first time I have played at this level and I have been impressed with the standard. There are a lot of big clubs with big ambitions.
“I know our last few home games have not been ideal performances – we are well aware of that.
“But that's football. You get that in some parts of the season and you have to come through those sticky patches. Hopefully that's what we can do.
“It will be a tough game. Fleetwood are up there at the top. It will be good to test ourselves as we've not yet played them this season and give us an idea where we are.”
Stags' Connor searching for more FA Cup memories
Nottingham Post, Saturday, October 29, 2011
THERE'S no wonder the FA Cup is held in such high esteem by Paul Connor, having given rise to one of the most memorable moments of his lengthy career.
Back in February 2003, Connor set Division Three Rochdale on the way to an upset FA Cup victory over Division One Coventry City in front of more than 9,000 at Spotland.
Connor thumped home a clinical left-footer just past the half hour mark to send the home crowd wild.
And when defender Gareth Griffiths netted a second after the restart, Rochdale cruised to a deserved fourth round victory.
It is an occasion still etched in Connor's memory, even approaching a decade later.
"I have had some good runs in the FA Cup and it has been quite kind to me," said Connor.
"I got to the fifth round with Rochdale where we lost to Wolves and we were the lowest ranked club still left in the competition.
"That year we knocked out Coventry and I scored against them after they had just come out of the Premier League and had some good players.
"They had people like Gary McAllister playing for them and we beat them 2-0 in front of a packed house, with me getting the first one.
"Neil Collett (former Mansfield keeper) was a young Coventry fan and he was there watching the game as a youngster.
"I managed to score three or four in that run and since then I have always loved the FA Cup. The games create a buzz for the lower teams.
"We saw with the FA Trophy run we had at Mansfield last year the interest that it can create.
"If you get a big team it can be one of the biggest days of your career.
"And I think it can help you if you have a good run in the cup that it can transfer to your league form as well."
Of course, Mansfield still have some way to go to set up a clash with one of the big boys and they could hardly have a tougher start in today's fourth qualifying round.
Fleetwood are tipped by many to win this season's Blue Square Bet Premier and are second in the table after one defeat in 12 games, including nine wins.
Connor said: "Fleetwood were just about as hard as we could get. They have shown they are a pretty good side, but we are not worried about it.
"They had two pretty comprehensive wins over us last season but this is a new season and we are looking to prove we are up there with the best.
"They have good players up front, but people like Sutts and Riles will be confident they can play well against them.
"I don't think they will be intimidated, I just think they will enjoy the challenge."
Mansfield hardly go into the game in the best of form.
Though they won 3-2 at home to Alfreton last week, they made hard work of beating a side who had lost their previous five away matches and had been reduced to nine men, coming back from 2-0 down late on.
"We just didn't play well or turn up and they took advantage of that, but we still got the three points," said Connor.
"We felt as though we let ourselves down because we didn't play anything like we know we can. It was strange because it almost felt like a defeat.
"They effectively went 4-4-0, packed the defence and didn't change it and challenged us to break them down.
"We said at half-time that if we got an early goal they could crumble given they were probably low on confidence after their recent results.
"We didn't get the early goal, but we got there in the end. You are not going to play well every week."
Perhaps for the first time this season, Mansfield's fans voiced their displeasure at that performance.
But Connor insists the players must take responsibility to keep any criticism at bay.
He said: "To be honest, I believe you have to give the fans something to cheer about.
"If I play badly, I know it myself, but you have to be strong on the pitch.
"I thought they had every right to have a go at us during the Alfreton game.
"Having said that, we need the fans to get behind us when they can – and they do get behind us when we play well.
"It is a two-way thing because we need to produce to get them going."
The Stags have played their last two games without Ben Futcher, but the giant defender could be back from a calf injury to face the Cod Army.
"Futch is a top man and a leader on and off the pitch – in the dressing room as well as out on the pitch," said Connor.
"At this level I think you need that kind of player, no disrespect to the lads in the side at the moment.
"You need that kind of presence and we do miss him when he is not there."
Why scout Ogden is vital to Stags' chances
Nottingham Post, Friday, October 28, 2011
EVERY football manager knows you can't be in two places at once. How can you be assessing your next opponents when they are playing at the same time as you are?
That's where a scout is worth his weight in gold – if you employ one.
In previous seasons, with the purse strings tight, Mansfield have not always had that luxury.
Last season, David Holdsworth and then Duncan Russell were forced to rely on reports of their rivals' game produced by Scout 7, a scouting network of former professionals.
The biggest problems with that, of course, was that the information was not personalised or particularly detailed.
This season, however, the Stags have been in a position to appoint a chief scout, Paul Ogden, who manager Paul Cox has already gone on record as saying is invaluable.
It helps, of course, that the two men are friends.
Ogden was involved at Leek Town when Cox first cut his teeth in coaching as an assistant to John Ramshaw.
It's a largely unseen relationship that has contributed to Mansfield's encouraging start to 2011-12, sitting in eighth place with a game in hand ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup tie with high-flying Fleetwood.
"I have been down to Braintree and Bath and up to Barrow and everywhere in between week in, week out," said Ogden.
"I watch opposition teams before we play them and work out who their best players are, the way they like to play, their strengths and weaknesses.
"I'm also always looking for players that might help strengthen the team, which I know Paul is looking to do at the moment.
"Before a Tuesday night game we will meet up on the Monday and go through a report from the opposition I have watched at the weekend.
"And before a Saturday game I will sit with him on a Thursday morning to talk about what I have seen on a Tuesday night.
"If Paul can get us in the top six by Christmas then it is all to play for."
Ogden believes it is critical to have a strong manager-scout bond at a club for it to be successful.
And he believes it has already proved a valuable concept in his short time at Field Mill.
He said: "The best example of how it has worked is the game at Wrexham (the league leaders, which Mansfield won 3-1).
"I went to watch them play against Grimsby and I recommended that he changed to 4-3-3 cum 4-5-1 (from 4-4-2) to counteract the way they played.
"It was particularly important to look after the lad (Lee) Fowler in midfield, who is very good and I explained we had to nullify him."
But Ogden is the first to admit a positive outcome is not always guaranteed.
"For the Gateshead away game (where Mansfield lost 3-0) we did our homework, having been to Kidderminster to watch them," he said.
"We didn't play particularly well and by Paul's own admission we fell apart that night.
"But overall we have lost three games out of 17, which is a decent record."
Ogden has also been key to identifying a number of the club's signings.
Ogden said: "The Matt Green loan was very much one I was involved with. I spoke to Chris Wilder (manager) and (assistant) Malcolm Crosby.
"I knew of him and that we needed someone else up front.
"I introduced Ritchie Sutton to the club and although he was injured at the start he has not done too badly since coming into the team.
"There were some good players already here, a nucleus, but apart from that it was a case of ripping things up and starting again.
"Paul will give good reasons why he will take someone or not.
"You can put things in front of him, but he goes with his own impulse – the final decision is down to him – which is the right way to be."
Again, though, things are not always perfect. Jamie Vardy – who has scored ten goals in ten games since moving to Fleetwood – is someone who slipped through the net.
The former Stocksbridge PS and Halifax man is a player Ogden marked out from an early age.
"He was someone I recommended to Paul when he was at Eastwood a while ago but, for whatever reason, it never happened," he said.
"Sometimes you sign players at the right time, sometimes not, that's just how it goes.
"It's very easy to talk players up, but it is the manager who ultimately has to take the risk and sign that player."
Ogden is convinced that Mansfield will do well this season – because of the qualities of their manager.
"What I like about Paul is that he is a great communicator. We always have regular meetings and he always returns your calls," he said.
"And he really listens to what you have to say.
"I don't think there are many, if any, managers in non-league that will have a better record than him.
"I have got confidence in him doing a good job for Mansfield – it is just a case of being patient.
"His eye for detail is second to none, he has that special ability of knowing how to win football matches and he is a strong personality, which you need.
"A scouting job can be very frustrating if you are just used as a go-between or a lacky, but I feel we are working well together.
"And if we are getting results on a Saturday, it makes it all worthwhile."
Latest | October 2011