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Archived News from December 2011

SOUTHPORT PREVIEWS / BELL OUT ON LOAN
19th December 2011 16:17


Rangers land Mansfield's Matthew Bell
Wednesday 14th December 2011

Read more: http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/2011/12/14/rangers-land-mansfields-matthew-bell/#ixzz1gb7xhlF8

Stafford Rangers today landed utility man Matthew Bell on a month's loan from Mansfield – as they wait for an answer from Crewe's Kelvin Mellor.

Bell, who can play in midfield or anywhere on the left flank, will meet up with his new team-mates for the first time at tonight's training session.

And the 19-year-old, who turns 20 in the New Year, could be joined by his Mellor, who is set for a second spell on loan at Marston Road.

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Spotlight on Southport v Mansfield Town
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 16, 2011

Squad: McMillan, Grand, Lever, Smith, Owens, Akrigg, Moogan, Parry, Poku, Ledsham, Guthrie , Gray, Brown, Carden, Davis, Nemes.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14154995-detail/story.html

Team news: Influential left-sided midfielder Karl Ledsham has been struggling with injury this week, but is expected to be fit to face the Stags. Luton loanee Dan Walker remains sidelined with a persistent knee injury for which he is receiving ongoing treatment. Midfielder Aaron Turner continues to make progress with his rehabilitation and has made a return to light training. Defender Kevin Lee is scheduled to have an operation later this week after picking up a season ending injury against Tamworth in October

Squad: Marriott, Sutton, Freeman, Dempster, Thompson, Briscoe, Kelly, Verma, Bolland, Murray, Stevenson, O'Neill, Dyer, Green, Meikle, Redmond, Rodney.

Team news: After not being risked with a tight hamstring last week, Nottingham Forest loanee defender Kieron Freeman is expected to be fit for tomorrow. But Mansfield are set to be without defender Rhys Day, who suffered a calf injury in training this week and full-back Joe Kendrick, who has a knee complaint after recovering from a back injury. Matt Bell has joined Stafford Rangers on a month's loan.

One to watch: Tony Gray The striker has bagged 12 goals in 24 appearances this season and scored when the Stags were beaten 3-1 at Field Mill earlier this season. In and out of the team in the last campaign, he has taken his chance this campaign with both hands and is full of confidence.

Manager: Liam Watson In charge for a second spell at Haig Avenue since 2008 and guided Port into the Blue Square Premier as champions of the Conference North in the 2009/10 season. He now has his team firmly in the play-off places in fourth spot

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Stags start festive programme with tough trip to Southport
chad.co.uk, Friday 16 December 2011

MANSFIELD Town head for Southport tomorrow looking to wipe away the misery of last weekend's abject FA Trophy exit at Droylsden and begin the crucial festive programme of games with a decent result.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/stags_start_festive_programme_with_tough_trip_to_southport_1_4065079

In a spell which could make or break Mansfield's season, they start at Haigh Avenue on Saturday before back to back games at home and away with York City on Boxing Day and New Year's Day before the visit of Forest Green Rovers on 7th January.

“These are four massive games which is what you want over the Christmas period – games that are really competitive and mean something,” said manager Paul Cox.

“Southport, York and Forest Green are all sides above us in the league and, in general ,I believe we play against teams above us or the so-called bigger clubs.

“If we come through the Christmas period with some good results we can start the second half of the season on the front foot.

“Goals win games and when we lost to Southport at home we had two great chances in the first 15 minutes. Then I think all three of their goals came from set pieces.

“We have got to defend better as a unit as I know we will always create chances. We are not a bad side at all.”

Cox verbally lashed his players for their display at Droylsden and had them in for extra training on Sunday. But he is pleased so far how they have worked this week and has asked them to show a response against high-flying Southport.

“The weather has hampered us a bit and we have had to have a session indoors. But they have worked hard. They are not a bad set of lads and they are honest,” he said.

“Southport have been up there all season so they are not a flash in the pan. They are good at what they do as they showed here and will will have to be on our mettle to get a result up there.

“They play a certain way and we have to deal with that.

“I know people were disappointed by Saturday's result, none more so then me, but in the greater scheme of things we have only lost four all season.

“Our biggest problem is how many games we have drawn. Of those I really do believe we should have won at least half of them.

“We need to start turning those draws into wins. A good result on Saturday would get us to the halfway point of the season with 37-40 points which is a decent tally.”

Southport are sitting pretty in fourth place after earning a reprieve from relegation when Rushden went out of business. But their season bears comparison with Stags as their away form is far better than their home form where they have won five, drawn four and lost three.

In contrast Mansfield have lost only one away league game which was in the opening away match at Gateshead four months ago.

Loanee defender Keiron Freeman is available again after recovering from a hamstring strain, but Joe Kendrick (knee) and Rhys Day (calf) are almost certainly ruled out with minor knocks.

Matt Bell has gone out on a month's loan to Stafford Rangers

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Cox warns his players about Southport set-piece threat
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 16, 2011

STAGS boss Paul Cox has warned his players they have to deal with Southport's set-piece threat if they are to win tomorrow.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14154985-detail/story.html

Mansfield lost 3-1 to them on home soil back in October and Cox said his men have to be totally switched on if they are to claim all three points.

Southport are fourth in the league and the Stags manager said: "I am expecting exactly the same as when we faced them at home.

"Goals win games and when you look at it, we had two great chances in the first 15 minutes to go either 1-0 or 2-0 up here.

"And then all three of their goals were from set-pieces, long throws into the box, corners, so we have to defender better.

"They have been up there all season. It is no flash in the pan and they are good at what they do.

"We have got to be on our mettle to get a positive result up there."

Cox said his players had reacted well to his criticism in training this week, following the 2-1 FA Trophy defeat away to Droylsden last Saturday.

He added: "They have done well. The weather has hindered us a bit and we have had a session indoors but they do work hard.

"They are honest and we want to make sure we react against Southport tomorrow.

"They have a decent side and I think they will stop up there.

"I know people are disappointed after Saturday's result, none more so than me, but in the great scheme of things, we have only lost four league games all season."

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Cox relishing four games that could shape Mansfield's season
Nottingham Post, Saturday, December 17, 2011

WHEN it comes to their play-off ambitions, the next four games could go a long way to shaping the future for Mansfield Town.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14164953-detail/story.html

As they head to Southport today having played half of their 46 games, they sit just three points off the play-offs.

They are seven points behind fourth-placed Southport with a game in hand and in their following two games, face a festive double-header with York City, who sit third.

Those games take place on Boxing Day and New Year's Day before a clash with Forest Green, who are currently one place above Mansfield.

And with such big games to come in the coming three weeks, boss Paul Cox is only too aware how important they could be in making Mansfield's season.

The Stags have lost just four of their 23 league matches so far this campaign but, significantly, have drawn ten of those to leave them sat tenth in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.

But despite last weekend's FA Trophy exit to Droylsden, Cox is confident his men can continue their run on the road that has seen them not lose on their travels in the league since the opening away game of the campaign at Gateshead.

Cox said: "Our biggest problem has been drawing games and in those, I do believe we should have won half of them.

"We have to turn draws into wins in the second half of the season.

"But we have four big games coming up and I genuinely believe we play better against teams above us or the so called bigger clubs.

"It is four massive games for us and it is what you want over the Christmas period.

"We want games that are really competitive and mean something and if we can come through this period with some decent results, a decent points tally, then we start the second half of the season on the front foot.

"We are not a bad side, we just have to make sure we are more consistent in the way we attack and the way we defend."

Cox has allowed Matt Bell to join Stafford Rangers on loan for a month and others could go out to give them game time – and release him funds to spend.

He is still looking at former Middlesbrough and Celtic striker Ben Hutchinson and forward Anto Flood, who have been on trial at Field Mill.

And he said January will be a busy month as he looks to shape his squad into one that is capable of sustaining a play-off charge.

"If we can, we want to strengthen in January to help with a good push in the second half of the season," said Cox. "We have to be careful (with players going out on loan), because the heavy grounds come in, injuries and suspensions kick in, but I would like to give one or two of the lads who have not played much football a chance to do so.

"I have always said it is how strong your squad is, not the first 11, and that will be stretched between now and April.

"January is always a busy month and because of how it happens now, for managers, clubs and agents it is always their busiest time.

"We will deal with it and add to the squad."

After their poor showing in the FA Trophy, Cox called his players in to train on Sunday morning.

And he explained his reasons to his players in the hope it will not have to happen again.

"We had a chat because sometimes the lads do not understand the reasons for bringing them in on supposedly their day off," he said. "They generally felt it was just because we lost on Saturday but I had to explain that it wasn't that we lost, it was the manner in which we lost.

"Even when we have lost games this season, I have backed them 100 per cent and the reason why that is, is because the one thing I generally call for in all my teams is that if we lose, we lose properly and when we leave the field we have given 100 per cent commitment, desire and effort.

"I felt on Saturday we started to play with about 20 minutes to go but we cannot afford to play for 20 minutes and expect to win.

"Was it a punishment? No. I just felt our standards dropped and we have to make sure that is a one off.

"The lads have responded, worked hard and are looking forward to this to erase the FA Trophy game."

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Stags looking to make amends, says striker Green
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 16, 2011

AS Mansfield Town prepare to travel to Southport tomorrow, there is a feeling among the players that they owe one to their manager Paul Cox.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14154959-detail/story.html

After the dismal FA Trophy defeat to Droylsden last Saturday, the Stags boss was fuming.

If his criticism after the game was not enough, he then called his squad in for training on Sunday morning.

Actions, at times, speak louder than words and every Mansfield player has been made to stand up and take notice.

And, as they prepare to face fourth-placed Southport, the players are desperate to get back to winning ways.

Top-scorer Matt Green, who bagged his 14th goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat last weekend, was among those who had to cancel his plans last Sunday.

But he said the squad do not want to let their manager down again, as they look to move closer to the top-five in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

The 24-year-old said: "We deserved it a bit (being made to train on Sunday) as we did not play as well as we could do and we just want to make sure we get it right tomorrow.

"Everyone feels a little bit on eggshells at the moment because we have disappointed the gaffer and he has been good to us.

"We have had a good week training and on Sunday morning, we were in doing a lot of running. We have been getting together again, regrouping.

"Everyone at the moment has got their pedal to the metal and we have to work hard for the next game.

"We know we need to pick up some points over the next couple of weeks. We are coming into the main part of the season now and every point helps."

Green is still upset at the manner of last week's defeat to Droylsden, who are a division below Mansfield.

But he believes they can learn a lot from playing in such testing conditions, calling for the Stags to deal with whatever is thrown at them.

He accepts pitches are going to turn into mudbaths in coming weeks, as the Stags battle the elements of the British winter.

High winds and heavy rain have already disrupted training, with snow being forecast to provide another test.

But Green said: "There were difficult conditions but we should have won the game, there are no excuses.

"I do not think we underestimated them, it was a case of we did not play at our best.

"I will put my hand up, I did not have one of my greatest games and everyone throughout the team would say the same thing.

"The goal is the only thing I could take from that game and I was grateful to get on the scoresheet.

"We know it is going to be difficult (against Southport) but we also know when we are on our game we can beat anyone. We just have to make sure we are.

"There are horrible conditions you have to contend with, horrible places to go but you have to grind out results and we have to make sure we do that."

Despite the cup defeat, the Stags have not lost on the road in the league since their opening away game at Gateshead.

They are also unbeaten in their last five league matches – although four of those have ended in draws.

That is something Green knows has to change, adding: "We have not been beaten in many games which is good, but it is getting the three points that matters now.

"We need to make sure we turn draws into wins."

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Bolland: Stags well-placed at halfway mark
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 16, 2011

PAUL Bolland insists Mansfield Town are in prime position to challenge for promotion back to the Football League at the halfway stage of their campaign.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14154268-detail/story.html

The Stags have accrued 37 points from their first 23 games going into the Christmas period.

?They are in the middle of a pack that sees only seven points separate Cambridge in fifth and Darlington in 13th.

Midfielder Bolland – in the first of a two-year-deal at Field Mill believes – believes the club can be pleased with its progress as they prepare to head into 2012.

"We know we can play a lot better than in some of our recent games but we have still been putting a shift in and picking up points," said Bolland as he prepared for tomorrow's trip to Southport.

"We have been through a sticky patch yet we are still within touching distance of the play-offs.

"If we can still be there or thereabouts after Christmas or New Year and you go on a decent run, then that is going to lift us right up the table.

"They key is to try to build up a bit of momentum – like we did earlier in the season.

"If you get of a winning run then everything seems to come that little bit more easily."

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Southport have a tough task at home to Mansfield Town in Blue Square Bet League's Premier Division
by Paul Snowdon, Liverpool Echo, Dec 16 2011

LIAM WATSON'S Southport have a tough nut to crack open tomorrow at Haig Avenue where Mansfield Town are the visitors.

The Sandgrounders have enjoyed a super season so far, surpassing all expectations for this stage of the campaign in the Blue Square Bet League's Premier Division.

Fourth place, six points behind leaders Wrexham tells its own story.

But Mansfield have themselves a good record and have actually lost two games fewer than the Yellows.

It's drawn matches – 10 thus far – that have stalled the Stags' progress up the division as they currently lie 10th in the table.

Port player Karl Ledsham this week said getting to the half-century point mark this weekend was paramount.

He said: “First things first, is getting to 50 points.

“We will then have hit another objective and can then play without any fear.

“But we must go out and play because this is how the run started.”

Read More http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/amateur-football/2011/12/16/southport-have-a-tough-task-at-home-to-mansfield-town-in-blue-square-bet-league-s-premier-division-100252-29962583/#ixzz1gggCg3Db

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Cox throws down gauntlet to Marriott
Nottingham Post, Thursday, December 15, 2011

PAUL Cox today told Alan Marriott he needs to keep producing the goods if he wants a new contract at Mansfield Town.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-14141963-detail/story.html

The keeper is out of contract at the end of the season and can talk to other clubs in January.

But he wants to stay at Field Mill and is keen to follow in the footsteps of skipper Adam Murray and negotiate a deal for next season early on.

Manager Cox, though, insists Marriott has to show he merits another 12 months by continuing to shine in the way he did in keeping a clean sheet in the last league game at Grimsby.

The 33-year-old made a succession of excellent stops to earn the Stags a point from a 0-0 draw at Blundell Park.

"Mazza has been called into action sporadically this season. I can't think of many games where he has had to pull off too many top-class saves," said Cox.

"But when you go away on cold Tuesday nights like at Grimsby, sometimes you need your keeper to keep you in a game, as he did.

"I was very happy with his performance in that game, but in relation to a new contract, Mazza has to force the issue.

"I'm looking for players to show me they are hungry to be successful – just as he did in showing a desire to keep a clean sheet.

"If he keeps putting in performances like that, then we will have to look at it. You want to tie down your better players.

"If you do that then come next year you have a good nucleus of a squad, rather than completely rebuilding again."

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SOUTHPORT V MANSFIELD preview
http://www.southportfc.net/news/details.php?news_id=4991
15th Dec 11

Southport aim to consolidate their Blue Square Bet Premier play off position on Saturday at Haig Avenue versus Mansfield Town. The Mansfield match is a massive pre festive fixture for the Port as they go into Christmas with a double header against highflying Fleetwood Town.

Southport in fact look to return to winning ways after an out of character 4-0 defeat to Alfreton at the weekend saw them crash out of the FA Trophy in the first round proper. The Sandgrounders now set their focus back on the league which is the Port's priority.

Karl Ledsham is the only Port player causing Liam Watson selection concern but physion Chris Roberts is confident he will have the influential left sided midfielder ready for action against Stags.

Sitting fourth in the Blue Square Bet Premier with forty-four points, equal with third placed York, Liam Watson's Yellows are six points from the top of the table with a four point cushion within the play off places.

Mansfield, who were FA Trophy finalists last May. come into Saturday's fixture off the back of what manager Paul Cox described as their worst performance this season after a 2-1 loss to Conference North side Droylsden ensured the Stags exited the FA Trophy in the first round of the competition.

Tenth in the league with thirty-seven points and a game in hand over Port, Mansfield find themselves sitting on the cusp of the play off places, three points at the weekend could see them move a step closer to the coveted top five spots.

Their last league game yielded a no score draw with Grimsby which was to be the Stags' fifth draw on the road and tenth of the season. Mansfield keeper Alan Marriott made a string of heroic saves to clinch his team the point and a well earned clean sheet.

Port's most recent clash with the Stags back in October saw the Yellows take all three points with a 1-3 win. Goals from Shaun Whalley and Tony Gray secured the victory along with a little help from Andy Todd who put the ball into his own net.

Since the last meeting Mansfield have strengthened their squad with a string of loan signings including twenty year old striker Nialle Rodney. The former Nottingham Forest youngster joins the Stags on a month loan from Bradford and had a spell at Darlington earlier this season.

Twenty-three year old forward Aman Verma, signed from Kettering Town just before the close of the transfer window with a view to a permanent deal in January, is joined by his former Kettering team mate, midfielder Marcus Kelly, who signs on a similar basis.

Club top scorer Matt Green, on loan from Oxford United until 31st December has found the back of the net fourteen times in his twenty-two appearances for the Stags this campaign. It has been reported that a fee has been agreed for the striker to make the move to Field Mill permanently come January.

Luton loanee Dan Walker remains sidelined with a persistent knee injury for which he is receiving ongoing treatment. Midfielder Aaron Turner continues to make progress with his rehabilitation and has made a return to light training.

Defender Kevin Lee is scheduled to have an operation later this week after picking up a season ending injury against Tamworth in October.

Despite the recent disappointing cup performances, the team remains confident as they resume their chase for promotion.

With a near full squad to select from, Liam Watson will be keen to secure all three points for the Sandgrounders, reinforce their position within the play off places as the crucial festive run of fixtures fast approaches, and continue to challenge at the top of the table

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