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Archived News from January 2012

LUTON PREVIEWS + SAM CRAVEN ON TRIAL
29th January 2012 22:13



VIDEO: Gaffer previews Luton --->
http://www.mansfieldtown.net/page/Preview/0,,10325~2587140,00.html

Tue 24 Jan 2012
Paul Cox looks ahead to tomorrow night's big match at Kenilworth Road, Luton.
The manager was speaking at this morning's press meeting from Field Mill, where he revealed that former Notts County defender Sam Craven has joined us on trial

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Spotlight on Luton Town v Mansfield Town
Nottingham Post, Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Luton (from): K. Pilkington, G. Pilkington, Gleeson, Kovacs, Howells, Taylor, Lawless, Kissock, Keane, Morgan-Smith, Watkins, O'Connor, Crow, Poku, Tyler, Fleetwood, McAllister, Osano, Willmott, Asafu-Adjaye.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-15029013-detail/story.html

Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Dempster, Kendrick, Murray, Roberts, Howell, Smith, Green, Meikle, Briscoe, Dyer, Hutchinson, Stevenson, Worthington.

Team news: Luton are likely to be much changed from the side that eased past Hinckley United in Monday's FA Trophy replay at Kenilworth Road – watched by a post-war low crowd of 1,004.

The Hatters made ten changes for that 3-0 win over the Knitters, with only John Paul Kissock retained from the side that drew 3-3 at Southport.

And with league action taking priority there could be another shake-up.

Luton will definitely be without one-time Stags target James Dance (ankle) and Dean Beckwith (calf), while Keith Keane (hamstring) is a doubt.

Mansfield's John Thompson will not be involved as he is spending this week at Lilleshall in a bid to recover from a neck and shoulder injury.

Top scorer Matt Green picked up a knock in Saturday's 3-2 win over Hayes and Yeading, but boss Paul Cox hopes he will be fit to start.

One to watch: Aaron O'Connor. The former Stags forward has scored seven goals this season but six of those have come in his last seven games, helping the Hatters win four and draw one of their last five league encounters.

Manager: Gary Brabin. Under pressure to deliver the title, the former Cambridge manager now faces an uphill task in the run-in to the end of the season with his side 10 points off leaders Wrexham having played a game more

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Cox hopes for happy Stags return to Kenilworth Road
Nottingham Post, Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IT was the scene that produced arguably Mansfield Town's most memorable moments of last season.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-15029144-detail/story.html

Now the Stags head back to Kenilworth Road, Luton, hoping for more reasons to smile.

The task facing Paul Cox's side is a notoriously difficult one, as past teams from north Notts have found to their cost.

No team at this level gets more numerous support than the Hatters – and it is undeniably vocal and partisan at that.

But, with the help of two sending offs, Mansfield were able to earn a positive result in the second leg of their FA Trophy semi-final last March.

The 1-1 draw took Mansfield through to a Wembley final with Darlington – after a 1-0 first-leg success at Field Mill – and sparked wild celebrations among the 1,000-plus fans massed in the Oak Road Stand.

There are unlikely to be as many making the trip down the M1 for this fixture, moved back a day so that it can be shown live on Premier Sports.

Yet if Mansfield can be victorious, it could prove to be even more significant than that afternoon in the sun just over ten months ago.

A third win in a row at one of the Blue Square Bet Premier's strongest sides really would raise the belief that a play-off charge is possible.

Even so, manager Cox is refusing to put any extra importance on the tie, which precedes a trip to Ebbsfleet United at the weekend.

"All I have said all along is that we want to be touching distance come the business end of the season – and coming towards the end of January, we still are," he said.

"If you are in that chasing pack, we're seven points off fourth with a game in hand, then anything can happen.

"Tonight, the pressure will be off us a little bit. We are going to a club where there is an expectation even higher than that experienced by ourselves.

"Of course we would love to win at Luton, but I have been in this situation a few times and you have to see the wood for the trees.

"You can keep an eye on other clubs, but what matters is that your own points tally keeps ticking over.

"We could lose at Luton and with other midweek results going against us, be further away from the play-offs.

"But throughout the next 17 games there will be twists and turns whatever happens tonight because the other top teams will be playing each other."

Mansfield have won their last two games, both at home, against Forest Green (1-0) and Hayes and Yeading (3-2), despite, as Cox freely admits, not being at their best.

But he is pleased with the way his squad are shaping up going into the final stages of the season.

Cox said: "We talked about keeping our focus before the Forest Green game and I think that will really set them in good stead now the expectation and pressure is going to be cranked up.

"I think the ethics are different to five or six weeks ago, when we were a bit erratic.

"We are averaging two points from our last four or five games, which is decent form.

"We know we are hard to beat and we may have to start doing things we haven't done before, throwing caution to the wind because we have to win games."

Cox has 'five or six' transfer targets in mind ahead of the close of the permanent window at midnight on Tuesday.

But he admits, as yet, he is unsure who will be joining for the final third of the campaign.

"I would like to strengthen because it keeps the squad on their toes. It's good to bring in a fresh face when the heavy ground can take its toll on players," said Cox. "We have to be wary that we don't want to lose key players without back-up.

"I would like to bring in another two, three would be great, but it depends on their cost and ability."

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Craven handed Stags chance
Nottingham Post, Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SAM Craven is the latest player to be taken on trial by Mansfield Town.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-15028276-detail/story.html

The former Notts County defender is due to play in a friendly with Rainworth Miners' Welfare on Saturday.

The game will see those players who do not travel to Ebbsfleet involved, alongside a selection of youth teamers.

Nottingham-born Craven, 23, took up a scholarship in the US following his release from Meadow Lane and has since played for Long Island Rough Riders and FC New York

"Sam is a left-back who can also play in the middle. He's big and sturdy at 6ft 1ins or 6ft 2ins, looks a proper defender and is a tough cookie," said manager Paul Cox.

"The way he has tackled in training, there has been one or two staying away from him. He will play against Rainworth and we will have a look at him."

Cox is delighted that the returning Adam Smith has responded so positively following his loan spell at Aldershot.

He was impressive in his first start of the season against Hayes and Yeading on Saturday and is in contention for tonight's clash at Luton (7.30pm).

Cox said: "Just because Adam wasn't getting in before doesn't mean you can't look at it again.

"He has gone away and come back with a different perspective.

"Adam looks his happy-go-lucky self again. It's not been about his attitude, but about understanding what is expected of him now."

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Stags Trial For Craven
mansfield103.co.uk, Tuesday 24th January, 2012

Former Notts County defender Sam Craven is on trial at Mansfield Town.

http://www.mansfield103.co.uk

Boss Paul Cox has revealed that the 23-year-old, who has more recently been playing in America, is one of a number of players he's keeping an eye on.

He told mansfieldtown.net how many players he would like to add to the squad: "I'd probably like two, three depending on cost and the ability of the player.

"Some of them could be coming to boost the squad, some of them could be coming to come straight into the first eleven.

"It's just important that we have a little depth to the squad at this minute."

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