Law urges Lambs to make new records in the league
Tamworth Herald, Friday, March 09, 2012
LAMBS manager Marcus Law has challenged his players to 'make history' in the final stages of the Conference season.
The Lambs may be in comfortable mid-table position as they enter the last 11 fixtures but Law insists there is plenty to play for.
First up is beating last season's total of 49 points and the Lambs are just seven points off that.
Then Tamworth will look to secure the best ever tally in a Conference season, achieved in 2004-05 when they reached 50 points.
Tuesday night's 0-0 draw away at York City edged them a step further and, with a home clash against Mansfield coming up this Saturday, the former Kettering boss is targeting more points.
He said: "I am looking to finish this season strongly. I am looking for this Tamworth team to go and finish higher in this division than they have ever done before.
"We have got the players to do that, and we have got the spirit in how we play. All we need to do now is achieve our goals. What we will need is for the Tamworth fans to stick with us, though.
"They need to understand what we are dealing with when we go out on the pitch.
"We are coming up against sides like Mansfield, on Saturday, who have three times our budget, and against teams like Fleetwood who dropped two players who are worth twice our budget.
"We are competing against big clubs. I do not like to use that excuse or reason, but we do all need to realise what we are up against."
Tamworth come up against Mansfield for the second time in as many weeks, having thrown away a 1-0 lead in the final ten minutes at Field Mill.
Law said: "We have got something to put right that is for sure.
"We are not blaming anyone but ourselves for that result going against us. We know it was our own fault.
"What we also do know is that we can compete against them, and we can get a result if we try.
"We won't we able to play a flash free flowing expansive game against them, or match them man for man.
"What we can do, though, is use the players we have got and use that to our advantage.
"We have got players that can cause Mansfield a problem, and if we use them in the right way that is what we will do."
video interviews with Paul Cox, Martin Riley and Lindon Meikle
Spotlight on Tamworth v Mansfield Town
Nottingham Post, Friday, March 09, 2012
Tamworth (from): Hedge, Tait, P. Green, Francis, Habergham, McDonald, Isaac, McKoy, Patterson, Taylor, Marna, Thomas, Reece, Nix, Grayson, Gudger, Barrow.
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Sutton, Craven, bell, Briscoe, Howell, Roberts, Murray, Worthington, Stevenson, Meikle, Smith Hutchinson, Green, Dyer, Rhead.
Team news: Tamworth's Sam Oji (knee) and former Stag Iyseden Christie (hamstring) have been ruled out while Duane Courtney (hamstring) is a serious doubt and Kieron St Aime (ankle) is getting back to full fitness.
But Scott Barrow (calf) is back in contention to start after coming on in the Lambs' 0-0 draw at York on Tuesday night.
Tamworth have also just signed Carlton Town player Ashley Jackson, son of former Northampton striker Neil.
Mansfield skipper Adam Murray, who has missed the last two games with an ankle problem, could play after training yesterday.
Adam Smith (dead leg) was also absent for Tuesday's 2-1 win over Cambridge but could be back.
One to watch: Liam McDonald. The midfielder has been increasingly influential in the Tamworth engine room, having followed manager Marcus Law from Kettering.
Manager: Marcus Law. Has seen his side's form dip either side on an FA Cup third round tie at Everton, with nine league defeats in their last 14 games
Stags boss looks to strengthen his defence
Nottingham Post, Friday, March 09, 2012
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox hopes to add more defensive depth to his squad ahead of tomorrow's trip to Tamworth.
The Stags have rocketed into the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places, following a run of seven victories in their last nine games.
That includes wins in their last four matches, but Ritchie Sutton has been forced to play at left-back in the last two.
Paul Edwards has returned to Fleetwood after a loan spell while fellow full-backs Sam Craven and Matt Bell are still injured.
And with central defender John Thompson still not fully fit, it leaves Mansfield short of defenders.
The loan deadline does not close for another two weeks but Cox has been working hard to bring players in.
Cox said: "We are talking to a number of clubs. We need to strengthen in defence and my hope is something can happen before the weekend.
"We have games coming Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday and Sutts has done well at left-back but it is not ideal and a top-ten side in the league should have players playing in their rightful position.
"We have probably the smallest in the top ten and we need more depth to the defence if we want to push on.
"We have done well but nothing is won in early March – and Tamworth is going to be another tough match."
Skipper Adam Murray returned to training yesterday following an ankle injury and could feature tomorrow.
And Cox hopes for a big following for the short trip, given current form and the fact Stags chairman John Radford has now secured ownership of Field Mill from Keith Haslam.
Cox added: "The potential is there and it was great to see all the supporters' smiles last week."
Mansfield Town defender Martin Riley looking to win regular place in the side
chad.co.uk; Friday 9 March 2012
DEFENDER Martin Riley says he wants to win a regular place at the heart of the Mansfield Town defence.
Riley has had an up and down season so far with injuries and a lack of starting chances limiting him to just 15 league starts this season.
But the former Cheltenham man, who returned to the Stags starting side for the 2-1 win against Lincoln City, is now aiming to take firm advantage of his recent run in the team and become an ever present until the end of the season.
“I am getting a run in the team and the moment, I just hope it is a longer one that last time,” he said.
“We are looking solid defensively at the moment and it's a shame we have not had a clean sheet to show for, as a defender that is what we pride ourselves on.
“I feel like I have got something to prove. I have been in and out of the team and I don't think the fans have seen the best of me and I hope to stay in the team as long as possible.”
And after a solid performance against Cambridge, Riley will be confident of keeping his place in the team for the Tamworth trip - a match which he knows is a great chance to further underline the side's play-off credentials.
Added Riley: “There is a great spirit in the team at the moment. Everyone was buzzing after the win at Cambridge and it was a fantastic journey home.
“We are in good form at the moment and it is important we keep this run going. Tamworth is not an easy place to go, but if we can get another three points on Saturday we will be flying.
“There is a long way to go and we have just got to try and keep getting the results and focus on each game as it comes.
“We have got some hard games ahead but we are looking to win every game we play no matter who it is against.”
Mansfield Town winger Lindon Meikle looks to put last season's Eastwood Town disappointment behind him
chad.co.uk, Friday 9 March 2012
FLYING winger Lindon Meikle hopes to fire Stags into the play-offs and put behind last season's disappointment with Eastwood Town.
Meikle missed out on the possibility of promotion to the Blue Square Premier last season after The Badgers were blocked from entering the play-offs because their Coronation Park ground was deemed to be not up to league standards.
But since joining Stags, and former boss Paul Cox during the summer, Meikle has become a firm favourite with the Field Mill fans and played a vital part in the Mansfield Town's play-off charge.
“I missed out last season with Eastwood which was a blow so hopefully this is my chance to put things right this season,” said Meikle.
“I would love to play in the play-offs and get promoted with Mansfield. We have got everything to play for at the moment, but I still think there is more to come from us.
“We are not playing at 100 per cent right now and hopefully we can find our best form in the play-offs and in the play-off final.
“There is an excellent mood in the camp, we are all buzzing from the Cambridge win and can't wait for the Tamworth game.
“We have got a chance now and we have got to do all we can to stay in the play-off places. The momemtum is building at just the right time and we have got a good shout at the play-offs.”
Meikle also believes he can get even better as he continues to up his game in a bid to keep his place ahead of Adam Smith.
“Having Adam Smith in the squad helps spur me on to play even better,” he added. “Adam is a great player and I don't see him as competition to me. We are a team and we are all in it together.
“He is great for the team and means we have two different wingers with two very different qualities.
“Adam is a very good player technically,it is a shame for him that he got injured because he was coming into some very good form.
“I do not want to lose my place in the team because I am a confidence player and want to play every week, but if Adam was playing instead of me because he was in better form at the time, and the team was winning, that would be ok because I want promotion.”
Defender Luke O'Neill has promotion in his sights at Mansfield Town
Nottingham Post, Friday, March 09, 2012
IF you were to pick one Mansfield Town player who has surpassed expectations beyond any other in 2011-12, then that honour would surely have to go to Luke O'Neill.
Some players when signed by the Stags in the summer were expected to deliver – and have. Others have come with strong reputations yet have disappointed.
But O'Neill is one from whom little was known about, nor particularly expected, when he first made the short move to Field Mill.
There was talk that Sven-Goran Eriksson, then at the helm at Leicester City, was at pains to let the youngster go.
Even so, it is one thing to show promise in a Football League club's reserve side and quite another to perform in the exacting world of the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Yet O'Neill – who would have started the campaign on the bench but for Ritchie Sutton's pre-season injury – has adapted superbly.
In fact, his form has been so consistent, that he is a genuine contender for the club's player of the year award – along, you suspect, with top scorer Matt Green.
Should he start at the New Lamb, Tamworth, tomorrow afternoon, O'Neill will have played in 33 of the Stags' 36 league games this season.
No wonder the 20-year-old is looking forward to the business end of 2011-12.
"We have got a lot of games in March, eight I think, but I like it that way," said O'Neill.
"It's all the more exciting knowing we have got the ground and can be promoted. Everyone has been buzzing about that.
"Now we have to do our bit by getting in the play-offs and getting promotion.
"You do have a look at the table, but the most important thing is to concentrate on our games. We know if we keep winning the majority, then we have a good chance.
"I would definitely like to stay at Mansfield because I'm enjoying it here. My agent has been speaking to the gaffer to try to sort something out for next season.
"I'm just happy to be playing week in, week out.
"There is a one-year option, so I'm not sure what has been discussed, but if we don't go up this season then I think we can challenge strongly next."
Mansfield's rise up the table – which sees them up to fifth on the back of a fourth straight win in midweek at Cambridge – has been down to their excellent form since the turn of the year.
They have been particularly potent at home during that time. Forest Green, Hayes and Yeading, Darlington, Tamworth and Lincoln have all left empty-handed.
O'Neill said "I'm not too sure why we have turned it around at home but I think the crowd has helped us out a lot. The fans have really got behind us the longer the season has gone on.
"It always helps when you know the fans are on your side.
"When teams come to our place they now know they are in for a hard time.
"I also think the players we have in the squad have got stronger and stronger.
"The new lads like Hutch (Ben Hutchinson), Exodus (Geohaghon) and, of course, Robbo (Gary Roberts) are really fitting in well.
"We've also been helped out by Demps (John Dempster) who was brilliant for us."
O'Neill has particular praise for central midfielder Roberts, whose creative influence since arriving from Port Vale has been considerable.
"When Robbo first came in he made his presence felt straight away," said O'Neill.
"He is a great lad, but he also backs it up by bring a great footballer as well.
"He is one of those who knows when he needs to be serious – that is when he gets out on the pitch, when he wants to win every match."
Arguably just as key have been the contributions of O'Neill himself.
And if Mansfield can keep their nerve in their last 11 games, the flying full-back could soon be plying his trade for a Football League team
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox looks to bolster defensive options
chad.co.uk, Thursday 8 March 2012
Stags boss Paul Cox has confirmed he is looking to add defensive cover to his squad as the play-off push hots up.
Mansfield have been left threadbare in the defensive department following the departure of centre-back John Dempster, full-back Paul Edwards and the loss of long-term injury victim John Thompson and did not have a recognised defender on the bench against Cambridge United.
And although Thompson could be back fully fit in the next few weeks, boss Paul Cox knows it is an area he needs to strengthen.
Cox said: “Against Cambridge we did not have a recognised defender on the bench and if we get any more injuries in that department we would be down to the bones.
“Ritchie Sutton has done very well playing at full-back, but we need to get some defenders in and that is what we are working on doing.
“The deal has got to be right for Mansfield, whoever we bring in has got to be the right player for the club.”
Mansfield Town have until 24th March to sign players on loan
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox warns side to maintain focus against Tamworth
chad.co.uk, Thursday 8 March 2012
STAGS boss Paul Cox is warning his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground as they look to consolidate their play-off place against Tamworth on Saturday.
Mansfield moved into the play-off spot for the first time in five months after a comfortable 2-1 win against Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
But boss Paul Cox knows that Mansfield must now continue their impressive recent form for the remaining 11 games to ensure they are still in the play-offs at the end of the season.
“Things are going well at the moment and the boys are playing well and with a smile on their faces,”he said.
“There is a buzz about the town and the fans are enjoying what they are seeing.
“As a group fo players we just have to keep our focus and our feet on the ground. There is a lot of football to be played and there will be a lot of twists and turns from now until the end of the season.
“You do not win anything in March and we just have to keep winning our games, doing what we are doing and have the right mindset.
“If we are going to achieve something we have to work hard, we have got 11 cup finals ahead.”
Cox is expecting a tough game against the Tamworth side which narrowly lost 2-1 to Mansfield at Field Mill last month.
Said Cox: “We have got to be fully focused on Tamworth, it is not an easy place to go and they are a decent team as they showed the other week.
“Tamworth will want to win for their own reasons and we have got to go an earn the right to win on Saturday.”
Stags, who will move to fourth in the table above York with a draw, travel to The Lamb without winger Adam Smith, who has not recovered from a back injury sustained in the Tamworth game.
Skipper Adam Murray has not trained so far this week and may also be absent as he looks to shake off an ankle injury
Green backs fellow Stags striker Dyer to be a smash hit
Nottingham Post, Saturday, March 10, 2012
THEY say it takes one to know one. Which is why when Matt Green says Ross Dyer can be a 20-goal-a-season striker at Mansfield Town in the future, it's worth listening.
When you see the way the former Oxford United man has terrorised Blue Square Bet Premier defences this season – to score 22 goals in 37 appearances – it is hard to imagine him struggling in front of goal.
Yet last season, a despondent Green managed just one goal in 40 games during a League Two campaign.
Devoid of confidence and feeling he was not wanted by Oxford, often playing out on the wing, the 25-year-old's goals dried up. Having netted in an August Carling Cup game, he did not score again for the rest of 2010-11.
The reason Green's story is worthy of note is that he believes current partner Ross Dyer can flower in a similar manner.
The former Forest Green and Hednesford player has made a significant contribution this season during his 40 appearances, that is not in doubt.
But a return of just eight goals from those matches is, by his own admission, a little disappointing, given the chances that have come his way.
Green, though, insists the key thing now is that Dyer keeps the faith – as proven by goals from the West Midlander in his last two outings.
"I know exactly what it can be like for a striker when you have got no confidence – it was the same for me last season," said Green.
"I don't think Ross is in that same boat, but he is building his confidence back up because he has missed chances he feels he should have put away.
"I have seen him in training and I know just what a good player he is. Ross has got all the attributes.
"If it doesn't happen for him with a few more goals at the end of this season, then I think it definitely will do in future seasons.
"He can get 20 goals at this level. He's got everything needed, It's just that he's been a bit unlucky.
"I have had to go through what he has done last year to be in a position to score the goals this year, when it's just all fallen into place.
"People have to remember, too, that he's still a young guy and he still has time on his side to be a top striker."
Green is already proving to be just that and has really hit his straps since Christmas, with eight goals in ten games.
He feels the support of his boss Paul Cox has been absolutely critical to turning his form around.
Not only has the ex-Eastwood boss given him a preferred central role, but he has also backed his ability to deliver.
Green said: "I always had belief in myself even if my previous manager (Chris Wilder at Oxford) didn't particularly have faith in me," said Green.
"But when things aren't going right, there are occasions when you do briefly doubt yourself and that's when you can miss chances.
"But this manager (Cox) has put an arm around my shoulder and backed me to be all I can be. That's a massive thing.
"I think I have been able to do it consistently this season. At times I have missed a couple as well as scored a couple but I have just made sure I keep getting in the right positions."
Green is setting no limits to his goalscoring as the Stags prepare to take on Tamworth for the second time in two weeks. The Stags came from a goal down to win 2-1 with a late strike from, you've guessed it, Green.
Mansfield go in search of their fifth straight win with the aim of strengthening the play-off position they secured with a 2-1 victory at Cambridge on Tuesday night.
"This is the best tally I have had," he said. "I know everyone is talking about 30 and that's something I have in the back of my mind.
"But so long as I keep doing the right things then whatever total I end up with, I will be happy."
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