video preview with Paul Cox
Roberts hopes for Stags recall for derby day at Alfreton
chad.co.uk Monday 19 March 2012
MIDFIELD ace Gary Roberts is back in the frame for Mansfield Town's big local derby at Alfreton Town tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm) after completing his two-match suspension.
But, with midfield pair Adam Murray and Anthony Howell impressive in Saturday's stunning 7-0 slaughter of Barrow at Field Mill, manager Paul Cox now has a selection headache with the availability of Roberts.
“What a nice problem to have for me as Gary is one of the better players in this league and probably the one above us too,” said manager Paul Cox.
“I will watch everyone in training and make up my mind. But you always miss a player of Gary's ability when he is not available.”
It is a big decision. Howell will be desperate to retain his shirt and return to show his former club how he has progressed while skipper Adam Murray, who is battling on with an ankle injury at the moment, is always ready to run through a brick wall for the club.
Cox added: “Anthony will want to play against his old club. He will be looking forward to it and he has go to stay focused on the job and do what he is good at.”
Stags have now won six and drawn one in seven impressive displays to go third. But Alfreton are also one of the in-form sides in the division, having battled their way out of the relegation zone with only one defeat in six games and three successive wins, the last two away from home without conceding.
So Cox warned: “I would never want anyone not to enjoy football and winning as winning is a tough thing to do.
“But you have to keep your feet firmly planted on the floor as no one has success in March. We must make sure we are focused and keep our discipline and mindset which is what has got us where we are.
“We know it's going to be a tough game tomorrow, not just because it's a local derby, but because Alfreton's form of late has been excellent and Nicky Law has done a great job.
“We are under no illusions. We have to go into it in the right frame of mind, if not, everything can come undone very easily. There are very fine margins between success and failure in this league.
“We need as many supporters to travel there as we can to get behind the boys. Our supporters have been immense this season.”
Cox has loan irons in the fire ahead of Thursday's final transfer deadline of the season, but admitted: “I won't bring in anyone for the sake of it.
“They have to create real competition for places and keep other players on their toes.”
Defender John Thompson is now back in the swing of full-time training and just desperately needs a game which Cox is hoping a League club may provide either home or away sometime this week
Spotlight on Alfreton v Mansfield Town
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Nottingham Post
Alfreton (from): Stewart, Kempson, Law, Mullan, Franklin, Conneely, Arnold, Moult, Deverdics, Jarman, Clayton, Streete, Wilson, Cunnington, Lawson, Brown, Franks.
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Thompson, Sutton, Andrew, Bell, Briscoe, Howell, Murray, Roberts, Worthington, Meikle, Smith, Dyer, Green, Rhead.
Team news: Alfreton are likely to stick with the same starting line-up that saw them win 2-0 at Kettering on Saturday.
Anton Brown and Leigh Franks return from suspension, but may have to make do with a place on the bench.
Central defenders Greg Young (hamstring) and Adam Quinn (calf) are both set to miss out.
Mansfield will have midfielder Gary Roberts back available after serving a two-game suspension and he will fight it out for a place with Adam Murray and Anthony Howell.
Lee Stevenson is a doubt after missing training yesterday with illness.
John Thompson (shoulder) will hope to get some match fitness in a friendly that Paul Cox hopes to arrange in a friendly with a Football League club tomorrow, a clash in which Adam Smith (back from a dead leg) could also be involved.
One to watch: Nathan Arnold. The former Mansfield wide man missed a chunk of the season between the end of August and start of November with injury but has come back strongly, scoring six times in 23 appearances.
Manager: Nicky Law. The former Chesterfield man has seen his troops win their last three games – against Stockport, Lincoln and Kettering – to pull clear of the relegation zone and up to 16th place
Heart-to-heart inspires transformation in form for Mansfield Town's Martin Riley
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Nottingham Post
PAUL Cox today revealed a heart-to-heart talk with Martin Riley after Mansfield Town's 1-0 defeat at Newport has helped inspire the central defender's rejuvenated recent form.
Riley has started the Stags' last five games and been a rock alongside loan signing Exodus Geohaghon.
During that time, Mansfield have let in just three goals, winning four and drawing once, to fly up to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
Should Riley play in tonight's eagerly-anticipated derby at Alfreton, it will be his longest run in the side since coming to Field Mill last summer.
"I think Riles has the potential to be a future captain of this club and he reminds me of a young Mark Wright with the way he has presence and can carry the ball out from the back," he said.
"But sometimes, earlier in the season, his decision-making was not always right. First and foremost, he is there to defend.
"The last time he was dropped he came to me and had a chat. The easy part is telling players what to do, but the hard part is getting them to understand. I think he is starting to do that."
Mansfield Town's Anthony Howell ready for derby clash with mate Anton Brown
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Nottingham Post
IT won't just be good mates Anthony Howell and Anton Brown who'll be rivals when Mansfield Town visit Alfreton in tonight's derby – so too will be their respective girlfriends in the stands.
The Stags make their shortest trip of the season over the Notts-Derbyshire border to the Impact Arena determined to enhance their play-off credentials following their 7-0 thumping of Barrow on Saturday.
But equally keen to come out on top will be a rejuvenated Reds side who have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone.
For ex-Alfreton man Howell, this evening promises to be an occasion to relish, should he be given the nod in central midfield.
He could line up in direct opposition to Brown, who is still plying his trade for Nicky Law's men and has been a leading figure for them in 2011-12.
"I still mix with a lot of the Alfreton players and talk to them quite often on the phone," said Howell.
"There was a bit of banter flying around for the first game which was called off (in February) and it's been the same this time.
"I know a lot of the players want to play in this game and do well against me and I think Anton Brown will be at the front of that queue. He comes round to my house quite a bit because his girlfriend and mine are good friends as well.
"Anton and I will be looking forward to a good battle when the whistle blows and our partners will be doing the same.
"They will be at the game in the two different shirts of the teams and there will be no love lost while the game is on!"
For Howell, it will be a first return to the club that helped transform his career after he struggled during that disappointing first spell at Field Mill.
He hopes that Reds manager Law and the club's fans understand why he chose to leave prior to the start of the season
Howell said: "It is the game I wanted to win above all others when I saw the fixture list because I'm going back to my old club.
"I know how much the fans want to go their and beat their rivals and be the top team in the area.
"I was there for two-and-a-half seasons and they did a lot for me, but that goes out of the window tonight for this 90 minutes.
"The manager was sad about me leaving but I have had a few chats with him and we still get along – well, I think so anyway!
"I had to sit down and think about it in the summer before the season started. Mansfield were taking on a League challenge and wanted to be part of it at the top.
"Alfreton have had the challenge to stay in the league. I decided I wanted to be part of a team challenging for promotion."
Having won the Blue Square Bet North title with Alfreton at the end of 2010-11, Howell is bidding for more success. To be with a team that makes it all the way into the elite 92 would represent a significant climb from humble beginnings.
"It was a great feeling at the end of last season to win promotion and to go up two seasons in a row with different clubs would be a great achievement – and I'm hoping that happens," said Howell.
"I started off in senior football when I was 16 at Retford Town. I can't even remember what league – and it might not even exist now.
"It would be terrific to be in the Football League when I started so low down the pyramid."
Reds poised for big Stag night
derbyshiretimes.co.uk, Tuesday 20 March 2012
After two away victories in succession, Alfreton Town return to the Impact Arena on Tuesday evening where they face derby rivals Mansfield Town.
Reds manager Nicky Law will have both Anton Brown and Leigh Franks available again as they have how served two and three-game suspensions respectively.
However, defenders Greg Young (hamstring) and Adam Quinn (calf) are both still on the injured list.
Alfreton go into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run which has produced wins in all the last three outings.
A win could put the Reds within touching distance of safety from relegation.
Mansfield arrive at the Impact Arena in great form having picked up 19 out of the last 21 points, last Saturday seeing them thrash Barrow 7-0 at Field Mill.
Their recent upturn in form has brought just one defeat in their last 13 games, a run which has seen them climb into third place in the table.
The first game of the season between the sides back on October 22 at Field Mill saw Alfreton open up a two-goal lead through Anton Brown on 13 minutes and Paul Clayton on 21. Chances of victory then nosedived as firstly Anthony Wilson on 49 minutes and Greg Young on 60 were sent off for two yellow card offences each.
The nine men stood strong and brave until they were undone by three goals in the last 15 minutes.
Matt Green netted from the penalty spot on 75 minutes, Lindon Meikle curled home a beauty on 86 before former Red Andy Todd netted a winner in the second minute of added time.
With both sides doing well, and the return derby being eagerly-anticipated, a far bigger than normal crowd is expected and supporters are advised to arrive earlier than usual.
Meanwhile, the fixture is not all ticket, but segregation is in place.
Mansfield Town fans will only be able to enter the ground from the Alma Street end, using both the traditional segregation turnstiles for away supporters and also the designated turnstiles at that end of the ground for home supporters.
Alfreton Town supporters should note that for this game, there will be no admission to the Impact Arena from Alma Street for home supporters and Reds fans will only be able to gain access to the ground via North Street
Latest | March 2012