video interviews with Paul Cox, Matt Green and Ritchie Sutton
On-fire Mansfield can shock Fleetwood, says hotshot Green
chad.co.uk, Thursday 22 March 2012
STAGS hot shot Matt Green believes Mansfield Town can shock leaders Fleetwood Town in Saturday's tough trip and sound a warning to the rest of the league.
The Cod Army have not lost at home since October and are 24 league games unbeaten.
But on-fire Stags, who have just nothced up 13 goals in two games, held them 1-1 at home last week and Green, said: “We have got nothing to fear going to Fleetwood, we know what they are about.
“They were on the ropes a couple of times at our place. And we were not even at full throttle.
“They know they are playing a good team. We will give them the respect they deserve, but there is no reason why we can't beat them.
“We need to go there with a positive mentality and hope we can win it.”
Green is now on 25 goals for the season, but isn't worrying too much about the big 30-goal milestone looming for him with eight games plus possible play-offs left.
“Everyone is talking about 30 goals but I don't have any targets. I will just keep scoring and see where it takes me,” he said.
Boss Paul Cox warned:“If we defend like we did first half on Tuesday then Fleetwood will score double figures.
“Our performance wasn't the best first half. But credit to the lads, they were much better second half and we looked quite tight and ground out a result at a very tough place to go.
“The one thing we are doing is scoring goals.
“Fleetwood showed when they came to us what a good side they are – they and Wrexham are a cut above anything in our division and they are our benchmark.
“They have good players and are up there for a reason.
“But we want to go up there and keep our run going. I can't remember the last time they got beat at home, but we will go up there and give it a really good shot.”
The manager's biggest decision must be whether or not to switch the current 4-4-2 formation that has just scored 13 goals in two games, to a more defensive 4-3-3 to match up with the home side on Saturday or to stick with what he has and go for the jugular.
He has midfield ace Gary Roberts champing at the bit for a recall but also has skipper Adam Murray battling bravely on with injections into an ankle injury before games.
Cox said: “People say if it's not broke don't fix it and we have had two really good performances and got two good results. I have got a lot to think about before the game.”
Mansfield are travelling north on Friday night to give the squad the best possible preparation.
Cox said it was unlikely he would add to his squad before today's transfer deadline.
“I do have a few irons in the fire, but at the moment there are no signings on the horizon before the deadline, though never say never.”
Spotlight on Fleetwood Town v Mansfield Town
Friday, March 23, 2012, Nottingham Post
Squad: Davies, McNulty, Goodall, Cavanagh, Beeley, Fowler, McGuire, Pond, Vardy, Mangan, Brodie, Till, Seddon, Vieira, Stephenson, Charnock, Rose.
Team news: Fleetwood may well go with the same side that were emphatic 4-1 victors at AFC Telford United last time out.
?Anthony Barry and Paul Linwood (both knee) are long-term absentees.
Squad: Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Sutton, Andrew, Bell, Briscoe, Howell, Murray, Hutchinson, Roberts, Worthington, Stevenson, Meikle Smith, Green, Dyer, Rhead.
Team news: The Stags are waiting on the fitness of skipper Adam Murray, who has been playing through pain in his ankle with the help of injections.
Mansfield may also consider going 4-3-3, in which case Gary Roberts may come into contention.
They did not make any additions to their squad before yesterday's loan deadline.
One to watch: Lee Fowler. The former Wrexham midfielder is widely regarded as one of the best players in non-league football and is the hub of the Cod Army's creativity
Matt Green: Mansfield Town are ready for Cod Army challenge
Saturday, March 24, 2012 Nottingham Post
MATT Green says Mansfield Town are in a much better frame of mind to take on Fleetwood Town on their own patch than their last, humiliating trip there.
The Stags were hammered 5-0 when they travelled to Highbury in November for an FA Cup fourth qualifying replay.
But the squad was beset by illness, which saw Green and manager Paul Cox fail to travel, and those who did were stuck on the M6 for several hours.
The 26-goal top scorer insists the players are infinitely more positive this time, having won seven out of their last eight matches and drawn the other 1-1 with the Cod Army at Field Mill last week.
And they will also have had the benefit of an overnight stay, having journeyed up yesterday, prior to taking on the league leaders.
"We know we have nothing to fear after the home game where we had them on the ropes a couple of times," said Green. "We just have to go into it like any other game – with positivity.
"I didn't make the trip last time and the team didn't do too well. But it is totally different to what it was then.
"Not necessarily from a physical point of view, but mentally we are in an altogether better place now.
"You never want to go anywhere and be beaten 5-0, but I don't think anyone is thinking about that now.
"We have scored 13 goals in our last two games and it is going well.
"Luke O'Neill's deliveries have been spot on (from set pieces) and Ex (Exodus Geohaghon), with his throws, is so dangerous."
Marriott finally hopes to realise his dreams
Saturday, March 24, 2012 Nottingham Post
IT'S a dream Mansfield Town's Alan Marriott has never realised in his career, but one that keeps driving him on, even at the age of 34.
From 2003 through to 2007, the popular goalkeeper competed in the play-offs with Lincoln for five years in a row, meaning promotion seemed assured at one time or another.
Yet, somehow, the joy of going up always eluded him.
This season, providing the Stags can keep up their fine form of the second half of the campaign that has seen them lose just once in 15 games since Christmas, Marriott could have another shot at his goal.
And this time the prize is all the more significant because it would be a return to the Football League.
Former Tottenham Hotspur trainee Marriott admits that while Mansfield are taking nothing for granted in their quest to finish in the top five, a fresh shot at glory has crossed his mind.
"You can see that it is a massive club waiting to take off. There is a real buzz about the place and that has come from the passionate fans," said Marriott.
"There is the chance now to get back in the Football League where this club really belongs and the fans are really getting behind us.
"We know what it would mean to the supporters. We saw how many went down Wembley last year – they turned out in force.
"I have had the experience of losing in the play-offs quite a few times and it is not a nice feeling. At some stage of my career you hope I might win one and experience going up!
"We've always been confident of making the play-offs, which has stemmed first and foremost from the management, even from before Christmas time.
"We have broken the games down into blocks and set ourselves realistic targets and we have reached those, surpassing them in some cases.
"Some of the games we have put ourselves down for draws and come out with wins.
"But the most important thing, especially after you have had things like a 7-0 win (against Barrow), is to keep the focus and concentration right through to the end of the season."
Should the Stags go all the way to Wembley on May 20, there would be the added incentive of avenging their FA Trophy final defeat at the hands of Darlington a year ago, where they lost 1-0 in the dying embers of extra time.
It was another disappointing big-time occasion for Marriott, who had battled back from two serious injuries to play under the arch.
Even so, it has not stunted his appetite for playing at the home of English football. If anything, it has only increased his desire to return.
He said: "Any player when they have finished and gets old and grey wants to be able to sit down and draw on fantastic experiences of playing at Wembley.
"To do it twice would be unbelievable and for some of us there is that chance."
Marriott, the only Mansfield player to play in every minute of every game this season, knows the team must keep on making things happen, rather than expecting good results to transpire.
"We have to keep trying to win every game, as we have been looking to do," he said.
Today comes perhaps Mansfield's most difficult trip of the season, certainly on paper, when they visit league leaders Fleetwood.
The Stags' previous two performances at Highbury are hardy encouraging either, having lost 3-0 in the league last season and suffered a 5-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying replay thrashing earlier in the current campaign.
Marriott said: "We are not daft. We know when we go to places like Fleetwood they are going to be tricky games.
"We don't set out standards too high and expect to win every game, but at the same time, we know we are capable of giving anyone a game.
"I don't think we fear anyone at the moment."
Mellon: Something has got to give
fleetwoodtoday.co.uk, Friday 23 March 2012
FIRST meets third tomorrow as the two most in-form teams of the Blue Square Bet Premier, Fleetwood Town and Mansfield Town, collide head-on at Highbury.
The stand-out Conference fixture of the afternoon throws up all kinds of possibilities, with pacesetters Fleetwood just seven matches away from the gilt-edged prize of a place in the Football League.
Fleetwood, who lead the division by six points, are enjoying an unbeaten run of 24 matches, while Mansfield have roared into strong play-off contention by winning seven of their last eight.
The only points Mansfield dropped during that outstanding sequence were at home to Fleetwood ten days ago, when an injury-time goal secured them a 1-1 draw, dashing the Cod Army's hopes of maximum points at the death.
Since that meeting, the Stags have run riot, twice coming from behind to beat Alfreton 6-3 on Tuesday, having thumped Barrow 7-0 last weekend.
But manager Micky Mellon says his team are ready to repel anything Mansfield can throw at them ... and reply in kind.
The Fleetwood boss said: “Mansfield make teams defend. They put everything they can into the box and throw in their big players.
“They are a big side and you have to make sure you stand up to them. But I know we have enough in our side to deal with that and cause them a lot of problems as well. It's a massive game, but then every game we play now is massive, whichever team we play.
“It promises to be a terrific game on Saturday and has all the makings of a cracker.
“We haven't played at Highbury for a while (they have played three away games since beating Grimsby on home turf on March 6) so it will be good to be back playing in front of our own fans and there should be a big crowd.”
Mansfield's run under manager Paul Cox has not gone un-noticed elsewhere in the game. Cox has been linked with the vacant post with League Two strugglers Burton Albion after manager Paul Peschisolido was sacked.
Mellon is unconcerned about internal matters at Mansfield and is purely focused on his own task.
“We tend to live in a bubble on the Fylde coast – the M55 lies between us and the rest of the world! – and I have not heard any of the stories about their manager.
“I am only concerned with what happens at Fleetwood. We have just come through five matches in the space of 15 days, and was a tough schedule.
“We have taken the players off their legs a bit this week and given them a good rest, but it was back to it on Thursday.
“The players are really enjoying their football and there is a real enthusiasm in training.”
It is an attitude that is fully embraced by Mellon. He said: “I am very ambitious. I want to manage at as high a level as I possible can and be involved in big games like this all the time. Let's get it on!”
Fleetwood are monitoring the fitness of striker Gareth Seddon in the run-up to tomorrow's match. The frontman injured his ankle in a reserve team run-out in midweek but should be OK.
Another striker, Richard Brodie, is walking a disciplinary tightrope.
No stranger to suspension this season, Brodie is two yellow cards away from a three-match ban and all the serious ramifications that would entail for Fleetwood's vital run-in. Second-placed Wrexham, who have two matches in hand on Fleetwood, entertain Forest Green Rovers at The Racecourse tomorrow.
- Wear a tin hat if you say this in the environs of Highbury, but even if Fleetwood lose all seven of their remaining games they are still guaranteed a place in the end-of-season play-offs, so impressive is their points tally
Latest | March 2012