Duo in contention for Darts' clash
mansfieldtown.net, 25th October 2012
Manager Paul Cox has confirmed that defensive duo Ryan Tafazolli (pictured) and John Thompson have both returned to training this week ahead of our trip to Dartford.
video interview with Paul Cox --->
We make our first ever visit to Princes Park tomorrow night to lock-horns with a Dartford team who currently occupy a Blue Square Bet Premier play-off position.
Cox said: “It'll be a tough game at Dartford, because it's a place where we're going to have to go to and defend properly.
“John Thompson is back in training and he has put himself back in the frame, whilst Ryan Tafazolli has also returned to training too.”
“Dartford are above us in the table and we can close that gap if we get a positive result, but we've been defeated twice in eight games, so we go into it with a little bit of confidence.”
Two strikes from Jake Speight helped us to register our first away success in over two months last weekend as we defeated Workington in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.
As a result, we have been handed a home tie against Slough Town, who are the joint-lowest ranked team left in the 132-year-old competition.
Nevertheless, our boss has insisted that he will show the Southern League Division One outfit the respect that they deserve.
He continued: “Being at home gives us a better chance of progressing, but they had a very good result at Gosport Borough the other night.”
“We'll give the fixture the 100% respect that it deserves and we'll be trying our very best to get through to the next round.
Tomorrow's trip to Dartford (kick-off 7.45pm) will be televised live on Premier Sports, (Sky 428).
Murray and Geohaghon the doubts for Mansfield ahead of live TV game at Dartford
chad.co.uk, Thursday 25 October 2012
ADAM Murray and Exodus Geohaghon remain the two big doubts for Mansfield Town's second long haul of the week as they head for BSBP new boys Dartford for a live televised game tomorrow night (Friday) at Princes Park.
Murray, available again after a one-game ban, has turned an ankle in training while Geohaghon has missed the last two of the last three games with an ankle injury and will also face a fitness test before the bus departs tomorrow morning.
However, John Thompson, Nick Wright and Ryan Tafazolli are all back in training after injury and could be in contention.
Dartford have continued the momentum of promotion by starting the season well, currently sitting in sixth place, just a point off the play-offs.
But they have faltered of late. A 4-1 home defeat by AFC Telford and a 0-0 draw at Barrow in the league were followed by a fine 1-1 FA Cup draw at Forest Green only to again crash 4-1 at home in the replay this week.
“I went down to their replay with Forest Green and it's a lovely set-up down there,” said Stags manager Paul Cox.
“It could have been closer but for three goalkeeping mistakes and I know we face a tough game.
“Dartford are a good side and a very organised unit. They are up there because they have won the games and deserve it. But we know if we can win tomorrow we can close the gap a bit.”
Stags trail Dartford by five points but have a game in hand and will be lifted by their first away win in two months last Saturday, the 2-1 FA Cup success at Workington
Much-travelled Cox all prepared for Stags' Dartford test
Friday, October 26, 2012 Nottingham Post
NOBODY can accuse Paul Cox of cutting corners when it comes to rectifying Mansfield Town's away form in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
After a 400-mile round trip north-west in the FA Cup against Workington last weekend, Cox takes his Stags side south to Dartford, a mere 320-mile round journey today.
But, if that seems a lot of travelling, it did not stop Cox heading to Dartford on Tuesday night to get a look at tonight's opponents as they went down 4-1 to Forest Green in their cup replay.
With just one league win in six on their travels this season, shipping 19 goals, he can never be too prepared when it comes to rectifying the problem.
Their last league away outing saw them hit 4-1 at Cambridge United and Cox doesn't want a similar thing happening in front of the Premier Sports cameras, who are showing the game live.
And given newly-promoted Dartford are sixth, with Stags in tent h, it is going to be a tough examination for Cox's men.
But of late, they have improved, keeping two clean sheets at home as they draw 0-0 with Lincoln and beat Forest Green 1-0 before heading to their fourth round FA Cup qualifier, winning away at Blue Square Bet North side Workington, 2-1.
Cox said: "I went down in the week and Dartford will feel unlucky as they suffered from three goalkeeping mistakes.
"It was an entertaining game and it is a good set-up down there.
"They are above us in the table and will be a threat and we know we are in for a tough match.
"They are up there and deserve to be so we have to give them credit and respect but it is a scenario where we can close the gap with three points but they are riding high from promotion last season and a very well-organised unit.
"But we go there with confidence from the last few games."
And with players like striker Nick Wright back from injury, Adam Murray returning from suspension and defenders John Thompson, Exodus Geohaghon and Ryan Tafazolli all back in the frame, he has plenty to be happy about.
"We have a few lads coming back and have had a great week's training behind us, which is pleasing," said Cox.
"It has definitely stiffened up the squad and the more competition the better.
"John Thompson has been back in full training and has put himself back in the frame.
"One wish I have is for a fully fit squad, because we have been hit. Then we can find some consistency to our team but after the last two games, with two great results in difficult games for different reasons, we have to be feeling confident.
"The defending has improved and it has to stay that way at Dartford tonight."
Paul Cox looking for continued defensive steel from Mansfield Town
Friday, October 26, 2012 Nottingham Post
MANAGER Paul Cox is hoping Mansfield Town's new-found solidity at the back will continue when his side take on Dartford tonight.
The Stags have conceded just once in their last three games, picking up four points from two league games and then beating Workington on their travels in the FA Cup last weekend.
They make the long trip south tonight to take on sixth-placed Dartford knowing they have won just one of six on the road in the Blue Square Premier, shipping 19 goals.
But with Exodus Geohaghon, John Thompson and Ryan Tafazolli all expected to be back to boost the defence further, Cox hopes for his side to give themselves a platform to build on at Princes Park.
He said: "Defensively we had been poor and I am not just blaming the back three or four in that, I mean defending as a team.
"We got what we deserved but in the last two or three weeks our defending has been much better. Last week at Workington it was out of this world, the way we threw bodies in front of the ball, got our blocks in, stopped crosses coming into the box.
"At the end of the day, that is what wins you football matches. Everybody was working for each other and we have to continue that.
"It will be a tough game at Dartford and I want us to be hard to beat."
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM:
Mansfield Town defender and reserve team manager Andy Todd, 33, told BBC Radio Nottingham he is enjoying his return to first-team action:
"I know there are probably not that many years left playing so I am just trying to enjoy it as much as I can do until the body tells me I cannot keep up - either with the intensity or standards I am playing at.
"When that is the case that will make up my mind [to retire] but at the minute I am happy and feel quite good. I have to manage myself a little bit more now due to my age.
"But I still feel I have a part to play on the pitch and off it. I like to think I look after myself."
Stags Injury List Getting Shorter
mansfield103.co.uk, Thursday 25th October, 2012
John Thompson is in contention for a return to the starting line-up for Mansfield Town's league trip to Dartford tomorrow night.
The Stags full-back has been out for the last couple of weeks after he was stretchered off at Cambridge.
But, boss Paul Cox says he's almost ready for action, telling Mansfield 103.2: "Thommo's had a bit of a rough time. He comes back and he gets a suspected broken leg that then becomes an infection so he doesn't do things by halves.
"But, he's been back training in the last couple of days and he's put himself in the frame."
Speaking about others who have recently been on the injured list, Cox said: "Nick Wright's been training whilst Exodus Geohaghon is likely to have a fitness today and Ryan Tafazolli is also back training.
"So, we're getting one or two back from injury and my one wish is to have a fully fit squad so we can put a settled side together for a run of games to get some consistency in our play and in our results."
Dartford hoping to make most of extra attention when they play in front of live TV cameras for the first time on Friday
by Steve Tervet
History will be made at Princes Park on Friday night when Dartford play in front of the live television cameras for the very first time.
Premier Sports are screening the Darts' home game against Mansfield Town as part of their broadcasting deal with the Football Conference.
Dartford lost 4-1 at home to Forest Green in the FA Cup on Tuesday and boss Tony Burman may have to rotate his squad to accommodate a third game in seven days. However, he believes there are long-term benefits to be reaped from the club's unprecedented exposure on national satellite television.
"It's something we're not used to," he said. "We've come up into this league and it's another bit of publicity for the club.
"I know a lot of players don't really know who we are. We can hopefully raise the profile of the club so that when we speak to players in the future, they might consider us if they've turned us down in the past.
"The players are going to be pleased to be on TV. It's something new for them, another experience and I'm pleased that they'll able to take part in it. It's a big game and getting three points will be the most important thing on the night."
Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli extends loan spell with Blue Square Bet Premier Dartford until Christmas
By Steve Tervet
Dartford have brought Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli back to the club for a second loan spell.
Manager Tony Burman (pictured) moved quickly to re-sign the 20-year-old following the Darts' exit from the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
Bad errors by stopper Louis Wells cost Dartford two goals as they lost 4-1 at home to Forest Green Rovers.
Wells was making only his fourth appearance of the season after Bettinelli – not allowed to play for Dartford in the FA Cup – had returned to Craven Cottage.
Burman insisted Wells should not take all the blame for the defeat but he was frank in his assessment of the goalkeeping situation at Princes Park.
“Louis needs to play games,” Burman said. “He's very fit, training-wise, but his match practice is not there. Players don't like to admit that sometimes but I have to take that out of their hands.
“I don't want everything going onto Louis. He's come in for the FA Cup games and those were his two practice games. On Saturday [a 1-1 draw at Forest Green], he did excellent, but on Tuesday it wasn't to be.
“Louis is such a good guy. He's been brilliant for us and it was just sad to see what happened. I wouldn't wish that on anybody and I do feel for him.”
Bettinelli is now set to start in Friday's live televised clash with Mansfield Town at Princes Park.
The Fulham youngster earned rave reviews for his performances in the Darts goal after joining on loan in August. He conceded just 14 goals in 13 consecutive appearances and, even before the FA Cup tie, Burman had hinted at negotiating a new deal with Fulham.
Posting on Twitter, Bettinelli said: “loan has been extended until christmas with dartford”.
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