LUTON PREVIEWS/ PLAYERS TRAINING WITH YOUTH TEAM
Paul Cox told the Non League Paper:
18 Nov 2012
"I messed up with my summer spending. I've started trimming down my squad by splitting the training up. I've got a group training in the morning and another in the afternoon, and I've told one or two they can leave.
George Pilkington, Gary Roberts. Andy Owens, Luke Jones and Jamie Tolley are training with one or two of the kids, because we'd got to the point where we'd got 25 on the training ground at the same time.
You're trying to work on some things and some of the lads realistically know that they aren't going to be selected. That doesn't bode for a good team spirit. Last year our togetherness was immense and I think that's probably the one thing we've missed this year.
We've stripped it down and the last three of four games we've been better. It's been tough on some of them because we've got some good honest boys , but it needed to be done and since we've done it, the groups become tighter as we saw at Slough."
FULL ARTICLE IN Non-League Paper.
Former Luton Town captain 'frustrated' at Mansfield
BY KEVIN AFFLECK
George Pilkington will be denied the chance to line up against his former club today as he continues to endure a “frustrating time” at Mansfield.
The defender left Kenilworth Road in the summer after Mansfield trumped Luton's offer of a one-year deal and provided him with the chance to play for a club closer to the family home in the Midlands.
Manager Paul Cox hailed his arrival as “a major coup for the club” but Pilkington has started just four games and has not featured at all since the beginning of last month.
“Any player who is not playing is going to be frustrated and I'm no different,” Pilkington said.
“There is a lot of competition for places and the manager has brought one or two new players in and my face doesn't fit right now. I believe I've got something to offer and I'll wait for my chance.”
Mansfield conceded four goals in three of the four games Pilkington played and he acknowledged he has no qualms about being left out.
“I've got myself to blame,” Pilkington said. “Results didn't go well, we conceded goals and I hold my hands up.”
Paul Buckle, the Luton manager, said he has “not seen enough of Mansfield” to evaluate why Pilkington finds himself in the wilderness, but he did understand Pilkington's reasons for leaving Luton.
“I wanted to keep him at the club,” Buckle said. “We were both transparent with each other and I told him to think long and hard about the offer we made him and the role I wanted him to make. I was looking at players' ages, what they could bring and what they couldn't bring.”
“I didn't feel he would play 46 games so I wanted to structure the contract. But I'm really happy for him as he got a good deal [at Mansfield.”
Pilkington spent four years at Luton, winning Player of the Year, Players' Player twice, featuring in two play-off finals and the Football League Trophy winning side. He said he left with a heavy heart, describing the decision as “the toughest of my career”.
“I've got a lot of friends there,” Pilkington said. “I had some good times there and good experiences. But everything comes to an end at some point and it was time for a new start.”
Pilkington still keeps in touch with James Dance and Janos Kovacs and looks out for the team's results.
“They have got a very good squad of players and have a big reputation. With the quality they've got they will be up there challenging. I really like the manager. He is very organised, is very enthusiastic and is a good motivator. He's done a cracking job this season.”
Buckle's resolve and managerial ability has been tested by two successive league defeats, but Pilkington has still warned his team mates they face a “tough game” at Field Mill Ground.
He was part of the team who lost their league status In 2009 and knows the weight of expectation on the players to get back up. “It was obvious to see,” Pilkington said. “They get decent crowds and there is an expectation. It could be their downfall, particularly as so many teams raise their game against them.”
Pilkington said he had no regrets about leaving Luton and is not considering going out on loan. He has recovered from a minor back problem and is working hard at keeping himself fit should the call from the manager come.
“It's not worked out so far but there is a long way to go,” Pilkington said. “I'm only a few months in. there is too much doom and gloom in football. I try to be positive.”
Stags and Luton resume their rivalry for tasty Sunday lunch showdown
chad.co.uk, Thursday 15 November 2012
THE bookies' joint favourites for the BSBP title, Mansfield Town and Luton Town resume their rivalry at the One Call Stadium (1pm).
The game has been moved around quite a lot recently, originally set for Thursday, moved back to its original Saturday, and then on to Sunday lunchtime with police saying they were unable to cope with it on Saturday.
However, with Mansfield already facing an away trip to Macclesfield on Tuesday, manager Paul Cox is unhappy the game couldn't be played on Friday but is still very much looking forward to putting his in-form side up against the Hatters.
“I think the league have made a very silly decision to make us play Sunday,” he said.
“Why we couldn't play Friday night no one knows. Luton didn't want to play Friday for some reason but, with us already having a game on Tuesday, it puts us at a disadvantage. Obviously the league see it as something different.
“It is absolutely ludicrous us playing Sunday if they don't move Macclesfield to the Wednesday.”
Stags have the joint best home record in the league, Luton the best away record, so another cracker is expected between these old rivals.
Cox said: “It doesn't come more mouthwatering than Mansfield/Luton does it?
“Both have similar records and it is a big game so we hope the fans will come out and support the lads for what should be a very entertaining game.
“Team spirit is high right now and I want us to be positive and pro-active in trying to win the game.
“I hope the crowd are behind us to help us get what would be three very important points. The supporters were absolutely out of this world at the Southport game.
“That is important to one or two players' confidence and self-belief. As soon as that comes back 100 per cent then I am sure we will be in a position where we are challenging.”
Centre half John Dempster misses out after being red-carded in Tuesday's FA Cup penalties win at Slough Town.
John Thompson has picked up a slight foot injury but could be fit to challenge George Pilkington, Luke Jones and Ritchie Sutton for the vacant central defender slot
Redmond wants Stags to put down a marker
Friday, November 16, 2012 Nottingham Post
SHANE Redmond believes Sunday afternoon will be the perfect opportunity for the Stags to send out a statement of intent.
Mansfield Town have had an indifferent start to the campaign and sit tenth in the Blue Square Bet Premier after 17 games.
On Sunday, they entertain promotion favourites Luton in a 1pm kick off at the One Call Stadium.
And goalkeeper Redmond, who has got his chance due to a shoulder injury to first-choice Alan Marriott, believes now is the time for the Stags to kick on.
They have not lost on home soil since the opening day of the season and Redmond said: "It is time to put down a marker.
"There has been a lot of made of the not-so-great start to the season but we are getting back to where we were last season.
"Sunday is a great chance for us and then we have Macclesfield away on Tuesday.
"It is going to be a big game, hopefully a big crowd and it will be rocking.
"I feel we will be okay as we have done well of late, tightened up at the back. We maybe just need to score a few more goals."
Redmond saved the second spot kick on Tuesday night to pave the way for Mansfield going through 4-1 on penalties at Slough Town in their FA Cup first round replay.
And he said the overriding feeling was one of relief at the end of the match.
"It was a relief in the end and it had an upset written all over it," he said. "But we went through and I was pleased with the save.
"I feel more comfortable and confident with every game I play but there are a few things to polish up on."
Mansfield Town's game at Hereford on Tuesday December 4 has been postponed due to their opponents now playing in the FA Cup 24 hours earlier. A new date is yet to be set.
Meanwhile, tickets for the FA Trophy first round tie at home to Matlock on Saturday November 24 are £10 adults, concessions £6, U11s £4
Keeper hero Redmond relishing keeping hold of Stag's keeper jersey ahead of Luton visit
chad.co.uk Saturday 17 November 2012
GOALKEEPING hero Shane Redmond is relishing holding onto his spot as the Stags' first choice stopper, writes Jake Brown.
Helping Mansfield through to the second round of the FA cup this past Tuesday with a crucial penalty save, the Irishman revealed: “I'd spoke to the manager and told him the run of games was just what I needed, I feel a lot more confident and pleased to have brushed off the feathers and back playing regularly.”
The ex-Forest trainee admitted the Stags should have sealed their place in the hat for Second round draw much sooner on Tuesday, stating: “ I felt we were cruising, but we took our foot off the gas and let them back into the game.
“It was always going to be difficult with a bad pitch. It was a relief in the end as it had an upset written all over it, but we're through to the second round and that's all that matters now.”
Mansfield and keeper Redmond will now look to a tasty affair on Sunday afternoon with sixth-placed Luton.
The Hatters have won six out of their nine away games this season and hold the best win record away from home, but with Stags losing just one at home all season and buoyed by recent results they will be looking to claim all three points.
Looking to tomorrow, Redmond finished in a festive mood with: “We feel it's time to put down a marker and get a few more goals.
Hopefully it will be rocking on Sunday and we can get a big crowd. It's the big Christmas lights switch on as well so we will hope for a good atmosphere and hopefully we can get all three points for the town of Mansfield to enjoy over Christmas.”
Shaw touch-and-go for Stags match as Buckle boasts a near fully-fit squad
Published on Friday 16 November 2012
Target man Jon Shaw is touch and go for Town's trip to Mansfield Town at Field Mill on Sunday, writes Mark Wood.
The striker has been struggling with a thigh injury, but Luton manager Paul Buckle is hopeful that Stuart Fleetwood (badly bruised foot) and Adam Watkins (illness) will be available for selection.
Cup-tied centre-half Simon Ainge, who missed Tuesday night's 2-0 FA Cup replay win at Nuneaton Town, and combative midfielder Jonathan Smith, who was ineligible, are also both likely to figure as returning midfielder James Dance is set to miss out as he continues to recover from a long-standing ankle injury.
In fact, only long-term injuries Danny Spiller and Garry Richards are definitely missing as the Hatters boss has a real selection headache ahead of the difficult Stags encounter
Town trio set their sights on victory at Mansfield
Town striker Scott Rendell has urged his side to finally lay down their title credentials starting with victory at Mansfield on Sunday, writes Mike Simmonds.
Luton's 2-0 defeat at Dartford on Saturday saw them remain four points behind leaders Newport County, despite losing six games already.
In years gone by, the likes of Crawley and Fleetwood have started to run away with the title from an early stage, but that doesn't appear to be the case this time round.
Rendell said: “We've lost maybe five this year and we're four points off the top of the league, name me another year that would happen?
“It's up to us now, someone will put a stint of six, seven wins together and start running away with it and we need to make sure it's us.
“While if we do slip up, we've got to make sure we don't fall too far behind.”
The Stags were considered by many as one of the main title challengers this season, but have made an inauspicious start and are already 11 points adrift of top spot themselves.
When asked if he was surprised by Mansfield's indifferent start, Rendell said: “A little bit, but this league's tough as we've found out, anyone can beat anyone.
“They had a lot of new players as we have and haven't many be quite gelled as they would have liked, but they seem to have picked up one or two results now.
“We need to go there in full confidence from Nuneaton and take three points. It's going to be a tough game, they're a strong team, physical team. We need to go with the right attitude and in the right mental strength to get the right result.”
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation on Tuesday night, with JJ O'Donnell having a fine game, setting up Rendell for his first of a match-winning brace.
Whether manager Paul Buckle persists with that at Field Mill is not yet known as Rendell continued: “The gaffer decided that was best formation and he was proven right.
“We came up with victory and a clean sheet. Whether that stays the same on Sunday I don't know, but the boys will adapt to any system they're asked to play.”
Town's record at Mansfield since becoming a Conference club leaves something to be desired as they are yet to taste victory, and it's something that midfielder Alex Lawless definitely wants to rectify.
He said: “They've had a few results against us over the last few years, so I personally want to get one over them. It's a great chance to get three points and get going back again in the league.”
Goalkeeper Mark Tyler is also hopeful Town can produce another impressive away performance and believes that Tuesday showcased just how they will need to defend.
He added: “I think the boys realised we've got to defend for our lives.
“They put their head in where it hurts and it will be another tough game Sunday, with a few long balls into the box.
“That's all it is in this legaue, set pieces. We've got to be strong in both boxes, we're working hard on it.
“If we can get that part of it right, our quality will see us score goals.”
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