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Archived News from December 2012

13th December 2012 15:55

Ground staff take pitch precautions Ground staff take pitch precautions
mansfieldtown.net 11th December 2012

Television broadcasters ESPN and Mansfield Town Football Club have funded a pitch covering system to ensure tomorrow night's match goes ahead.

video interview with Head groundsman Michael Merriman --->


Stags are set to play Lincoln City in an eagerly awaited FA Cup with Budweiser Second Round Replay at home tomorrow (7.45pm).

Following recent frosty weather in Mansfield, ground staff today assisted in covering the pitch with a state of the art 'pitch dome' which blows hot air onto the grass surface.

Head groundsman Michael Merriman said: "This system should safeguard the game going ahead. It's a game saver. There are 12 gas cylinders which will blow hot air on to the pitch which will keep it nice and warm."


Pitch in good shape as Stags prepare for Lincoln FA Cup replay
Wednesday 12 December 2012 10:35


MANSFIELD Town's mouthwatering FA Cup second round replay with neighbours Lincoln City looks certain to go ahead tonight (7.45pm) after the heaters and covers on the One Call Stadium pitch did a superb job overnight in the Arctic conditions.

It was still about three degrees at pitch level under the covers this morning and, with an early forceast suggesting temperatures won't drop any lower than zero tonight, the club are optimistic the game will start and finish.

Television broadcasters ESPN and Mansfield Town Football Club have jointly funded the pitch covering system.

The state of the art 'pitch dome' blows hot air onto the grass surface and the pitch will be given a major blast before the covers come off.

Head groundsman Michael Merriman said: “This system should safeguard the game going ahead.

“It's a game saver. There are 12 gas cylinders which will blow hot air on to the pitch which will keep it nice and warm.”

Despite the weather, a big crowd is expected in to see which of the two BSBP clubs will win the right to face seven-times FA Cup winners Liverpool in a plum third round tie next month.

By last night Stags had sold over 4,000 tickets with Lincoln selling 1,200 of their 1,600 allocation and many more fans expected to buy at the last minute today once the pitch situation was confirmed


Fans will be influential – Cox
mansfieldtown.net 11th December 2012

Mansfield Town fans can play a massive part in tomorrow night's eagerly awaited FA Cup with Budweiser Second Round replay at home to Lincoln City, Paul Cox claimed this afternoon.


Speaking ahead of the fixture tomorrow night, a 7.45pm kick off at the One Call Stadium, Cox told http://www.mansfieldtown.net: “The fans at this club can take the club where they want to take it. They have such an influence on the playing side, both our team and the away team.

“When we look at last year, when the fans are pro active and get behind us, there isn't a better place to ply your trade [than at the One Call Stadium]. They have a massive 'say' tomorrow night and are so influential at home and can be intimidating for away sides.

In team news, only Ross Dyer and Ryan Tafazolli are ruled out while Adam Murray is doubtful after suffering from a virus


Stags confident of beating the big freeze to face Lincoln in big FA Cup replay
chad.co.uk Tuesday 11 December 2012

MANSFIELD Town are confident they can beat the Arctic weather before finding a way to melt through Lincoln City's defence in tomorrow night's mouthwatering FA Cup second round replay at the One Call Stadium (7.45pm).


With excitement building over a game that will see the winners at home to Liverpool in round three, the country was last night hit by a big freeze.

However, Stags will have covers on the pitch until as near kick-off as they can and will also have the help of fan heaters from TV company ESPN, who are broadcasting the game live, overnight tonight.

“It is quite soft under the covers at the moment and ESPN are bringing the hot blowers down so we are 99 per cent certain the game will go ahead,” said manager Paul Cox.

“The biggest worry is when we take the covers off if it is freezing hard. It is one of those scenarios where I believe the game will start and we hope it will finish.

“We want to play and I am sure Lincoln want to play, so let's hope the weather is kind to us. It has all the ingredients of a fabulous cup tie like the first game was.”

Stags snatched a late equaliser at Sincil Bank to draw the original game 3-3 on 1st December.

The third round draw then handed the winners the plum tie of the 18-times champions of England and seven-times FA Cup winners. And Cox admitted it was hard not to think about the possibility of going head to head with the Merseyside giants.

“It is human nature to think of what could be,” he said. “We just have to concentrate on this game first and show the same mindset we showed on Saturday (when Stags beat Ebbsfleet 4-1).

“Liverpool are one of the biggest names in world football with an array of fabulous players. But we can't get carried away thinking beyond this game. Even if we were lucky enough to get through, we also have some very important league fixtures to concentrate on coming up to Christmas.

“We must stay focused. But you can't stop the players and supporters dreaming. It's what we are all in this game for.

“I want our supporters to come down and enjoy the evening and get behind the boys. Their support on Saturday was out of this world and you can tell what it does and the lads responded with a good result.”

Stags trained yesterday on a 3G surface to beat the frost and only Adam Murray, who has been suffering with a virus, is a doubt for the game.

Skipper John Dempster added: “Everyone is looking forward to it.

“It is a massive game in itself with two local rivals going at it with the carrot at the end of it of a game against Liverpool. It doesn't get much bigger.

“It is a massive opportunity for both clubs to make some decent money out of it too.

“When the draw came out, with no disrespect to Lincoln, you couldn't help but get excited and talk about it. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”


Beat of the drum fires up Paul Cox and his hungry men as they eye FA Cup glory
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 Nottingham Post

TOMORROW night at the One Call Stadium, a big crowd is expected.


For the original FA Cup second round tie, Mansfield took nearly 1,200 fans on the short trip to Lincoln for the enthralling 3-3 draw.

And now knowing the third round prize is a home clash with Liverpool, interest has gone through the roof.

Fans who attend tomorrow and also purchase a ticket for the Boxing Day clash with Alfreton will also get priority when it comes to buying a ticket with Liverpool, should the Stags do the business in front of the ESPN cameras.

And Cox hopes that the One Call comes to life like it did in the 4-1 win against Ebbsfleet at the weekend to strike fear into the returning David Holdsworth and his Lincoln side.

During the stuttering start to the league campaign, games at home have often been tempered with frustration from the expectant fans, despite not losing on home soil since the opening day of the campaign.

But the drum was back in the stand at the weekend. The atmosphere was positive.

And Cox could not be happier as he takes his side into the biggest game of the season.

"This club could be a colossus if they give us that support," said Cox.

"I know some performances have not been great this season and the expectation levels have gone through the roof, but the singing from the first whistle to the last was brilliant.

"The boys really did feed off it and there is no political scenario when I say that.

"It is as simple as black and white. They kick-started our season last year with the drum and the backing and they can do so again by getting behind us against Lincoln.

"The boys play off them and they play off the boys and it makes this an intimidating stadium to visit.

"I am hoping the season is starting to balance itself out a little bit.

"At the beginning the expectation had gone through the roof and it affected the boys and everybody at the football club.

"We were getting anxious but we now have some big games.

"We have had to be patient, taken some stick on the way but the lads are starting to gel and get a spirit about them.

"And when the football club is like it was on Saturday, it is a potent place to come and play but we know we can still get a lot better.

"The lads deserve a pat on the back and so do the supporters. I went across at the end and clapped them and they deserve recognition."

The Stags are now four points off the play-offs in the Blue Square Bet Premier but their cup exploits mean the Ebbsfleet game was the only league action in the space of four weeks.

But Cox is happy with how things are beginning to come together and the focus shown at the weekend.

Cox and the players have embraced what could lie ahead and he now hopes his players will hold their nerve to set up a tie with Premier League Liverpool.

"The lads have a spring in their step now," he said. "We are not getting carried away, it was a professional performance at the weekend at a time when we could have had our minds on other things so I am pleased.

"Overall, there are things we can work on but it is pleasing to scored four goals and win a football match.

"At home we seem to be in our element but we can get better, we can improve and we have carried on our league form from where we left off.

"We have upped the ante in training, the boys are looking hungry not just in training but out on the pitch too. We have looked energetic.

"It is a big game against Lincoln and we want this club to be involved in these big games and it is what you support the club for, it is what you want to be a manager for and why you want to be a player.

"Wednesday night will be that and the lads look focused. We want to embrace it but we don't want to get carried away."


Stags boss embraces talk of mighty Reds
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 Nottingham Post

PAUL Cox says he has not banned any talk of Liverpool in the Mansfield Town dressing room.


The winners of tomorrow night's replay against Lincoln will meet the Premier League's star-studded side on home turf at the start of January in the third round of the FA Cup.

With such a prize, some feared the side would lose focus but instead they romped to a 4-1 win against Ebbsfleet at the weekend.

And Cox said: "These are grown-up men and I don't want to treat them like kids and ban talk of the FA Cup.

"If I had banned talk in the dressing room, they will go around the corner to talk about it. It is as simple as that.

"The season is starting to take shape and we have some massive games coming up.

"We have everything to play for and for the supporters and everyone at the football club, it is a good time to be involved with Mansfield Town.

"We want to embrace it. We have a very tough game and we want to make sure we go into it with the same mind-set as the weekend.

"I know from some quarters, one or two people are getting carried away but we are not, that's for sure.

"We know either Lincoln or ourselves will be playing Liverpool in the next round and in order for us to get there, we have to win a football match."


Liverpool? Let's see off Lincoln first – Mansfield Town's John Dempster
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 Nottingham Post

IT WAS not so long ago that John Dempster got close to getting out on the pitch to face a Premier League giant in the FA Cup.


But when he signed for Crawley Town in January 2011, from Kettering, he always knew he would be cup tied as his side headed to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the fourth round a month later.

?John Dempster
.He watched from the bench and loved the experience, as the then Blue Square Bet Premier side battled hard only to lose 1-0 in front of the television cameras.

And now he wants to make sure a similar story can be served up in north Nottinghamshire, only this time he wants to play an integral part.

The Mansfield Town central defender knows victory against league rivals Lincoln in tonight's second round replay will set up a third round showdown against Liverpool at the One Call Stadium.

And with such a big prize in front of them, a chance to come up against the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, the 29-year-old is determined to make sure they take care of business tonight, after a 3-3 draw in the original tie at Sincil Bank.

"Some of my earliest memories are watching the FA Cup as a kid with my dad, some great matches and I have been fortunate to get some good draws as a player with Kettering and with Crawley last year, drawing Manchester United," he said.

"I was cup tied but it was a great experience and something you have to cherish because it was a great tie to be involved in for everybody.

"I knew I would be cup tied but I still travelled and sat on the bench so you got half the experience, if you like, but not quite the same as if you would have been running out at Old Trafford.

"Liverpool have won the FA Cup on many occasions and it is a target of theirs this year but they are going to have to get past Mansfield or Lincoln first. But all we can do is concentrate on Lincoln."

Dempster joined from Crawley in the summer after a loan spell with the Stags last season but after three games, went out on loan for a month to Tamworth to get some game time.

Since returning, he has captained the side and started to form a good partnership with Exodus Geohaghon at the heart of the back four.

He said: "As a group of players we started quite slowly, our form has improved but there is still room for improvement.

It is coincidental really because in my month at Tamworth, I came up against Lincoln so this will be my fourth time this season already. I have plenty of experience against them.

"This is a massive game in itself with two rivals battling it out with the carrot at the end of it being Liverpool. It does not really get much bigger.

"This is a massive opportunity for both clubs to make some big money out of it and that is something we have to take into consideration. It is important for the players, supporters and the club as well.

"Both clubs are going to be going at it and the reward is huge for who comes out on top and it should make for some interesting viewing."

The game will be shown live on ESPN and a sea of trucks dominated the One Call car park yesterday as they began to set up.

But with freezing temperatures today and yesterday, frost covers were put down on Monday to protect the pitch.

ESPN have also helped to bring in specialist heaters, with a tented cover being put on yesterday allowing hot air to be pumped under to keep the pitch soft right up until the covers come off, something that will be as late as possible.

It means the only problem should be if the temperature plummets so much that the pitch then freezes during the game once the covers have been lifted.

Everyone at the One Call are confident it will go ahead and one way or another, Liverpool's opponents in the next round will be decided this evening.

And Dempster says, as soon as they step out tonight, all focus will be on the job in front of them against Lincoln and not Liverpool.

He said: "We all watched the draw and when Liverpool came out, you can't help but get excited. You talk about it, dream about it and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"We got a last-minute goal to get the replay and it was a roller-coaster match. I'm sure there will be some ups and downs in this game but there is a lot to look forward to.

"But naturally when you run out on to that pitch all focus goes on Lincoln, as soon as you start playing. Nothing else – not Liverpool. Hopefully, at the end, we will be giving our fans plenty to cheer about."


Mansfield Town defender John Dempster told BBC Radio Nottingham:

"With the carrot of a game against Liverpool it doesn't get much bigger.

"It's a massive match but is also a massive opportunity for both clubs to make some money out of it. It's important for the players, fans and for the club.

"It's a massive reward. Both teams will go at it, so it should make for interesting viewing.

"You end up playing the game, doing your best and trying to win. It's only at the end of the game you will consider how big it is.

"We all watched the draw and when Liverpool came out you can't help but get excited and dream about coming up against their players. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Lincoln City manager David Holdsworth told BBC Lincolnshire:

"We have a massive, massive heartbeat inside our football club. If we win it will be a huge day, but we must be level headed and have to be measured in our approach and do everything right.

"They have an abundance of very good players and a very passionate crowd. Our run has been phenomenal and the experienced players have been a huge part of that.

"We go into every game very positive. Being at home was an added pressure in the first game. The discipline has got to be key, but I don't want the players to be nervous.

"I am sure I will get plenty of stick but let the Mansfield fans aim at me. I would rather they aim it at me.

"If we can win this game they will become instant heroes in Lincoln. When the players go across the line I am sure they will relax a bit. They should treat it as a normal game and do what they are good at."


ESPN'S Jon Champion believes Mansfield Town are the favourites to beat Lincoln City and set up Liverpool cup tie
chad.co.uk, Monday 10 December 2012

ESPN commentator Jon Champion believes Mansfield Town are the marginal favourites to progress to an FA Cup third round showdown against Liverpool because they have home advantage.


Stags face David Holdsworth's Lincoln City at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday for a money-spinning third round match against the 18 time English champions in front of the ESPN cameras.

And Champion, who is the channel's lead football commentator, believes that home advantage could prove to be the difference in what he expects to be 'a very close match.'

“I am expecting a good game and a close one as well. I have seen both teams and I was impressed by Mansfield on Saturday,” he said.

“Both teams will be going into the game full of confidence for what is a fantastic prize ahead. Lincoln rested a few players against Dartford on Saturday as they returned to winning ways.

“Mansfield have a good home record, and on that basis I think they have to be regarded as favourites.

“Lincoln have a former Mansfield manager and former Mansfield players to give the game more spice. This is just one of those great ties that the FA Cup so often throws up.”

Champion, who last commentated in Mansfield for the play-off game against Northampton in 2004, also believes that the FA Cup could give Mansfield the perfect springboard to future success.

He added: “It is great for the clubs in both a financial and competitive sense if they can win a tie against Liverpool.”

“The TV money will be worth £135,000 alone, which is massive for both clubs and means that they can support themselves and not be reliant on a rich owner.

“The FA Cup is a fantastic way of redistributing the wealth in football. The cup run which saw Leyton Orient take Arsenal to a replay a few years ago earned the club £1.4m.

“I think for two teams such as these who are currently out of the Football League, cup runs like this give them hope and the chance to progress.

“A game against Liverpool gives the clubs a chance to be in the national spotlight. The pressure of what awaits could either inhibit or can inspire. This should be a great night of cup football.”

Mansfield warmed up for the FA Cup second round replay with a comprehensive 4-1 win at home to Ebbsfleet, while Lincoln comfortably beat Dartford 4-2 away


ESPN commentator Jon Champion predicts 'fascinating' Lincoln and Mansfield FA Cup clash
Monday, December 10, 2012 by Leigh Curtis

Jon Champion believes Lincoln City and Mansfield Town will produce another "fascinating and tense" occasion as they battle to land a dream FA Cup tie against Liverpool.


A sell-out is expected for Wednesday's televised second round replay at Field Mill, where the winners will get to host the five-time European champions in a money-spinning tie in January.

?And ESPN lead commentator Champion believes the battle between the two derby rivals will be just as enthralling as the 3-3 draw at Sincil Bank a 10 days ago.

"The prize at stake is not just a once in a lifetime chance for the players to face Liverpool, but financially it will have a huge impact for both clubs.

"Not only will they take home £35,000 from this game being televised, but the next round is worth £135,000 in TV money alone.

"So nobody should underestimate just how much of a difference winning this game could make.

"With that in mind, I suspect Wednesday's game will be tense, but it will also be a fascinating occasion."

Champion has done his homework on both clubs in the run-up to the game having taken in Lincoln's 2-0 defeat at home to Woking last week, and watching Mansfield's 4-1 win against Ebbsfleet on Saturday.

Just three points separate both clubs in the Blue Square Bet Premier table and Champion believes it will be another tight encounter.

"I just caught Lincoln on a bad night, but they had a very good win at Dartford at the weekend," he said.

"There is no question they can score goals. They have a very good striker in Jamie Taylor and Alan Power is a real creative force.

"Adam Smith likes to come in from that left side so they do have plenty of options.

"Mansfield have a very potent attack line in Matt Green, Ben Hutchinson and Lindon Meikle having invested very heavily in the team.

"When you take that into account, I think it will be a very close game."

Champion believes Liverpool will not relish facing the winners of Wednesday's clash but said it proved the FA Cup still retains plenty of magic.

"Liverpool were on the end of one of the greatest cup shocks in the FA Cup's history when they were beaten by Worcester City in 1957," he said.

"That was a very long time ago now, of course, but I am sure Liverpool would have preferred a home tie.

"Whoever gets through it is certainly going to be a contrast in style with Brendan Rodgers' philosophies staying true to Liverpool's history of passing football.

"But on a muddy, no doubt, frost-bitten pitch, that is going to be extremely tricky.

"It's been a long time since there has been a major shock of a top flight team losing to non-league opposition. In fact you would have to go back 25 years to when Sutton defeated the then holders Coventry City.

"It's going to be an extremely fascinating occasion, one the fans of either Mansfield or Lincoln won't forget, and that's the magic of the FA Cup."

Watch Mansfield Town take on Lincoln City in the second round replay exclusively live on ESPN on Wednesday 12th from 7.30pm - http://www.espn.co.uk/tv


Lincoln City boss David Holdsworth says he will enjoy the abuse from Mansfield fans in FA Cup tie
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 by Leigh Curtis

David Holdsworth upped the ante in his psychological battle with Mansfield Town today by insisting he will relish the abuse fired his way in their FA Cup showdown.


The former Stags boss returns to his old club tomorrow night aiming to clinch a dream tie with Liverpool next month and secure his first ever win over his old employers.

Holdsworth, who left Mansfield by mutual consent just over two years ago, received a torrent of abuse in the league fixture in October, but is expecting the atmosphere to be the most hostile he has encountered.

But the former Birmingham defender says he will deflect the verbal bullets and reminded Stags supporters that some of their squad, which has risen to within touching distance of the play-offs, are still his players.

"It will be a hostile atmosphere and we will need a strong referee," said the Lincoln manager.

"But I am looking forward to my warm welcome. I will get plenty of stick, but I've been nothing but dignified in the way I have spoken about Mansfield fans.

"Without a doubt I will enjoy their abuse and myself and my players will have a smile on our faces.

"And if we are all smiles that means we are enjoying it and having fun and that is what I want my players to do.

"Besides, a third of Mansfield's team are my players. They signed for me so it just goes to show I must have done something right."



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