I was right to turn down Mansfield, says Adam Chapman
southwalesargus.co.uk, Saturday 7th September 2013
NEWPORT County AFC midfielder Adam Chapman is ready to prove to Mansfield Town that he made the right choice in rejecting them and signing for the Exiles this summer.
Chapman helped the Stags win the Conference title last season when he was on loan from Oxford United but then jumped ship to play-off winners County.
And the 23-year-old insists he has no regrets about his decision as he prepares to face his old teammates at Rodney Parade this afternoon.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to play a home game after three away games and hopefully we can continue our good home form,” said the former Northern Ireland under-21 international.
“I played 13 games for them last season and whenever you’ve played for a club previously it’s always got that little edge to it.
“I played a part in them winning the Conference last season and I obviously know a lot of the lads there, even though they’ve brought in quite a few new players.
“I got promoted with them and it will be good to see some of the guys I played with last year and how they’ve come on as a team,” he added.
“They offered me a deal in the summer, which we had a chat about, but Justin rang me shortly after Newport got promoted.
“I knew of their interest and I have no regrets about choosing to come to Newport.”
Chapman, who had a brief loan spell at County in 2012, is delighted to be back in South Wales.
“I’m really enjoying it here,” he said. “We’ve moved to the area as a family and we’re loving life in Wales, especially the sun this week.
“I went home this week and my mum and dad were shocked to see a bit of colour in my cheeks. They thought Wales was freezing!
“All the boys are brilliant and the winning mentality has carried over from last season.
“We looked at this part of the first ten games with two home games in a row against Mansfield and Morcambe as two we can target six points from.”
County will be without Andy Sandell due to a foot injury but Chapman is one player who can see an upside to the left wing-back’s absence.
“It is a blow to lose Sands,” he said. “He’s been struggling with his foot for a while but hopefully I can nick a few penalties off him now!”
Justin Edinburgh expects a Rodney Parade battle against powerful Stags
southwalesargus.co.uk, Saturday 7th September 2013
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh has dismissed the idea that his side have a psychological advantage over Mansfield Town today, writes Andrew Penman.
Edinburgh’s Exiles beat eventual champions Mansfield home and away in the Conference last season as both sides gained promotion to League Two.
But he believes that those games have no significance as he prepares his players for a battle against the Stags.
“I think it’s irrelevant. They won the league so it won’t concern them us beating them twice,” he said.
“It will be two good teams on the same points and it will be a tough game.
“We’ve enjoyed our two home games this season and after three games on the road it is nice to be back at Rodney Parade but we’ll have to be at our best against Mansfield.
“It will be a tough encounter. They were worthy champions last season and they’ve made a very good start like ourselves.
“They will be coming full of confidence and we are expecting a tough battle. Obviously we’ve got to match them in that aspect and hopefully with the crowd behind us we can continue the good form we’ve shown at home.”
The Exiles are still looking for their first away win in the Football League but Edinburgh is keen to build on a 100 per cent start at home after wins over Accrington Stanley and Bristol Rovers.
“We’ve got to try and make Rodney Parade a fortress,” said Edinburgh. “We’ve got to make it very difficult for teams to come and play and if they take anything away they will have to earn it.
“Our home form since we’ve been at Rodney Parade has been excellent but we know that we have to show the same levels of effort and commitment every game to keep that going.”
Edinburgh must do without Andy Sandell (foot), Byron Anthony (broken leg), Max Porter (groin) and Aaron O’Connor (groin) for today’s clash but defenders Ismail Yakubu and Tony James are fit.
In midfield Mike Flynn is also ready to start and new signing Ryan Burge could make his debut.
Captain David Pipe has backed Ryan Jackson to cover for Sandell.
“It is bad news to lose Andy Sandell,” said the skipper. “He is very solid - an eight out of ten every week - so we’re going to miss someone of his quality but we’ve got a decent squad.
“Jacko stepped in at Scunthorpe and did very well at left-back so I think he can fill in until Andy is back.”
Duo 50-50 for Newport clash
mansfieldtown.net, 5th September 2013
Both James Jennings and Ollie Palmer have been rated as ’50-50’ by boss Paul Cox ahead of our Sky Bet League Two clash at Newport County on Saturday.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/duo-50-50-for-newport-clash-1037577.aspx#1XslD6hq6vDZlxSX.99
Neither player has trained since they were substituted in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at One Call Stadium.
Our manager said: “Ollie took quite a nasty knock to the back of the head and was concussed, and we’ve got to wrap both players up in cotton wool for different reasons.
“We’ll keep it right until the last minute before we make a decision, but both are 50-50 at the minute.”
Saturday’s visit to Newport County sees us lock horns with the team who were promoted from the Conference Premier with us last season.
Justin Edinburgh’s men have made a bright start to life back in the Football League, and have won both their matches at Rodney Parade so far this term.
Cox continued: “It’ll be a tough game at Newport. They’ve started off quite well and I think that we’re both finely balanced in terms of goals, points, etcetera.
“We’ll have to be patient, but more than anything we’ll have to show the same mental resilience that we’ve shown in previous games.
“We’re putting some strong foundations down, more so in players’ minds than anything else, and we’re slowly building in the right way.
“When we’re concentrated and we keep our shape and discipline, we’re a very structured side, who are very difficult to break down.
“Nobody is singing from the roof tops yet. We can still get better at a lot of things, but as long as we keep going forward and improving, then I’ll be happy.”
Our side also earned a 3-2 win over Notts County in a behind-closed-doors match at One Call Stadium yesterday, thanks to a hat-trick from Lee Stevenson.
Paul Cox’s full press conference is available on StagsPlayer. To subscribe, click here.
Paul Cox keeping feet on the floor after best start to a season so far
chad.co.uk, 05 September 2013
While pleased with his best start to a season as a manager so far, Paul Cox is keeping his feet firmly on the floor as his Mansfield Town side head for fellow promoted club Newport County on Saturday (3pm).
Stags took eight points from five tough opening games back in the Football League in August and sit in ninth, just a point off the play-offs pace.
“For some reason my teams don’t tend to start seasons well and this is probably my best start yet which is pleasing,” he said. “I can give them all the accolades and pats on the back they deserve, but it’s early days yet and it’s where you finish that’s important.
“I am sure there will be a lot more twists and turns as the seasons unfolds. But the boys are hungry and starting to believe in themselves at this level of football.”
Stags began last weekend’s home 3-0 win over Dagenham and Redbridge with a 3-5-2 formation, but really came to life after the break when Cox went 4-4-2.
However, he said: “People talk a lot about formations, but I have always played a number of different formations and it’s all about the players and what they do really, not the formation.
“I went 3-5-2 recently as I thought the lads were looking for a bit of belief and that formation gave us the chance to keep clean sheets and put some points on the board.”
Stags will head up to Rodney Parade tomorrow and stay overnight for Saturday’s game against an Exiles side that did the double over them last season and have made an almost identical start to the Stags this time around, above them in eighth only on goals scored.
The biggest talking point in Mansfield’s 2-0 defeat there last season was the state of the pitch, badly cut up by rugby, but which should be in better condition this early in the campaign.
“Newport have started off quite well as well so it will be finely balanced and an intriguing game,” said Cox. “We will have to be patient and, more than anything, show the mental resilience we’ve shown in previous games.
“We are looking structured and hard to break down, though we are creating a number of chances.
“We are building the right way, but no one is singing from the rooftops just yet.
“The pitch there will be the same for both sides whatever it’s like. I want my players to adapt and overcome whatever comes our way.
“I don’t care if the pitch is bobbly or flat and has grass on it or not. It was poor there last season but Newport managed to pass the ball about on it. The main thing is we put the ball in the Newport net more than they do in ours. I don’t want to complicate the game or our mindset.”
James Jennings (ankle) and Ollie Palmer (concussion) have both missed training all week with knocks suffered during the Dagenham and Redbridge win last weekend.
“Both of them are 50-50 for Saturday and we will just have to wrap them up in cotton wool and give it until the last minute,” said Cox.
Andrew: We've generated momentum
mansfieldtown.net, 5th September 2013
Striker Calvin Andrew believes that our team have generated momentum in recent weeks, which will stand us in good stead for the rest of the campaign.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/andrew-weve-generated-momentum-1037898.aspx?#xA7Sh7wAEhoTK1Rh.99
Following the opening day loss at Scunthorpe United, our side are now unbeaten in four matches and currently sit on the fringes of the League Two Play-Off zone.
“We’ve picked up momentum and we want to continue like a ‘rolling stone’, where we keep going through the games, winning them, and picking up points,” said Andrew.
“I’ve started slowly, but I’m building up momentum too. I feel good, I feel fit and it’s just a matter of knocking one into the net now.
“For any striker, it feels like a slight ‘monkey on the back’, but as soon as you get your first goal in a season, they ‘come along like London buses’.
“My career has been plagued with injuries, so this is my opportunity to try and show people what I’m about. In football, you are always trying to prove yourself.”
Andrew, who won promotion from League Two with Port Vale last term, also believes that Saturday’s match at Newport County will be a good indicator of our progress.
He continued: “The fact that both teams have made a good start shows that the jump between the two divisions [League Two and Conference Premier] isn’t that great.
“I don’t really tend to think about rivals. We take it every game as it comes and from what I’ve seen so far, there is no reason why we shouldn’t beat anyone in this league.
“We’ve got the squad, we’ve got the set-up and we’ve got the backing to do it. We’re confident that we can beat most teams in this league, and we’re willing to prove it.”
Interviews with Matt Rhead and Calvin Andrew are now available on Stags Player. To subscribe, click here.
Calvin Andrew hoping Stags fans will see the best of him
Striker Calvin Andrew is hoping Mansfield Town will see the best of him after a career so far dogged by injury.
The 26-year-old, who has played at Championship level and won two promotions, signed for the Stags after impressing on trial in pre-season.
Although he again failed to net after coming on as a substitute in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Dagenham, it was his deft backheel that set up Matt Rhead for the crucial third goal.
“I have started slowly but I am building up, feeling fit and gaining momentum and just want to knock one in,” he said.
“The first goal is always the same for any striker, get your first goal of the season and they come like London buses. I hope I can score it this weekend.
“I have been telling Rheady all week that I hope he gives me one like that. It’s always nice to get an assist and the most important thing was it was the third goal that put the match to bed.
“I am always trying to prove myself. My career has been plagued with injuries but this is my opportunity to show everyone what I am about.
“I did my cruciate ligaments twice which held me back. Now I feel fully fit and just want to concentrate on my game and getting back where I need to be.
“After an injury, a lot of people don’t realise about the mental side when you come back.
“You are still slightly worried about the injury and don’t want it to happen again. People don’t really give you the time to settle. But that’s life. That’s football. I have had a hard couple of seasons but I think I have dealt with it quite well and I am over it now.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s game at Newport County, Andrew said: “It will be an interesting game and it’s always an indicator of where you are when you play a team that came up with you.
“We have picked up some momentum and if we can win there we can continue that like a rolling stone.”
The striker firmly believes Stags can pull off a second successive promotion - and he wants to be a part of it.
“A big reason why I signed here was that we have a very good manager. I was very enthused by what he had to say,” added Andrew.
“And, I know it sounds a but of a cliché when you say they are a good set of lads, but they really are. They say there are no friends in football but I think I’ve made a few here already.
“Once I had been here for a couple of days and got a taste for the place, it was somewhere I wanted to be.
“I hope we can secure promotion here. The whole place is on the up. From what I’ve seen so far there’s no reason why we shouldn’t beat anyone else in the league. We have a good set-up and backing.
“Even the games we have drawn we probably should have won and have been the better team.
“The fans have been brilliant to me so far and I hope I can give something back to them and get a couple of goals this weekend.”
Stags striker Matt Rhead enjoying life in the League, but wants to shed ‘super sub’ tag
Man-mountain striker Matt Rhead this week savoured his first Football League goal against Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend, but admitted he would love to shed his ‘super sub’ tag and make the starting XI.
Rhead, who gave up a good job two summers ago to become a full-time player, is living his dream after Stags gained promotion and opened his account last weekend after making a massive difference when coming on at half-time.
Ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to Newport County, he said: “It was great to get a goal early doors after only a few games. It couldn’t have come any easier really after a great backheel from Calvin Andrew, it was just a tap-in more than anything. Calvin did brilliantly to get the ball across between so many players.”
Rhead is enjoying every minute of being a League player and added: “It all feels a bit strange, staying up on Saturdays to watch the Football League Show, but this is a great experience and I am will cherish every minute of it.
“I hope next year we will be in League One too. I want us to keep going and going. This is a brilliant experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“There feels more atmosphere in the ground with more away supporters.
“We have already played quite a few of the teams expected to be up there and we haven’t got to fear anyone. It’s something we can build on. This first month has been a real eye-opener and I hope we can carry it on.”
Manager Paul Cox has now challenged Rhead to become a 90-minute player and start games rather than just be a second half impact player.
“Super sub is not the best tag to have as obviously you want to be starting,” said Rhead. “But if I can come on and help the team in any way I will always do my best for Mansfield Town.
“But I want to start as many games as possible and will keep pushing for the team. I will keep coming on and trying to do well until the gaffer wants me to start.
“A lot of teams don’t know what to expect when I come on as they’ve not done their research.”
Rhead has no regrets about quitting his job to go full-time in the game, adding:“It was now or never to be fair, but I made that decision and we went on to win the league last year which made it all worthwhile. I hope we can now push on and get promotion again this year. It’s been something of a fairytale.
“This team is able to push on to the next level and I hope to be part of that, whether it’s play-offs or promotion. There is everything to play for.”
Lee Stevenson stakes Stags claims with a hat-trick in Notts County friendly
chad.co.uk, 05 September 2013
Lee Stevenson forced his claims for a first team recall when he scored a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors 3-2 friendly win over Notts County at the One Call Stadium yesterday.
Assistant boss Adam Murray and striker Jake Speight, both hoping for loan moves in the next week or so, also played and performed well.
“Lee did what he does best,” said manager Paul Cox. “These games make me smile as I know I have a number of players waiting in the wings who are going to be there or thereabouts in my first team at some point.
“It’s a lonely place when you are not in the team and don’t feel part of it. It’s very easy to become something you’re not. But I have a great set of lads hungry to play for this football club.”
Stags’ ladies team cruised to their first win, a 3-0 home victory over Radcliffe Olympic last night with goals from Becky Braithwaite, Hanna Bodle and Charlotte Montgomery.
Stags’ youth team began their North Midland League (U19s) fixtures with a 1-0 win at neighbours Blidworth last night thanks to a Chris Spencer goal.
Newport County v Mansfield: Rodney Parade form key to County's League Two hopes
5 Sep 2013
Life on the road has brought its rewards for Newport County - a point at Scunthorpe the latest on Saturday - but Robbie Willmott admits Rodney Parade holds the key to their League Two hopes this season.
Last week the Exiles took in trips to Dagenham & Redbridge, West Brom in the Capital One Cup and then Lincolnshire where a 1-1 draw against the Iron was deemed a point well earned - especially given they were a goal down within 61 seconds.
But this Saturday sees a return to more familiar surroundings, and opponents in Mansfield, with County looking to continue their 100 per cent record at Rodney Parade.
The Stags secured the Conference title last term while Newport’s route to the Football League after a 25-year absence was sealed in the play-offs.
But Willmott believes the onus is on him and his teammates to prove they are capable of mixing it in the fourth tier.
“We’ve got two home matches coming up now against Mansfield and Morecambe and we’ll be looking to continue our 100 per cent record at home,” said Willmott.
“We have looked pretty good at Rodney Parade so far this season and if we can take six points from those two games we will keep ourselves in the mix.
“Mansfield are a good team, we know that from last season.
“We did the double over them, but they are a hard team to play against and it will be the same again.
“They play pretty much route one and they’ve had success with that. And they’ve obviously added to their squad as well.
“Obviously in their eyes they’ll think they have more quality than us but we’ve just got to take account of their strengths and make sure we work hard on what we do best.
“The fans will play a massive part at Rodney Parade as well.
“They’ve been unbelievable for us so far this season. We took 1,700 to West Brom and they cheered us all night long, even when we were 3-0 down.
“They were the same at Scunthorpe and they really make a good noise at home so hopefully it will be another good crowd on Saturday.
“They’re like a 12th man for us and hopefully, if we keep playing like we are, more people will come to see us.”
If Newport’s performance at Glanford Park was anything to go by then Exiles fans will have plenty to cheer for the remainder of the campaign.
Despite falling behind to an early Sam Winnall goal, the visitors recovered well and equalised through defender Andrew Hughes - his first goal in over three years.
Three years ago Scunthorpe were in the Championship while County were Conference South dwellers, and 23-year-old Willmott claims it’s a sign of how far they’ve come as a club.
“We were happy with a point in the end. We started very slowly but we recovered well,” he added.
“I’m not sure why we started so poorly. Maybe we were a bit lethargic and they got an early goal and capitalised on that.
“I don’t think we can blame it on the three away games in a week because we stayed overnight before this one, so we can’t say we were tired from the journey.
“But if we continue to come to places like Scunthorpe and take a point we’ll be happy.”
Newport County star Ismail Yakubu looking to make big impact on return from injury
6 Sep 2013
The Yak is back - and urging no fear as Newport County continue their promising League Two campaign tomorrow.
Justin Edinburgh’s Newport County entertain Mansfield at Rodney Parade looking to keep up their promising start - and no-nonsense defender Ismail Yakubu is looking for a starting place.
Mansfield finished Conference champions last term and County battled through the play-offs to join them in the Football League for the first time in 25 years.
Early doors there is little to choose between the two sides, with each on eight points and the Exiles one spot ahead of the Stags in eighth place.
Paul Cox’s outfit faltered at the start of the season, but have picked up and earned an excellent 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend.
But Yakubu, who is over his calf problem and was on the bench for the draw at Scunthorpe last weekend, believes the Exiles have nothing to be afraid of and is hoping to indulge in a bit of ‘Stag’ hunting tomorrow.
“Obviously we’ve got to show respect in the division because there’s some very good teams in it, but there’s no need for any fear” said Yakubu.
“There are some really organised sides with some very good players, but at the same time I believe we are just as good as anyone else on our day.
“I think we are going to do OK. We’ve had a good start to the season and the players have gelled really well together.
“The new players have come in and we have worked together really well.
“We had the one disappointing result when we lost at Northampton a few weeks ago, but these things happen in games like that.
“The aim is just to keep cracking on.”
It was a quiet last day of the transfer window for Edinburgh on Monday with no new arrivals at Rodney Parade.
But with Max Porter out for a spell with a recurrence of his groin problem, Edinburgh brought in free agent Ryan Burge to bolster his midfield options last week.
The return to fitness of Tony James and Mike Flynn has also been a boost, but County have been hit by the news that wing-back Andy Sandell will be missing until Christmas after having an operation on his foot problem this week.
But, on a more positive note, last season's top scorer Aaron O’Connor, has returned to training and is close to a return following his groin problem.
In the centre of defence, though, the presence of the uncompromising Yakubu could be set to be a massive boost.
The centre-half has witnessed the incredible rise of the Exiles first hand following his arrival at the club in June 2011.
But, despite the good start to the new season, Yakubu said no-one at the club was about to get carried away just yet.
“The ambition at the moment, because it’s still very early in the season, is just to go into each game being competitive,” he said.
“Maybe come Christmas or January time you take a look about you at where you are in the league.
“You take stock then and see what you are capable of pushing for.”
“At the moment we are just focusing on ourselves and going out there to show people what we can do.”
Latest | September 2013