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Archived News from November 2013

STAGS SIGN JAMES ALABI ON LOAN / SOUTHEND PREVIEWS
5th November 2013 0:15


Stags sign striker Alabi
mansfieldtown.net, 31st October 2013

Striker James Alabi has completed his transfer on a one month loan from Stoke City, following confirmation by the Football League this afternoon.

James Alabi is speaking to Mark Stevenson. For the extended interview, visitStags Player.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/stags-sign-striker-alabi-1146742.aspx?#m5OWO8XCdz9KAXPf.99

The teenage frontman has joined us on a short-term loan deal, and is eligible to figure for us until our match at Fleetwood Town on Saturday 23 November.

Alabi, who celebrates his 19th birthday next week, is a highly-rated prospect at the Britannia Stadium, who has shone in Stoke’s elite development squad.

Alabi, who also used to play for Celtic, netted seven times for the Potters last term at U21/U18 level, including a wonder-strike in an FA Youth Cup win at Brighton & Hove Albion.

A technical and composed striker with a keen eye for goal, the youngster also benefitted from a loan spell at Scunthorpe United in League One last season.

The teenager made an immediate impact for Brian Laws’ side, by netting on his senior debut against Hartlepool United, just 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Having been linked with a loan move to numerous clubs in recent months, we have fought off stern competition to add the youngster to our ranks.

Delighted with his move to One Call Stadium, Alabi said: “I am really happy to be here. I live [to score] goals and all I want to do is score goals for the team.”

Manager Paul Cox said: “James will add quality [to our squad], as he’s a young professional at a Premier League club and he’s very similar to Matt Green in terms of what he does.

“He’s a good player, he’s scored a lot of goals at Under 21 and reserve team level, and I’m hoping he’ll do what we’ve been missing, which is to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Alabi has been allocated shirt number 28 and could make his debut tomorrow evening in our match at Southend United (7.45pm).

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Cox: Alabi deal close to completion
mansfieldtown.net, 31st October 2013

Boss expects deal expected to be completed today.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-alabi-deal-close-to-completion-1146017.aspx#ZpmJVV0LiLrhKrrB.99

Manager Paul Cox has revealed that he expects the paperwork which will see striker James Alabi join us on a one-month loan from Stoke City, to be completed today.

The teenage frontman has been training with our squad this week, but the Football League are yet to ratify the paperwork required to complete the deal.

“I’m hoping that all the paperwork will be completed by the close of play, today,” said our boss.

“It seems to have been an ongoing saga with James, but I’m hoping that he’ll be signed in time for the game at Southend of Friday.

“He’ll add quality [to our squad], as he’s a young professional at a Premier League club and he’s very similar to Matt Green in terms of what he does.

“He’s a good player, he’s scored a lot of goals at Under 21 and reserve team level, and I’m hoping he’ll do what we’ve been missing, which is put the ball in the back of the net.”

When asked about how the frontman came to his attention, Cox replied: “It was just through normal scouting and talking to people.

“I pop down to a number of Under 21 games to keep my eye on players, and he’s always stood out.

“I heard earlier in the season that he had turned down a number of clubs because he wanted to stay at Stoke City, so we didn’t think he was on our radar.

“So we’re happy that he’s with us. He’s trained well and looked the part in training, and hopefully he will give us extra competition for a place up front."

He added: “Like we did with the boy from Nottingham Forest (Jack Blake), we have got to make sure that we’re not throwing him in, without acclimatising him.

“But he’s very much in our plans for Friday’s game.”

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Consistency is key for Stags' boss
mansfieldtown.net, 31st October 2013

Manager Paul Cox has again stressed the importance of consistency as we aim to return to winning ways tomorrow night at Southend United (7.45pm).

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/consistency-is-key-for-stags-boss-1146397.aspx?#UiSk1OjcCRmDxwCI.99

Our team, who boast the joint-best defensive record in Sky Bet League Two, haven’t lost in six away matches, but last won at Chesterfield in September.

“When you look at the statistics, it’s not the losses that are hurting us. It’s the draws,” said Cox.

“If we’d have turned some of those draws into wins, the league table is that tight from first position, all the way down to thirteenth, we could be in the top three.

“Having said that, we are where we are for a reason.

“Even earlier in the season when a lot of people were shouting from the roof-tops, I said that we can get better at a lot of things and I still maintain that.

“We need to improve in certain areas and if we do that, we’ll be in ‘the pack’. At the minute, it’s a big pack that is chasing success this season.

“Overall, we’re just over a quarter of the way through the season. If you look at the tightness of this league, you can swap places with teams quite quickly, so consistency is the key.”

Our boss continued: “We always want to try and play on the front foot.

“Apart from the Chesterfield game where I thought we were a little bit defensive, I don’t think anyone who has watched our games can say we haven’t tried to win every game.

“We’ve created a lot of chances and it’s a simplistic equation for us at the minute. How many chances that we create, do we actually put away?

“If we start doing that more often, we might have a successful season. If we don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board - but not a bad drawing board.

“That’s because I think we’ve got a good set of players here, who probably need tweaking and adding a little bit of quality to, if we want to be [near the top].

“If we can get back to the ‘bits and bobs’ that we were doing earlier in the season, where we were being ruthless in both boxes, we’ll start winning games again consistently.”

He added: “People talk about a dip in results, but we’ve lost three games all season in [League Two].

“In the games where I think we should have finished teams off, we’ve not punished teams in the way that we should have done.

“At Bury, we had two ‘one-on-ones’ with the keeper, and on Saturday [against Plymouth Argyle] we missed two chances from two or three yards out.

“That’s not having a go at the players, because they don’t deliberately miss chances, but sometimes you go through periods where things don’t work out.

“It’s a mental strength just to get yourself through [those periods] and to turn those little things that you aren’t doing so well around.”

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Stags aim to start November with a bang after a winless October
chad.co.uk, 31 October 2013

Mansfield Town will look to put a winless October behind them and start November with a bang with an away trip to Southend United tomorrow night.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/stags-aim-to-start-november-with-a-bang-after-a-winless-october-1-6202791

The Stags failed to win any of their six October games, largely through a lack of goals - finding the net just twice in that time - but hope to complete the signing of Stoke City youngster James Alabi on loan today to strengthen their firepower.

“Since I’ve been here I have never had a good October,” said manager Paul Cox.

“But there’s no panic. It’s not the games we’ve lost that are hurting us, it’s the draws.

“The table is so tight, we could have easily been in the top three if we’d turned those draws into wins.

“But we are where we are for a reason. We know there are a lot of things we can still get better at.”

Stags were without keeper Alan Marriott and four defenders through injury and suspension for last weekend’s late 1-0 defeat by Plymouth as well as injured midfield ace Chris Clements.

“I don’t use injuries as excuses. But we have probably the worst et of injuries we’ve had since I’ve been at the club,” said Cox.

“But the good thing is we are getting players back soon. Martin Riley and Ryan Tafazolli are not a millions miles away and neither is Chris Clements.

“Chris is kicking a ball again now. He is down at the England training centre next week and should be back training with us the week after.”

He added: “We are just over a quarter of the way through the season and we are not doing badly at all. When you look at the size of some of the clubs in the league, we are doing okay.

“It’s so tight. You win two you are in the top three, if not you are swapping places with someone in 10th. Consistency is the key.

“We just need to start putting away the chances we are creating. Even the biggest clubs in the world go through these patches. You get through them and turn things around.

“We always try to play on the front foot. I don’t think anyone who has come to see our games this year would say we haven’t tried to attack, apart from Chesterfield away where we were a bit more defensive. We are creating a lot of chances.”

Stags are waiting on completing paperwork for the loan signing of Alabi and are confident it will all go through in time for tomorrow.

It is unlikely there will be a goals rush tomorrow, though, looking at the fine defensive record of the two sides so far this season.

Mansfield have the joint meanest defence with leaders Oxford United, having conceded only 12 goals in their first 14 games, while Southend are joint fourth meanest with Exeter, letting in only 14 so far.

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Stags keep tabs on Speight’s scoring form at Alfreton
chad.co.uk, 31 October 2013

With Jake Speight scoring twice in as many games on his three-month loan at Alfreton Town, Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox today said he was keeping a close eye on his form and had a 24-hour call-back agreement on the striker.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/stags-keep-tabs-on-speight-s-scoring-form-at-alfreton-1-6202692

Cox is expected to complete the loan signing of young Stoke City striker James Alabi today, but said: “With Jake, you have to be fair to a player and he wanted to go out and get games under his belt as he knows his contract is coming to an end.

“But we do have a 24-hour call-back on him. I have a good relationship with him. It seems every time a player leaves here it’s quoted there’s been an argument.

“I do think we need to bring in some extra quality to the squad and I had to free up some money which meant people had to go out.

“If he continued his rich vein of form, we can call him back and he could be back playing in our first team. It’s a win, win for both parties.”

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Pilkington happy to be back
mansfieldtown.net, 31st October 2013

Defender George Pilkington has spoken of his surprise to feature our match with Plymouth Argyle at One Call Stadium last Saturday.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/pilkington-happy-to-be-back-1146525.aspx?#rFBVcfLTlLffoJq2.99

The 31-year-old, who was on loan at Forest Green Rovers, was recalled by boss Paul Cox just hours before our meeting with The Pilgrims.

Despite a 1-0 defeat, Pilkington made a fine impression on his return to our side, and is eager to hold onto his place for tomorrow’s match at Southend United.

He said: “I had literally just got down to Forest Green on Friday for a normal days training, and I got the call to say I had been recalled by the manager.

“Seeing as I was already down there, it was just a case of doing a light training session and preparing to play for Mansfield on the Saturday.

“The game doesn’t change regardless of where you’re at, so it was just a matter of me preparing for a game as I normally would do.

“It was a nice surprise for the manager to ring up, recall me, and to then get a start on Saturday was fantastic.”

Pilkington continued: “Having not played much football last season, I need to get myself match fit and play a lot more football. That’s what I’m looking to do.

“I can feel myself getting better and getting back to my old self, just through games and match fitness - there’s no substitute for that unfortunately.

“[Against Plymouth] I thought that the back three, considering it was put together quickly, performed well, and it was just disappointing that we didn’t get a result.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played for Mansfield and I didn’t want to let the opportunity go by the wayside, so I wanted to put in a good performance.”

He added: “I’m just looking forward now. I’m taking it one day at a time and one game at a time. I know I’m coming up the latter years of my career and I want to be playing regularly to keep myself fit.

“Hopefully I’ll be in the frame for tomorrow night’s game away at Southend United, which will be a very tough game.”

Pilkington also admits that he has learned an awful lot in the past year, during his lengthy spell out of our team.

He continued: “Through not playing much in the last season, I’ve learned lots more about myself both mentally and on the football side of things too.

“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over the summer period, and I’ve probably learned more in the past year, than in most years of my career.

“I know where I want to be and what I want to do, so it’s only up to me now to go and achieve it.”

The defender featured eight times during his two-month loan spell at the New Lawn Stadium, and has much praise for the Gloucestershire club.

He added: “The club itself is run like a Championship one. It’s professional from top to bottom and the chairman has a sustainable vision, which echoes throughout all areas of the company.

“It’s impressive what they’re trying to do, but things haven’t quite gone right on the pitch, so they’re looking to appoint a new manager.

“I’m sure there are a lot of names in the hat, who would jump at the opportunity to take the club forward.”

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Stags defender Pilkington not looking too far ahead after shock recall
chad.co.uk

Experienced defender George Pilkington is not looking any further ahead than tonight’s game at Southend United as an unlikely second chance to forge out a career at Mansfield Town opens up for him.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/stags-defender-pilkington-not-looking-too-far-ahead-after-shock-recall-1-6202929

Pilkington, discarded after early performances last season, had become a forgotten man at Mansfield and shipped out on loan to Conference side Forest Green Rovers.

But with defenders missing though injury and suspension last weekend, Pilkington was recalled and went straight into the side to turn in a fine performance in the 1-0 home defeat by Plymouth.

“I had literally just got to Forest Green on the Friday and I got the call to say I had been recalled by the manager,” he said.

“I did a light training session and kept myself ticking over to prepare to play for Mansfield on the Saturday.

“It was a nice surprise to get recalled and to start was fantastic.

“I didn’t play many matches last year and needed to get myself match fit. At Forest Green I could see myself getting back to my old self. I started feeling more confident about myself.

“I thought we did well as a back three on Saturday considering we were put together very quickly, though there was a lot of experience to call upon. I was just disappointed we didn’t get a clean sheet and a result.

“It’s been a long time since I played for Mansfield and I didn’t want the opportunity to go by the wayside.

“I thought we played quite well on Saturday and didn’t come out with the result we deserved.”

Pilkington’s absence from first team plans last season came amid rumours he had fallen out with manager Paul Cox.

But he said: “I don’t know where all the rumours come from, but they were unfounded. It’s just football at the end of the day.

“The door was always left open for me. I just wasn’t playing for one reason or another. The players in there were playing fantastically well.”

Pilkington knows that a series of good performances now could see him cement a place in the team, as happened to fellow centre half Luke Jones last year. But he said: “I am just taking it a day at a time and I hope I am in the frame for the game at Southend.

“I am not getting too far ahead. But it’s nice to be back in the Football League.

“Not playing last year I probably learned a lot more about myself. It was time to reflect and I now know where I want to go and it’s up to me.”

Pilkington was impressed with the set-up at Forest Green during his time there, adding: “The club itself is run like a Championship club, professional from top to bottom.

“The chairman has a sustainable vision which echoes throughout the club. It’s impressive what they are trying to do, but it’s not gone quite right on the pitch.”

Manager Paul Cox said: “George and John McCombe have both been excellent, model professionals. They are not happy they have not been in the side, but both have conducted themselves immaculately and both were excellent on Saturday.”

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Clucas: Best move of my career
mansfieldtown.net, 31st October 2013

Frontman Sam Clucas believes his summer switch to Mansfield Town is the best move that he has made in his career.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/clucas-best-move-of-my-career-1147218.aspx#o96UzQt5AFttoyT9.99

The 23-year-old has earned numerous plaudits already this season, and currently leads our scoring charts with five goals from 15 appearances.

Nevertheless, after a winless October, the youngster is eager for us to register three points, starting tomorrow night at Southend United.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game, with probably cold and difficult conditions, but we’ll go out there looking for the three points.

“In the last few games I think we’ve actually played better than we did at the start of the season, but we just can’t seem to score at the minute.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s a team game and if we stay solid at the back, then the goals will come for sure. Hopefully, we’ll be able to sort things out tomorrow night.”

Reflecting on his move to the club, Clucas continued: “It’s the best move I’ve made by far.

“I couldn’t be happier with where I am at the minute. I’m playing football for a good club, I’m scoring goals and things are going well.”

Meanwhile, the striker believes the arrival of youngster James Alibi on a one-month loan from Stoke City will help to strengthen our side.

He added: “He’s big, he looks strong, and hopefully he’ll be able to adapt to League Two football quite well.”

Clucas also reflected on last Saturday’s encounter with Plymouth Argyle, which saw the Pilgrims steal all three points thanks to Neil Trotman’s injury-time winner.

“It was one of those days where I thought we played well as a team and created loads of chances, but unfortunately we couldn’t take one,” said the youngster.

“We shot ourselves in the foot, but it’s the way that football goes sometimes.”

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Clucas hopes Stags new boy Alabi will kickstart goal-shy Mansfield
chad.co.uk

Stags’ leading scorer Sam Clucas is hoping the arrival of on-loan Stoke striker James Alabi will be the shot in the arm Mansfield Town need to find their scoring touch again.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/clucas-hopes-stags-new-boy-alabi-will-kickstart-goal-shy-mansfield-1-6202924

Paul Cox’s men head for Southend United tonight having only netted twice in their six October games, failing to win any of them, and Clucas said: “We have a new striker here now so hopefully that will kickstart some of the boys.

“He looks big, though not as big as me! He looks strong and hopefully he will adjust to League Two football well.

“It was one of those days on Saturday and I thought we played well as a team. We created lots of chances but unfortunately couldn’t take one.

“So we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Then they (Plymouth) scored from a set piece. That’s how football goes sometimes.

“I don’t know what’s going on. We have been solid at the back but can’t score. Hopefully we can sort that out tonight.

“We set ourselves such high standards at the start of the season. We have to remember we have just come from the Conference last year. We have exceeded expectations.

“It’s a Friday night game and it will probably be cold and difficult conditions. But you don’t really prepare any differently (to a Saturday). It’s another game with the chance of three points.”

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Brown: Confident the goals will come
southendunited.co.uk, Thu 31 Oct 2013

Phil Brown says Blues are still creating enough chances despite finding it tough in front of goal in recent weeks
Phil Brown says the goals will come for his side as they head into their home game against Mansfield Town in Sky Bet League 2 on Friday night.

Blues have found the back of the net 15 times so far this season in their 14 league games, while Mansfield Town have conceded just 12 this season.

Read more at http://www.southendunited.co.uk/news/article/311013-brown-mansfield-1146319.aspx?#hkSUjDxu6CsH4FPp.99

Despite Mansfield’s strong defensive record and Blues’ failure to find the back of the net more often, he’s confident his side can get back to winning ways against Paul Cox’s side.

He said: “You need players to step up to the plate and in the last Friday night game against Fleetwood Town at home, Barry Corr did exactly that.

“It’s frustrating to have our top goalscorer on the treatment table at the moment, but the likes of Barry and Cauley Woodrow are still getting chances. It’s not like we’re not creating any, we’ve just got to try and take them.

“We have got to try and find the back of the net a bit more often, but we’re coming up against a solid defensive side in Mansfield Town.

“We’ll have to be patient, play our football and try to break them down. The goals will come if we can do that.

“Already this season teams have come to set up shop and made it difficult for us to break them down, but it’s our responsibility to do that.

“Cauley is playing well and I think once he finds the back of the net once in the league, he’ll go on a run. He’s a confident lad and he’s here to get Football League experience. We’ve all been impressed with his attitude and his work rate for the team.”

Brown is looking forward to welcoming his captain John White back to the starting line-up on Friday evening. He added: “He’s a captain on the pitch and off the pitch and it will be great to have his experience back in the side on Friday.

“Ryan Auger came in for his debut and it was a tough first fixture for him but he did well. At Newport we maybe lacked the experience in defence and John provides that.”

Marc Laird and Adam Thompson may also both be available for selection. Brown added: “Marc has trained this week and could well be in contention to play some part in the game.

“We’re hoping Adam comes through a session today (Thursday). If he does, both will be wanting to be involved to some extent which is good for us.

“Freddy Eastwood unfortunately probably won’t make tomorrow and may well be out for a couple of weeks. He gives everyone around the place a boost and no-one more than myself wants to see him back out on the training pitch.”

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Coker: Patience the key on Friday night
southendunited.co.uk, Thu 31 Oct 2013

Ben Coker says Blues will have to be patient against Mansfield, who boast one of the best defensive records in League 2
Ben Coker says patience will be key against Mansfield Town at Roots Hall on Friday night.

Read more at http://www.southendunited.co.uk/news/article/311013-coker-mansfield-1146348.aspx?#pHph2foC7LyuQ5EZ.99

Mansfield currently have the joint-best defensive record in League 2 having conceded just 12 goals from their opening 14 games.

But Coker, who found the back of the net for the second time this season against Newport last weekend, says he believes if Blues playing their passing football they can get a positive result against the Stags.

He said: “I think Mansfield will have a similar level of confidence to Newport who did well against us last weekend at their place.

“But we’ll be at home this time around and I think Mansfield will come to set up well defensively, just as they’ve done all season.

“We’re going to have to accept that. Patience will be the key aspect of our game on Friday night.

“We need to pass the ball around well, keep them moving about the pitch, and hopefully we can break them down and get the three points.

“It’s been nice to not have a Tuesday game this week because we had three last week and played for 60 minutes with ten-men in our last home game.

“The lads are still full of confidence. We’ve drawn a line under the Newport County performance and we all want to bounce back with a good one on Friday night.”

Coker was pleased to hear manager Phil Brown’s comments about his arrival at the club in midweek, and wants to continue impressing not just the boss, but also the Blues fans.

He added: “I had quite a few people get in touch with me about the manager’s comments and it was really nice to hear them.

“He’s given me a lot of confidence since I came to the club and has really helped me to kick on with my career.

“Hopefully I can repay him and the fans who have been excellent with more good performances and a few more goals.”

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Latest | November 2013