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Archived News from February 2015

NORTHAMPTON PREVIEWS
16th February 2015 10:30


Duo to miss Northampton clash
mansfieldtown.net, 12th February 2015

Raynes (hamstring) and Clements (foot) ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Cobblers.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/duo-to-miss-northampton-clash-2266448.aspx#2IvRGdeMd1ZprXL4.99

Both centre-back Michael Raynes and playmaker Chris Clements have been ruled out of featuring in Saturday’s home match against Northampton Town.

Raynes, who has been an ever-present since he joined us last month, limped off with hamstring damage in the final quarter of our disappointing defeat to Morecambe at the Globe Arena in midweek, and is set to have a scan today which will reveal the full extent of his injury.

Clements, meanwhile, suffered a nasty cut to the foot in our victory over Stevenage last weekend, and isn’t expected to return in time for our game with Northampton.

Speaking at this morning’s press meeting, first team coach Micky Moore said: “He [Michael Raynes] is going for a scan this morning, but we’re not very hopeful.

“We think he’s pulled his hamstring so we’ll know the exact extent of it, in terms of length of time, later today, but the signs aren’t good.

“Chris obviously missed the game on Tuesday and all being well, I’d say he’ll be back for the game with Luton.

“He’s been playing well so it’s another blow to us, but these things are here to test us and we’ve just got to get on with it now.”

Raynes’ unfortunate hamstring injury means that we are without three of the six players who joined us in January, as experienced midfielder Ricky Ravenhill (hamstring) and Matty Blair (knee) are also sidelined.

Moore continued: “I think [injuries] have been the story of the season. At one stage in the early part of the season, we had nine or 10 players out.

“We thought we had turned a corner and we got our business done early in January. We highlighted the players that we thought would improve us and shoot us up the league table, then three of them end up getting injured.

“Matty (Blair) is obviously out for a long period of time and both Ricky Ravenhill and Michael Raynes have pulled their hamstring, so they’re going to be out for a considerable amount of time.

“Obviously you want to try and get them back as quickly as possible, but you can end up getting them back too soon, and then they’re out for even longer.

“In the long-term that can be more detrimental, so we’re in the hands of the Gods as to how long they’ll be. It’s just an unfortunate situation at the moment.”

Micky Moore’s full interview from this morning’s press meeting will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.

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Home form can saves Stags says coach Micky Moore
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, 12 February 2015

Mansfield Town first team coach Micky Moore said Stags can stay up if they can capitalise on their decent home form as they prepare for two crunch games in four days at One Call Stadium.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/home-form-can-saves-stags-says-coach-micky-moore-1-7103930

Northampton visit on Saturday with Luton in town on Tuesday, and Moore believes another 21 points from the last 17 games could be enough to stay in the League.

He said: “It is a big four days for us with Northampton and Luton at home. Our home form is going to be paramount now we are in the last 17 games.

“Our home form has not been too bad in all honesty. We just need to look after our own. We have six games in February, four at home, we have looked at them and we have a minimum points requirement. We are doing that for each month.

“Last season Bristol Rovers were relegated with 51 points on goal difference, the year before Barnet went down with 51 points on goal difference. I think if we can get 52 to 54 points we will be safe. But you never know as you get freak years.”

He added: “Everyone seems to be beating everybody. On Tuesday York drew at Luton, having been 2-0 up and a man sent off.

“Northampton are in form and have won five of their last six, though they lost to Hartlepool on Tuesday. That was down to an individual error when their centre half tried to get the ball back to his keeper and it was intercepted.

“Otherwise they’ve been in good form and are just outside the play-offs. They have ambitions of getting in there. We are aware of the threats they cause and we will work on them up until the game.”

After a fine 1-0 home win over Stevenage last weekend, Stags flopped 2-1 at Morecambe on Tuesday night and Moore said: “There was a lot of frustration in the changing room on Tuesday night. Between the two 18-yard boxes we didn’t feel we had played that bad.

“We have got to stay on the process we are on. We believe we are largely playing well, but need to tweak things. We need to turn performances into results.

“After the good result on Saturday we went into Tuesday’s game with a lot of confidence.

“At 2-1 down, the second half was the story of our season as the lads created a lot of chances but just couldn’t finish them. We are not clinical enough. The fact we’ve only scored 24 goals all season tells its own story.

“We did a lot of work on Monday with the lads and they knew what was coming, But they just switched off for one small second. We are doing that at vital times and getting punished, yet when other teams switch off against us we are not capitalising on it.”

Moore said he had been impressed with how new boss Adam Murray was handling the situation, saying: “It’s all new to him, but I think he’s coping really well.

“In his 11 League games in charge we have been in front six times but only won three of them. We have not got over the line in the other three - it’s fine margins.

“We have had some horrific injuries over the season to key players.

“But the lads are really buying into what Adam wants to do and where he wants to get to long term. But short term we must make sure we stay in the League.”

If bought in advance, tickets for Saturday’s Northampton game are just £7 per person with U7s admitted free of charge.

You can book tickets by visiting the ticket office, situated adjacent to the Quarry Lane, between 10am to 5pm (Monday to Friday), by calling 01623 482482, or by visiting http://www.stagstickets.co.uk.

To take advantage of this special £7 offer, you MUST buy tickets before 5pm on Friday. Normal matchday ticket prices will be in operation on the day of the game.

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Stags expecting bad news on Raynes injury
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, 12 February 2015

Mansfield Town defender Michael Raynes goes for a scan on his injured hamstring today - and the Stags are not expecting good news.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/stags-expecting-bad-news-on-raynes-injury-1-7103355

If Raynes is ruled out for a lengthy period of time it will mean that three of Adam Murray’s six January transfer window newcomers are already sidelined ahead of Saturday’s visit of Northampton Town.

Raynes limped out of Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Morecambe and first team coach Micky Moore said today: “It’s the story of our season.

“We are not very hopeful on Michael’s scan. We will know the extent of the injury later today.

“But it could be that it will be a third of the six new players out long term.

“After we had nine or 10 out injured in the early part of the season we thought we’d turned a corner and then done good business in the January window.

“We highlighted the players we wanted who we thought would improve us and shoot us up the league table.

“Now it’s in the hands of the gods and it’s just another unfortunate thing.”

Stags have already lost fellow new boys Matty Blair for the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury and skipper Ricky Ravenhill indefinitely with a pulled hamstring.

Stags also look unlikely to welcome back midfield ace Chris Clements this weekend after photographs of his badly gashed ankle were published on Twitter.

Clements has had six stitches in the wound and missed the trip to Morcambe and Moore said: “We have pencilled him in for Tuesday night’s game with Luton, but we will just have to see how it is.

“His injury is another blow to us as he had been playing well. These things are here to test us and we just have to get on with it.”

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Mansfield Town v Northampton Town: Match preview
By Sarah Clapson, Nottingham Post

Micky Moore helps Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray orchestrate the Stags from the touchline.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-Town-v-Northampton-Town-Match-preview/story-26020358-detail/story.html#ixzz3Rd5cH7nU

First-team coach Micky Moore has stressed the importance of Mansfield Town's home form in their battle to avoid relegation.

The Stags have been beaten just four times on their own turf this season, with their struggles on the road playing a big part in their current lowly position.

But with successive games at the One Call Stadium, starting against Northampton Town tomorrow, Moore says they have a good chance to widen the two-point gap between themselves and the bottom two.

"It's a big four days for us, with tomorrow and Luton at home on Tuesday," he said.

"Our home form is going to be paramount now in the last 17 games.

"Northampton are in good form; they've won five out of their last six.

"They lost on Tuesday night at Hartlepool (1-0), but, looking at the game, I think it was an individual error by one of their players - the centre-half tried to give it back to the keeper, it was deflected and Hartlepool scored.

"They are six points outside the play-offs so they will have ambitions of trying to get in there.

"We've got to be aware of the threat they cause and work on them.

"It's going to be a difficult game, of course it is, but our home form hasn't been too bad."

The big aim for Mansfield is reaching the magical 50 point milestone as quickly as possible.

"Last season Bristol Rovers got relegated on 50 points on goal difference," said Moore.

"The year before that Barnet went down on 51 on goal difference.

"When you're looking at this league, if you can get 52, 53, 54 points, I think you'll be safe. But you never know, you can get those freak years.

"Everybody seems to be beating everybody.

"York went to Luton on Tuesday and drew 2-2, were 2-0 up and had a player sent off.

"You've just got to look after your own, get as many points as you can and get into the mid-50s as quick as you can."

To help them do that, boss Adam Murray and his staff have split the remainder of the campaign into more manageable bite-size chunks, targeting a certain amount of points from each.

"Before the Stevenage game, we had 19 games, so we split it into the month of February, which was six games," Moore explained.

"We have chunked it down.

"We've looked at the games and looked at the minimum (points) we would require. We've gone through that for February, then we'll do March and, when it comes to it, April.

"We've only played two games so far this month, so it's hard to say if we're on target. Ideally you would want six points from the first two games.

"We've still got four games to go and three of them are at home."

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Adam Murray 'coping well' with demands of management at Mansfield Town
By Sarah Clapson, Nottingham Post

Adam Murray is ‘coping really well’ with the test of management, according to Mansfield Town first-team coach Micky Moore.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Adam-Murray-coping-demands-management-Mansfield/story-26022353-detail/story.html?#ixzz3RdLq10MW

It has been almost three months since the former midfielder took charge of the club, initially on a caretaker basis.

And he has had much to contend with since then.

“It’s all new to him. You’ll have your highs and lows but I think he’s coping really well,” said Moore.

“Results haven’t been what we would have liked, but performances have been okay.

“I think we’ve had 12 league games under Adam’s regime and we’ve been in front six times. But we’ve only won three, so the other three, we haven’t got over the line.

“It’s fine lines.

“And then obviously there’s the disappointment of injuries.

“These are all the highs and lows Adam has to deal with. He’s probably thinking, ‘what have I done wrong?’. But he’s coping well.

“The lads are really buying into what he wants to do and where he wants to get to.”

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McGuire looks for consistency
mansfieldtown.net, 12th February 2015

Midfielder hopes team can produce consistent string of performances and results, starting on Saturday.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/mcguire-looks-for-consistency-2267325.aspx#uCbip2Izfhqh4hwO.99

Midfielder Jamie McGuire is optimistic that our team can climb the Sky Bet League Two table ahead of Saturday’s home match against Northampton Town.

After a victory over Stevenage on home turf last Saturday, we were brought back down to earth with a bump as we lost 2-1 to Morecambe at the Globe Arena in midweek.

“Going through the highs on Saturday to the lows on Tuesday is part of football,” said McGuire. “I think it’s mostly our fault. We didn’t take our chances on the night and we need to find some consistency.

“The lads have been playing well, but we need to get back-to-back wins and that needs to start on Saturday against Northampton.”

He continued: “We have two home games coming up against two good teams. It’s going to be difficult, but there is a lot of positivity in the camp and I’m looking forward to the game.

After being thrown the captain’s armband just moments before last weekend’s match at home to ‘Boro, McGuire also revealed that he is enjoying being part of Adam Murray’s team, but lamented the unavailability of two of the squad’s most influential players.

“I’ve had to be patient,” added the 31-year-old. “I think that Chris Clements has been our best player and Ricky Ravenhill has been good too. It’s better for us to be going up the table. I’ve just had to wait for my chance.

“The style under Adam is different, but it was more of a battle against Stevenage, my kind of game. It took me a while to get into the game, but I felt I grew into it. I do have to adapt. The manager wants to play football and we all have to follow suit.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, he said: “A few weeks ago, Northampton were down with us near the bottom of the table. It’s a strange league and it’s so tight. We need to find a platform of consistency of winning games and climb up the table.”

“There are some massive games coming up and we have to get valuable points on the board.

“We have the players to do it and we will be working hard to put in a good performance against Northampton. This is a successful team and we just need to find that consistency.”

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McGuire savouring unexpected return to the Mansfield Town captaincy
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Jamie McGuire is enjoying his return to the hub of the Mansfield Town midfield after finding himself pitched back into the side as skipper at the 11th hour last weekend.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mcguire-savouring-unexpected-return-to-the-mansfield-town-captaincy-1-7103935

And the tenacious midfield general believes Stags can turn their season around if they can start to pick up points in back-to-back games, starting with tomorrow’s home clash with Northampton Town.

McGuire, who had spent 2015 on the bench up until 2.55pm last weekend, recalled how a pre-match warm-up injury to Ricky Ravenhill saw him suddenly thrown into the fray.

“It was about five minutes from kick-off we came back in and I was handed the armband and was told to get my shirt on and lead them out,” he said.

“I was thrown in at the deep end, but the boys were brilliant and and we got the result we deserved. We had been working on the set pieces and the most important thing for me against Stevenage was to know what we were doing.

“I have had to be patient as Chris Clements has been our best player and Ricky Ravenhill has come in and done really well. Those two have been brilliant so I’ve had to bide my time.

“The most important thing is winning games and watching the club move up the table.

“It was more of a battle on Saturday which is my kind of a game. It took me about 20 minutes to grow into it. The main thing was to get Chris Clements on the ball as he gets the team ticking.”

McGuire turned in one of his best displays of the season in the 1-0 win over Stevenage, but then saw the side flop 2-1 at Morecambe on Tuesday.

“We had the high of Saturday and then the low of Tuesday - but that’s football,” he said.

“Unfortunately we started the first half at Morecambe really sloppy and didn’t defend well.

“To be fair the gaffer changed things round for the second half and we looked much brighter and had enough chances to win the game.

“That’s been our downfall at the moment. We need to find a bit of consistency, even if it’s only a point.

“Not getting back to back wins - that’s the issue. That’s what we need, starting Saturday.

“We have two home games against two good teams chasing the play-offs this week.

“A win and a draw would help. It would help to just stay unbeaten, push us up the table and give us a platform to keep building on.

“There are a lot of good things in the camp. We are working hard on the training ground and we are looking forward to Saturday.

“Northampton were right down there with us a few weeks ago but have won four on the bounce and are now up there - it’s a strange league.

“There are 17 games to go and it is so tight from us up to 15th. They are 17 massive games and if we can just find some consistency we can kick on.

“We don’t want to go back down. Everyone knows what a tough league it is to get out of. But let’s not talk about the Conference. We want to stay in the League and we have the players for it.

“My only relegation was when I was part-time with Droylsden. In the League I have always been in successful teams and this can be a successful team.”

After boss Adam Murray tried to get his side playing more football and employed wingers, the Stevenage game saw a return to the more direct game of earlier in the season which was perfect for tough-tackling McGuire. But the former Fleetwood warhorse knows Murray wants his charges to eventually be known for a passing game.

“I have got to adapt,” he admitted. “If that’s the way it’s going to be then that’s the way it’s going to be. If the gaffer wants to play football we have to follow suit.”

If bought in advance, tickets for tomorrow’s Northampton game are just £7 per person with U7s admitted free of charge.

You can book tickets by visiting the ticket office, situated adjacent to the Quarry Lane, between 10am to 5pm (Monday to Friday), by calling 01623 482482, or by visiting http://www.stagstickets.co.uk.

To take advantage of this special £7 offer, you MUST buy tickets before 5pm on Friday. Normal matchday ticket prices will be in operation on the day of the game.

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Mansfield Town v Northampton Town team news
northamptonchron.co.uk, by Jefferson Lake, 12 February 2015

Zander Diamond will remain sidelined for at least two more weeks with the hamstring strain he suffered in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Morecambe.

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town-v-northampton-town-team-news-1-6577011

The central defender came off on the stroke of half-time with a recurrence of an injury which has troubled him since prior to Christmas.

No return date is being scheduled for Diamond, who initially picked up the injury in the first half of the defeat at Tranmere on December 28.

Ben Tozer replaced the Scotsman during Saturday’s game but Ryan Cresswell returned to the side at Hartlepool after completing his one-game suspension for the sending-off at Accrington.

Kaid Mohamed remains out for around another month after foot surgery and Ian Morris will not return until the summer due to a knee issue which has also been operated on.

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Northampton Town: No knee-jerk reaction to Hartlepool defeat at Mansfield Town says Alan Knill
By HeraldandPost, February 13, 2015

Despite seeing their five match winning streak come to an end on Tuesday night, Northampton Town are set to keep faith with the same starting line-up as they travel to Mansfield tomorrow.

Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Northampton-Town-knee-jerk-reaction-Hartlepool/story-26022040-detail/story.html?#ixzz3RdJicV1T

The Cobblers lost for the first time in 2015 as they went down 1-0 at Hartlepool to end a five match winning run, but assistant manager Alan Knill said there was no reason for knee-jerk changes on the back of one result.

“I doubt it very much,” he said when asked about changes. “The team are playing well and played well on Tuesday night. We just couldn't score which is unusual for us being the league's top scorers.

“I don’t predict the team to change too much. We think we've found a formula that’s working and the team are playing well together.

“It’s football, you lose every now and again. It doesn't change the way you think the game's going to be played or how you want it to be played so you just accept it and move on quickly.”

The Cobblers have no new injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Stags, but centre back Zander Diamond is set for another spell on the sidelines after a suffering a re-occurrence of his hamstring injury against Morecambe last Saturday.

“It’s the same as he did at Tranmere," said Knill. "We don’t think it’s as bad but with our history of hamstrings, we’re not really putting a date on it either.

“It’s wait and see with him. We’re fortunate that Cress [Ryan Cresswell] came back after the one game suspension."

Despite Tuesday’s defeat, Knill believes the team’s form over the previous month shows they are well placed to make a late play off push, although he admitted it will be tough to climb up into the top seven.

The Cobblers are six points adrift after their recent good form came after a dismal end to 2014.

“I think the play-offs are the aim,” Knill said. “Obviously a month ago we wouldn't have been talking about the play-offs, we’d have been talking about looking over our shoulder but the work we’ve done in January has made us look up rather than behind us.

“There are some good teams above us, all fighting for the same aim, but if we look at ourselves and we play to our maximum we’re a match for anyone in the league and that’s the aim for us.”

Knill said he believes the League Two table is ‘irrelevant’ when it comes to individual matches with tomorrow's trip to Mansfield the second visit to a side in the bottom four in five days after the long journey to rock bottom Hartlepool.

The Stags have won just one of their last eight games and are currently 21st, just two points above the relegation zone.

However, the Hartlepool result has put the Cobblers on their guard and Knill said the division is known for throwing up surprise results.

“It doesn't matter if it’s top of the league or bottom of the league, it’s irrelevant,” he said. “You just have to prepare for that team to be at their best.

“Every week we look at the results and say 'we didn't expect them to beat them'. So it isn’t about where the opposition is in the league table it’s about us. We know if we play as well as we can we’re good enough to give anybody in the league a game.

“Just like Hartlepool and the majority of the teams in this league, you know the first thing teams do when they play against you is be really competitive.

“After that it’s a case of who can keep their nerve and who can get down and use it, so we have to be competitive away at Mansfield and if we can do that we’ve got some players who can hurt them.”

Mansfield had developed a reputation as a long ball team under previous manager Paul Cox, before he was sacked in December and replaced by Adam Murray, who was Cobblers boss Chris Wilder’s captain for two years at Oxford.

Knill believes Murray will go on to be a successful manager but questioned whether it was right to attempt to change the playing style while in the middle of a relegation battle.

“I liked him as a player and he has all the characteristics to be a manager," he said.

“I think they had a certain style with the previous manager, I think Adam wants to play a little bit more. Whether you can do that in the position they’re in is another thing.

“After Saturday I hope they stay up as I think he’s a decent lad and will have a good future as a manager.”

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Jefferson Lake’s Mansfield Town v Northampton Town preview
by Jefferson Lake, northamptonchron.co.uk

Fixture: Mansfield Town v Northampton Town

Date/kick-off time: Saturday, February 14, 3pm kick-off

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/sport/jefferson-lake-s-mansfield-town-v-northampton-town-preview-1-6577112

Venue: Field Mill, Mansfield

Weather forecast: 6C, rain

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Ian Morris (knee), Kaid Mohamed (broken metatarsal), Zander Diamond (hamstring). Mansfield: Chris Clements (gashed leg), Ricky Ravenhill (hamstring)

Betting: Mansfield 2/1, draw 12/5, Cobblers 8/5

Form guide: Mansfield LWLDLL, Cobblers LWWWWW

Possible line-ups: Mansfield (3-4-3): Pidgley; Sutton, Tafazoli, Raynes; Beevers, McGuire, Heslop, Elder; Kee, Rhead, Oliver.
Northampton (4-4-1-1): Duke; Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood; D’Ath, Taylor, Byrom, Holmes; O’Toole; Richards.

Last time out: Cobblers lost 1-0 at Hartlepool, Mansfield lost 2-1 at Morecambe (Heslop)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, August 9, 2014 - Cobblers 1 Mansfield 0 (Mohamed)

Cobblers connection: Giles Coke’s exit from Sixfields was an acrimonious one, with the midfielder signing for Motherwell after verbally agreeing a contract to stay on in the summer of 2009, and his departure from Mansfield was also reasonably controversial, with Northampton going to a tribunal to establish the fee they would have to pay the Stags. Coke cored seven times in 82 games for the Field Mill club but went up a level while a Cobbler, notching seven in 57 in an injury-hit spell before heading north of the border.

Jefferson Lake’s preview: Although the Cobblers have 16 games left on their league fixture list for the season, there really is no more margin for error if they are to be successful this season.

They cannot afford to go to Mansfield and contribute the same kind of performance they did at Hartlepool on Tuesday night.

And they definitely can’t afford to reproduce the result they got in midweek - although it would not destroy their mathematical prospects of reaching the top seven, it would be very damaging from a momentum point of view.

As it is, some of the wind has already been taken from the team’s sails by the 1-0 reverse at Victoria Park.

On that occasion they allowed themselves to be drawn into a scrappy contest by a team who missed out midfield and didn’t give the Cobblers any thinking time on the ball whatsoever.

Mansfield should be a different proposition; under new manager Adam Murray they have tried to develop a technical style built around keeping the ball and passing it.

But they may move away from that to a more urgent approach considering they are now, having lost to Morecambe in midweek, just two points off the relegation zone.

Their recent successes, under Murray’s predecessor Paul Cox, were achieved playing a 3-5-2 system with the emphasis on the ball going forward early and to big players.

It’s not quite like that at Mansfield these days and that might suit Northampton, who were unable to get functioning as an attacking unit at all at Hartlepool.

They will need improved performances across the board but mainly from the wide players Lawson d’Ath and Ricky Holmes, who have been excellent since the turn of the year but were quiet and looked slightly tired in midweek.

The fixture has been christened John-Joe O’Toole Day by the visiting supporters, who will number more than 1,200 for one of the shortest trips of the season.

The fans’ appreciation of O’Toole is the perfect illustration of both the redemptive powers of sport and the faith the club’s followers retain in their players - provided, of course, they work hard to overcome difficult periods.

O’Toole himself needs to go up a notch from his level on Tuesday night but many more of his team-mates do too, if they are to avoid another loss and see the faint hopes of a play-off push maintained.

Prediction: Mansfield 0 Cobblers 1

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Latest | February 2015