ALFRETON RUMOURS + AKINDE RUMOUR
Stags building up to season opener
mansfieldtown.net, 27 July 2017
Assistant manager Paul Raynor says Stags will 'sharpen up' in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Alfreton Town with the Sky Bet League Two opener away to Crewe Alexandra just over a week away.
Stags have enjoyed a packed pre-season schedule thus far, with games against Alfreton Town (Saturday 29 July) and Rainworth Miners Welfare (Tuesday 01 August) the only fixtures remaining before the big kick-off.
And speaking to the local media this morning, Raynor says Stags will now work on different things in training in order to be ready for the visit to the Alexandra Stadium.
"It's about sharpening up now. The fitness levels are pretty much there now, or should be," Raynor said.
"And it's about sharpening up, working on a few things that we've been looking at in training and hopefully it'll be another piece in the jigsaw towards 05 August.
"It's all about peaking at the right time and peaking on 05 August away at Crewe and that's what we've been building up to. It's all about game-time; you see all these top clubs going abroad and I listened to an interview with Jose Mourinho last night talking about 'it's just about game-time, it's not always about results.'
"Everybody wants good results but it's just about peaking for that first game of the season and we're no different. If it's good enough for the likes of those teams, then it's certainly what we're all about as well."
The former Preston North End midfielder says there are a number of factors to be considered before team selection for the Crewe clash is finalised, but is pleased with how the squad have gelled throughout the pre-season campaign.
"Obviously we've got to bear in mind the shape that Crewe are going to play, the style that Crewe are going to play and we've also got to take into account the boys that deserve to be picked on merit and the formation we're going to use.
"There's lots of factors and obviously we've started to have a good look at Crewe. We'll be there on Sunday watching them against Stoke, so that will be a factor.
"There's lots of pieces to put together before we decide what we're going to do. We've got a fair idea in our mind now but it's nice that people are giving us a few headaches and it's been a great pre-season in terms of that.
"It's been a long pre-season but a really enjoyable one and the boys are gelling together nicely. The team bonding's gone very, very well and they're a real unit now already and that'll be absolutely vital going into the season, we're going to need that."
Ahead of Saturday's friendly against Alfreton Town, only winger Alex MacDonald will be missing following his knee surgery, but Raynor is pleased with how the former Oxford wideman is progressing.
"Alex is coming along very well. I've seen him down there in the medical room and he's moving around nicely and he's getting there. Everyone seems to be good, which is really important in pre-season.
"It's a very vigorous time in terms of training - we train hard but we also play games as well, so it's vital that the recovery is right. The medical department deserve a lot of credit for the way that the boys are in shape."
Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags later today to view Paul Raynor's news conference in full.
Stags play down Akinde rumour
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 27 July 2017
Mansfield Town assistant boss Paul Raynor today played down speculation that the club have made a move for Barnet forward John Akinde.
As Stags look hard for a proven goalscorer before the big kick-off, Akinde is the latest name to be linked with the Stags overnight on the rumour mill.
“I know we used to have him at Crawley - that’s all I know on that one,” said Raynor.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-play-down-akinde-rumour-1-8673291
“You see names banded about every day - it’s all speculation until someone actually puts pen to paper.
“I am not aware of that one at the moment, but it may well be something that’s happening or it may not be. We just have to deal with speculation.”
He added: “The squad is almost complete but there is scope to bring one, maybe two in the door still.
“I know the chairman is in constant dialogue with the gaffer and he and I are constantly speaking to clubs and agents. It’s a very busy period.
“The window doesn’t shut until the end of August but we like to get our business done early.
“I leave it (transfers) to the gaffer and the chairman to sort out. But I am sure they are working incredibly hard to make something happen and fingers crossed we can get another addition.”
Akinde, 28, is in the second of his three-year contract at The Hive and is the Bees’ all-time top scorer with 80 goals in 134 appearances.
Stags fans are still waiting for a final decision from boss Steve Evans on trialist Jordan Slew.
Last chances for Stags players to impress before big kick-off
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 27 July 2017
Mansfield Town’s players get their final chances to cement a place in the starting XI at Crewe on 5th August in their final friendly games at Alfreton Town (Saturday, 3pm) and Rainworth MW (Tuesday, 7.30pm).
Boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor have six or seven names already pencilled in for Gresty Road, but Raynor said: “Nothing is set in stone in terms of team or formation moving forward and there is another opportunity for the guys to impress both on Saturday and on Tuesday.”
Mansfield look set to use their whole squad over the two games with players given an hour in one of the the games and half-an-hour in the other.
“That was the initial chat we had though we’ve not firmed it up yet,” said Raynor.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/last-chances-for-stags-players-to-impress-before-big-kick-off-1-8673324
“We will look at the boys in training and see who is looking bright and sharp and who maybe needs a little bit longer.
“It’s all about peaking at the right time and peaking at Crewe on 5th August and that’s what we’ve been building up to. It’s all about game time, not results.
“All the fitness data is very good. It was absolutely vital we all got 90 minutes under our belt on Tuesday evening and we did that by splitting the squads between Gainsborough and Matlock and we came away with two good 4-0 victories.
“Obviously the scorelines read well for both games and we are delighted where we are at moving forwards.”
New Alfreton boss John McDermott has signed 16 new players so far this summer for the National League North outfit. Admission prices at Alfreton are £10 and £5 for concessions.
The game is segregated with visiting supporters given the Alma Street entrance.
I aim to be top of the charts, says hitman
mansfieldtown.net, 27 July 2017
Striker Lee Angol believes he has the ability to be Stags' 20-goal-a-season man ahead of the 2017/18 Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The 22-year-old joined the Stags for an undisclosed fee in May and has scored five pre-season goals since joining the club.
And the former Peterborough United forward is looking forward to the new season and has his targets set at the top of the goalscoring charts.
"I want to be up there as top goalscorer. I just want to have a great season and one for the Stags' fans to remember," Angol said.
"Obviously I haven't had a year in professional football where I've got 20 goals, but I've done it in non-league, whether it counts or not. I know in myself I can get 20 goals."
Angol, who scored 24 league goals for Boreham Wood in the 2014/15 campaign, believes Stags' attacking quartet of himself, Danny Rose, Omari Sterling-James and Jimmy Spencer all pose different threats for opposition defences.
"On the eye, people see I'm tall and might assume I'm a hold-up player or a flick-on player, but my game is more floor-based, dropping off and turning and running at defenders.
"Comparing all our strikers, I think we all offer something completely different, which is obviously good for the league because no-one can put a certain plan against us because we all offer different things.
"Since the day I came in, there's a lot of players in each position. There's not one day where you can take your foot off the pedal and you realise there's competition around you so one little slip-up you do, your competition might do something better which means that they go ahead of you in terms of the gaffer's plans.
"Obviously it's friendly competition and we enjoy it but it gets the best out of us and you've got to keep going."
The striker believes that everyone is 'on the same page' heading into the new season and on a personal level, he hopes that he can carry his pre-season momentum into the league campaign.
"The vibe is positive. Everyone can't wait for the season to start, I think everyone's got the same mentality, everyone's got the same focus, so I feel everyone's on the same page - the fans, the staff and the players.
"Personally, it just builds momentum and self-confidence. It gives you something to build on leading into the season and hopefully taking that into the season, which will be good.
"We've all got one mission - to get promotion. But we'll take it step-by-step, we won't just start rushing and looking ahead. It's a long season so we'll take it month-by-month and game-by-game and see where we finish in the league."
Supporters will be able to view Lee Angol's full news conference by logging in to iFollow Stags later today.
I can be that 20-goals a season striker, says Angol
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
As Mansfield Town fans clamour for the signing of a 20-goal-a-season striker, one new summer signing already in the building is convinced he can achieve that for them. Former Spurs academy player Lee Angol is only 22 and arrives with massive potential and confidence after a good loan spell from Peterborough at promoted Lincoln City last season. He had scored five times in pre-season games before the weekend and is confident he can be the 20-goal striker fans are worrying about in his first full Football League season. “Of course I can be that man,” he said. “Obviously I‘ve never had a year in professional football where I’ve got 20 goals. I’ve done it in non-League, whether that counts or not. “But I know myself I can definitely get 20 or more goals. “I want to be up there as top goalscorer and, obviously, achieve promotion. “I just want to enjoy a great season and obviously one for the Stags fans to remember.” He added: “Compared to the other strikers here, I think we all offer something completely different which is good for the league. Not one team can put a certain plan against us as we all offer different things. “People see I am tall and might assume I’m a hold-up player or a flick-on player. But my game is more floor-based, into feet and dropping off, turning and running at defenders.” Angol was wanted by clubs in higher divisions but said: “I chose Mansfield because of the plans they have here, the directions they want to move in and the things they want to achieve. “I haven’t had a full season in professional football yet, so this is something for me to build on. “We’ve all got one mission, which is promotion. But we’ll take it step by step. We won’t start rushing ahead. “It’s a long season so we’ll take it month by month and game by game and see where we finish in the league. “It starts with the gaffer. Obviously everyone knows how many promotions he’s got. “The things that he knows about the game, he can feed into us as players and we can all come together and build up something great this season.” Angol said he had enjoyed every moment so far. “It all started off in Malta with a bunch of new lads,” he said. “We have had three games against Championship sides and played well overall. “We gelled a lot more as a team and showed flashes of what we can do. At the same time we showed what we do need to improve on. It’s been a good learning curve. “For me the main things so far have been the fitness, learning about the players you will be playing with, and scoring goals to build up my momentum. “You also get the vibe about the place, seeing the fans and what they bring to the games and I am enjoying it. “The vibe is positive. Everyone can’t wait for the season to start and I think everyone has the same mentality and focus. “The fans, the staff, the players - everyone is on the same page.” He added: “Scoring goals in pre-season builds momentum, gives you confidence and something to build on and hopefully take into the season. “Since the day I came in, there’s a lot of players in each position. “So there is not one day when you can take your foot off the pedal. “You realise there is competition all around you and one little slip-up and your competition might do something better which means they go ahead of you in terms of the gaffer’s plans. “It is friendly competition and I enjoy it. It brings the best out of us.” Angol expects his former loan club Lincoln to be in the running at the top. “Lincoln will do very well,” he said. “They have the Cowley brothers who are top managers. Those two will definitely go far in the game. “Obviously they have brought in a few players and they’ve lost a few too. But they will do well.”
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/i-can-be-that-20-goals-a-season-striker-says-angol-1-8681337
Digby commends Stags' professionalism since signing
mansfieldtown.net, 27 July 2017
Stags' midfielder Paul Digby has been impressed by the professional nature of the club since joining from Ipswich Town two months ago.
Boss Steve Evans swooped to bring the versatile former Barnsley midfielder to the club at the end of last season and Digby has settled into life well at One Call Stadium.
And speaking to the local media at One Call Stadium this morning, he said: "It's been a nice surprise almost, because it's so professional.
"It's been brilliant coming in and the staff have been fantastic and just so professional in how they've gone about everything from the training, the training's all measured and the diet and all those kind of things, it's been quite amazing to be fair.
"The fans here are fantastic. When we were out in Malta, I couldn't believe there were so many fans there! It was really good to see and we appreciate all the support that they've given us.
"It was great coming back for a few days and then getting away for a few days [in Malta] was fantastic to get all the lads together and it just bonded us as a group. It was an amazing hotel we stayed in and the facilities were fantastic and it was a really good trip to go on."
The 22-year-old is vying for a place in a highly-competitive midfield and he believes the squad has a good mixture of all the components needed for a successful outfit.
"We got a good blend; we've got a good few younger players, some good experience in the team, some real good, strong leaders within the group and I think we've got a bit of everything.
"We've got a bit of pace in the team, which we'll need in League Two, some good footballers, some really good footballers, good organisers on the pitch is what we'll need as well and blending all those together, I think we've got a really strong squad."
After plying his trade in the Championship so far in his career, Digby thinks he may need to adapt his game for League Two, but is determined to work hard to continue his improvement as a player.
"The football's maybe a bit different [to the Championship] at times, but I just keep trying to improve and adapt every day and that's what I try and do.
"I just want to keep getting better every day in training. I always try and improve myself, if it's little things I always look at my game and always try to think 'could I have done that better? Could I have done this better?' and that's in training and in games as well.
"I think that's a good attitude to improve myself as a player and help the boys to succeed because that's what we all want to do as a team.
"I'll always give my all whether it's training or a match. I want to help my team-mates be at their best as well because if we want to win games and if we want to have the success that we do want to have, I think it's important to make sure that my team-mates are at their best as well because then we can win collectively."
Supporters will be able to view Paul Digby's news conference, in full, on iFollow Stags later today.
Stags new boy Digby relishing cut and thrust of League Two battles ahead
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
After playing in the Championship, skilful midfielder Paul Digby is relishing the battles of playing for Mansfield Town in League Two this season. Following spells at Barnsley and Ipswich Town, the 22-year-old former England U20 player admits he may have to adapt his game at times for League Two but was happy to spurn opportunities to stay at a higher level to join the Steve Evans revolution this summer. “It was just the challenge of it all,” he smiled ahead of Saturday’s opening game at Crewe. “The gaffer and Rayns (assistant Paul Raynor) spoke to me as soon as the season had finished and it was nice to get that sense that you were wanted. “They were really eager to get me in and talk to me, which was really nice, feeling you were going be part of their plans, and that really attracted me. “They are very ambitious in what they do and spoke to me in such a good way it turned my head massively, making me think this is where I want to go and what I want to do.” He added: “I will give 100 per cent every game. I have the same attitude towards training and games. “I am in midfield which I think is my best position. I have got an engine and I will go box to box or, if it’s a different position where it’s more attacking or more defensive, I can do that as well. “As much as I love getting on the ball and playing, I know at times I will have to adapt my game and it might be more about being an aerial threat that I bring to the team or more of a defensive role I have to bring to the team and I can do that. “I will also have to adapt my game considering what different teams we’re playing as they may have different strengths and weaknesses and I have just got to adapt accordingly.” Digby admitted he was very surprised to see how well run things were at this level of the game. “It has been a nice surprise almost as it’s so professional,” he said. “To be fair it has exceeded my expectations. It’s been brilliant coming in. “The staff have been fantastic and so professional in how they’ve gone about everything from the training to diet, it’s been quite amazing some of the things they’ve done with us so far. “The fans here are fantastic as well. When we were out in Malta I couldn’t believe there was so many fans there. It was so good to see and we appreciate all the support they are giving us. “It was fantastic to get away early and helped bond us together as a group. The facilities were fantastic and it was a really good trip to go on.” He added: “Just coming in and getting to know the lads is a big part of it, coming to a new club. “I think we’ve gelled really well so far. We have a good blend, some younger players and some really good experience in the team. “We have some really good, strong leaders in the group, a bit of pace in the team, which will need in League Two, some really good footballer, and good organisers on the pitch. “Blending all those together I think we have a really strong squad.” Now Digby can’t wait for the big kick-off at Crewe. “It is going to be fast and furious and a bit of a rollercoaster,” he said. “As long as we stick together and keep wanting to get better, keep listening to the gaffer and Rayns, keep improving throughout the season, I think we’ll do well. “I just keep trying to improve and adapt every day. I believe in myself - I think you’ve got to have that as a footballer. “At the same time it is a great squad we’ve got here. Everyone is hungry to be in that starting XI. “I’m just working hard and am fully focused on giving my all for the team. “I have been in some pretty competitive midfields before and they’re all good players we’ve got here. You look at every position and we’ve got two, three, four good footballers in every position. “That’s good as you need to be at the top of your game and you can’t afford to have an off day. You need to be fully focused all the time.”
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-new-boy-digby-relishing-cut-and-thrust-of-league-two-battles-ahead-1-8681875