Stags relishing League Two run-in
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 10 Feb 2018
Assistant manager Paul Raynor says a number of players are 'champing at the bit' to get into the Stags' side as we enter the 'nitty gritty' of the Sky Bet League Two season.
Only 15 games remain in Sky Bet League Two with Stags sitting sixth in the division with 53 points, just three points behind third-placed Wycombe Wanderers.
And with Stags having lost for the first time in 10 League Two matches against Swindon Town on Saturday, Raynor revealed that the squad is 'bright and bubbly' as they look to put the blip against the Robins quickly behind them when they welcome Newport County tomorrow.
"The boys were in training yesterday and looked very bubbly. We've lost six league games all season and that's not a bad place to be in," the assistant boss said.
"We're into the nitty gritty part of the season and we're really relishing it. We're into the last few games and the run-in now and everybody's bright and bubbly and waiting for an opportunity to get on that pitch.
"Players have got to perform on a weekly basis because they know they've got good players in reserve who will grab that shirt if they drop in their standards.
"The training yesterday was exceptionally good, there's people there champing at the bit and waiting for an opportunity and the players can't slip up because they know there's good players in reserve.
"We've always advocated that we train with a real tempo and we train how we play. We're 100 percent committed in training.
"Our sessions aren't two or three hours long; they're lively, they're bright, they're short and they're sharp."
Stags have a clean bill of health for tomorrow's clash with the Exiles, excluding defender David Mirfin who has been absent since the beginning of December with a knee injury.
"The medical department have done a fantastic job, we're only missing David Mirfin. So we've got lots and lots of fantastic options ready to field that team tomorrow.
"We've got a number of good players. We'll sit down this afternoon, see how we train this morning and see who looks bright, who looks bubbly, we'll look at Newport and sit down and put together a team that we think will give us three points.
"It's a good place to be and we're really excited for the run-in."
The former Swansea City midfielder is expecting a physical encounter against Michael Flynn's Newport County at One Call Stadium tomorrow, a manager who he believes deserves a lot of credit for his work at Rodney Parade.
"They're a big, strong, powerful side. Michael Flynn, you have to say, has done an incredible job.
"Since he came in last year, they looked to be dead and buried. What he's done for that football club in recent weeks and recent months is fantastic.
"You've got to take your hat off to Michael and they're a tough side. Michael's said that the cup's not been a distraction but hand on heart, I think he will say you can't not be distracted by playing Tottenham twice and playing at Wembley.
"It's very difficult to keep people focussed, particularly with the size of those games, and the opportunity to play at the national stadium.
"They're a big, strong, physical side but they've also got a lot of quality as well. They can play if you allow them."
Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view Raynor's full news conference later today.
Head to http://www.stagstickets.co.uk to purchase your tickets for tomorrow's clash against Newport County.
Players return as Stags look to bounce back against Newport
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 12 February 2018
Mansfield Town have a wealth of team selection options as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment when Newport County visit tomorrow (7.45pm).
Midfielder Jacob Mellis and centre half Zander Diamond both proved their fitness during an impressive Sunday training session yesterday while right back Hayden White is also available again after completing his three match ban.
Assistant manager Paul Raynor said: “The medical department have done a fantastic job. “We’re only missing David Mirfin. We have lots of fantastic options.
“Hayden, Zander and Jacob all trained yesterday along with the new boys - they’re all champing at the bit for an opportunity, so it’s a good place to be.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/players-return-as-stags-look-to-bounce-back-against-newport-1-9013255
“It’s exciting to be able to add them to a team that’s been playing well recently. “We will see how we train today. We’ll see who looks bright and bubbly, we’ll look at Newport, then we’ll sit down and put together a team we think will give us three points.” The Stags saw their nine game unbeaten run ended in a 1-0 defeat at Swindon on Saturday. But Raynor believes they deserved something out the game and the result was a ‘blip’. “We looked back at the game yesterday and feel we were very unfortunate not to come away with something,” he said. “It was a game of very few chances. The wind didn’t help and made it a game of two halves, and unfortunately we conceded a sloppy goal that cost us in the end. “But I thought the least we deserved was probably a draw.” With 15 games to go, Mansfield now return to the One Call Stadium to take on a Newport side whose League form has faded a little recently, leaving them six points adrift of the play-offs. “We are always happy to play at home with the home support behind us,” said Raynor. “We’re in a good vein of form. Saturday was a bit of a blip. But that’s gone now. “The boys were in training yesterday and were very bubbly. We’ve lost six League games all season - that’s not a bad place to be in.” Raynor felt Newport had been distracted by taking Spurs to an FA Cup replay, taking only a single League Two point out of the last nine available. “You have to say that Michael Flynn has done an incredible job since he came in last year,” he said. “They looked to be dead and buried. Graham Westley had brought some players in and tried to turn things round, but it hadn’t quite happened. “They went back to someone who had been around and knew the club, and had been successful at the club as a player. “What he has done for that football club in recent weeks and recent months is fantastic. You have to take your hat off to Michael - they are a tough side. “Michael said the FA Cup hasn’t been a distraction. “But hand on heart you can’t not be distracted by playing Tottenham twice and playing at Wembley.” He added: “It is very, very difficult to keep people focused, particularly with the size of those games and the opportunity to play at the national stadium. “I think it has taken away a little bit from their league performances. “But that’s out the way now and they are very dangerous. They didn’t play at the weekend so they’ll be ready. They still think they’ve got a chance of a play-off spot. “We know the problems they caused us down there. They are a big, strong, powerful side. “But they also have a lot of quality in the side as well. They can play if you allow them.” Stags drew 1-1 at Newport back in October when Danny Rose was on the scoresheet.
Newport County manager focused on Mansfield Town test after Forest Green Rovers postponement
NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is hoping his players are well rested and ready for a battle at Mansfield Town tomorrow.
County saw Saturday’s home clash with Forest Green Rovers postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade, while Mansfield were beaten at Swindon Town to slip to sixth in the League Two table.
The Exiles dropped to 12th, six points below the play-off places, after being overtaken by Crawley Town at the weekend.
Flynn acknowledged that his players may benefit from a weekend off after a tough recent fixture schedule, which culminated in the FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley last Wednesday.
But he was nonetheless frustrated that his side did not have the chance to keep pace with the top seven on Saturday.
“There’s no positive because we were raring to go. We’d recovered right and we were ready,” said the Exiles boss.
“We wanted to put Wednesday behind us and put on a good show in front of our own fans.
“I’m frustrated not to play - I would have loved playing in those circumstances but the game’s changed.
“It gives us a breather but sometimes the best thing is to get it out of your system and play straightaway and Saturday was our ideal opportunity to do that.
“It would have been nice to get back on the winning trail,” he added.
“It would have been a tough game because they’ve signed some experienced pros in the window.
“With the elements it would have been a tough one to call but hopefully we can get on a bit of a winning streak now and we can get back up the table.
“We’ve got a tough game now away on Tuesday and we’ve just got to go there fully focused and ready to go.”
Flynn says Mansfield are amongst the favourites to win promotion this season.
“They are definitely contenders,” he said. “You only have to look at the budget they’ve got.
“They’ve got an experienced manager and they’ve got some really good players.
“We should have beaten them here but we didn’t. We were the better team and still didn’t win so that goes to show that they’ve got a group of fighters.
“It’s going to be a tough game but it’s one I’m hoping we can go and win.”
“I think Ben was fine [on Saturday],” explained the manager.
“Pipey is in good condition but he came off because of his hamstring again at Wembley so I possibly wouldn’t have risked him.
“I didn’t pick the team because I was waiting to see whether the game would be on or off but there would have been a few changes, that’s for sure.
“We’ll have a look at it and see how everyone is on Monday and we’ll try to pick a team to go and win a tough game at Mansfield.”