CREWE PREVIEWS / INJURY NEWS
Stags set for big battle against Crewe
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 05 April 2018
Manager David Flitcroft has said that his side 'cannot wait' for the Crewe game at One Call Stadium this Saturday, as Stags look to regenerate momentum heading into the final six games of the season.
Flitcroft added that he is looking for a similar level of performance that he saw in the games against Accrington and Luton, with an added clinical touch in front of goal.
“The Crewe game can’t some soon enough and we’re excited by the prospect of getting out there and showing the supporters what we are prepared to fight for,” he said, speaking in his news conference today.
“When we got back [on Monday] we soon flushed out why we didn’t achieve one point or three points against Luton and we quickly agreed that in the match-defining moments, that’s where you have to be 100% committed to win any game of football.
“As the games get bigger which they do - probably not in terms of opponent but in terms of games running out - we need to make sure we turn up in those absolute key moments.
“We gave Luton a host of problems but didn’t put them to the sword and didn’t finish them off. That’s something that we have to do in the remaining games, and be ruthless at both ends of the pitch.
“Without a doubt [we’re about to turn a corner], I looked at the Forest Green performance and that gave me concern. But looking at the last two weeks and especially over the Easter break, we’ve been as a collective and had a togetherness.
“To go to Luton after the physical output and the mental output of not getting something here [against Accrington] after a big effort, the certainly ran for each other and the supporters. I saw a galvanised spirit.
“We’ve watched a lot of Crewe so from an intel point of view we have quite a lot of work on them. Crewe is a model that’s been sustainable for a number of years, it has a playing identity that’s really strong.
“I’m looking forward to getting the boys prepped over the next few days, ready for a massive fixture that we’re absolutely desperate to win.
“It’s really important that we turn performances into three point results.”
The Stags’ manager also added that some of the youth team will have the chance to train with the senior players this week, and spoke highly of midfielder Keaton Ward, who started in a strong Stags’ reserves lineup in Tuesday’s clash against Rotherham.
“We’ll have the chance to have a look at a couple of the younger players today in training,” he said. “What you get with the youth is hunger and desire to get in and around the squad, and then stay there. That’s an exciting part of this project.
“I think from day one you want to find out what the big vision of the football club is. It’s really important from a sustainability point of view that you can bring youth players through. They improve the training programme because they have that hunger and desire.
“We’ve had Keaton Ward training with us, and he’s a player, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a future asset to this football club.”
The boss also gave a quick injury update on top scorer Danny Rose, and defender David Mirfin, who has now been confirmed as out until the end of the season.
“I was disappointed to not have him [Rose] in and around on Monday, even if it was just to get him on for 20 minutes - that’s the way we thought it was going.
“The early signs were good but as he’s got out onto the grass and done the running, there is some soreness in there.
“We just have to keep hoping that for Saturday he might be able to play a part. He’s on end-stage rehab, and we just have to hope we get significant improvement on it.
“David Mirfin is coming on okay. Mentally it’s tough for any player to have an injury like that, no player wants to be injured. We’ll keep supporting him, but without a doubt [he’s out until the end of the season].”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch David Flitcroft’s interview in full later today, by logging into iFollow here.
Let’s give the fans the win they deserve says Stags manager
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 05 April 2018
Although desperate to register his first win as Mansfield Town boss at the seventh attempt, David Flitcroft said that more than anything he and the players want to beat visiting Crewe Alexandra on Saturday for the supporters.
Stags fans have stayed patient as their side dropped out the play-off zone after seven games without a win and, with six games left, Flitcroft wants to reward their loyal backing with that long overdue victory.
“I am desperate for the supporters. They deserve the results we’ve not been getting,” he said. “We have been threatening to, but it’s a results-based industry.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/let-s-give-the-fans-the-win-they-deserve-says-stags-manager-1-9099938
“A win makes supporters feel so good about themselves. They put so much energy into supporting. I want to give it back to them. “It would then galvanise the spirit growing among the players. “What a win would do is reaffirm that the work we’re trying to do and implement has become instilled in them. “It’s like anything - you need the results to underpin the performance, the training programme and the values I am trying to install into the group.” Stags lost to top two Accrington and Luton over Easter, despite gallant battling, but now face a run-in of six games against sides in the bottom half to get back into the top seven. “Without a doubt it’s there for us,” said Flitcroft. “Even though they were two big games over Easter in terms of where they were in the league, they were not games that scared or intimidated this group. “We are over that period now. We are looking forward to the run of games and the Crewe game can’t come soon enough. We’re all excited by the prospect of getting out there and showing supporters what we are prepared to fight for.”
Crewe, managed by ex-Stag Dave Artell, are now 10 points clear of the drop and all but safe. But Flitcroft believes the Railwaymen will still be a dangerous animal. “I don’t buy into them relaxing when you have someone like Dave Artell as manager and you look what he was like as a player and his passion for football,” he said. “He has been at Crewe a long time - he was in the academy before - and he understands the values of it. “David will make sure their team is fully prepared and want to finish as high as he can. “I don’t buy into the idea that players are thinking about their holidays. “Players at Crewe and any football club are thinking about earning a contract for next season for their families. Footballers are selfish and they will have their own motive for playing well on Saturday. “We have to guard against that and certainly understand what it means to us and what it means to our supporters to take advantage of a positive performance on Saturday.” He added: “We’ve watched them quite a lot and Crewe is what it is. “It’s a model that’s been sustainable for a number of years. It’s got a playing identity and a DNA running through it that’s really strong. “Dave has strong values in the way he plays. They want to bring youth through and over the last few seasons they have been in the Championship and were in League One quite a while. “Now they are in League Two. But they will stick to their principles and what they do. “It is a massive fixture that we are absolutely desperate to win. “We need to make sure as the games get bigger, probably not in stature of opponents but certainly in terms of games running out, that we make sure we turn up at those absolute key moments. “We gave Luton a host of problems and didn’t put them to the sword and finish them off. “That’s something we have got to do in the games remaining. We have to be ruthless at both ends of the pitch and finish teams off. “You can have great spells and do what you want between both boxes, but you are accountable for what you do in the opposition box and in our box to ultimately get results which is what the industry is about. “Without a doubt we are about to turn a corner. “They are certainly running for each other and the supporters and over Easter I have seen a galvanised spirit. It’s really important now we turn those performances into three-point results.” Stags can expect a noisy, passionate backing on Saturday and Flitcroft said: “I’d ask nothing more from the fans than what they have given me and what they’ve given the team all season. “It was difficult with the Accrington game and result to see them so highly tuned and so invigorated, wanting to kick every ball and not get beaten. “It made me really understand what I’ve come into here - the passion of the supporters for this club and the travelling support, it’s just immense. “It’s an expensive time for supporters and they have committed to that. “I guarantee to them that I am going to give a team to share that commitment and make sure they are as committed as the supporters are.”
Stags star Rose could miss Crewe clash
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 05 April 2018
Top scorer Danny Rose is struggling to be fit for Saturday’s visit of Crewe Alexandra.
Rose hurt his ankle at Forest Green two weekends ago and, despite high optimism, he missed out over Easter and looks likely to miss out again this weekend.
“I was disappointed to not have him in or around, certainly for Monday, even if it was to get him on for 20 minutes,” said manager David Flitcroft.
“That’s the way we thought it might be going.
“It’s a ligament injury and they always give you initial hope they’ve repaired.
“Although the early signs were good, as he’s got out on the grass and done the running, there was some soreness in there and it’s restrictive. His power is down.
“We have just got to keep hoping he might be able to play a part on Saturday.
“He is on end stage rehab and we are just hoping over the next two days there is a significant improvement.”
Stags will again be without suspended left back Mal Benning.
David Flitcroft delighted to have winger Alfie Potter back
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
David Flitcroft is absolutely delighted to have winger Alfie Potter fit again and believes he could be a key figure in their final push for a play-offs place. Potter returned from injury at Luton on Monday and manager Flitcroft said: “He is an absolutely massive addition to what we’ve put in place. “Alfie is a player that gives you impact, whether from the start or from the bench. “He is someone, when you look around your squad, that you know has creation, invention and a goalscoring threat.” Potter almost played on Good Friday but it was decided to give him a few more days in the end. “Alfie got some good work into him during the end of the week and was close to being involved against Accrington, but there was probably an amount of risk to that,” said Flitcroft. “With the six games we’ve got left we chose to involve him in some part at Luton. That was the plan and it came off. “He played for a period against Rotherham in the reserve game and came through that, so we are delighted we’ve now got Alfie to pick.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-delighted-to-have-winger-alfie-potter-back-1-9100737
Ricky Miller needs to be patient for Mansfield debut
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Despite a hat-trick for the reserves in midweek, it seems Peterborough loanee striker Ricky Miller is going to have to remain patient for his full Mansfield Town debut. He has come on as a substitute seven times and boss David Flitcroft admitted: “He is pushing for a start. “But I look at the opposition. You can look at it from the outside from a 2D point of view. “But when you look at it in 3D and the young players he is playing against in the reserves, you have to remember League Two is a robust league and league of men. “Ricky’s attitude since I have been here has been good and he is is in and around what we do for sure. “I look at Kane Hemmings and Lee Angol’s partnership and the trouble they have caused the two best teams in the league so I am not looking far from that. “But Ricky certainly adds competition to that.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/ricky-miller-needs-to-be-patient-for-mansfield-time-debut-1-9100745
Season over for Mansfield Town defender David Mirfin
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town centre half David Mirfin’s season is over. The experienced defender has not played since a recurrence of a knee injury at Blackpool in early December and, after having an operation on it, recovery has been slow and mentally tough. “His season is over without a doubt and then he has got a tough summer ahead,” said boss David Flitcroft. “He will be working all summer to try to get himself ready for the start of next season. “He’s done the hard miles but there are still loads of hard miles left.” He added: “He is coming on okay but it’s a slow process and was always going to be. “He has not been able to get around the players as much as I’d have wanted him too. “David is now eating with us and in the dressing room. He is part of what we do and someone you can draw from his experience. “With an injury like he has had, it’s mentally tough for any player to deal with. “Being around and socialising with the first team and staff is important as it can be a lonely road being injured for that length of time.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/season-over-for-mansfield-town-defender-david-mirfin-1-9100782
Mansfield Town youngsters training with first team
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town youngsters Keaton Ward and Jordan Graham are now training with their first team squad which boss David Flitcroft said was a boost for the youngsters, the current first team and the club. Flitcroft has pledged to do more to bring young players through as he sees them as the lifeblood of a club and the teen pair of midfielder Ward and striker Graham are the first two prospects to make an impact on him. An experienced Stags reserves side won 5-2 in midweek against Rotherham, but Flitcroft said: “What was more important was that we brought off some of the experienced players and put on some of our younger players. “That’s now given us the chance to have a look at a couple of the younger players in training with the first team. “What you get with youth is that hunger and that desire to get in and around the squad and then to stay in the squad. “That’s an exciting part of this job, supporting what John Dempster (academy manager) is doing underneath what the first team are doing. They do a fantastic job. “We don’t have an academy for six, seven and eight-year-olds, so they do bring them in later. “So they have not been schooled in what some academies do where they bring them up a little bit soft and weak - not game-ready or winning-ready. “Demps and Coops (Richard Cooper) do a fantastic job getting these boys to a robust state. I have enjoyed the interaction with the young players and it gives us an opportunity to keep looking at them. “From day one you want to find out what is happening down there. It’s really important from a sustainability point of view for a football club that you can bring youth through.” Flitcroft can remember how training with a first team made him and his family feel when he was coming through. “When I was a young player at Preston I can remember ringing my old man to tell him I was training with the first team and the excitement of that,” he smiled. “He ended up bringing all the work lads from the building site to watch us and I got into trouble with the manager for ringing him up. “That excitement to train with the first team has almost gone these days. But Keaton Ward has been with us and a part of what we’ve done and to see the excitement in his dad and that relationship is good. “The players’ response to having Keaton train with us has been fantastic. He is a player - there is no doubt about that. He is a future asset for the football club. “So it’s important, certainly as next season develops and the club drives forward with the chairman’s vision and strategy, that these communication lines are open.” He added: “Demps and Coops come up on a Thursday and work with us and the first team. It’s massively important that is part of any football club, certainly in League Two and One. “When the youngsters have joined in you have had an energy and an enthusiasm for football. It’s woken some of the first team players up as they can maybe see the competition coming through.” Big striker Graham is the latest to get a taste of the first team, squad today and Flitcroft said: “Young Jordan is coming in to train today and gives us a different option up front. “He is robust, 6ft 1ins and he’s got an unbelievable energy. “Again he is someone that, by training with the first team, only improves him as the intensity with the first team is probably 30 to 40 per cent higher as you can imagine. “It keeps the experienced players on their toes that youth won’t be overlooked at this football club while I’m manager. “If they are good enough and show a real verve to compete in the first team squad I will certainly be running my eyes over them. “They should be the lifeblood of any football club and understand what it means to play for Mansfield Town. “That’s what you get when you bring your youth through into a first team environment.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-youngsters-training-with-first-team-1-9100731
Zander Diamond says players are 'craving' victory for Stags' fans
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 05 April 2018
Skipper Zander Diamond has said the Stags are ‘craving’ a victory for the Mansfield Town fans, as he looked ahead to Saturday’s clash against Crewe at One Call Stadium.
Diamond featured in both of the games over the Easter weekend against Accrington and Luton respectively, after recently returning from injury.
The Stags’ captain explained that the side are desperate to put wins on the board for the fans, who he says have been excellent from the day he arrived at the club.
“The Stags faithful will be out in their numbers again and we need to reward them with three points,” he said. “We’re craving a victory for them.
“They [the fans] have been fantastic since I’ve walked through the door from day one, but we’ll probably need them more than ever [for the remaining games].
“Now it’s a real push, but that’s not just the fans, it’s everybody. We need to have one big push for the last six games to go to where we want to be.”
The Stags’ defender also explained his belief that David Flitcroft’s side did enough to win at least one game over the Easter weekend, but added that missed chances were the main reason the Stags did not pick up any points.
“They [the remaining games] are huge, but first we need to focus on the next game,” he said. “We need to put an equal performance as we did at Luton and just finish our chances when they come along.
“We had chances over the weekend to win two games of football, never mind one. But training will be positive, it has been all week.
“After the game on Friday we tried to pick the positives from it. Performance-wise it was very good, and up until 60 minutes at Luton it was very good again.
“It’s not just the strikers though, I had a great chance as well against Luton so collectively we have to come together and get the result that we want.
“The performances were good, but performances don’t get points on the board, we need to start putting performances into wins.
“It’s a case of what happens in both boxes, we need to get that balance correct. We need to defend well, and ultimately, put the ball in the back of the net.”
Diamond also looked ahead to this weekend’s game at One Call Stadium against Crewe, and says that the Stags are a different side to the one that faced the Railwaymen on the opening day of the season.
“I think a lot of things have changed [since the last game against Crewe]. Going there at the beginning of the season we were a new team but we’ve bonded now eight months down the line.
“The gaffer will have a plan of action and we want to get a victory for us, but more importantly for the management team and the fans.
“We’ve got character in abundance. It’s now all about putting in good performances and getting the results. If we take our chances, I think we won’t be a million miles from where we want to be.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the skipper's full interview later today by logging into iFollow here.
Stags skipper calls on patient fans to ‘stick with us’ ahead of crucial game
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 05 April 2018
Mansfield Town skipper Zander Diamond thanked fans for their patience during the current bad run of results and called on them to help the side get back to winning ways against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. A run of seven games without a win has seen the Stags slip out of the play-off spots with just seven games to go.
But ahead of Saturday’s crucial visit of Crewe, Diamond said to supporters: “Stick with us. “You have been fantastic since I walked through the door on day one and we probably need you more than ever now. “The fans have stuck by us and been patient and we thanks them for that. We need them to get behind us on Saturday and help galvanise us.
“We want to get back in the top seven and send them home happy.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/stags-skipper-calls-on-patient-fans-to-stick-with-us-ahead-of-crucial-game-1-9100310
Diamond said the players were also desperate to give new manager David Flitcroft his overdue first win at the seventh attempt. “He has been fantastic. I can’t speak any more highly of him,” said Diamond. “He has brought a belief we can go and beat teams. He’s taken the shackles off and I think you saw at Luton the fruits of what we are working on in training with the chances we created. “We are putting the hard work in on the training field week in, week out. He gets his ideas across and we just want to give him the victory. We crave it. “We feel the disappointment. The management team puts so much work into getting us ready and prepared. We as a group of players want to reward them with three points. “A win on Saturday would galvanise everybody. It’s been a long time coming. A victory in any walk of life and the feelgood factor comes back.” Mansfield’s last six games are all against sides in the bottom half and Diamond said: “This last six games are huge. “But we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves and we have to focus on the first game. “We can’t afford to look ahead. We need to win on Saturday and where that takes us we don’t know. We just need that first victory on the board. “We need to play as well as we did at Luton but take our chances when they come along. We had enough chances there to win two games of football let alone one and we got punished. “I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating chances. But we’re creating them in abundance and just not taking them. “If we take our chances I don’t think we’ll be a million miles away from where we want to be. “The performances over Easter were good. But we need to turn performances into wins - and quickly. “We want to win for the fans and the management team as much as for ourselves. “It is a great honour for myself to lead this football club into this last six games. But ultimately we all have to pull together and we need more leaders out there. “We know we’ve got them within the squad. It’s going to take a big push now.”
Stags drew 2-2 at Crewe on the opening day of the season and Diamond admitted: “A lot of things have changed since then and a lot of water has gone under the bridge. “It was a new team here then. But we’ve bonded. It’s been eight months in the making. “Crewe are a real footballing team and like to get the ball down and play. They will come here and probably see us as being on a downward spiral with the draws and losses. “But we are a positive group of players and come Saturday we’ll be ready for a challenge and I hope and expect to win. “The so-called harder games in this league can become the easier and vice versa. Anyone can beat anybody in this league. “But there is no one to fear in the last six games. I’ve always said if we get our own stall in order we can win games. “But it has to come together sooner than later as games are running out.”
Stags star Rose is third most valuable player in League Two
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER, Thursday 05 April 2018
With 14 goals to his name so far this season, it's not been a bad one for Mansfield Town striker Danny Rose. But new research from bookmaker sportingbet reveals that he is also the sixth most important striker in the league this season, as his goals have contributed to more points than most other goalscorers in the League Two. Of his 14 goals, seven have been winning goals and one has established a two-goal lead. An incredible 50 per cent of Rose's goals have been winning goals, which puts him joint third in the league for winning goal ratio. Not only that, but without Rose's goals, Mansfield would be 14 points worse off, that's the third highest in the league, showing that the Stags are incredibly reliant on him. But it's just not Rose's contribution, as Kane Hemmings has also scored very important goals this season. Without Hemmings, Mansfield would be 13 points worse off. The research reveals that Accrington's Billy Kee is the most valuable strker in the division, with ten of his 21 goals having been match-winners. He's followed by Coventry's Marc McNulty and Swindon's Luke Norris. Without Kee's contribution, leaders Accrington would be 20 points worse off.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/stags-star-rose-is-third-most-valuable-player-in-league-two-1-9100174
"Pressure Is On Play-Off Chasing Mansfield"
5 April 2018
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell is expecting another tough game against one of his former clubs as the Railwaymen look to take another huge step towards safety in the EFL.
Despite the Stags having to change their manager recently with Steve Evans electing to move on to League One Peterborough, the Alex boss says he is a expecting a similar Mansfield under new boss David Flitcroft.
Mansfield will be hoping to keep their promotion hopes very much alive and come into the game on a run of six without a win. They are currently just outside the play-offs in 8th place, so Artell says that all the pressure will be on them to perform at Field Mill tomorrow.
Ahead of our EFL fixture, Artell told us: “Mansfield have had a change of manager for whatever reason but I still expect them to be similar. It will take David and his staff time to implement their own philosophy. You cannot do that overnight. It has to be drip fed but I’m sure they will get there.
“They are a good side. They have been up there for much of the season and they will be looking to get into the play-offs. Their budget is good and finances should dictate that they should be up there.
“They are actually in a bad run of form for them and we have to try and take advantage of. We have been in decent form and the pressure is on them because they need the points to stay in touch with the top six.
He added: “We are not focussing too much on them. We are thinking about ourselves and what we need to do. I think the weather and the pitch suited Barnet when we lost down there. We were on the receiving end of a poor decision and that ended our little good run away from home, so now it is up to us to get back on it.”