FLITCROFT PREVIEWS FINAL DAY
Continue from Yeovil fightback, says Stags' boss ahead of final day game
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 1 May 2018
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft is looking to harness the ‘pride’ his players felt after the pulsating 3-2 win over Yeovil Town ahead of this weekend’s massive game against Crawley Town.
Substitute Lee Angol scored a brace in a dramatic second-half at Huish Park, and the manager added that the fight his players showed to take the three points is key to the winning formula ahead of this weekend’s ‘must win’ game.
“You look at a team fighting for each other [against Yeovil]. You look at a team that wants to win for each other. If we are all as one and we are together then we’re going to win games. We had a pride after the game,” he said.
“The feeling of pride after a football match is really important. We’ll get our business done on Saturday and we’ll make sure the quality is good.
“Since I’ve come in, that’s the bit we have to improve, the quality of work. We’re creating a lot of chances, but we have to finish off teams.
“The way we finished the game on Saturday has now given us a chance to keep the season alive and keep it going. From day one the objective has been to get out of the league.
“We’re in with a fighting chance, it’s a three-horse race and we’re one of those teams. We have to make sure that this week the players understand the magnitude of the game. We have to take care of our business.”
Despite the magnitude of this weekend’s game at One Call Stadium, the Stags’ boss insists that his players should play no differently to any other game.
“The minimum a player should ever go onto the pitch is wanting three points. I’ve never bought into that we’d play different or harder in a cup final, and that’s the environment I want to set at this football club,” he added.
“That’s what you create over time, that winning mentality. That is something that I’m absolutely desperate to do at this football club so every day is a cup final.
“We’re the luckiest people alive, coming into work and plying your trade. Football time is the quickest time, certainly when you’ve retired. You have to work hard and every day is a cup final day.”
The manager also reflected on his side’s performances in the bigger games over the past few weeks, and looked ahead to the test that Crawley will bring to Mansfield this Saturday.
“We’ve shown that already this season that in the big games we’ve shown up certainly. Against Accrington we had a man sent off but the lads showed up that day. When I look at the Notts County game we held our nerve for 97 minutes, and Hemmings puts that penalty away, that takes character and bottle.
“The boys have held their nerve and it’s a testament to the players and the courage they’ve got. But no games come bigger than Saturday. We have to win it. We then live in hope that the magnitude of that pressure does strange things to players.
“On the last day in football there have been obscure results, different results, form goes out of the window.
“You have to get them [results] fed through. You have to keep informed. We’ll be in tune with that, but it won’t take any focus away from what we’re doing.
“Crawley are one of the better football teams in the league. You look at the teams that have gone up and are in the play-offs, they’re strong and robust teams. Crawley try to do it a different way, they move the ball round the pitch really well. They’ll want to finish on a high.”
The Stags’ boss also gave injury updates on three players, one of them being striker Kane Hemmings, who is carrying a slight knock from our 3-2 win in Yeovil.
“We’ll just want to take a precaution with Hemmo [Kane Hemmings] who took a bit of a knock on his thigh in the later stages of the [Yeovil] game. He’s the only one from Saturday’s game carrying a knock.
“We’re hoping Hayden White is going to be a bit nearer than last week, he came close last week, he probably had another 20% to go.
“Ricky Miller had a good back end to the week and a god weekend with his work. He’ll probably be training with us on Thursday or Friday. I’m definitely expecting to have them both on the grass by the end of the week. There’s a chance [of them making the bench].”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch David Flitcroft’s answers in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Stags hoping on Hemmings’ fitness for big game
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town are hopeful striker Kane Hemmings will be fit for Saturday’s crucial final game at home to Crawley Town. Stags need to win to stand any chance of making the play-offs and Oxford United loanee Hemmings has been in good form of late. “We have just got to take a precaution with Hemmo,” said manager David Flitcroft “He took a bit of a knock on his thigh in the later stages of the game at Yeovil on Saturday. “We will just get some upper body work into him instead of training plus a little bit of light CV work and hopefully have him back for tomorrow.” Hayden White and Ricky Miller are both making good progress on hamstring injuries, though won’t be risked if there is any doubt. “We are hoping to have them both on the grass towards the back end of the week,” said Flitcroft. “There is a chance they might make the bench if they can get up to full sprinting speed.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-hoping-on-hemmings-fitness-for-big-game-1-9145561
Boss Flitcroft hoping for another Morecambe favour if Stags ‘take care of business’
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has ordered his players to ‘take care of business’ on Saturday while hoping on Morecambe doing him a favour for the second time in his managerial career. Stags go into Saturday’s huge home clash with struggling Crawley Town three points adrift of the play-offs, but a win coupled with a defeat for either Lincoln City or Coventry City would see Stags steal back in there at the death. Lincoln are at home to Yeovil, whom gutsy Mansfield beat 3-2 last weekend after twice trailing, while Coventry are at home to Morecambe, who need a win themselves to achieve safety. It was Jim Bentley’s Shrimps who did a similar favour to Flitcroft to get his Bury side promoted in 2015, so the Stags manager knows all about how these tense final days can go. “Funnily enough we needed Morecambe to beat Southend when we got promoted at Bury,” he said. “I was convinced all week we would beat Tranmere - and we took care of our business at Tranmere. But we were still relying on Morecambe. “I think at the time Southend had been on an unbelievable streak while Morecambe were not on a great run. “But Jim Bentley committed to the game and they beat Southend 3-1. “It was a result that came from nowhere and it was a day that will always live in my memory. It makes you understand the sincerity and honesty of League Two players. “And, in Jim Bentley, you are probably looking at one of the most honest operators that you get in this league. He has been an unbelievable servant to Morecambe and they have profited from Jim’s work. “I have no doubt that Jim will do the business on Saturday to hopefully put us in the driving seat.” The stirring 3-2 win at Yeovil last weekend kept Stags in the hunt and Flitcroft said: “The way we finished the game on Saturday has now given us an opportunity to keep the season alive. “From day one when the season started the objective was to get out the league via the play-offs or as one, two or three. “We’re in with a fighting chance - it’s a three horse race and we are one of those teams. “We just have to make sure the players understand the magnitude of the game. We have to take care of our business. We have no control over what happens elsewhere. “Even though we’ll be keeping an eye on what’s happening at other grounds we’ve got to maintain our focus.” He added: “We must make sure the environment we set this week is competitive so the players know exactly what’s at stake and we are a highly competitive team come Saturday. “I want our players to share that sense of pride with the supporters after the game. We will get our business done on Saturday and make sure we are pristine in our work. “We are creating a lot of chances and a god intensity - not for 90 minutes, but certainly in good stages of the game. In those moments we have to finish off teams.” Despite the recent poor run of form, Mansfield have impressed in all the most important games and Flitcroft said: “I think we have already seen in my tenure, we have really shown up in the big games. “Against Accrington we had a man sent off, but the lads turned up that day and we were one goal away from a good result. “At Notts County we held our nerve for 97 minutes and Kane Hemmings stuck that penalty away - that takes nerve, that takes character, that takes bottle. “A must-win game last Saturday and the boys won it. Chesterfield away - a must win game and the boys held their nerve. “It’s testament to the players and the courage they’ve got. “No games come bigger than this Saturday. We have to win it and take care of our business. “Then we live in hope that the pressure - and being the last day and the magnitude of the pressure - does strange things to players. “We’ve seen throughout football that in the last game there have at times been obscure results with the form book going out of the window.” Flitcroft said they would keep abreast of the latest scores from Lincoln and Coventry during the 90 minutes on Saturday. “You have to get the other scores fed through during the game,” he said. “It might mean a change in formation or us committing something different to the attacking line. “If it’s a tactical change we can get it on if something different is happening at another ground. “We won’t take any focus away from what we are doing or the actual game. But it could make a slight difference.” Stags must beat a fading Crawley side who have won just once in their last 11 games. With the backing of a noisy One Call Stadium, Flitcroft is convinced they can do that. “While I have been here the decibel levels and the energy the fans have created has been incredible - absolutely outstanding,” he said. “It’s a compact stadium that energises noise and you can feel it on the back of your neck. When you’re stood in that dug out you can feel it vibrating from the stand. “They’ve been with the team all season and now it’s just that one final push.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/boss-flitcroft-hoping-for-another-morecambe-favour-if-stags-take-care-of-business-1-9144608
Crawley aiming to thwart Stags and end disappointing season on a high
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Visiting Crawley Town will want to finish the season on a winning note for their fans and head coach after losing their final home game last Saturday against Crewe Alexandra. Boss Harry Kewell has stressed he expects his players to be fully motivated throughout the entire campaign and not let it peter after enduring a run of one win in 11 ahead of Saturday’s trip to play-off chasing Mansfield. Stags boss David Flitcroft said: “Crawley are one of the better football teams in the league. “You look at the teams that have gone up and the teams in the play-offs and they are strong teams - robust and quite direct. “But Crawley have tried to do it a different way. They move the ball around the pitch really well to create opportunities from different angles. “They’ve just been on a poor run. There seems to be some uncertainty at the club that I just can’t put my finger on as it’s a club that January/February time I thought was going to threaten the top seven. “Their manager has been a top performer and he’s come and got his hands dirty in a difficult league. They will want to finish on a high themselves.” Manager Kewell is now a popular figure among the Crawley fans, having achieved stability following three poor seasons. He survived having at one stage being called upon to be sacked in mid-November after some poor results which left Reds 21st in the table and just three points above the relegation zone. Since then he enjoyed a good run which lifted them to within a couple of points of the play-offs before slipping back to mid-table. Fans can see he is trying to play an attractive passing game rather than relying too much on hoofing the ball and a rough and tumble approach. He is known to enjoy hard work and expects the same of his players during matches and training sessions. This season the team has been without a prolific striker, having sold top scorer James Collins over the summer to Luton Town, while Matt Harrold left for Leyton Orient. Fans can see the team has badly needed a goalscorer and could do well next season if this can be obtained from the start. Striker Karlan Ahearne-Grant on loan from Charlton, has scored eight goals in 14 games since joining in the club in January. Stags must also look out for Crawley skipper Jimmy Smith, who has scored 10 goals from central midfield so far this season, including an equaliser last week against Crewe. Crawley have no injuries or suspensions ahead of Saturday.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/crawley-aiming-to-thwart-stags-and-end-disappointing-season-on-a-high-1-9146224
David Flitcroft has issued this promise to Mansfield Town fans
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
David Flitcroft promised Mansfield Town supporters that, given time, he will produce them a super-fit team that will attack opponents and entertain. The Stags manager was pitched into a difficult situation when Steve Evans quit with 12 games to go. But the fruits of his work with the shellshocked players are now starting to show after four games unbeaten gave them an outside chance of a play-off place if they can beat Crawley Town in their final game tomorrow. Flitcroft has already shown Mansfield fans the quality of his sides when he brought his Bury and Swindon teams to the One Call Stadium and saw them storm to comfortable victories. “The more time I have at this football club, we’ll see a team that can compete for 95 minutes, can run longer than any other team, are fitter than any other team, and that can take a result on a front foot performance,” he said. “Any time I have brought a team here in the past - my own team designed by me - we have run riot. That is what I will give to our fans. “I want to see my team do that. I’ve never sat back in my life. I take a forward step every day and that’s the team I guarantee I will deliver to the Mansfield supporters. “We have got to go out and win though there might be times during the game we have to show that resolve. In any good team you are desperate to keep a clean sheet as that’s your professionalism and what you are born to do as a defender. “But our supporters want to see us go and take a team on.” Bringing youth, U21 and senior squads together in Mansfield Town’s pre-season training camp in Portugal is a vital first step to creating a proper first team pathway, believes manager David Flitcroft. The Stags boss wants to forge much closer links between the different levels of the club to make sure youngsters can see every opportunity to go all the way into the first team. Flitcroft has already had youth team players training with the senior squad and is looking forward to integrating them more in Portugal in July. He said: “The big thing for me is merging the youth team and U21s out there. “It’s vital to collaborate ideas and cascade them down. We have had some youth team players training with us and I don’t want them and the U21s to come into our training environment and not know what’s expected of them. “They need to know the standard. It’s probably 30 to 40 per cent less intense training with the academy than it is with the first team.” He added: “You can now see young Jordan Graham catching up with that training intensity level and mixing it. “He’s gone from mixing it with the youth team players to now mixing it with a Krystian Pearce, who will leave a bit on him - old school him a little bit - or a Zander Diamond. “They don’t want out-smarting by a young upstart, so they find a way of leaving something on them and making it difficult for them. “As a young player you then have to come up with something different and make sure your body strength is right. “I love it when a young player has to work out something different for him to improve. I want to get that pathway going next season. “I want to be signing young players that want to come to the club and want to see a pathway.” On the camp overall, he said: “A pre-season training camp is what it is. It’s a week of foundation work and basic principles of what you’re going to do all season. “Inside seven days you can get almost get between 18 and 20 sessions with the team which is unheard of at other times. “You have total control of the players, staff, down to diet, down to analysts, down to fitness work. From a conditioning point of view it’s absolutely vital you get so many sessions in. “It’s always different if you set the camp in another setting, another country. “We are working with a licensed agent to try to get a game out there. It will be isolated and out of the way.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/david-flitcroft-has-issued-this-promise-to-mansfield-town-fans-1-9148947
Boss David Flitcroft believes Portugal tour will help create first team pathway
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Bringing youth, U21 and senior squads together in Mansfield Town’s pre-season training camp in Portugal is a vital first step to creating a proper first team pathway, believes manager David Flitcroft. The Stags boss wants to forge much closer links between the different levels of the club to make sure youngsters can see every opportunity to go all the way into the first team. Flitcroft has already had youth team players training with the senior squad and is looking forward to integrating them more in Portugal in July. He said: “The big thing for me is merging the youth team and U21s out there. “It’s vital to collaborate ideas and cascade them down. We have had some youth team players training with us and I don’t want them and the U21s to come into our training environment and not know what’s expected of them. “They need to know the standard. It’s probably 30 to 40 per cent less intense training with the academy than it is with the first team.” He added: “You can now see young Jordan Graham catching up with that training intensity level and mixing it. “He’s gone from mixing it with the youth team players to now mixing it with a Krystian Pearce, who will leave a bit on him - old school him a little bit - or a Zander Diamond. “They don’t want out-smarting by a young upstart, so they find a way of leaving something on them and making it difficult for them. “As a young player you then have to come up with something different and make sure your body strength is right. “I love it when a young player has to work out something different for him to improve. I want to get that pathway going next season. “I want to be signing young players that want to come to the club and want to see a pathway.” On the camp overall, he said: “A pre-season training camp is what it is. It’s a week of foundation work and basic principles of what you’re going to do all season. “Inside seven days you can get almost get between 18 and 20 sessions with the team which is unheard of at other times. “You have total control of the players, staff, down to diet, down to analysts, down to fitness work. From a conditioning point of view it’s absolutely vital you get so many sessions in. “It’s always different if you set the camp in another setting, another country. “We are working with a licensed agent to try to get a game out there. It will be isolated and out of the way.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/boss-david-flitcroft-believes-portugal-tour-will-help-create-first-team-pathway-1-9148961
Manager has given us 'massive lift' - Digby
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 03 May 2018
Stags' defender Paul Digby has spoken of the 'massive lift' that manager David Flitcroft has brought to the players since his arrival at the club.
Digby has broken into the first team of late, making a series of appearances at right-back.
The 23-year-old says that there is a feeling of 'excitement' heading into Saturday's final day game against Crawley Town, brought about by the confidence that Stags' boss Flitcroft has instilled into the team.
"[The mood is] one of excitement, we don't want the season to end. I think that's our mindset going into the game. All our focus is on Saturday and getting the three points - hopefully other results go our way," said Digby.
"It's up there with the important games in my career. Definitely, in fact [it's the biggest of my career].
"Football is a funny game. Conrad Logan has been speaking to us about his time at Leicester when they snuck in there.
"It would be amazing to get into the play-offs and keep that Wembley dream alive.
"We won the last game and had a few good results recently. It's momentum gained and we'll just keep building and building on it.
"If we get into the play-offs, it would be a good time to come into them off the back of some good form.
"He [David Flitcroft] has been incredible really. Up in training the boys are physically fitter, stronger and sharper. The intensity we're training at is brilliant.
"We do a lot of work on set pieces and shape work, and I feel like the team are really well organised at the moment.
"Over the last eight weeks, training-wise, I just feel like there's been a massive lift. All the boys are buzzing and we're all excited going into the last game of the season.
"Sometimes it can be difficult when a new manager comes in, but things take time, and we can all see the great job the manager is doing on the training pitch.
"Sometimes that just takes a bit of time to come out on the pitch but I feel that it's finally happening now.
"The boys don't want the season to end because we're starting to kick on and things are starting to come together.
"I see it day-to-day on the training pitch that the boys are excited and everything is coming together. The gaffer has such an eye for detail. From a personal point of view they pick out little things in my game and as a player, when they see those things, it makes your game better."
Digby also explained that he will play in whatever position is asked of him in order to help the team, despite his preferred central midfield role.
"I've enjoyed being here, coming in and learning every day. Sometimes when you're out of the team it is difficult, but my mindset has always been that you can get chucked in at any time," he added.
"I've been in football long enough to know you have to deliver when you get put in and I feel like I've done that.
"I never want to let the boys down. I want to give my all for the team every time I step on the pitch and I feel like I've done that.
"I've played right-back at Championship level so it's nothing new to me. I'm just glad I can go out there and help the boys and keep that play-off dream alive.
"I do feel that I have to be down the centre of the pitch, whether that's centre-half or centre-midfield. I still feel my best position is in midfield but like I say, if I have to play right-back to help the team I'm more than happy to do that.
Despite the players expecting a tough test this weekend for the final league match of the season against Crawley, Digby explained that the team will head into the game full of confidence.
"[We're expecting] a tough one. All the games are tough. Crawley have some fast wingers and they did really well when we went down to their place.
"We're expecting a tough game but we just have to focus on ourselves and go into it full of confidence. The manager will have a plan like he always does, his eye for detail is amazing. He'll have a plan of how to win the game and we'll go and execute it on the day.
"It's football, we'll go out and enjoy ourselves and express ourselves as best we can, just like any other game."
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Paul Digby's answers in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Higher standards under new boss paying off as Digby prepares for the biggest game of his career
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 03 May 2018
Mansfield Town utility man Paul Digby said standards had shot up under new boss David Flitcroft and, now that was bringing results on the pitch, no one wants the season to end on Saturday. After recent stumbles, the Stags have to beat Crawley Town and hope rivals Lincoln City or Coventry City lose to make the play-offs, Digby describing Saturday as the most important game of his career. Paul Digby - Pic By James Williamson But, after such a traumatic time at the club following manager Steve Evans’ shock walkout, Stags have finally begun to string some form together and Digby said the transformation under new boss Flitcroft had been stunning. “It’s been incredible,” he said. “Training levels have gone up and the boys are visibly fitter, strong and sharper in training. “The intensity we’re training at is brilliant. We do a lot more work on set pieces and shape work and I feel the team is really well organised at the moment. “The last eight weeks I just feel it’s been a massive lift in training and all the boys are buzzing. “I feel 100 per cent that the work on the training ground is now starting to show. “Sometimes it can be difficult when a new manager comes in. Things take time. “We can all see the great job the manager is doing on the training pitch and sometimes that just takes a bit of time to come out onto the pitch. “I feel that’s finally happening now and you don’t want the season to end as the boys are starting to kick on and the season is just starting to come together.” He added: “I see it day to day on the training pitch. The gaffer and Futch (assistant Ben Futcher) have got such an amazing eye for detail. “From a personal point of view they are picking out little things in my game which will make me better. It’s been brilliant for me over the last eight weeks.” Digby is under no illusions about the importance of the Crawley game, saying: “It is definitely the most important game of my career. “The feeling here is one of excitement. We don’t want the season to end - that’s our mindset going into the game. “All of our focus is on Saturday and getting the three points and, hopefully, results go our way as well. “Football is a funny game and things can happen. “Conrad Logan has been talking to us about his time at Leicester when they snuck into the play-offs on the last day of the season and it would be amazing for us to get in the play-offs and keep that Wembley dream alive. “We’ve had a few good results recently and, with momentum gained in football, you just keep building on it. “If we get into the play-offs, it would be a good time to get into them on the back of the current good form.” Former Barnsley and Ipswich man Digby is about to complete his first season with the Stags and said: “I have enjoyed being here. “I’ve enjoyed coming in every day and learning. It’s a great club to be at and one with great ambition. “We’re a bit disappointed we haven’t lived up to expectations we set for ourselves at the start of the season. “But with the backing we’ve got here from a great owner and great chief exec, I am sure going forward we can make it happen in the future.”?Digby has struggled to win a regular place and said: “Sometimes, when you’re out the team, it is difficult. “But my motivation and mindset have always been that you might get chucked in at any time, and I’ve been in football long enough now to know you’ve got to deliver when you are put in. “I think I’ve done that when I’ve come into the team and helped the boys. “I would never want to let the boys down and I want to give my all for them every time I step on the pitch.” In recent games Digby has been used as a makeshift right back, and said: “I am loving it. I have played right back at Championship level and England U20s as well, so it’s nothing new to me. I know the role. I am just glad I can go I there and help to keep the play-off dream alive. “I feel I am better down the centre of the pitch, either at centre half or centre midfield. I still feel my best position is centre midfield. “But if I have to play right back or centre half to help the team out I am more than happy.” He knows he could be in for a real test on Saturday. “Saturday will be a tough game,” said Digby. “I am hearing from a few people that Crawley have got fast wingers. “When we went down to their place they did really well - it was the first time we’d lost in a long time. “We just have to focus on ourselves and go into it full of confidence, which I am sure we will. “We won’t go out there all guns blazing but I’m sure the manager will have a plan like he always does - he is meticulous.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/higher-standards-under-new-boss-paying-off-as-digby-prepares-for-the-biggest-game-of-his-career-1-9148208
Benning says Stags' boss is reason for improved fitness
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 03 May 2018
Stags' left-back Mal Benning has cited David Flitcroft's 'work ethic' in training as the reason for his improved fitness levels.
Statistics show that Benning has been running a kilometre more than usual in recent games, and the defender says it is due to the increased intensity that the Stags' boss brings to training.
"It's been an up and down season really, but I'm looking to finish it off strongly on Saturday. I've enjoyed the challenge," he said.
"We've done a lot of crossing and finishing in training since the gaffer has come in. He's been very good with that. As you can tell in matches my crossing has got better.
"The gaffer's work ethic in training [allows me to run more]. The tempo in training has gone up a notch and obviously the harder you work in training the fitter you get.
"The more running you do, the more that transfers on to matchday, and that's why my stats are showing that I run a kilometre more. It's all down to training and the gaffer's work ethic."
Benning also added that this weekend's huge final day game against Crawley Town is the biggest of his career.
"100% [it's the biggest game of my career]. I'm quite looking forward to it to be honest," he added.
"If it comes to the case where Coventry are losing and we win 1-0 in the 90th minute it would be a great feeling. I've gone through all the scenarios in my head!
"I think the gaffer and the bench will have a good clue about what's going on elsewhere in the other games. As long as we do our jobs, everything else will take care of itself.
"We need to win. Our mindset is that we're going to go into the game trying to win. That's what everyone is preparing for.
"As long as we go into the game thinking we need a win and everything is prepared right we'll be fine. We'll stay calm and not get too worked up over it. We know what's needed so we'll prepare right and hopefully get the win."
The defender also added that he has relived the moment he scored the winning goal against Chesterfield several times, saying it is his best memory in a Stags' shirt.
"I've watched it [the goal vs Chesterfield] quite a few times to be honest! In the first week or so I watched it back, but it's gone now, I've put it to the back of my mind.
"It's a good feeling to have and when I do watch it back it brings back good memories.
"I think it's one of the best moments of my time at Mansfield to be honest. Me and Pearce have been here for three years now and we've spoke about all the memories and I think that's number one."
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Mal Benning's answers in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mal Benning cannot wait to play in his ‘Biggest’ game for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 03 May 2018
Back to top form and basking in the glory of his winning goal at Chesterfield, Mansfield Town left back Mal Benning can’t wait for tomorrow’s huge home clash with Crawley Town. Stags have to win while either Lincoln or Coventry lose and Benning admitted: “It’s the biggest game I’ve played in and we are looking forward to it. “If Coventry were losing and we won 1-0 in the 90th minute it would be a great feeling. I’ve thought about all the scenarios in my head. “I guess the scores from elsewhere will filter onto the pitch. I think the gaffer and the bench will have a clue what’s happening in the other games. “As long as we do our job and get the win that will be enough to take care of things hopefully.” He added: “We need to win. We can’t draw or lose. Our mindset is to win. “We all know it’s a massive game and if results go our way we are in the play-offs, but we are staying calm and preparing right. “Over the last month or so we knew we had to win every game, so we will continue to do the right stuff in preparation and hope to put on a good performance. “We are in good spirits after that big win at Yeovil. We had nothing to lose in the second half so we came out all guns blazing.” Benning knows little about visiting Crawley, saying: “I didn’t play in the away fixture at Crawley so I’ve not seen them this season. “But when we played them at the back end of last season and drew 2-2, they were a good footballing team. “They have some good technical players. But it’s more about us. As long as we’re on our game it will be fine. “We won’t get too worked up over it. We know what’s needed.” Benning has had a mixed season, having lost his place to Johnny Hunt for a while. “This season had been very up and down for me,” he said. “Obviously I wasn’t in the team for 15 or so games. But once I’ve come back I’ve cemented my place. I’m glad to be finishing it off well. “In the past two seasons I’ve played pretty much every game I was available for. So it’s not been a nice feeling when I’ve missed out. “I feel like I’ve got much better here over my three years playing game after game. You learn quite a bit.” Benning has certainly looked a much improved player in recent games with massively increased fitness and some superb crossing - and he credits new manager David Flitcroft for the improvements. “To be honest it’s down to training,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of crossing and finishing since the gaffer has come in - he’s been good like that. “Obviously the more you work on something the better you get. As you can tell in matches my crossing is getting better. “It’s been incredible since he came to be fair. He is very meticulous in what he does in training and match preparations and analysis. “For me, personally, he came up to me after the Yeovil game and said my distances during the game had gone up 1km which shows how much fitness has gone up. “That’s from the tempo of training and the gaffer’s work ethic. It’s a lot more intense and our fitness is improving as you can tell by the late comeback at Yeovil. He is a very good manager.” Benning, now cheekily christened Sir Mal at the ground for his crucial goal at Chesterfield, cherishes his winner against the old enemy, but insisted that was now firmly in the past and he is only looking forward. “It was good but I’ve forgotten about it now as football moves on quickly,” he smiled. “It was a good feeling at the time, especially after just coming back from a red card. I watched it back a few times in that first week, but now I’ve put it to the back of my mind. “It was one of the best moments of my career.” Instead, all focus is now on a day when Stags start as outsiders of the three sides for the play-offs. However, he warned: “Football is a funny game and anything can actually happen, especially with Barnet having a good chance of beating Chesterfield, making Morecambe need to win. “Morecambe are a horrible team to play against. As long as we do our job correctly anything can happen, and hopefully something does happen and we end up in the play-offs.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mal-benning-cannot-wait-to-play-in-his-biggest-game-for-mansfield-town-1-9148932
HK: We're looking to finish strongly
Harry Kewell is delighted that Saturday's hosts Mansfield have a lot to play for when the teams meet in the Reds' final League 2 game of the season.
Currently 14th, Reds could finish in 13th if they upset the play-off chasing Stags or drop to 15th if they lose and Stevenage win.
Mansfield, on the other hand, have to win and hope other results go their way to get into the play-offs.
Harry said: "A couple of places in mid-table might from the outside not seem so important but it is to us. We have two games left including a cup final and I want us to finish with two wins.
"Mansfield have got more to play for. They will have to come at us but like Exeter two weeks ago, when we drew 2-2, that gives us opportunity as well.
"We're going there in a positive frame of mind and we want to get a good result, not least for the fans who will travel with us and who have given us such good support all season."