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Archived News from November 2006

23rd November 2006 18:04

Evening Post. 23 November 2006

Alex John-Baptiste today responded to speculation linking him with a move away from Mansfield by insisting: "I'm happy here."

The highly-rated central defender is rumoured to be a £300,000 target of Sheffield United and Wolves are also said to be interested.

A bid from either for John-Baptiste - who is out of contract in the summer - is not out of the question in the January transfer window.

But the 20-year-old is content at Field Mill and is concentrating his efforts on helping the Stags climb the League Two table.

"I take what is being talked about with a pinch of salt. I have been here four years and I have lost count of the number of times clubs I am supposed to have been moving," said John-Baptiste.

"If I had a pound for every rumour linking me with another club, then I would be a millionaire by now.

"I get people stopping me in the street and asking me if I am moving but as far as I'm concerned, nothing is different.

"My contract is up at the end of the year but what happens before then is out of my hands.

"If the chairman decides to sell me that is up to him but I have been playing here since I was 17 and I'm happy to stay a Mansfield Town player."

Mansfield's 2-0 defeat to Peterborough on Saturday was their first in League Two on home soil since August.

Aaron McLean's 39th minute opener for the Posh was the first the Stags had conceded at Field Mill in 313 minutes of football.

As a member of the back four, that naturally came as a disappointment to John-Baptiste, who felt the Stags failed to compete with their opponents physically.

He said: "We were not pleased that our run of home clean sheets came to an end. It's never nice to concede goals and if it wasn't for Muggy (Carl Muggleton) it could have been more.

"The set pieces killed us and I think we were a little bit scared of them physically because they were a big side.

"But teams are always going to try to bully us and we have to be ready to cope with that."

Ahead of Saturday's trip to former manager Steve Parkin's Rochdale, the Stags lie 16th in League Two.

John-Baptiste is frustrated by that situation but does believe Mansfield have it within them to do something about it.

He said: "I'm not pleased where we are at moment but that's common policy throughout the side and we know we have to do better.

"But hopefully the Peterbough game is a turning point and we can turn it on from here.

"We have a great manager and some good players - we just need to start proving it on a regular basis on the pitch.

"Rochdale is the perfect place for us to start doing it. That is a place where we know we can win and that's what we'll being going all out to do when we go up there."

Simon Brown is in contention for a starting place for Saturday's trip to Rochdale, according to boss Peter Shirtliff.

He scored Mansfield's first goal as they came from 1-0 down to beat Notts County 2-1 in a reserve friendly match on Tuesday.

"Simon did very well in the 45 minutes he played and is in the running for Rochdale," said Shirtliff.

"Danny Reet got an hour in and Asa Charlton just less than that. He got a knock on his ankle but he should be OK for Saturday."


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