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Archived News from March 2007

16th March 2007 16:14

Scotland call up Hodge
CHAD website, 16 March 2007

STAGS' loan star Bryan Hodge has been rewarded for his sparkling form at Field Mill with a call-up to the Scotland under-20 squad.

The 19-year-old Scot, on-loan from Premiership Blackburn Rovers, has represented his country at every youth level from 16-19, but this will be his debut for the under-20s.

The international double-header in Canada means Hodge will miss Stags' home game against Macclesfield on Friday, 23rd March.

But manager Billy Dearden is delighted for the youngster, and hopes to speak to Blackburn boss Mark Hughes about extending his loan spell for another month early next week.

Dearden told Chad: "The boy is absolutely delighted, and I'm chuffed to bits for him.

"To represent your country at any level is a massive achievement, and it's good for Mansfield Town Football Club too.

"He's played four games for us on-loan, and we've won three and drew the other, and it's ended with an international call-up — that's not a bad start to anyone's professional career!

"He trains hard, works hard and plays football like I think it should be played.

"He's got a really good appreciation of the game, sees a pass and we're delighted to have him at our football club."

Hodge made his league debut with a man of the match display in the 3-2 win over Wycombe last month, but was caught drink-driving in the north-west during the early hours the following day.

He was banned from driving for three years by Blackpool magistrates.

Blackburn have subsequently taken disciplinary action against their player.

*Scotland under-20s nine-day tour of Canada will see them play friendlies in Burnany on Saturday, 24th March, and Victoria on Tuesday, 27th March.

* For all the latest Stags news, visit http://www.mansfieldtoday.co.uk.

Evening Post, 16 March 2007

Bryan Hodge is not at his most comfortable when talking about his fledgling football career.

But then again he doesn't need to be.

While the Scot's responses during interview are willing but not always the most eloquent, he does, more importantly, have all the right answers out on the pitch.

Since midfielder Hodge came to Mansfield on loan from Blackburn, the Stags have won three and drawn one of their four matches.

The 19-year-old modestly puts that down to improved performances from the whole team.

But there can be no doubting that Hodge's assured passing and creativity on the ball has been a real plus for the Stags. Looking back on the near month he has been in north Notts, the former Glasgow Rangers junior says he has enjoyed himself.

And the good news for Mansfield fans is that he is keen to continue his footballing education under the man who handed him his Football League debut against Wycombe - Billy Dearden.

"I am due to play up to and including the Macclesfield game and nothing has been agreed yet beyond that," said Hodge. "But I will be talking to Billy about it when the time comes. Staying on for longer is definitely something I would be interested in.

"It is just great to be out there playing League football because it is something I have never experienced before.

"I have only previously played as high as reserves level at Blackburn where it was a lot more relaxed and often more about getting first team players fit again.

"It's a lot more competitive here because the matches mean something when you are trying to clear steer of relegation or get into the play-offs."

Although things have gone smoothly on the field, Hodge has had well-publicised problems off of it. He was caught drink-driving for a second time in Blackpool just hours after a man-of-the-match performance on his Mansfield debut.

Hodge has subsequently been handed a three-year driving ban, but insists this time he will heed the warning.

He said: "I have tried to forget about it as much as I can but it is there sometimes at the back of my mind."

Barry Conlon has trained twice this week and played 70 minutes in a 3-1 reserves defeat at Loughborough University on Wednesday, where Danny Reet scored for the Stags.

Stephen Dawson (calf) should also be fit but Jonathan D'Laryea is likely to miss his first game of the season with ligament damage.


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