RUSHDEN PREVIEWS, NEIL MACKENZIE REJOINS
Neil MacKenzie has rejoined Mansfield Town on non-contract terms
27 January 2009
Ex-Stag MacKenzie back at Field Mill
CHAD.co.uk, 27 January 2009
By Tim Morriss
CREATIVE midfielder Neil MacKenzie (32) has rejoined Mansfield Town until the end of the season on non-contract terms after being released by Notts County.
The experienced player has recently been on loan at Port Vale from the Magpies and goes straight into the squad for tonight's match against Rushden - and may also feature in Wednesday's reserve match with Port Vale.
Stags manager David Holdsworth told the Stags' official website http://www.mansfieldtown.net: "Neil will bring a lot of experience.
"He is a very talented footballer in the midfield department and his stay with us may be made more permanent over the next few days.
"We would like to welcome Neil to our football club and I'm sure he will be a good addition to our ever-improving squad."
It had been rumoured a few weeks ago that MacKenzie would be rejoining the Stags, but that deal then appeared to fall through.
He previously appeared in 87 matches for the Stags from 2002-2004 in the Keith Curle era at Field Mill - notably scoring a dramatic winner at Hull City and the only player to score in the Play Off final penalty shoot-out defeat to Huddersfield.
The much travelled midfielder - also famous for becoming the first professional footballer to be a contestant on Channel Four's Countdown TV show last year when he won five matches in a row and was beaten by the eventual winner in the quarter finals - started his career at Stoke City and has been at nine clubs.
He is the 10th player to join the Stags, either as a permanent signing or as a loan player.
MacKenzie rejoins Stags
Evening Post, 27 January 2009
NEIL MacKenzie has today sealed a return to Mansfield – meaning David Holdsworth has landed the midfielder he promised.
The Stags boss has strong hopes that he would be able to secure a signing ahead of tonight's game with Rushden and Diamonds.
And he has been successful in his bid, signing the 32-year-old former Field Mill favourite on a non-contract basis.
MacKenzie was first at Field Mill in the 2002-2003 season when the Stags were in what is now League One, arriving from Blackpool.
He was part of the squad that reached the play-off final in 2004 only to lose on penalties to Huddersfield at Cardiff.
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It is understood MacKenzie almost joined the Stags earlier in the season while Billy McEwan was still in charge.
But at that time, the player chose to stay in the Football League by signing on loan for Port Vale instead.
MacKenzie goes straight into the squad for the Rushden clash and adds to Holdsworth's midfield options with Curtis Woodhouse unable to play.
He was released by Notts County last week.
Woodhouse misses out on Stags clash due to 'gentlemen's agreement'
CHAD.co.uk, 26 January 2009
By John Lomas
STAGS' new midfield ace Curtis Woodhouse will miss out on playing against his former employers Rushden and Diamonds due to a 'gentleman's agreement' between the two clubs when he signed three weeks ago.
But Stags manager David Holdsworth - chasing a third win out of three since he took over - may bring in another midfield player in the morning in time to face Rushden at Field Mill tomorrow night (7.45pm).
Diamonds didn't want to lose Woodhouse and could probably have got a fee for him, but let him join Mansfield for nothing in the end provided he didn't play in either game with Rushden this season.
"At the end of the day I got Curtis at the right time and I have to thank Garry Hill," said Holdsworth.
"We had a gentleman's agreement and we shook hands on it which I have to respect as I believe Garry would have done if it had been the other way round.
"Curtis was their captain and their leader and they let him come here for nothing.
"He is a great signing for us. I did my homework and he set the tone for my tenureship here which he showed with a warrior type performance on Saturday. He also led by example in the dressing room, getting the boys motivated in their respective roles.
"He will show Jon D'Laryea things - how to antagonise and how to conjure up the odd scenario that may have not been there - it all comes with experience. He is a great character."
Stags keeper Alan Marriott joined from Rushden around the same time as Woodhouse but no agreement was made to stop him playing.
"That was a different deal and you can't afford to lose a goalkeeeper. Alan could still play in the league and is worth his weight in gold."
He added: "I may bring a new midfield player into the club in the morning - I am waiting on a phone call.
"I am aware it is a department we are short in and this would be a good time to get the right player in - I won't take just anyone."
Diamonds have won only once in 10 games, dropping them to 10th, seven points from the play-off spots.
"It will be another battle," said Holdsworth. "We need to replicate the effort and structure on the pitch from training and I was very, very satisfied with the way we did that on Saturday.
"Rushden have made changes and I will have a good idea on their team through my contacts. I will always do my homework - even when I play Scrabble I will do my homework.
"But I don't think there is any team in this division that can throw up anything different that we don't know about. We can change formation or personnel. I don't believe we have to go out of our way to accommodate anyone.
"We have set our standards high and if we do our jobs right we will be successful, given a bit of luck."
However, he refused to get too carried away with some fans whispering about a late run to the play-offs after back to back wins.
"The fans have been wonderful and we appreciate that," he said. "We have to consolidate and push on.
"I do want to get to the play-offs, of course I do, but you have to be realistic sometimes.
"I respect the fans, they are not silly people, and they have had enough troubles here over the years not to expect what can't be delivered.
"Right now we are putting a platform down for next season. I won't kid the fans - they deserve 100 per cent honesty.
"We are in an awful position for a club this size. A lot of changes need making in the dressing room and off the field and the chairman and board here are doing that, not by knee-jerk reactions, but thoughtfully.
"I believe we will win tomorrow night. But we must not lose our focus. Let's take one step at a time and Rushden are a big obstacle.
"I am optimistic and I am a realist. I know you can get a kick in the pants at any time in football. So I try to keep a happy medium and keep the players' feet on the ground."
He added: "I hope the fans will come down and shout and scream to egg the boys on to get the win they deserve. We have a great team spirit in that dressing room right now."
Nathan Arnold, who missed out on the win at Lewes with a knee injury, will again be sidelined with a view to being fit for Saturday's game at Eastbourne.
Manager's praise for Stags 'gladiator' Somner
CHAD.co.uk, 26 January 2009
By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth had high praise for unsung hero Matt Somner after his display as a holding midfielder at Lewes on Saturday.
"Some people had preconceived ideas about players before I took over but I thought Matt was an absolute gladiator in that role on Saturday," he said.
"He got in more blocks than a London traffic warden! And he freed up Jon D'Laryea and Curtis Woodhouse. They were like three muskateers in there."
Woodhouse hopes Stags can sink old pals
Evening Post, January 27, 2009
IT is uncanny how many times a player leaves a club and then almost immediately takes on his old pals in his new team's colours.
But tonight, Curtis Woodhouse will be denied that opportunity when Mansfield take on Rushden.
As soon as David Holdsworth was drafted in to become the new Stags boss, his first port of call was the Northamptonshire club, making the hard-working midfielder his first signing.
And within another 24 hours, a second player was heading to Field Mill from Nene Park as goalkeeper Alan Marriott signed an 18-month deal.
With the ink barely dry on those contracts, the fixture list has thrown up a meeting between the two.
However, while Marriott has been cleared to play, Mansfield are unable to field Woodhouse.
The player is understandably frustrated that he will be sat in the stands.
But he recognises the link he and Marriott offers between the two clubs is merely a sub-plot in a match that has more serious connotations.
Mansfield are going in search of their third consecutive victory under their new manager and a fifth in six League games since the departure of previous boss Billy McEwan.
The only defeat during that time has been to runaway League leaders Burton Albion when the club were under the stewardship of caretaker bosses Mark Stallard and Adie Moses.
Woodhouse insists the games cannot come quick enough for his Stags team-mates at the moment.
"The last two results have been fantastic for confidence, especially with the new players coming in," he said.
"I watched the Crawley game (Woodhouse was suspended) and we did every well in the first half and then came under a bit of pressure in the second.
"But it is a sign of a good team if you can hang in there and we didn't let them create too much.
"We also made sure we didn't concede against Lewes yet there are plenty of teams who do slip up and concede late on.
"Everyone is giving everything for each other because we know we are not like Manchester United – there are no superstars.
"If you go in with that attitude, to work hard, then you can achieve just about anything and hopefully we can put three more points on the board against my old team."
Woodhouse made 60 appearances and scored five time during his time with Rushden.
One of the reasons he made the switch to Field Mill was to help with his training as a professional boxer, the Stags being closer to his gym and Hull home.
But having established himself in Garry Hill's team it is no surprised he is frustrated to miss out on this clash.
Woodhouse said: "It would have been nice to kick a few of my old mates! They have been ringing me about the game with some banter.
"It is disappointing I will not be involved against them because I had tried hard to do enough against Lewes for the gaffer to keep me in the team."
Rushden have won just one of their last six League matches, drawing 2-2 at home to strugglers Forest Green on Friday night.
But Woodhouse warns that the Diamonds can still be a top-class outfit if they get it right.
"The thing with Rushden is that you never really know what to expect from them," he said.
"When I was there, some weeks we were great and other times we let ourselves down.
"It is anyone's guess as to how they will play at Field Mill but if they are up for it then it is going to be a very difficult game.
"But having seen our team play, I am still confident we have enough to beat them.
"We now have a great bunch of lads and I am just looking forward to playing the next three months with them."
A win over his old friends – even without his help – would be the perfect start.
O'Hare fit for Stags after scan
CHAD.co.uk, 26 January 2009
By John Lomas
ALAN O'Hare's knee scan has found no damage and he is back in training ahead of the Stags' match against Rushden tonight (Tuesday).
"Alan is fit and fine. Sometimes these things and be in a player's mind and they need them looking at to reaasure them," said boss David Holdsworth.
"Alan is an experienced player but felt this was necessary and I was totally happy to adhere to the correct procedure.
"A lot of the time you can convince a player to play with a few half aches and pains.
"I am not into pampered pets, though that's not Alan, but they all know I won't accept players here not doing their job and not working every day for this football club. I won't accept vulnerable players."
Moses wants new Stags deal
Evening Post, January 27, 2009
ADIE Moses today outlined his desire to win a new contract at Mansfield – by impressing until the end of the season.
The experienced defender was captain under Billy McEwan and joint caretaker manager over Christmas.
But despite being overlooked in favour of Jonathan D'Laryea for the skipper's armband by new boss David Holdsworth, Moses says he is enjoying life at Field Mill.
The 33-year-old said: "I would love to stay here next season, but it is out of my hands.
"All I can do is stay in the side and keep playing well.
"I love coming into training. It is a good set-up here, an excellent club which has a good chance of doing well.
"Even if I were not to be here, I would still like to see the club do well."
Holdsworth is expecting Rushden to be a 'big obstacle' to maintaining his 100% start as Mansfield boss tonight.
He will be without Curtis Woodhouse after a gentleman's agreement was made when he signed from Rushden, so Holdsworth is hopeful of bringing in a midfielder before tonight's game.
Nathan Arnold (knee) is unlikely to play but Alan O'Hare (ankle) has been given the all-clear to resume training.
The club have taken central defender Simon Weaver on trial and the 31-year-old former Lincoln defender will play for the reserves tomorrow.
Mansfield's away game at Histon has been re-arranged for Tuesday, February 10 (7.45pm).
Trialist Weaver to feature for Mansfield's reserves
Evening Post, January 26, 2009
SIMON Weaver will be Mansfield's latest trialist in their reserves' home game against Port Vale on Wednesday at Field Mill (2pm).
The 31-year-old central defender has most recently been at King's Lynn but has also played for Tamworth, York, Kidderminster, Scarborough and Lincoln, among others.
The Doncaster-born player will line up along with right-back Gianluca Havern, who will be given another chance to impress.
Central defender Michael Briscoe and goalkeeper Dan Whatsize are also set to be involved against the Valiants.
But boss David Holdsworth has confirmed he has ended his interest in midfielder Ashley Burbeary, who was once on the club's books as a youngster.
Central defender Sean Webb may get another run-out but also has other options and the Stags boss insists he will not stand in his way.
On Weaver and Burbeary, Holdsworth said: "Simon is an experienced centre half who is a good character.
"We have had a look at him in training and now he will be given an opportunity in a match.
"I have seen him before and spoken to various people about him. He is an option for us and it does not hurt to have a look.
"I will not be taking things any further with Ashley. He has got offers from part-time clubs and that's probably the way he needs to go in the future as regards to his lifestyle, but we wish him well."
Holdsworth confirmed that Curtis Woodhouse would not be able to play against former club Rushden tomorrow – or in the Nene Park return at the end of February.
The agreement was struck with Diamonds boss Garry Hill to allow their then skipper to come to Field Mill.
But goalkeeper Alan Marriott, who also joined from the Northants side, is available.
"It was a gentleman's agreement made to get Curtis in for us at the right time," said Holdsworth.
"We did ask the question again leading up to this game but we knew what the answer was going to be.
"It's a difficult one because we want him to play, but I honour things like this and I'm sure Garry would do the same.
"He is a great signing for us and I'm thankful that he enabled this move to take place."
With Woodhouse absent, Holdsworth has not given up hope of landing another midfielder in time to play in tomorrow's game.
He said: "We know we are short in that department, especially with Curtis not available.
"I am waiting on a call but we will have to see what happens."
The results have come back from Alan O'Hare's scan and the defender has been given the all-clear to resume training after an ankle problem.
Nathan Arnold is set to miss tomorrow's game with his knee injury but may be in contention for the weekend's trip to Eastbourne.
Big chance for Stags triallist Weaver
CHAD.co.uk, 26 January 2009
By John Lomas
FORMER Boston United centre half Simon Weaver will be given a chance in Wednesday's home reserve game with Port Vale (2pm).
"Simon has just been recently released by King's Lynn and he is an experienced player," said Holdsworth.
"I have seen him before, he is a good character and he has been in training with us this week and done well.
"I have spoken to various peplADVERTISEMENTe about him and they all spoke very highly of him. So there is no harm in having a look at him in a match."
Fellow defender Gianluca Harvern continues his trial period as does keeper Dan Whatsize. But there is a question mark over defender Sean Webb who may be moving on and midfielder Ashley Burbeary won't be offered a deal and has left.
"Sean may have another option and we wouldn't stand in his way," said Holdworth. "I won't be taking Ashley Burbeary any further. He has offers from part-time clubs and that is probably the way he needs to go in the future with his lifestyle and we wish him well."
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