LUTON: STAGS ARE BOGEY SIDE
Stags defender John Thompson may be back for AFC Telford match
chad.co.uk, Monday 22 August 2011
INJURED Stags defender John Thompson could be back playing in time for the home fixture against AFC Telford on 20th September.
Thompson underwent an operation to re-set his nose today following the horror pre-season incident against Ilkeston and may be ready to make his competitive debut for the club against promoted Telford.
The former Nottingham Forest defender suffered a broken nose and was left needing more than 40 stitches after he was sent clattering into metal fencing surrounding the pitch by home player-coach Gary Ricketts.
But Stags boss Paul Cox says he will not rush Thompson back too early.
“I am not going to set a date and rush John back too soon. Sometimes you can do more damage than good bringing a player back too early,”said Cox.
“The physical injuries may have healed by then but we do not know about the psycological injuries and it is important John is in the right mindset when he returns.
“It is going to be a long season ahead and we will not rush his recovery.”
But the injury woes of fellow defender Ritchie Sutton and midfielder Paul Bolland look set to soon be over with both players in line for a possible return to the starting line-up against Kettering Town on Saturday.
Mansfield Town boss expects Luton Town match to be 'toughest game of the season'
chad.co.uk, Monday 22 August 2011
TOMORROW night's game against Luton Town will be toughest game of the season, that is the view of Stags boss Paul Cox.
Stags go into the tasty-looking fixture in search of their first win of the campaign, while Luton travel to field Mill looking to gain a measure of revenge for their FA Trophy exit last season.
Recent games against The Hatters have been feisty affairs and Cox is expecting another hard battle ahead.
“This is a tough league with some very big teams in it and Luton are probably the biggest of all,” Cox said.
“They have a fabulous history and are rightly considered as one of the favourites to win the division.
“I'm really looking forward to the game. It will be a fantastic benchmark for us to see where we are at.
“It is going to be hard game, but we are progressing and we put some building blocks down to build on against Braintree.”
And if Stags are to claim their first maximum point haul of the new season they will certainly need to display a better cutting edge in the final third.
Added Cox: “We should be going into the Luton game with six points on the table, but that is football.
“It is going to be a much closer league this season and I don't see any team running away with the league.
“In the middle of the park there is not a lot to choose between teams. The difference between sides is what happens in the final third.
“We need to be more ruthless in both boxes and take our chances when we get them.
““If we show the mindset we did against Braintree then we are in wtih a chance of winning, but if we turn up with the Gateshead mindset then we will get beat.
“We have to become more consistent. At the moment we are hard to sum up.
“We should have beaten Bath, We capitulated against Gateshead after 30 minutes and against Braintree we were comfortable and should have won.”
Stags will still be without the injured Ritchie Sutton, Paul Bolland and John Thompson as well as the suspended Tom Naylor.
Luton are currently unbeaten in their opening two fixtures and beat Southport 5-1 at home in their last outing
Spotlight on Stags v Luton at Field Mill
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Riley, Wood, Kendrick, Bell, Briscoe, Meikle, A. Murray, Howell, Worthington, Stevenson, Todd, Smith, Dyer, Green, Connor.
Luton (from): Tyler, Osano, Beckwith, Antwi, Howells, Keane, Lawless, Watkins, O'Connor, Dance, Willmott, Crow, Morgan-Smith, K. Pilkington, Barnes-Homer, Asafu-Adjaye.
Team news: Mansfield's Tom Naylor serves the second match of a four-game ban while John Thompson had an operation on his broken nose yesterday and Rhys Day (calf) is still struggling.
There is an outside chance Paul Bolland (ankle) and Ritchie Sutton (shoulder) could be involved, but it is more likely they will be fit for Saturday's visit of Kettering.
The majority of Luton's absentees are in defence, with George Pilkington (knee), Fred Murray (knee), Shane Blackett (groin) and Dan Gleeson (ankle) all missing Saturday's win over Southport.
Charlie Henry (ankle) has still to play for the Hatters because of a long-standing problem.
One to watch: Robbie Willmott. The roving former Cambridge winger has started Luton's season in top form and netted his first of the season at the weekend.
Manager: Gary Brabin. Will be under pressure to take the Hatters straight up but has the benefit of plenty of experience at this level having previously led Cambridge to the play-offs
Luton will provide a barometer for Stags' progress
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, August 23, 2011
MANSFIELD Town's clash against title favourites Luton at Field Mill tonight will be a barometer of how far the Stags have come under new manager Paul Cox – and just how much more improvement is needed.
The Stags have got off to a slow start in their new Blue Square Bet Premier campaign, with two points from three games.
And things are hardly likely to get any easier with the visit of Gary Brabin's Hatters, who were 5-1 victors over Southport on Saturday.
But Cox is looking for his players to pick up points against the fancied sides – something they have not done recently.
"I think playing Luton is as hard a game as we are going to face. It's going to be a tough one and a benchmark for us," he said.
"You look through the games we have had and it's very hard to gauge where we are.
"But Luton are the biggest club in this league by a country mile and are most people's favourites to get promoted.
"After this game we will be able to say where we have come from since the start of the season."
Cox is mindful of getting a first win on the board and not falling too far behind early on.
He said: "For the last few seasons this club has got off to a great start and been top of the League in August and September.
"We wanted a nice steady start and we have only got two points out of nine, but no-one has won all their games.
"We can't expect miracles straight away but I'm sure they are going to click and be getting results consistently."
What's in a name as Stags boss Cox looks to Howell
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, August 23, 2011
IT'S remarkable to think that his manager has known him for the best part of a decade, yet still gets his name wrong.
Midfielder Anthony Howell must have lost count of the number of times Paul Cox has written out a team sheet or added an extra 's' to his name at Mansfield Town this summer.
The error has even landed the 25-year-old in trouble with his mum, who gets annoyed that journalists unwittingly copy the mistake.
Still, Howell is not overly concerned because, more importantly, his relationship with his boss has never been stronger.
The fact Cox was put in charge at Field Mill in the summer made Howell's decision to re-join the club – he was last here when David Holdsworth was at the helm – relatively simple.
The two have always got on well since Howell's days as a promising teenager on the books of Eastwood Town at Coronation Park.
And the former Alfreton man believes that will stand his development and Mansfield in good stead as the 2011-12 season unfolds.
"I think I was about 14 or 15 when he took me under his wing as a striker, which was at Eastwood," said Howell.
"We have a good relationship and he has shown he wants me to play and what I have to do to make it happen.
"The manager has always communicated with me, telling me that my chance will come if I do the right things I will get a game.
"That came on Saturday (in the 1-1 draw at Braintree) and I have shown him what I can do and shown my work ethic and gave him what he wanted.
"I think after Gateshead the manager wanted us to show a lot higher work-rate and that's what football starts from and the manager knew that by putting me in there I have got a lot of energy and can get about the field."
Howell made just a handful of appearances when he last wore the amber and blue, which was a massive frustration to him at the time.
Now, though, he looks back on that period with a self-critical eye, admitting that he largely had himself to blame.
Converted from a striker to play in the centre of the park at Alfreton by Reds boss Nicky Law, Howell feels he is now a far superior player.
"It wasn't a hard decision to come back to Mansfield at all. At the time I could partly blame myself because I wasn't mentally prepared," said Howell.
"Now I am and I know what to do. When I was here before I was a bit young-minded and couldn't wait for my chance when I didn't need to think like that.
"That was showing in my performances when I did play and in training as well. In a way I killed myself.
"When I came back I was prepared that even if I wasn't starting, I would just get my head down and work hard to get a shirt. I'm just a more mature player now and I think that shows."
Howell is set to retain his place for tonight's visit of Luton Town, a game where he can't wait to measure himself against some of the best players in the division.
He hopes that Mansfield get a better rub of the green, believing they were slightly unfortunate in Essex over the weekend.
"The second half we were all over Braintree and didn't get a couple of decisions – I thought we were a little unlucky," said Howell.
"In the last third we could be a bit more positive, but we just have to take that into the game against Luton.
"I think the team has turned a corner. The lads were 50-50 on the draw at Braintree. We were not happy about it but we know that it was a positive performance.
"The game tonight we are looking for a win and nothing less. The lads are excited about playing Luton."
Mansfield have failed to keep a clean sheet as yet in their opening three competitive games and the Braintree game saw Mansfield punished for switching off for a split second.
Howell said: "It was a goal out of nothing really and we were disappointed because it was more or less a set piece which they are good at.
"We definitely have to defend those situations better, but that's something we can keep working on."
BEWARE THE BOGEY TEAM
lutontown.co.uk, Mon 22 Aug 2011
Town boss Gary Brabin is hoping his side can overcome their Field Mill hoodoo when they visit Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
The Hatters have only won once in 12 visits to the Nottinghamshire venue - and that was a 4-3 League Cup tie back in 1989.
But Brabin is confident his troops can buck the trend on Tuesday, especially after seeing his side demolish Southport 5-1 on Saturday.
"They have become a little bit a bogey team in the last couple of years so we will be looking to put that right," said Brabin.
"They were one of the fancied sides this season but it has been a little bit of a staggered start for everyone.
"It is going to be a tough game and we expect that, but like I keep saying we've got to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we start the game the way that we finished it on Saturday."
After the season's opener at AFC Telford was postponed, the trip to face Paul Cox's side is the Town's first away match after two consecutive games at Kenilworth Road.
But after a pre-season which involved long-distance away friendlies the manager hopes the players can learn from those experiences.
"We try to have the same mentality no matter where we are going. We had a lot of pre-season trips to get used to travelling arrangements," he said.
"We had some really lengthy trips as well, so that all these ones seem a little bit nearer.
"We need to concentrate on ourselves and put to the back of our minds whether it is an away game or against a bogey team. We've got to be stronger than that, do what we know we're good at and I'm more than confident we'll get the win."
Cox's Stags go into Tuesday's clash having taken two points from their opening three fixtures and Brabin is expecting a reaction from the Stags against his side.
"From their point of view they'll probably be a little bit disappointed but like I keep saying about us, leagues aren't won or lost in the first couple of games," he said.
"It normally takes about 10 or 12 games to get a bit of a pattern emerging in the league.
"Then there are other little benchmarks you've got to look at. You'll want to be up and around there [top of the league] by Christmas, and as long as we're in touching distance it will be about who finishes the strongest.
"It is important that we don't lose too much ground but I certainly won't be losing any sleep over the first two or three games of the season."
The Town boss is likely to be with a number of senior players again for game with James Dance a doubt after suffering a head injury on Saturday.
"There were one or two little niggles after the Southport game, James Dance being an obvious one," Brabin said.
"We'll assess other injuries this afternoon and see how we are before the game tomorrow.
"George Pilkington and Dan Gleeson will step up their training this week and, touch wood, I don't want to pre-empt anything, but there's been a bit of good news on Dan .
"Fingers crossed, that goes well but, at the moment, we've got to concentrate on the players who will be available for us tomorrow night."
Latest | August 2011