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NOTTS COUNTY PREVIEWS, FLITCROFT: 'SWIPE LEFT'
13th December 2018 0:26


Stags will be ‘committed force’ in derby
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 06 December 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says that his players will be a ‘committed force’ in Saturday’s hotly-anticipated Nottinghamshire derby.

This weekend will be the first time that the manager will welcome local rivals Notts County to One Call Stadium since taking charge of the Stags in March of this year.

Speaking in a news conference earlier today, the manager reflected on fond memories of last season’s clashes away to the Magpies and Chesterfield, two games he overlooked as Stags’ boss, and ensured that his players will go into Saturday’s match with a ‘win at all costs’ mentality.

“We played at Notts County quite early in my tenure here and scored a late equaliser,” he said. “What it meant to the supporters, that rivalry is brilliant.

“Derby football is what the English fans are brought up on. It’s everything that you believe in as a supporter when you watch football.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/december/gaffer-pre-notts/

“I understand the passion in English football and I saw it in the Chesterfield game [last season], with the goal that Mal [Benning] scored and what it meant to them [fans].

“It’s my first game against Notts at home as manager here. It’s something that excites me and excites the staff and players.

“There’s an added incentive for the Notts players with trying to impress the new manager [Neal Ardley].

“They tried to build a promotion-winning team, and to change Kev [Nolan] was incredible. I think from a Notts’ point of view, there’s a different incentive.

“We will concentrate on trying to improve on what we’re doing. I’m happy with what we’ve done so far but there are always improvements that have to be made.

“Since I’ve come to the club, I have tried to engage the fans with a style of football that they may not have been used to. I’m sticking to that plan.

“The football is different [this season], that’s what I do know. We’ll certainly be a committed force on Saturday.

“I think how we start will be important. Certainly at home, where for large periods of games we’ve dominated teams. We have a certain way of playing at home and we’ve been very resilient.

“That has to be evident on Saturday, that ‘win at all costs’ mentality and commitment to the game plan.”

The Stags’ boss also praised the ‘phenomenal’ support of the Mansfield faithful, adding that he ‘can’t ask any more’ from the fans.

“The fans want to come and see our commitment and engage in that. Since I’ve come into the building, the support I’ve received, I hold them in high regard.

“I don’t expect any more or any less from the fans [on Saturday]. They have been phenomenal this season and I can’t ask any more of them.

“Because the Crawley game was called off, we might get more in [on Saturday]. That’s the only thing I would say, to come along.”

Looking back on Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy exit at the hands of Bury, the manager expressed his disappointment at being out of the competition, but says he is keen to move on as we approach Saturday’s big match.

“You have to, at times, forgive yourself and certainly forgive the players. Football moves on quickly and I think that’s a good thing.

“Did I want to get to Wembley? A million per cent. The Checkatrade Trophy represents a great opportunity for League One and Two clubs to get there.

“There are opportunities that we haven’t taken, which after the game [against Bury], we were frustrated about.

“But when one opportunity closes, another one opens. That’s how I move on, because I’m a very positive guy and surround myself with super positive people.”

The manager also gave an injury update on four of his players.

“The Macca [Alex MacDonald] one [injury] is a strange one, because it’s bone bruising. I genuinely can’t give a timescale because it’s such an unusual injury.

“It’s [about] how the injury settles, as not one bone bruising injury is the same as another. So I just can’t give a timescale on it.

“It’s not just frustrating me, but it’s frustrating Macca because when I look at him and what he gives in training and to the squad, he needs football. He needs to be out there, so I’m gutted for him.

“Mirf [David Mirfin] was always going to have a steady road back. He’s been in training with us for about three weeks.

“He is steadily getting better and improving. It’s not an injury that we’re going to rush. It’s really important that we get everything right with him. He has had a couple of setbacks, and we’ve worked through them with him.

“His mental strength is as solid as I’ve seen in any player. He’s had an unbreakable spirit. He’s definitely at the end stage [of recovery]. He’s probably going to need around eight consecutive games before we have him back in the first team squad.

“We got him [CJ] 45 minutes in [against Bury] and I thought he was outstanding. If he played 90, it could have depleted him, and that’s the advice we got.

“We’re looking forward to him being out there on Saturday because he’ll have that energy.

“It [Krystian Pearce’s groin strain] has settled down slightly, but Pearcey won’t train today. We usually do our shape work today but we’ll put that off until tomorrow.

“He won’t train today but we’ll keep monitoring it and I’ll see how it settles down. We hope so [he will be ready for Saturday]. We’re hoping he can come through it.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Tinder: Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft compares management to dating app
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/46470158

David Flitcroft celebrating either a) a win or b) the news that one of his players has got a match on Tinder

Mansfield boss David Flitcroft has likened the lack of patience shown to managers in modern football to the dating app Tinder.

Tinder users swipe right on the profile of a person they like the look of and left if they're not for them.

The Stags boss was asked about the managerial situation at rivals Notts County, who are on their third boss of the season and travel to Mansfield on Saturday.

"Everyone wants things instantly now," he told BBC Radio Nottingham. "You can put a box set on and watch it for 10 hours instead of waiting for a week for the next episode.

"You used to have to chat a bird up but now you can just swipe left or right on Tinder. It's the way life is. Nobody's got any patience anymore.

"There's no respect for building or time. People just want things now. When I was learning to drive I worked in a factory to save up for my car and for driving lessons but people get them given as Christmas presents now.

"The world has changed, life has changed and everyone wants things instantly and when they don't get it they chuck their toys out of the pram."

Notts County finished fifth in League Two last season under Kevin Nolan but, after a poor start to the 2018-19 campaign, the former Bolton and West Ham midfielder was sacked in August.

His replacement, Harry Kewell, lasted just 14 games before being shown the door in November, with ex-Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley appointed his successor.

Ardley will be hoping for a positive result for his new charges against the Stags on Saturday or he might be the next person County chairman Alan Hardy swipes left on...


Audio here.

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Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft laments lack of patience in football
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 December 2018

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft lamented the new ‘instant success’ craving in life that has seen Saturday’s visitors Notts County already onto their third manager of the season. Notts arrive in big trouble at the bottom of League Two, despite a £3 million budget and some impressive summer signings.

New boss Neil Ardley takes charge of a League Two game for the first time at Notts at the One Call Stadium and Flitcroft said: “I am surprised they are where they are now considering what Kev did last season. “This is what happens in football - people do forget very quickly.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-laments-lack-of-patience-in-football-1-9480481

“From backing Kev Nolan at the stage of the season in trying to build a promotion-winning team to then change him seemed incredible. “I look back at where they were when Kev took over, they were at the trapdoor and could have gone out of the League.

“The owner made a brilliant decision bringing Kev in and momentum was built. “As a football club they had a promotion drive in the summer on recruitment. So for Kev to only last that number of games shows you the business we are in.”

Flitcroft said watching the revolving door at Meadow Lane made him even more grateful to be doing the job he loves. “When I say that I am grateful every day to be a football manager you have only got to see what’s happened at Notts to understand that statement,” he said. “These are good people. Kevin did a great job. Harry (Kewell) worked at Crawley to get the opportunity to go to Notts - to only last 14 games.

“They have now appointed Neil after how he has kept Wimbledon in League One with the budget he’s had. “Managers work hard and the job can be difficult.”

Flitcroft said football was simply mirroring life in general with its lack of patience. “It’s life now,” he said. “You can put a box set on now and watch it for 10 hours if you want instead of waiting until the week after. Everybody wants instant!

“You used to have to chat a bird up but you don’t now - you can just swipe left or right. “It’s the way that life is. No one has any patience any more or respect for time or building. We want it now.

“You used to have to save up for your first car. I had to do a job at Littlewoods in packing to pay for my first one as a kid. “I also paid for my driving lessons. You now get them as a Christmas present.

“The world has changed. Life has changed. “People want ‘instant’ and when they don’t get it they throw their toys out of the pram.”

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Mansfield Town waiting on fitness of Kristian Pearce ahead of Notts County derby
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 December 2018

Mansfield Town are hoping influential centre half and skipper Krystian Pearce will be fit in time for Saturday’s big home local derby with Notts County. Pearce was forced off at half-time against Bury on Tuesday with a sore groin and missed training today, disrupting boss David Flitcroft’s hopes of working on Saturday’s team shape.

The Barbadian international is desperate to play against his old club in such a huge game and Flitcroft said: “It has settled down slightly, but he won’t train today. “We usually do our shape work on a Thursday and make sure we are really clear what the team looks like, but we will put that off until tomorrow.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-waiting-on-fitness-of-kristian-pearce-ahead-of-notts-county-derby-1-9480521

“We will keep monitoring him and see how it settles. We hope he will make it. “If he had stayed on the pitch he would definitely have missed Saturday.”

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Mansfield Town boss expecting CJ Hamilton to be back to his best against Notts County
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft expects flying winger CJ Hamilton to be back at his electric best in Saturday’s local derby at home to Notts County after a nasty abscess that saw him lose weight. Hamilton struggled to get through the 1-1 draw at Lincoln two Saturdays back and will have been grateful for the 10 days without a match. Hamilton was a half-time substitute in the midweek defeat by Bury and proved to be Stags’ best player in the second half.

“It has settled,” said Flitcroft. “We had to get him to an emergency dentist and he was put on anti-biotics.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-boss-expecting-cj-hamilton-to-be-back-to-his-best-against-notts-county-1-9480659

“The worry wasn’t the abscess but more about his hydration and what he was taking on food-wise. “There is nothing on the kid so when he has any sort of weight loss you worry about his energy levels. “We got him 45 minutes on Tuesday and I thought he was outstanding. If he had played 90 it could have depleted him - that’s the advice we got. “We are looking forward to him being out there on Saturday with that energy. “Again Lincoln he was 50 per cent down. You can say, as a manager, why did you play him? But you might just get that one moment of magic that CJ can deliver.”

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Bring on Notts County . . . . Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft on why he loves a good derby match
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 December 2018

David Flitcroft has loved local derbies all his life and can’t wait for the visit of Notts County on Saturday (1pm) for his first one in charge at the One Call Stadium. The Mansfield Town manager said it was impossible to say derbies are just another game when you see what they mean to supporters.

He said: “We played at Notts County quite early in my tenure here and scored a late equaliser, you could see what it meant to our supporters. “The rivalry is brilliant. I am a Northerner and not far from Manchester. When the Manchester derbies weren’t there, the city was almost in mourning.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/bring-on-notts-county-mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-on-why-he-loves-a-good-derby-match-1-9480568

"Where I live in Bolton they have quite a few derbies and derby football is what the English fans are brought up on. “We can say it’s just another game but there is an added significance.

“We saw at Chesterfield what that Mel Benning goal meant to our supporters who travelled. “If you an obsessive football fan, which I am, you understand about derbies. “It’s my first home derby with Notts and it’s something that excites me, my staff and certainly the players.”

Notts arrive in trouble at the wrong end of the table with Neil Ardley in the manager’s seat for the first time for a League Two fixture for Notts. “There is an added incentive for the Notts players with trying to impress the new manager,” said Flitcroft. “They have had a turnover of managers this season. Neil is the third in one season which is probably unheard of when we are not even at the halfway stage. “Questions have been asked of the players this season by two managers getting the sack, so they will want to put on a big performance.

“But we will concentrate on trying to improve what we are doing. There are big strides and improvements still to be made. “Since I have come in I want to connect our fans with a brand of football they’ve probably not been used to for a while and I am sticking to that plan. Our owners and the board are backing that plan.”

Flitcroft said a front foot start was vital. “How you start the game and your mentality is really important,” he said. “On derby days at critical moments you have to be ruthless. “We have to show that win at all costs mentality and commitment to the game plan. “You have to have a purpose and energy to your work. Then the fans engage. “That’s a key issue in any game of football, but probably more so in a derby.”

Flitcroft said he expected the usual ‘phenomenal’ backing of the home fans and so could not really ask for more than he’d been getting all season. “Since I came into the building the support me, my staff and my players have received has been phenomenal,” he said. “They have given us everything and I don’t expect any more or any less on Saturday. I can’t ask any more.”

Stags looked less than match-sharp after a 10-day lay-off in Tuesday’s 1-0 home Checkatrade Trophy exit to Bury, but Flitcroft said that was now gone and forgiven. “At times you have got to forgive yourself and certainly forgive the players as football moves on really quickly. That’s the good thing with football,” he said. “Of course we wanted to get to Wembley. That trophy represents a realistic chance for League One and Two clubs to get there. It’s a brilliant place to make memories. “It’s an opportunity we’ve not taken. But I am a very positive guy. When one door closes, another opens, and we might get there at the end of the season. “They have a great spirit and attitude and I will certainly forgive them for one 45-minute blip when we didn’t compete. You could see their disappointment at half-time.”

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David Flitcroft wants to bring in new striker and centre half to Mansfield Town in January transfer window
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft will try to bring in at least a centre half and a striker in the January transfer window. Stags have only lost once all season and clearly have a talented squad. But Flitcroft has met with chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford who are happy to back plans to bring in anyone who would improve it. Flitcroft said he was in talks with lots of agents but, with so many weeks and games ahead, he said it was impossible to say how many players he might need in the end, though those two positions were the immediate priority.

“My meeting with John and Carolyn went brilliantly and I have had meetings with agents and been up and down the motorways,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-wants-to-bring-in-new-striker-and-centre-half-to-mansfield-town-in-january-transfer-window-1-9480591

“They have been peppering me and, now the regulations say that anyone can be an agent, there are some chancers out there. “Most agents leave you alone on match days and Sundays but on Tuesday I got a call at 6pm. It is unprofessional. “But I have to take the calls as you just never know.” He added: “Agents are a good source of information as to if a player has had a fall-out with a manager or if there is a contracted player under the radar that you don’t know about who on the outside looks happy. “So I take every call as I have done for the last 15 years. “That one phone call could turn into a solid enquiry.

“We are working behind the scenes to get as many potential opportunities as we can and we will leave no stone unturned.”

However, Flitcroft said it was impossible to put numbers on it until the end of the window.

“It will be about balancing the squad and we don’t know what is going to happen between now and then,” he said. “So over the next three weeks it is very difficult to put a definitive number on it. “There are that many games over Christmas and the phone could go. We could get three or four injuries and end up needing five players.

“It would be unfair to say how many we might need, though I definitely think we need two more.

“We probably haven’t got enough cover at centre half. “A striker is another area we’ve not excelled in this season. “When I look at the chances we create and how we dominate games, then it’s important we see teams off and put them to the sword.”

He added: “By the time the window shuts we’ve probably got about eight weeks and we will monitor it all the way. “When January 1st comes, people want to see signs straight away. But you have another four weeks after that to make good, calculated decisions. “I think you will see a domino effect from January 1st right through the month. “If we feel someone can improve the group, improve the squad and the team, then we have to look at it and that’s what we are going to do.”

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Frustrations grow for injured Mansfield Town midfielder Alex MacDonald
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town midfielder Alex MacDonald’s injury continues to frustrate the player as boss David Flitcroft admitted it was impossible to put a timescale on it. MacDonald is recovering from bone bruising and may not be back before the New Year. “We know he has got to go through a certain process over the next two weeks with straight line running and twisting and turning,” said Flitcroft “He did the injury with the impact of a landing so we won’t recreate that movement until everything else in and around it is strong.

“I’d love to say he will be two weeks, but it could be four.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/frustrations-grow-for-injured-mansfield-town-midfielder-alex-macdonald-1-9480617

“It’s a strange one as it’s bone bruising. Lee Frecklington at Lincoln has a similar injury. “I am not ducking or diving - I genuinely can’t give a time scale. “If it was a cartilage injury you’d know that three weeks and a certain way of rehabilitating and you’re back. “It is how the injury settles. One bone bruising is not the same as another.”

The manager admitted: “It’s not just frustrating me, it’s frustrating the hell out of Macca. “You look at what he gives to training, to games and to the squad in general, he needs football. “He is one of those players that’s got a lot of testosterone and aggression and he needs to be out there. “So I gutted for him. He needs football in his life.

“We do miss him and we want to see him back.”

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Here’s the latest news on Mansfield Town defender David Mirfin’s injury
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

The roads to recovery for forgotten centre half David Mirfin continues to be a long-testing one. The veteran has now been out for a year with his knee injury and overcome an operation that saw him have to learn how to walk again. There was optimism that he might be back for Christmas at one time, but now even Easter looks a push with him not ready for a match return as yet and needing a full ‘pre-season’ before he can be considered for first team duty.

“With such a long injury lay-off it was always going to be a steady road back and a progression,” said boss David Flitcroft.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/here-s-the-latest-news-on-mansfield-town-defender-david-mirfin-s-injury-1-9480633

“He has been training with us now for three weeks and is steadily getting better and improving. It’s not an injury we are going to rush at this stage. It’s really important we get everything right with it.

“He has had a couple of set-backs but we have worked through them. It’s just about time.” Flitcroft added: “I had probably hoped we’d be arranging a game for him over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve not been able to. He is not at that stage yet. “His mental strength is as solid as I have seen in any player. He has had an unbreakable spirit about what he’s done. “He is definitely at the end stage, but he will probably need eight fluent games where he is at a consistent level before we even think about having in the first team squad. “That is going to be the difficult bit. “When a player has a six week lay-off in the summer he will play between six and eight games of a pre-season programme and it will be no different for Mirf.”

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Midfielder to relish derby atmosphere
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 06 December 2018

Stags’ midfielder Neal Bishop says he is looking forward to playing in the derby atmosphere of Saturday’s eagerly-awaited clash between Mansfield and Notts County at One Call Stadium.

Bishop spent four seasons with the Magpies, before joining the Stags via Scunthorpe United in the summer.

The central midfielder says that the ‘fantastic’ backing of the Stags’ faithful will help Mansfield achieve their goal of victory this weekend.

“If you can’t enjoy games like Saturday, you shouldn’t be in football,” Bishop said. “There’ll be a good crowd in here and the pitch here is immaculate.

“We have to remember what we are good at, which is getting the ball down and playing football. If we do that to 100% of our ability, and match their work rate, we should win the football match. Football isn’t that simple, though.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/december/bishop-pre-notts/

“I’ve played in games before when you’re holding on, or have a lead, and you need that little boost [from the supporters]. Even an extra one or two per cent can make a difference.

“I’ve played in derbies and the atmosphere is always great and our supporters will come down in big numbers and really back us.

“Our supporters have been fantastic. They’ve got behind the team and me massively this season, and I can only thank them for that.

“I’ve no doubt that the supporters will be with us for the full 90 minutes on Saturday. It’s how clubs get promoted, when people come together.”

The 37-year-old added that despite having fond memories of his time with the Magpies, he is ‘fully focused’ on victory with Mansfield this weekend.

“With my past there [Notts] it’s always going to be a special game and one I’m really looking forward to,” Bishop said.

“For me, it’s not just about Notts County, it’s about getting three points. Our season won’t be defined by two league games, as we’re more than that.

“I’m fully focused on what we’re trying to do this season. As soon as Tuesday night’s game [against Bury] was over I was fully focused on beating this lot [Notts] on Saturday.

“We’re going to be judged come May where we finish in the league. We’re out of the cup, so we have no excuse, and we have a lot of games coming up.

“We’re fully focused on what we are trying to achieve here. We’re disappointed that we haven’t had a cup run, so the league is our sole focus and we have no excuses.

“For me, it [Saturday] is about three points, it doesn’t matter who is in front of you. You get the three points, and everything - like the bragging rights - comes after.

“I’m buzzing for the game and can’t wait. But at the minute, you can’t get too far ahead of yourself, and focus on getting the win.”

Bishop reflected on his time with the Magpies, and drew similarities from their 2009-10 title-winning squad to this season’s Stags’ side.

“I can only look back fondly [at my time at Notts],” he added. “I’ve got no real bad memories of my time there. For four years, they sang my name and I can’t thank them enough for that.

“I do wish them the best, but I hope we beat them here [One Call Stadium] on Saturday and give our supporters a day to remember.

“At one time at Notts after Christmas, we only had about 16 players. We had about the same XI for the next 18 games and we went on to win the league, so it was a massive effort.

“The club was on its back at one point but they steadied the ship. It was a great atmosphere there and we all dug together.

“That [team spirit] is developing [at Mansfield]. Portugal helped in the summer as we all went away and bonded. It’s easy to get along with everyone.

“We have great character, especially at Lincoln last week when the boys were on their backs. With the injuries and sickness that we were carrying, it was a massive, massive effort to battle and get the point.

“It [Mansfield squad] has all the hallmarks of a team that should be up there come the end of the season.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Bishops’ interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Neal Bishop believes Mansfield Town’s Checkatrade Trophy loss to Bury may not be such a bad thing
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Neal Bishop believes Tuesday night’s 2-1 home Checkatrade Trophy defeat by Bury may turn out to be a good thing in the long run. Stags had just had a 10-day lay-off from action and, without the Bury game, would have gone into Saturday’s derby with Notts County even longer without playing. “Tuesday night was probably what we needed, without being disrespectful to the Checkatrade Trophy. It sharpened everyone’s minds,” he said. “We got the rustiness out of our legs and probably gave everyone a kick up the backside in that if we are not on it then we can come a cropper to anyone. It was the wake up call we needed. “It’s probably helped us. It was good to get 90 minutes into the legs and everyone is now match fit and desperate to get going on Saturday. “The first half was very surreal with the attendance. “But, again without dismissing it, our season won’t be judged on our results in the Checkatrade Trophy. It’s as simple as that. “We will be judged where we finish in the league over 46 league games. Now we are out of the cups we have no excuse. “We have a lot of games coming up and we are fully focused on what we want to achieve. “We are disappointed not to have a cup run, though we played really well at West Brom and here against Charlton.” Bishop is relishing the big derby atmosphere on Saturday but keen not to build up its importance too large. “Fans have been telling me how important this game is. But for me it’s not just about Notts County, it’s about getting three points and getting to where we want to be,” he said. “Our season won’t be defined by two league games. We have come that far that we are more than that. “I have played in derbies and the atmosphere is always great. “Our supporters have been great and got behind me and the team all season and I thank them for that. On derby day they can push the team on to the next level.”

He added: “If you can’t enjoy Saturday you shouldn’t be in football. There will be a big crowd in and the pitch is immaculate - a great footballing surface. “We need to remember what we are good at and get the ball down and play our football. If we do that to 100 per cent of our ability we should win the match. “If we get the three points our fans go home with the bragging rights and the feelgood factor. “For me, I want the bragging rights at the end of the season and Saturday is just another stepping stone on the way to that. “I am buzzing for it and I can’t wait.”

Read more at: https://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/sport/football/neal-bishop-believes-mansfield-town-s-checkatrade-trophy-loss-to-bury-may-not-be-such-a-bad-thing-1-9480761

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Kane Hemmings returns to training as Neal Ardley admits Notts County striker is determined to face former club Mansfield Town
Magpies forward has missed the last month of action because of injury
nottinghampost.com, By Leigh Curtis, 6 DEC 2018

Notts County boss Neal Ardley has not ruled out Kane Hemmings from playing some part in the much-anticipated derby against Mansfield Town, after admitting the striker is determined to face his former club.

The forward has been out of action for a month with a calf problem but has given the Magpies a boost by returning to training this week.

He is now battling to prove he is fit enough to play some part against the Stags where Hemmings spent the season on loan last term before the Magpies swooped to sign him on a permanent deal in the summer from Oxford.

Ardley is mindful, however, that rushing the striker back too soon could cause further problems, but he says he will see how the joint top scorer gets on in training before making a decision.

“Kane has been out for a month and I made sure Neil Cox (assistant manager) and Steve Chettle (coach) put him through his paces,” he said.

https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/football-news/kane-hemmings-returns-training-neal-2300142

“It’s always that risk versus reward. Is it worth having him for 15-20 minutes at the end of the game, or is it worth the risk of losing him for another three weeks?

“You’ve got to make a balanced decision and I don’t have to make it until Saturday morning.

“But he’s very much up for it and is very aware of how this game works having sat on both sides.

“If he trains well then he could come into the reckoning."

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Dennis relishing derby atmosphere
https://www.nottscountyfc.co.uk/news/2018/december/dennis-pre-mansfield-061218/

Kristian Dennis says Notts County can draw off the energy of the travelling fans when they visit Mansfield on Saturday.

The Magpies make the trip to the One Call Stadium for the first Nottinghamshire Derby of the season to face Sky Bet League Two’s sixth-placed side.

And the striker says the supporters have a big role to play at the weekend.

“It will be great having the fans roaring us on and hopefully we use that to help get us over the line with a win.

“You want to send your fans home happy when you face your local rivals so there’s some added spice.

“I played at Mansfield with Chesterfield last year and know the atmosphere will be electric.

"You don’t even have to get yourself up for the game because the supporters will do it for you."

Dennis has enjoyed his recent run of games and hopes to net against the Stags for the first time in his career.

“Scoring in any match is great but against your local rivals is extra special," he said. "I’ve not scored when I’ve played Mansfield in the past so fingers crossed I do on Saturday.

“We are creating opportunities which is the main thing and hopefully that continues and I get more goals.

“In the last few weeks I’ve played most games and hopefully that will continue because I was in and out at the start of the season.”

Saturday’s clash will be manager Neal Ardley’s first league match in charge of Notts and Dennis is hopeful of a winning start.

He said: "The manager has put his ideas across and we are all singing from the same hymn sheet so hopefully we implement his ideas on Saturday and win the game.

"It’d mean more than anything because where we are in the table means we need a win."

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