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FLITCROFT ON INJURIES AND NEWPORT PREVIEW
13th February 2019 0:42


Manager pleased to see repeat of ticket offer
mansfieldtown.net, Thur 7 Feb 2019

Manager David Flitcroft has commended the club’s special offer for the next two home games - against Forest Green and Cheltenham - for which under-18s are eligible for free tickets.

The special offer, put in place by chairman John Radford and chief executive Carolyn Radford, was first used for our recent win over Macclesfield, which saw an attendance of 5,642.

The gaffer says that the offer provided further ‘energy’ to his players for the victory over the Silkmen.

“Getting over 5,000 fans in the stadium [against Macclesfield], it was a brilliant atmosphere,” he said.

“We love playing at home, but equally, we enjoy playing away. We have that mentality, that resilience and belief to go away from home and compete.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/february/gaffer-pre-newport/

“It [kids go free offer] shows how our owners think. The support they have given me is absolutely unconditional - it’s incredible.

“They have seen the energy it [offer] gave to the players. It’s new people coming in who have an optimism.

“There’s not just hope, there’s an optimism [with the supporters]. The players can feel that and they love playing at home.

“When you flood the numbers, and you get a new audience in, we told the players that it’s important to commit to your values.

“I have a brilliant support staff and the owners support me with everything. We’ve had a great [January] window - there’s a lot of things right at this football club.

“The backup that the manager gets at this club is phenomenal. With every bit of infrastructure at this football club, the word ‘improvement’ - that’s what our owners are trying to do.”

The Stags’ squad recently enjoyed a day of Go-Karting in Nottingham, with frontman Tyler Walker winning the club’s racing crown.

The manager emphasised the importance of maintaining a competitive edge within his ranks in different ways, and also spoke of the camaraderie between his charges.

“He [Tyler Walker] is just having one of those seasons. I think he goes there [go-karting] quite regularly, so when we chose to go, you could see that he knew he was going to be up there.

“He was top of the qualifiers, and when the competition started, he wanted to win it. It was a competitive day - we have to do things that are competitive, and it doesn’t matter what that is.

“They [players] want to get better. They want to stay out, they want to train. The modern day player understands what’s available to them - this squad I have want to improve, and they’re certainly competitive.

“When you take them on a day like that, you still see that competitive edge. The game against Forest Green took it out of us, so we just had to get off the training ground for a day.

“It was a brilliant day and the lads have come in with a bounce today. They spent some good time together and they didn’t want to leave. They want to spend time with each other.

“Players and organisations that spend time together usually win together, because you want to be in those people’s company.”

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

“We’ve gone from a clean bill of health to some medium and long term injuries. Hayden [White] is mobile now - he’s walking. They’ve operated on Hayden and we’re now in that tentative stage.

“Jordan [Graham] had an operation on his cartilage. It [injury] was worse than we thought - we thought it would be a month but he’s probably going to be out for three or four months.

“Craig [Davies] is in a boot - again, it was a bigger operation than we first anticipated. He’s doing his fitness work and conditioning work, but we’re limited to what we can do.

“Gibbo [Lewis Gibbens] has dislocated his shoulder, so he’s another one who has to see a surgeon to decide whether they’re pinning it or operating on it.

“Macca [Alex MacDonald] played his first 45 minutes at Rotherham [for the reserves]. It’s been a long time [out] for Macca. It hurt Macca being out but he’s back around the lads now.

“We think it was a ten day injury when he [Ben Turner] first joined. We’ll see how he reacts to the treatment and the training programme - so he might still be ten days away. We’re probably looking at maybe ten days.”

Up next for the Stags is a trip to face Newport County, who booked their place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a win over Championship side Middlesbrough in mid-week.

The Stags’ boss described the Exiles’ cup run as ‘phenomenal,’ and maintained that his players will need to be wary of the ‘bounce’ that Newport may take into this weekend’s game.

“As a League Two team, we have to commend Newport for the job they’ve done [in the FA Cup]. The run that they’ve been on and the tie with Man City, the benefit it gives to that club is absolutely huge.

“To pick your wits against a top Championship team and a Premier League team, it’s a phenomenal job that they’ve done.

“It’s a good profile for League Two to show that the giants can be slayed. It can’t be underestimated what they [Newport] do.

“They’ll have had a bounce all week. When you’re on that wave, you have that momentum to bounce into games.

“It may have emotionally and physically taken its toll - but we don’t know that. I know our strengths and weaknesses, and we certainly have an ambition to go down and give a fantastic account of ourselves.”

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

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Midfield terrier Alex MacDonald weeks away from Mansfield Town return
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town hope to have midfield terrier Alex MacDonald back in first team action in three weeks or so. MacDonald made his playing comeback with 45 minutes of reserves football on Tuesday with no setback.

Delighted manager David Flitcroft said: “Macca played his first 45 minutes at Rotherham and, luckily, it was on their main pitch so he got that feeling again of being in a stadium which was good for him.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/midfield-terrier-alex-macdonald-weeks-away-from-mansfield-town-return-1-9582077

“It’s been five and a half months now. It’s been a long time for Macc and it was a time issue.

“He was always going to get right but it was about giving him more time. “Macca is the most impatient footballer I have met, in a good way. He reminds me of me a lot.

“Coming into work for training, it’s the best time of your life. It’s just amazing and something I miss not being able to do every day. Macca is similar and it has hurt him being out.

“He’s now back with the lads and has that bounce. Now we’ve got to get him football fit and condition him to get him football ready so, when he comes back, we have no recurrence or repercussion.”

He added: “It’s got to be a really steady feed back and integration into training and games. “We are targeting the next two reserve games we’ve got and we might even try to get one of them at the One Call. “We will just gear his individual and team programme around that now. He will be a important player in the last stages of the season.”

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Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft congratulates fellow League Two side Newport County for FA Cup heroics over Middlesbrough
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft sent his hearty congratulations out to Saturday’s opponents Newport County for their FA Cup success against Middlesbrough in midweek. But he admitted it was hard to know if the win will have lifted an Exiles side who have slipped in the league during their FA Cup heroics, or taken a lot out of them.

“As a football fan I think it’s brilliant for the FA Cup,” said Flitcroft. “I am an FA Cup fan and I think it transcends generations. When you see a League Two club perform at that level, I was absolutely buzzing. It is everything that English football is all about.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-congratulates-fellow-league-two-side-newport-county-for-fa-cup-heroics-over-middlesbrough-1-9582191

“As a League Two manager and League Two team I must commend Newport and Mike Flynn. You can’t underestimate the job he’s done there. He has a limited budget but keeps getting the best out of that bunch of players.

“The Cup run they have been on, the TV money, all the prize money for getting through and a tie with Manchester City - the benefit of all that to the club is huge.

“To pit your wits against a top Championship team and two Premier League teams and come out the other side of that, I think it is a phenomenal job he and the players have done. Your hat goes off to them - it’s incredible.

“They have given the town and the fans the opportunity to take part in a visit by Manchester City.” He added: “It’s a good profile for League Two to show the giants can be slain.

“Maybe some of the Premier league sides don’t make the FA Cup important. But I understand the importance of the English pyramid and the FA Cup.

“The stories keep it alive and the legacies are passed down to the next generation. “You can’t underestimate what sides like Newport do for the competition.”

It remains to be seen what the midweek tie will have done to the Newport players on what is again likely to be a heavy pitch at Rodney Parade.

Flitcroft said: “The win over Middlesbrough will give them a bounce - they will have been buzzing all week. They could have momentum - but they may also be tired.

“When you are on that sort of wave you have the momentum to bounce into games. It may have physically and emotionally took its toll.

“The pitch is heavy down there. It’s not in a great state. So will that have had an effect? We won’t know until we get there. “We don’t know the mental or physical state of Newport.”

However, he added: “But I know the mental and physical state of our team and I know our strengths and weaknesses. We certainly have an ambition to go down there and give a fantastic account of ourselves.

“That’s what we are preparing to do this week. I expect our team to be fresh and go down there with an excitement and really compete.

“You have to compete down there as they make it ugly. The ball is coming at you from every angle and long throw. But you have to go and enjoy and embrace it.”

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David Flitcroft welcomes Mansfield Town extending U18s ticket offer
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

David Flitcroft is delighted to see Mansfield Town extend their free tickets for U18s offer for the next two homes games after a huge crowd helped cheer his side home against Macclesfield last weekend. Over 1,00 youngsters made use of the deal and Stags will now make the same offer for the visits of Forest Green on 23rd February and Cheltenham on 2nd March.

“I have to commend the club on the offer,” said the Stags boss. “With over 5,000 fans in the stadium, it was locked in, it was buzzing and it was a brilliant atmosphere.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-welcomes-mansfield-town-extending-u18s-ticket-offer-1-9582100

“Certainly when the second and third goals went in you could feel the optimism around the stadium.

“We love playing at home, though with the preparation we do we enjoy playing away from home too. “It just shows you the forward-thinking of our owners. “The support they have the previous manager and now me has been unconditional. It’s incredible.”

Flitcroft said John and Carolyn Radford had obviously seen the benefit of the U18s offer last weekend. “They have seen what that energy gave the players,” he said. “We had new people coming in with an optimism and a perception what they want to see on a Saturday afternoon and, certainly second half, the boys delivered. “I think that connection has been there all season. “You can feel it. It’s tangible when I am in the stadium. There is not just a hope, there is an optimism and a belief. “The players can feel it and they love playing at home.”

When Stags have had ticket offers in the past the side has often let the club down with poor results. “Carolyn said when they’ve done this before in the past it’s been a damp squib at times with the result,” said Flitcroft. “So we told the players, although there is a lot riding on every game, when you try to flood the numbers and get a new audience in, it’s important you commit to your values your football - they did that.”

The tickets can be obtained by visiting the Stags’ ticket office at One Call Stadium from 10am until 5pm. Tickets are available to acquire on the day of the game, but the club strongly encourages supporters to acquire them as early as possible due to expected high demand. Match tickets must be obtained at the ticket office prior to entry inside One Call Stadium. Tickets cannot be acquired online or via telephone.

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David Flitcroft on his third Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month nomination in a row:
Thur 7 Feb 2019

“It’s called the Manager of the Month and I’ve been nominated a few times now. But I believe it’s a club-led thing when you see all the work behind the scenes.

“The club's doing things right ... the offers the club's put out.

“I'm not just saying it because he's here (looks at Mark Stevenson) but some of the ... the media staff - we've got a fantastic media staff.

“I've got a brilliant support staff.

“The chairman and Carolyn support me with everything. Greg Abbott's come in and done fantastically well in 6-8 weeks. We've had a great window.

“There are a lot of things right at this football club and the back-up the manager gets here is phenomenal. I felt we need someone to take a little bit of pressure off with the agents and I went with that plan to John and Carolyn and they got it straight away. Some owners wouldn't see it.

“Now we've got to commit to getting the training ground right for elite purposes and that's the next stage of what we're trying to do.

“The players have put the work in and done everything we have asked them to do.

“So the nominations over the past three months are for the players, who have put the work in, the staff, the club and the supporters and it really is for me it is a club recognition.”

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Alternative training pitches being discussed, says Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town look set to find alternative training facilities while the grass pitches at their new training ground are sorted out. Stags moved into their new HQ at Woburn Lane, Pleasley, in December but the grass pitches have not become available as quickly as first thought which has left the squad training on the main 3G surface which has left players nursing bumps, bruises and aches and pains. “We are looking into it,” said manager David Flitcroft. “I need to speak to the chairman and Carolyn (CEO Radford) and find out where we are at with it.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/alternative-training-pitches-being-discussed-says-mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-1-9582242

“There is no progress been made, though a running track and some rounders pitches have popped up today. “We will have to get an alternative, whether we go to St George’s Park or back to the club for a few days. “But the lads love being here. It’s their environment.”

The pitches were waterlogged today and Flitcroft smiled: “We thought they would be ready now and we’d be on them. They would be perfect this week for preparing for Newport! “But this is an elite facility built here and we have got to get it right. People are working really hard behind the scenes to get it right. But there is a cost to that.

“We are hoping we are going to have as good grass pitches as we can have to match the impressive building.” He added: “Moving forward this is probably where we do interviews with players. “As you work through the football pyramid you have got to work with players who have played in the Championship and been used to good facilities.

“This is an attraction now. It’s something to be proud of and having this as our home is a sales pitch.

“Barring the pitches it is a phenomenal site.”

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David Flitcroft happy with Mansfield Town’s squad balance after Ben Turner and Will Tomlinson signings
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

This week’s signings of defender Ben Turner and midfielder Will Tomlinson are the last ones of the season, said Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft. He surprised a few fans by swooping for two free agents after the January window had closed, but now says: “I think we are done. We’ve looked at the balance and where we needed to be. “With Macca (Alex MacDonald) being three weeks away we just felt we needed that cover and Willem has the experience and gives us another body. “Ben was a no-brainer in terms of making sure we had that cover at the back.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-happy-with-mansfield-town-s-squad-balance-after-ben-turner-and-will-tomlinson-signings-1-9582287

“We assessed Mirf (injured defender David Mirfin) all the way and we thought, with the games coming up, it was a bit too much to ask. We have some massive games coming up.”

However, Stags must wait a few days for Turner to be fully fit after he arrived with a slight calf strain. “It will how the injury reacts to the treatment and training programme but we think about 10 days,” said Flitcroft. “We knew what the situation was when we signed him. “We have Matt Preston on eight bookings and Ryan Sweeney on nine. Luckily both were okay at the weekend which has given us an extra extension to get Ben fit and ready.”

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Genuine togetherness at Mansfield Town, believes David Flitcroft Stags boss
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

David Flitcroft believes the genuine togetherness of his Mansfield Town squad can massively enhance their promotion chances this season. The Stags manager has seen his squad gel superbly on and off the field and said: “These players care and want to get better and train. “These lads want to spend time around each other. “It’s poles apart from when I came in a year ago and they didn’t want to spend time with each other.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/genuine-togetherness-at-mansfield-town-believes-david-flitcroft-1-9582863

“There were cliques, people getting off early and some wouldn’t even come in for their lunch when I first came here. “I think that people want to be together usually win together. You want to be successful together. “You understand the cause is bigger than just your own.” Flitcroft said that wasn’t always the case. “Back in my day players wanted to go off and have a beer in the afternoon or an all-dayer,” he recalled. “But it doesn’t happen now. The modern day player understand what is available to them and the riches they can go and potentially earn. “You should always maximise your potential.”

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Jordan Graham can come back better from injury, says Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town striker Jordan Graham can come back from his cartilage injury better, strong and with a deeper appreciation of his chosen profession. That is the view of manager David Flitcroft who said he had been trying to turn the negative of injury into a positive for the youngster, who has been on the fringes of the first team all season. “Jordan had an operation on his cartilage. It was worse than we thought,” said Flitcroft. “We first thought he’d be about a month but he’s probably going to be our for three or four months, without putting a definitive time on it. But his season is over.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/jordan-graham-can-come-back-better-from-injury-says-mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-1-9582840

“He was breaking in and getting nearer and nearer. He’d been in every squad so far. “But I have spoken to him about becoming stronger from the experience. He’s got everything in front of him. “It now gives him chance to dedicate his life to the gym and his body to get himself fit, lean and strong for when he does come back.” He added: “I told him that when you are in it every day you can sometimes take it all for granted. But when you are out of it you understand what you are missing. “Through the summer programme Jordan will come back and next season we will see a really defined person. “Like any bad moment in your life - if you get it right with good support around you, you can turn it into a positive. That’s certainly what we are trying to do with Jordan.”

Graham joins a lengthening injury list of which Flitcroft said: “We have gone from a clean bill of health to some medium and long term injuries.

“Craig (Davies) is in a boot. It was a bigger operation than we first anticipated. He is doing his fitness and conditioning work but he’s limited in what he can and can’t do.

“Gibbo (Lewis Gibbens) has dislocated his shoulder and we have got to see the surgeon to decide whether to pin it. Do they operate on it or does it go back in naturally?

“But Hayden (White) is mobile and walking after his operation. “He is just in that tentative stage in getting some confidence in the break.”

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David Flitcroft hopes Mansfield Town’s televised derby with Lincoln City will attract pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft is happy to see the big clash with title rivals Lincoln City moved to a Monday night for Sky TV and hopes his favourite pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville will be at the One Call Stadium. Stags take on Lincoln on Monday, 18th March and Flitcroft said: “It’s a night game under the floodlights - Monday night football. We might even get Jamie and Gary Neville! I am hoping so. “It’s made it bigger obviously. They want the game because it’s a title race game. “Sky have recognised we’re doing something right and they want to watch ourselves and Lincoln, who are also doing something right down the road, in a local derby.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-hopes-mansfield-town-s-televised-derby-with-lincoln-city-will-attract-pundits-jamie-carragher-and-gary-neville-1-9582210

“It’s a brilliant game and we must make sure we get the planning right in terms of the Saturday and Sunday. “Whatever day we have played our players have been committed.”

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David Flitcroft calls on CJ Hamilton to help fire Mansfield Town to promotion
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has called on CJ Hamilton to help fire Stags to promotion now speculation about him moving for big money in the January window is over. Hamilton had a host of Championship clubs tailing him and seven-figure sums were being mentioned which Flitcroft admitted must have affected the player. But the window has closed and Flitcroft said: “He can settle now and understand there are 15 games we can push on for. “Speculation does affect people. It has to. You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-calls-on-cj-hamilton-to-help-fire-mansfield-town-to-promotion-1-9582883

“It might have unsettled him a little but but he has just been an unbelievable professional through it. The right things will come to him. It’s just a matter of time.” Hamilton is one of his model pupils as Flitcroft tries to coach a relatively young squad toward success. “I talk about rocks and sponges quite a lot and CJ just epitomises to me what I think a modern day footballer should think like, should look like,” he said. “He picks up the learning and wants more. I love working with him. He energises me and he is the person I go home and talk about to my kids. He is phenomenal as a person. “He is in a good place. I always think - don’t concentrate on the money, concentrate on the product and making you better. The money comes after that. “Too many players look to money as their driver and forget about what it is that’s got them there and their values. “CJ will get his chance without a shadow of a doubt. I just hope we can get to League One and he can drive us there and understand he’s been a massive part of that.”

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Hamilton: I want to repay manager's faith
mansfieldtown.net, Thur 7 Feb 2019

Versatile wing-back CJ Hamilton says that he wants to repay the 'belief' instilled in him by manager David Flitcroft, after starting every game in Sky Bet League Two this season.

The 23-year-old has displayed red-hot form this season in a number of positions.

Despite speculation in January, Hamilton says the thought of leaving the Stags never entered his head, saying that he always planned to stay at the club and repay the faith put in him by the manager.

"I'm glad that it [January] is over and I'm happy to be here," he said. "Obviously we can push for promotion now.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/february/cj-pre-newport/?fbclid=IwAR13xIYH63S7k4QP9ESt4d2XdwIXniMEnhLHJLsJdNgSyoVRFR_So3dTTfY

"It [speculation] affects people in different ways but I don't think it affected me. Mentally, it was just people asking questions all of the time.

"I wasn't going anywhere and I knew that. People knew that but would ask me the same questions.

"I wanted to stay here, 100 percent. I wanted to push for promotion and that's been the plan since the start of the season.

"With the gaffer putting his belief in me and playing me so much this season, I wanted to repay him.

"It was a confidence boost that some teams were willing to put seven figures towards your name. That's when you know you're doing well."

Hamilton attributed his rise in form this term to manager David Flitcroft, who he says has 'massively' helped him.

"I just like to be out there. I enjoy football a lot and I like to be out there learning as much as possible.

"He [manager] has massively helped me. The first day he came in, he put his arm around me straight away.

"He's helped identify where I need to get better and what I need to work on. I've been doing that ever since and it's been paying off.

"A bit of confidence can change a player. It can change them from a six-out-of-ten to an eight-out-of-ten without really even noticing.

"I don't think I'm a confidence player, because I always try to be confident. It just depends on the game, opponents, there's lots of factors.

"My fitness has been up there - I've played nearly every single minute. It's about keeping yourself fit and doing the right things on and off the pitch."

Stags' No.22 noted that this season's squad has a 'different' feeling compared to previous campaigns, due to the way they operate as a unit.

"The last few years we've been getting towards the play-offs and dropping out at the last minute, but this year it's different," he added.

"We've been winning a lot more games, and the defensive record that we've got has been something completely different compared to what we've had in previous years.

"We're beating the better teams at home - we have good home and away records. That's important in this league.

"In previous squads it was more about the individuals rather than the team. We have very good individuals this year but we all work as a team.

"Everyone is fighting for each other, which you can see with the result against Colchester and some of the late winners we got."

Hamilton has played a number of positions this season, including wing-back, winger and striker.

He explained that being deployed in different positions has improved his versatility as a player.

"Compared to when I first signed here, I'm playing lots of matches. This season I've played almost every game, [been] scoring a lot more goals and helping the team out.

"I feel that I've progressed very well seeing as I've played in numerous positions. I've done different jobs this season and it's made me more versatile.

"You have to be more careful [at wing-back] about when you go [forward] and when you don't go.

"You can leave a big hole - sometimes you have to be more careful defensively and pick when you go forward."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch CJ's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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‘Everything and everyone around Mansfield Town at the moment are buzzing and you want to complete the mission,’ says CJ Hamilton
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 07 February 2019

CJ Hamilton admitted he was relieved to stay a Mansfield Town player after a January transfer window full of speculation over his future and can now complete his mission of helping Stags to promotion. Championship clubs were said to be considering seven-figure bids for his services. But Hamilton said he had tried to focus on his job and his only distraction was fans asking him if he was going. “Everything and everyone around Mansfield at the moment are buzzing and you want to complete the mission,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/everything-and-everyone-around-mansfield-town-at-the-moment-are-buzzing-and-you-want-to-complete-the-mission-says-cj-hamilton-1-9582895

“I am just glad it’s out of the way and I am happy to still be here to push for promotion. “It affects people in different ways, but I don’t think it affected me mentally. “It was just people asking questions all the time - are you going? “I was telling people I wasn’t going anywhere but they kept asking the same question. “But my plan from the start of the season was to help this team get promotion.” However, the winger-cum wing back admitted the possible fees talked about were flattering. “It makes you feel good,” he said. “It can be a bit of a confidence-booster if some teams are willing to put seven figures towards your name. “That must reflect I am doing well. If I can get better the figures could go even higher.”

He added: “Compared to when I first came here my game has gone up a level. “I am now playing every game, putting in the performances, scoring a lot more goals and helping the team out a lot more. “I feel I am progressing well, playing in numerous positions, doing different jobs. The gaffer trusts me in those positions. And my fitness has been up there.” Now Hamilton believes the current side can go one step further than the ‘nearly sides’ of the last two years who missed out on the play-offs at the death. “Obviously the last couple of years we have been getting towards the play-offs then just dropped out at the last minute,” he said. “But this year is different. We have been winning a lot more games and our defensive record has been completely different. “In previous seasons we have had more individuals than a whole team. Collectively we have good individuals this year, but we all work as a team and everyone is fighting for each other.” Stags are now second behind Lincoln and Hamilton added: “We will keep chasing and putting them under pressure and hopefully they will slip up along the way for us to grab that top spot. We like pressure as a team.”

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