Promotion hunt a ‘great’ kind of pressure
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 18 April 2019
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that the race for automatic promotion is a ‘great pressure to be under,’ ahead of a potentially pivotal Easter weekend schedule.
Mansfield welcome Morecambe to One Call Stadium on Good Friday, before travelling north to face Oldham Athletic on Easter Monday.
The manager says that his players have ‘committed’ to the week of preparation ahead of two big matches in Sky Bet League Two.
“We’ve had a really good week,” he said. “The players have really enjoyed being out on the grass. We’ve been over to Loughborough college, and it’s a brilliant place.
“I said to the boys ‘don’t waste this opportunity,’ because we were on a fantastic surface, and they didn’t. We’ve had a couple of good sessions this week.
“I’ve been able to reset the players and refocus them to the playing style and how we want to operate. It’s been good and the lads have committed to it.
“In the latter stage of the season, there is no time to make that mistake now, your actions have to be pristine.
“In big games, we’ve turned up. On the training ground, I see a real energy and a real enthusiasm to be out there.
“The players enjoy coming in and they do enjoy working for Mansfield Town. That spirit and togetherness goes a long way. Unity always goes a long way.
“They like each other, but more importantly, they respect each other. In a football club, you can run an environment based on levels of respect.
“It [promotion race] is a great pressure to be under. Our destiny is in our hands. The work that we’ve put in this season has been relentless from everyone concerned.”
David Flitcroft says his charges are looking forward to being back in front of the Mansfield faithful on Friday afternoon, while also adding that the Easter weekend fixtures could be influential, but not season-defining.
“In my short management career, when we talk about defining, we stayed up on the last day of the season at Barnsley,” said the manager.
“I believed in that faith that everyone stuck to the plan until the very last whistle. I have that belief [now], it’s exactly the same.
“With us playing MK Dons on the last day of the season, it does give us both that opportunity.
“I’ve just been reaffirming the work we’ve done this season. The game against Northampton didn’t really resemble us, and I didn’t enjoy many parts of the game.
“We got into a battle with Northampton, and they are good at what they do. We got dragged into that, and that’s something we’ve spoken to the players a lot about this week.
“We’re at home [against Morecambe] and we love playing at home. We’ve enjoyed playing at home and our record is phenomenal there.
“We’re glad to be back on our pitch and we have to really motivate our supporters to get behind us, as they have been fantastic.
“I do believe when our fans have been behind us, we’ve been brilliant this season.”
The manager also went into further detail about what the Easter weekend will look like for his players.
“They [Morecambe] are a Jim Bentley team and they epitomise him and his character. He’s a brilliant operator, and they’ve competed with and beaten some of the top teams this season.
“We don’t underestimate anyone. We’ve fully prepared our team this week and refocused them, to understand what it means for the players to come out this weekend and represent our supporters.
“It isn’t really an Easter weekend [for us], it’s just a working weekend. We’ll get eyes on the boys on Saturday, which will be a recovery session.
“The players that don’t get the game time will do a football-specific session to get them ready for Monday. Sunday will be a preparation and shape session to get ready for Monday.
“We’ve had a bit of everything this season, and the lads have committed to it. We’re working, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s Easter weekend.”
Ahead of the Good Friday fixture, the Stags’ boss provided injury updates on defender Ben Turner and Otis Khan, whilst also speaking about midfielder Neal Bishop.
“We’re in a good place [injury-wise]. It will probably be a bit too close for Turns [Turner] and Otis for Friday. They have moved to field-based training now from being in the gym.
“Maybe we’ll have them for Monday. The rest are the long-term injuries that we all know about, and behind-the-scenes they are all working incredibly hard.
“On Tuesday, he [Otis] got out on the grass and had a little bit of an impingement on his hip. We’re hoping today that he gets out on the grass and his movement is more fluid. He could be in contention for Monday.
“His [Neal Bishop’s] training loads had to come down. But that’s the case with any player that’s coming through a twinge or a light injury.
“Bish is round-the-clock and everything he does is to the maximum. When you take him out of training, it doesn’t sit well with him, because he wants to be out there.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Perfect preparation as Mansfield Town train on world class facilities at Loughborough University ahead of big run-in
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 18 April 2019
Mansfield Town have enjoyed the world class training facilities at Loughborough University this week as they prepare for a huge Easter.
Stags sit in the top three places with four games to go and ahead of Good Friday’s visit of Morecambe, boss David Flitcroft has had his players working on a perfect surface.
“We have had to come off the training ground at the One Call, as it’s in a poor state, and this week we had the chance to train at Loughborough,” he said.
“It’s a brilliant place - a really professional place to work.
“We rocked up there and four or five groundsmen met us, all prepping the pitch up. We couldn’t get on until 11.30 as they wanted to get it watered and prepared for us.
“It was a massive stimulus for the players to get on such a prestigious training ground.
“I told them not to waste the opportunity on such a good training ground - and they didn’t.”
Flitcroft has spent the week trying to get his players more relaxed in possession and to remember what has got them into the top three.
“I have been able to reset the players and refocus them,” he said.
“They already understand what it means and what we are all going through in terms of wanting this so badly.
“But I have refocused them on the playing style and how we are trying to operate in and out of possession. They have committed to it.
“It’s so important now at this stage of the season as every action now, you have no time to catch a mistake up. Actions have got to be pristine.
“We will make mistakes, we will get things wrong. But you have to highlight your senses to be pristine in your work.”
He added: “We have had a really good week. It’s reminded me of pre-season with the sun out.
“Sometimes in winter you are locked in meetings in classrooms going through the game planning.
“But we’ve been able to get out on the grass and the players have really enjoyed it.
“There is a real energy and enthusiasm among them. They are pals and work colleagues and unity goes a long way.
“They are excited and want to get out there on Friday.”
John Lomas in his video round up of the press conference: "The grass at the new training ground is being revamped ready for next season."
Injury blow as Otis Khan is ruled out of Mansfield Town’s big Good Friday clash with Morecambe
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 18 April 2019
Mansfield Town midfielder Otis Khan has been ruled out of Good Friday’s massive home game with Morecambe with a hip injury.
After a great start to the campaign, Khan’s season has been hampered by injuries and he and centre half Ben Turner (calf strain) will both miss out on Friday’s squad as Stags try to stay in the top three promotion places.
“Otis was out on the grass on Tuesday and had a little bit of an impingement in his hip,” said boss David Flitcroft.
“We are hoping he gets more time on the grass today and his movement is more fluid and he could then be in contention for Monday.
“We have had some good recovery time since Northampton but Friday will probably come too soon for Otis and Turns.
“They have moved to field-based training now from being in the gym doing straight-line work. But they may be back for Monday.”
Midfielder Neal Bishop is having a slight strain managed with his training load reduced, but will be fine for Friday.
Flitcroft told iFollow Stags: "We've got two part-time scouts now."
Rose ‘excited’ to be back amongst Stags’ fold
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 18 April 2019
Stags’ forward Danny Rose says he is ‘very excited’ to be back in contention for Mansfield’s final four games of the season, following his recent return from the broken jaw he suffered in our trip to Newport County in February.
The 25-year-old has featured from the bench in Stags’ last two matches, at home to Cambridge and, more recently, away to Northampton.
Rose expressed his delight at being back involved after a ‘long two months out.’
“It’s good to be back involved,” said the striker. “The injury wasn’t ideal at the time. It was a long two months out for me, but it’s good to be back now for the last four games of the season.
“I’m very excited. It’s good to be back involved. I’m just hoping to be involved now for the next four games.
“I’ve not felt anything [in my jaw] since the injury. I feel good, and I’ve had a few challenges in the games which have all felt alright.
“There’s still a little bit of doubt [with the jaw], but I have to give 100% and try not to think about it. I can’t really think about the challenges, I just have to go in full force.
“I think looking back at it [chance against Northampton] now, it sat up a little for my head, but I thought to try and volley it in. I think it was a good point on the road.
“With the injury that happened, I wasn’t fully confident. Maybe looking back, I should’ve gone with my head, but these things happen and we’ll move on."
Rose, who was the Stags’ top scorer last season with 17 goals, reflected on a difficult season so far from his perspective.
However, he says that his sights are set on making an impact on the four crucial upcoming fixtures for the Stags.
“Personally, it’s not been a good one [season] because of form and injuries,” he explained. “I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not been good enough compared to last season.
“But I just have to give 100% for the next four games and try to get Mansfield over the line. I just have to forget about the season that’s happened and look forward to the next four games.
“There’s a lot on the line. It’s a promotion, which is one of the best prizes in League Two. We’re full of confidence now, and we’ll go into Morecambe full of confidence and looking to get the three points.
“I think we’re at that stage of the season where individual targets don’t really matter. It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we get over the line and put Mansfield into League One.
“I just have to work hard in training and come on and make an impact.”
Mansfield welcome Morecambe to One Call Stadium on Good Friday, a side that Rose believes are ‘very good on their day.’
“They [Morecambe] are very unpredictable, and can be very good on their day. I don’t think they’ve got much to play for now, which could be dangerous.
“Crewe had nothing to play for, but they came with a game plan and executed it. I think if we turn up tomorrow, I think there should be no doubt that we get the three points.
“There’s a no-fear approach for them, and they can play with a lot of freedom. But it’s not about what they do, it’s about what we do on the day.
“If we turn up and play to our full potential, we should be fine.
“It’s a good pressure [promotion race]. I can think of much worse pressures to be under. We’ve got a very good opportunity to get into the top three and push towards League One.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Rose’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Danny Rose happy to be playing a part in Mansfield Town's promotion charge
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 18 April 2019
Striker Danny Rose says he's pleased to be back in the fray at Mansfield Town following an horrific injury, and that he's determined to play his part in helping the Stags get promoted.
Rose suffered a double break of his jaw, severed an artery and lost a tooth during the match at Newport County in February, requiring metal plates to be inserted into his jawbone.
But having returned to the squad for the trip to Exeter, Rose has been gradually returning to full fitness and says he is happy to be featuring once again.
He said: "It’s been good to be back involved. Obviously the injury wasn’t ideal at the time and it was a long two months out for me, especially as I didn’t really feel injured at the time given I felt fit and could run, I just couldn’t do contact football.
“To not be involved in training was difficult and although I did a lot of rehab sessions which were brilliant, it’s great to return for the last four games of the season.
“The jaw is fine now and I feel good. I’ve had a few challenges in the games I’ve played, and against a few big centre-halves, that have felt alright.
“There’s still a little bit of doubt but I just want to give 100 per cent now and I can’t think about the injury while I’m playing. I can’t think about challenges and need to go in full force otherwise I won’t be able to play.
“Ryan Sweeney got me in a headlock during training which helped sort me out so fair play to him!”
Rose admitted that there have been one or two occasions where the injury has subconsciously played a part in his decision-making, particularly in missing a late chance at Northampton last week.
He added: "I think looking back at it now it sat up a bit for my head but at the time I thought I’d try and volley it in but it wasn’t to be. There was a bit of doubt there given the injury that happened and I wasn’t fully confident, but looking back now I should probably have gone with my head. These things happen though and I just want to move on."
Reflecting on the season as a whole, Rose admits it's been a tough one for him on various levels.
He said: “It’s not been a great season for me both in terms of form and injuries. I’ve not been good enough this season compared to last but I’ve got to give 100 per cent now over the next four games and try and get Mansfield over the line.
“I know I can still play a huge part. I just need to forget about the season I’ve had so far and look forward to these final games.
“This is the most exciting run-in I’ve had here. There’s a lot on the line, promotion is one of the best prizes in League Two so we are full of confidence going into the Morecambe game and hoping to pick up three points.
“I’m really excited. It’s been brilliant to have been back involved since the Exeter game and I hope to be in the last four games.
“I’m past the stage now where I’ll set any individual targets. We’re at that time of the season where individual talent and who scores don’t matter, just as long as we get over the line and get Mansfield up to League One.
“If I want to get in the starting line-up I need to prove my fitness and work hard in training, then come on and make an impact when asked. In the last couple of games I’ve not made as much of an impact as I’d have liked, but I’m getting my legs back now and hopefully I can make much more of an impression in the coming games.”
Looking ahead to the game at home to Morecambe on Friday, Rose says Stags can take nothing for granted despite their opponents having relatively little to play for.
He said: “They’re very unpredictable. They can be very good on the day and I don’t think they have much to play for now that they seem to be safe from relegation, so hopefully they’re not going to turn up and spoil the party, although Crewe came here in similar circumstances and made it very hard for us.
“Sometimes teams with not as much to play for can be that bit more relaxed and without fear but it’s not about what they’re going to do on the day, it’s about what we do.
“I think if we start well and get ahead then I don’t think they’ll fancy it.
“The pressure we are under is good - I can think of a lot worse pressures to be under in football like if you’re at the other end of the table fighting for your Football League status.
“We’ve got a very good opportunity to get into the top three and get into League One now.
“The dressing room is full of confidence. We’re unbeaten in three now so we’ll face Morecambe full of belief ahead of another massive game at Oldham on Monday.”
This chance may never come again - Mansfield Town defender Gethin Jones
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Wednesday 17 April 2019
Mansfield Town defender Gethin Jones admits that Stags’ young squad may never have as good a chance as this again to get automatic promotion in their careers.
The 23-year-old Fleetwood Town loanee is loving being part of the push as Stags sit third with just four games to go, admitting: “Every game and every point we take now is massive for us.
“It is a very young squad. I know the older players have been in similar situations with promotion and play-offs.
“But to experience this at a young age is something we have got to embrace as we might not get this opportunity again for the rest of our careers.
“Being young we have got to grab it with both hands and, hopefully, get that promotion.”
Jones did help Plymouth Argyle into the play-offs as a raw rookie on loan, but said this was a very different situation.
“When I first went to Plymouth when I was 19 we were fighting to get into the play-offs. It was first experience of men’s football.” he said.
“We had a good few results in the last few games and we managed to sneak into seventh and into the play-offs.
“Disappointingly we lost in the semi-final and didn’t manage to get into the final.
“But going for automatic promotion is something much bigger than just hoping than getting into the play-offs as I am now 100 per cent sure we are going to be in the play-offs at least.
“So the last four games now are just massive for us and it’s an exciting time for the club.
“It was my first loan at Plymouth and a great experience. Now I have been out on loan a few times, learned a lot more and played a lot more league games, so I am starting to enjoy it more.”
He said he could draw on the attitude that saw Plymouth into the play-offs for the last four games of Stags’ season.
“You have to go into every game knowing you can beat any team as we did at Plymouth,” he said.
“We have gone into every game since I’ve been here believing we can win. We can beat any team if we bring our A game.
“I am enjoying the pressure. Obviously it’s so much better to be playing for something at the end of the season.
“When I was at Barnsley we finished mid-table and it felt like there was nothing to play for.
“This is good pressure. You don’t want to be experiencing a relegation battle as that can really affect some players bringing their A game sometimes.
“Knowing we are at the top end of the table we have to enjoy and embrace it.”
Jones can certainly feel the excitement building in town, adding: “I live locally with Sweens (Ryan Sweeney) and sometimes we go out for a coffee and you can feel the buzz about the fans.
“They come up to us and ask us how we feel and are we going to do it?”
Latest | April 2019