McGUIRE AND PERCH PREVIEW BRADFORD GAME
mansfieldtown.net, Thur 15th October 2020
First team coach Jamie McGuire reflected on the Stags’ start to the season and spoke of the ‘strange’ feeling of matches being played behind-closed-doors.
“It’s been a strange start, having no fans in the stadium,” he added. “We’ve brought a lot of new players in and we’re trying to get the balance with those new players.
“It’s been frustrating without the fans there as we want them to back us. We want the fans to believe in us, as we’re getting there.
“It’s frustrating on the fans watching on iFollow [as they’re not allowed in the stadium]. I know how passionate the fans are - I played in front of them for four years and I know they always used to drive me on in games.
“We’ve been unlucky, but I don’t want to say that word. We’ve been in games where we should have won, but we’ve never looked out of place.
“I think we were unlucky on Saturday not to get that [first win], but we just have to keep working hard on the training ground and that’s what we’ve done.
“The lads have been bubbly and we, as staff, have to keep driving that as well. We’re really looking forward to the Bradford game on Saturday.
“There has been some good play and we’ve had chances - we just haven’t put the ball in the net. You see the George Maris chance on Saturday, if that goes in the net, it’s three points.
“It has to happen on Saturday now. We’ve worked hard all week and we’ve prepared right. It’ll be a tough test against a very good Bradford team.”
The former Mansfield midfielder also looked ahead to Saturday’s home match against Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two.
“It’s a different contest [on Saturday against Bradford]. To be fair to Stevenage, they came and swamped the midfield to make it hard for us.
“We just needed that little bit of end product and I thought we had it with George at the end and Harry Charsley when he hit the post.
“It’ll be more physical on Saturday [against Bradford] - they’re a big, strong team who like to get in your faces.”
McGuire discussed his newfound role in the Stags’ coaching setup, having joined Graham Coughlan’s first team staff.
“My role and responsibility is stepping up to the first team after working with the academy for around three years.
“The gaffer asked me at the back end of the [last] season if I’d like to get involved with the first team, and for me, I’d always wanted to do that.
“My link is between the first team and the academy, to see if we can get a few young lads training with us.
“I’ve been getting involved in sessions with the gaffer [Graham Coughlan] and Joe [Dunne, assistant manager], which has been fantastic for me.”
There was also an update on midfielder Ollie Clarke, who missed Saturday’s game against Stevenage with a calf problem.
“We’re just waiting on the outcome [of Ollie Clarke’s injury]. He was a big miss on Saturday as he was just getting into his game.
“We have other lads who are able to step up and do a job. We’re just waiting to see what happens with Ollie and hopefully we’ll get some positive news.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Jamie McGuire’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Three points will 'kick us on' - says Mansfield Town's Jamie McGuire
chad.co.uk, by Duncan Browne
Jamie McGuire believes that picking up three points against Bradford City could give Mansfield Town's season a whole new complexion.
The first-team coach says there is plenty of positivity in the camp ahead of Saturday's League Two clash at One Call Stadium.
The Stags are still searching for their first win of the campaign, but victory over the Bantams could see them leapfrog their visitors, who currently sit five places higher in 16th spot.
"It's the fine margins, the little things, the one percents that make it better," McGuire said.
"You get that result Saturday, it could take us up there and kick us on as a team.
"That's the biggest thing you can ask for, it's a different environment when you come in."
While McGuire believes that first win could add a spring to the step, he is adamant there is still a buzz amongst the squad.
He added: "A clean sheet (against Stevenage last weekend) will help springboard you to where you want to go.
"In the end we should have taken three points with George Maris hitting the bar at the end, but it's a good point.
"The boys are in a good place and I'm really looking forward to the game.
"Bradford are a good side, it'll be a really good test and probably a bit of a physical test to be honest," he said.
"Our main concern is concentrating on us. It's a home game for us, let's make it all about us.
"The lads have trained well again, a really good week with good preparation. Lots of positivity, loads of energy."
Win would serve ‘massive’ confidence boost - midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Thur 15th October 2020
Midfielder James Perch believes that Stags’ performances have warranted more points this season, and that a victory against Bradford City on Saturday would provide a ‘massive confidence boost.’
The 35-year-old has made four outings for the amber and blue this term after joining the club in the summer.
Perch says that the group, as ever, will be ‘determined’ to achieve victory against the Bantams on Saturday.
“We just need to get that win and that little bit of extra confidence,” he told iFollow Stags. “It would be massive as confidence is key when you’re young - for the young boys, it would be a massive confidence boost.
“The focus for this group is getting that win. I’ve been at clubs before where the focus is ‘don’t lose’ going into the next game.
“Whereas this group, the gaffer [Graham Coughlan] has drilled into us to go and win, which is a different mentality.
“If you got back to the Newport game, I thought we were bang at it and deserved to win that game.
“On Saturday [against Stevenage], they banked up against us and made it really hard for us to play. We hit the bar and we hit the post, so we maybe should have got the three points as well.
“This team has been determined from the start, it’s just a shame that we haven’t got them [wins] yet.”
Looking back on his first months at the club, the midfielder spoke of his position in the team and how the Stags can improve.
“My start here has been okay generally speaking - it would have been a lot better had we got a couple of wins,” he added. “But after not playing for six months, I think it’s been okay.
“I like it [in defensive midfield] as I’m a natural defender - that’s how I trained as a kid. It all come second nature to me and I enjoy that side of the game.
“The games have been okay to play in, I think we should’ve come away from them with a few more points than we’ve got at the minute.
“A couple of decisions and a bit of luck has gone against us, but I think the performances have been okay.
“We’ve let ourselves down in a couple of games as I think the strikers have been feeding on scraps at times. That comes down to us as players to try and provide the bullets for them.
“There is a lot more [to come]. If you’ve watched the games, I’m sure you’ve seen bits and bobs and flashes of brilliance at times.
“But we need to put that together consistently and perform over 90 minutes. I’m really confident in saying that if we do that, we’ll come away with the three points more often than not.”
Taking charge of Bradford City on Saturday will be Stuart McCall, a manager Perch worked under at Scunthorpe in 2018/19.
The former Newcastle United man says that playing against a former manager can serve as an advantage.
“I worked with him [Stuart McCall] at Scunthorpe and he’s a good manager. Bradford will be organised [on Saturday] and they’ll be up for it. It’s going to be a tough game.
“Bradford will be physical. When I played under him, we played a diamond in midfield - he likes having a lot of legs in there to get up and down the pitch.
“They’ll be expansive and they’ll be looking to come here and score goals.
“I know how he [Stuart McCall] likes [his teams] to play and I know where he likes the ball to go. That can help me, definitely.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch James’ interview in full on mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
McCALL: 'FOCUS ON MANSFIELD'
Stuart McCall has called for his players to focus solely on putting in a positive performance against Mansfield Town, when visiting the One Call Stadium tomorrow (3.00pm).
McCall admitted defeats like the one in which the Bantams suffered against Harrogate Town can have a damaging effect on a group, but insists his players must emerge stronger.
He insisted Monday's game is very much in the past and is keen to see his Bantams travel to Nottinghamshire with renewed positivity.
He stated: "We are determined to go out on Saturday and put in a good shift against Mansfield, to put Monday evening right.
"When you display a below-par performance like we did, the disappointment still lingers a little bit.
"The general display was disappointing because we know we can be better, and we let ourselves down.
"We have to move on quickly and learn from our mistakes.
"We have been over a couple of things in training and it is important we act upon what happened on Monday, which we are determined to do."
The City chief is expecting a difficult challenge in the form of the Stags but is hopeful his side can continue their "solid" start to the league campaign.
McCall added: "I would say we have started off quite solid, but every game has been tight.
"Even against Harrogate, we had chances which we should have scored and won the game.
"Mansfield will be another tough challenge because they play three big centre backs and a holding midfielder, which we obviously have to consider.
"But, we are constantly looking at different systems and it is important we are adaptable to suit different opponents.
"We always look at how we can hurt the opposition and we have to go to Mansfield looking to do the same."
O'Connor eyes revenge as Bradford City return to Mansfield
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker ParkerTandA
IT WAS chapter two in the trilogy of new year misery that eventually did for Gary Bowyer.
Having slipped up at Crawley, the Bantams turned in an even worse display against another struggler to go down 3-0 against Mansfield.
An equally listless defeat by the same margin at Oldham a week later would persuade City’s powers-that-be to act and remove the manager.
Now Stuart McCall’s side return to the scene of one of those crimes to face a Stags side still looking for a first league win of the season.
There are only four Bantams survivors from that dismal day - Anthony O’Connor Connor Wood, Ben Richards-Everton and Harry Pritchard.
O’Connor admits it is a score he is keen to settle this weekend.
He said: “It didn’t go too well for us last season so there is an incentive there.
“They ran us into the ground that day and we didn’t really show up. The lads who played in that game will want to do better and hopefully we can put that right.
“The ones who’ve come into the team this season will be reminded that we’ve got to be bang at it or it’s going to happen again.”
City aim to bounce back from their first loss of the new campaign after Monday’s televised disappointment at home to Harrogate - a “slap in the face” according to O’Connor.
“You can probably carry one or two players but when there are seven or eight not singing from the same hymn sheet, you’re going to lose games.”
It was the first home league defeat in almost a year - the same timespan since the Bantams last celebrated three points on the road.
But O’Connor feels the continued absence of any fans, something that will be discussed again by MPs on November 9 on the back of a supporter-led petition that has hit 200,000 signatures, has neutralised the impact of any ground advantage.
“It’s not as if the crowd can come into play,” said the defender. “You saw Man United losing 6-1 at home to Tottenham which is unheard of.
“There’s no fear factor going to Old Trafford at the minute because there’s no fans there getting behind the team. It’s the same everywhere.
“It’s something we have to get used to because of the situation we’re in. But I hope it doesn’t last too long.
“Having fans there gives you a buzz whether they are positive or negative. It’s not nice when the ground is quiet - sometimes it can feel like a training game.
“There’s no screaming or atmosphere when somebody has a shot just wide. Nobody is up on their feet clapping after a good bit of play, you just carry on.
“When I speak to other players, they all say the same thing - they hate it.
“You play football for the buzz of everyone in the ground and the excitement in the build-up to the game. It’s all part of it and at the moment it’s like a ghost town because there’s nobody there.”
O’Connor won’t look back too fondly on last month’s trip to Forest Green after his red card in the 2-2 draw.
But at least it was played in front of a reduced audience as one of the pilot tests for fans to return before the government pulled the plug again.
He said: “You can hear the fans shouting and saying different things and that gives the players a lift to see them there.
“There were also five or six Bradford fans outside the ground and even that helped. You’re thinking, ‘fair play, we’ve got to try and put on a performance for them’.
“We know our supporters are at home watching the games on iFollow but it’s not the same thing.
“I’m sure I speak for every footballer in the world when I say it’s a different feeling. But we’ve got to get on with it now for however many months this lasts.”