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2nd November 2020 19:42

Thursday 29th October 2020

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Mansfield Town Football Club can confirm that defender Ryan Sweeney tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week.

The centre-back is currently undergoing a 10-day self-isolation period.


Stand-in boss looking to raise confidence
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 29th October 2020

Caretaker boss Richard Cooper says his first duty at the helm is to instil ‘confidence’ and ‘self-belief’ into the Stags ahead of Saturday’s home match against Walsall.

Mansfield will be looking for their first win of the season at the weekend following a poor start to the campaign.

Cooper says that the coaching staff at the club have aimed to make the players ‘feel good about themselves’ ahead of the upcoming clash with the Saddlers.

“I think it’s all about the players at this moment in time for us,” he told iFollow Stags. “We have to build their confidence and try to put some self-belief in them.

“There are good players in that dressing room. We’ll just try to get the best out of those lads and get a positive result on Saturday.


“You have to go with your instinct on your game plan, and hopefully the players implement it. My only focus at the minute is getting those players confident to give a good account of ourselves on Saturday.

“I know the majority of the players, so I have my own ideas. We set the challenge in training to try and get them feeling good about themselves.

“It’s not an ideal situation, but at this moment in time, we have to pick those players up.

“It’s all about the players at the end of the day, because they are the ones who go across that white line on a Saturday.”

The interim manager looked ahead to Saturday’s match, and despite conceding that Walsall will pose threats to the Stags, insisted that his primary focus will be on the Mansfield players in the run-up to matchday.

“I’m sat here because someone has lost their job, which is not nice. I’ve been asked to do a job now to try and steady the ship,” he said.

“That’s our only thought now, to try and get a positive performance on Saturday [against Walsall].

“We’ve looked back over Walsall’s recent games and we’re trying to prepare the players in the best way we can for Saturday.

“We’ve come in and tried to pick them [players] up - we’ve tried to be bright. I will say they’ve been absolutely excellent in their attitude and have done everything we’ve asked of them.

“We’ll plan tomorrow and then try and put something in place for Saturday. Walsall will be a strong opponent and they’ll be well organised.

“But we really need to focus on ourselves at this minute in time. Yes, we know what Walsall are made of, but we really need to focus on ourselves.”

The following team news can also be revealed by the club ahead of Saturday:

The Stags will be without defender Ryan Sweeney, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. The centre-back is currently undergoing a ten-day self-isolation period.

Wing-back Mal Benning is expected to return from his self-isolation period on Friday, following his positive COVID-19 test. The wing-back is not expected to be fit for Saturday’s fixture.

Fellow defender Corey O’Keeffe is set to report back from his period of self-isolation on Monday.

Midfielder Ollie Clarke, who has been out of action with a calf injury, is reportedly around three weeks away from a return to training.

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


Richard Cooper aiming to restore confidence in Mansfield Town's players
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill

Richard Cooper wants to see the confidence restored amongst Mansfield Town’s players.

The academy manager will take charge of Stags until Graham Coughlan’s full-time replacement is found.

And key for Cooper is getting Mansfield Town to believe in themselves when they host Walsall on Saturday.

“I just want a positive reaction now for Saturday and that's all I'm concentrating on,” he said.


“It will be a big occasion getting into the dugout, but the focus is on the players.

“We need to raise confidence and get the players to believe in themselves and that they have nothing to be afraid of.

“We need to get them feeling good and to get the confidence back. We will put our game plan together and take it from there.

“We've got good footballers in the dressing room and our job is to get the best out of that group.

“We have just tried to be bright and enthusiastic in training.”

And Cooper says he jumped at the chance of taking charge as he looks to steady the ship.

“I’ve got to prepare the team for Saturday and that is my sole concentration,” he added.

“I’ve been here a long time so when the text came I felt it was my duty to step in and try and steady the ship if that is what is needed at this moment in time.

“I did not hesitate, if that's what is needed for a few days or weeks.

“The results have not gone our way, I don't think work ethics or anything can be questioned.

“We have to be respectful as there has been a change of manager and all we have tried to do is make them feel good about themselves to get the best out of them.

“We have seen bits of Walsall and we know they have good players and ones that are threats.

“I feel we have to focus on ourselves a lot at this moment in time and on getting the best out of the group.”

Mansfield will be without Ryan Sweeney after he tested positive for Coronovirus, with the defender’s self-isolation period ending on Friday.

Mal Benning is due back in the building today (Friday) following his isolation, but he will now have to undergo phased work with the medical team to build him up to speed.

Corey O’Keeffe is due to return on Monday after showing no COVID-19 symptoms, while Ollie Clarke is around three weeks away from a return to training.


We have a fresh start, says forward
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 29th October 2020

Striker Nicky Maynard says the Stags must remain ‘positive’ and ‘stick together,’ during what he describes as a ‘fresh start’ for the team.

Last season’s top scorer has endured a frustrating start to the campaign, similar to that of the team, who are yet to register a victory this season.

Maynard, 33, gave his verdict on the season so far in Thursday afternoon’s news conference at The RH Academy - the club’s training ground.

“The lads feel responsible for what’s happened [following the departure of Graham Coughlan as manager]. Results haven’t been good enough and the lads haven’t put the performances in,” he told iFollow Stags.

“I thought we started well [against Barrow], but then a lack of concentration leads to a goal, which has been the case for most of the season.

“We go out there with all the intention of doing well and to get the three points, but it just hasn’t been the case.


“Hopefully now, with the few changes that have happened, we can have a fresh start and see where that takes us.

“It’s been a very, very poor start to the season. At the start of the season we expected to be up there.

“But it’s a tale of both boxes - we’ve been sloppy in the defensive box with silly mistakes, and in the offensive third, we’re not creative enough.

“We have a fresh start now - we need to wipe the slate clean and go again. We have to remain positive, brave and stick together.”

Discussing caretaker manager Richard Cooper, Maynard spoke in detail of how the stand-in boss wants the Stags to play with a ‘smile on their faces.’

“Coops [Richard Cooper, caretaker manager] has had us in, and said first and foremost, he wants us to play with a smile on our faces,” he explained.

“He wants us to enjoy being a footballer as that’s what we’re here to do. He wants us to show him what we’re capable of.

“It’s time to play and enjoy - and hopefully enjoy getting that winning feeling back. Training was bubbly and lively - there was a couple of things that Coops put on that we haven’t done for a while.

“It’s going back to the old ways of enjoying, competing, hitting the back of the net. We’re going back to basics, if you like.

“The boys are buzzing to play with a smile on their face - scoring goals, having teams playing against each other and having forfeits and whatnot [in training].

“It’s been a bit quiet and a bit tense over the last few weeks, and maybe that’s because of results and the way we’ve been playing, but it feels like a weight has been lifted for the lads. We can’t wait to get going on Saturday.”

The former Cardiff and West Ham striker also revealed details of a meeting between the players and CEO David Sharpe on Wednesday morning.

“David [Sharpe] had us in and he said it’s not been good enough and things needed to be changed,” added Maynard.

“He said he wouldn’t rush into making the decision on who will be in charge. He asked us what it was like around the changing room and why the performances were how they were.

“It was hard to point at why we’re playing how we’re playing, but he has made the decision to change.

“He wants us to enjoy playing football - like Coops said - and take it from there.”

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


Mansfield Town striker Nicky Maynard says harsh dressing room words after Barrow defeat were needed
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Thursday 29th October 2020

Striker Nicky Maynard admits harsh words were said in the dressing room after Mansfield Town’s 4-2 defeat to Barrow.

It left Mansfield still seeking their first win of the campaign and led to Graham Coughlan being sacked shortly after the final whistle.

And Maynard feels it was crucial for the players to have a frank discussion as they look to rebuild their faltering season.

“There were a few words said within the group, a few harsh words,” he said.

“People have been singled out, but not in a bad way. We don’t want to make people feel like it's their fault.

Read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-striker-nicky-maynard-says-harsh-dressing-room-words-after-barrow-defeat-were-needed-3018878

“We win and lose together as a team and what has been said is for the benefit of the team going forward.

“Whatever has happened, good or bad, needs to be mentioned or you keep repeating mistakes.

“You have got to talk about it, if there’s a few lads saying it then it's down to me or whoever to sort.

“It's not to say that it is this person’s problem or that person's problem, we want to win together as a team.

“If it is going to help us win then it needs to be said. There's been raised voices and arguments. but no malice, the next morning we are friends again.”

And Maynard says struggling Stags must now cut out the errors when they host Walsall at the weekend.

“It is very disappointing that we are still without the win,” he said.

“We had two ok results going into the Barrow game and we were confident we would get the win to get the season going.

“We have been soft and naive when going a goal behind, we have not been clinical enough in both boxes.

“We have made silly mistakes that have cost us goals and when we have been a goal behind we either go 2-0 behind or struggle to create chances to get back into the game.

“We deserved to beat Orient and made silly mistakes. We have been soft in both penalty boxes and we need to eradicate that.”


Nicky Maynard believes Mansfield Town now have a fresh start and freedom
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Thursday 29th October 2020

Mansfield Town have a fresh start and freedom to get their season up and running, believes striker Nicky Maynard.

Stags face Walsall on Saturday in their first match since boss Graham Coughlan was given the boot.

And Maynard feels Mansfield can now go into the game with a freedom to express themselves.

“It’s a fresh start and hopefully we can get the ball rolling on Saturday,” he said.

Read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/nicky-maynard-believes-mansfield-town-now-have-fresh-start-and-freedom-3018955

“We have to brave on the ball and encourage each other and not feel like you're forced to do things.,

“We get given scenarios and options to do and we need to mix things up and not be robots. it's like we've been programmed to do things so that's what we have to do

“Different games present different scenarios, we are clever enough to see what best fits and is right.

“If it's not right we go again and try something else, but we need to be brave and be willing to take chances.”

Temporary boss Richard Cooper has already been bringing in the training ground changes, with Maynard saying it has gone down well with the players.

“The morale is good, the lads come in looking forward to training,” he said.

“He’s probably not seen how we trained under the old boss, he's put his way of training in and it's been enjoyable.

“We are enjoying being brave on the ball and trying things. We need to be brave, we are good footballers who want to play football.”

Maynard also admitted the players had to share the responsibility for Coughlan’s sacking, but stressed they now had to get on with it and start to put things right.

“It is us that’s on the pitch and are required to get the three points, we feel it is part of our responsibility for what has happened,” he added.

“You never know how long the gaffer will have. The results have not been good enough this season and it's a result business.

“Something needed to change and that's down to the people with the power - it is what it is.

“We can’t dwell now. We need to move forward quickly.

“It will be a tough game (against Walsall),, there's no easy games as the first few games have shown.

“Nothing is given and we have to be brave, we have got to compete in both boxes and be more clinical in the final third.

In the previous games that I have played in, I feel that we look to try and score at the first opportunity rather than have possession to create openings and better chances.

“Hopefully we can crack that nut on Saturday and get the points we want and need.”


Nicky Maynard says Mansfield Town must take it one game at a time as they look to rescue sinking season
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill

Nicky Maynard believes Mansfield Town must take it one game at a time as they look to save their season.

Stags are currently third bottom of the League Two table and 11 points off the play-off pace.

And while Mansfield do not expect to be in a relegation battle, Maynard knows talks of fulfilling their pre-season ambitions is a long way off.

“We are not expecting to be in a relegation battle, but we are in one right now,” he said.


“We have to hopefully get the three points on Saturday and take it one game at a time.

“It's a cliche but that's what we need to do. We went in to the season thinking we would be in and around the play-offs.

“We can't look too far ahead with the start we have had, its day by day, game by game and see where it takes us.”

Maynard is yet to get off the mark this season and is hopeful he can start to bag the goals needed to help Mansfield climb the table.

“I feel that I'm responsible in a way for getting the goals and for us not scoring enough,” he added.

“As a team we are not creating enough chances. We are hard on ourselves as strikers, I'm hard on myself.

“I’ve had few chances but I expect to be off the mark by now. All strikers are hungry to score more goals and I'm hungry enough to do that.”


Clarke: We must focus on ourselves
saddlers.co.uk, 30 October 2020

Saddlers boss Darrell Clarke is expecting his side to go to Mansfield Town this weekend and focus on their own jobs rather than letting the fact that the home side sacked their manager in the week get the better of them.

Clarke is well aware that Mansfield will receive a boost this weekend with a caretaker manager coming in to take charge of the game on Saturday but he wants his side to focus on themselves and make sure they get their jobs done.

"They were one of the favourites for promotion this season,” said Clarke.


“They have a healthy squad and healthy budget.

"They haven't had the start they'd like and it's always disappointing for managers to lose their job, it's never nice to see but that's the brutal world that we managers know we're in.

"That's the way the footballing world is and I'm sure Graham will bounce back. I know Graham, he's a strong character and he'll learn from it.

"That's what you have to do when you get setbacks in life and football, learn from it and try and move forward, which I'm sure Graham and Mansfield will do.

"As a football club they're not in a position they want to be. It's probably come at an awkward time for us as they get a fresh impetus and a little bit of a boost but we have to go there and do our job.

“We have got to show what we're about and focus on our performance. You only have to look at their squad to know the talent they have.

"They're massively underachieving at the moment and they’re not hit their heights, so you have to be wary and respectful of that.

"We also have to make sure the focus is on us and about what we do. A new caretaker manager comes in and you can't second guess what they'll be about.

"You have to focus that our performance is better than what we performed the other night.”


Guthrie: "We’ve got to come out and put it on them"
saddlers.co.uk, 28 October 2020

Walsall midfielder Danny Guthrie insists the team can’t dwell on Tuesday’s defeat to Cambridge United and says they must now focus on trying to make life difficult for Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The Saddlers suffered their first defeat since February against the U’s on a frustrating night at the Banks’s Stadium.

Guthrie, who captained the side on Tuesday evening, has called on the team to play on the front foot when they take on Mansfield and feels confidence should still remain high given their form since February.

“The boys have got to take a lot of confidence in what they’ve done since February and not let this fester for as long as it needs to,” he said.


“It was a defeat (on Tuesday), we were always going to lose somewhere along the line and it’s happened.

“We’ve conceded the first goal at home a few times this season and we’ve managed to find a way, tonight we didn’t but I think on Saturday we’ve got to come out and put it on them early doors. They’re struggling and we need to make it difficult for them.”

The Saddlers saw a lot of the ball on Tuesday night and have a number of set pieces but they couldn’t make on count and Guthrie admitted the Saddlers need to start producing more end product from set plays.

“We’re not winning enough first balls and then when we recycle it, we’ve got to put teams under pressure from the set pieces,” Guthrie added.

“We’ve got one of the best headers in the league in Dan Scarr so we’ve got to look at the delivery and the set up and find a way to make them count because we could have been out there a long time and not scored.”

You can watch Saturday’s game at Mansfield live on iFollow by purchasing a match pass for £10 here.