Mansfield Town defender Mal Benning says he’s enjoying playing in the left-wing back role – following a change of shape implemented by boss David Flitcroft.
Benning, the clubs joint longest serving player, has moved from left-back to left wing-back as part of the change of system, with boss Flitcroft switching from 4-4-2 to 3-4-1-2/3-5-2 since pre-season.
“Wing-back is a role that I like. I’ve been enjoying it out there. Everyone knows that I like attacking from left-back and you do get that freedom. You’re further up the pitch and have to adapt your game.” Said the 24 year old.
“It’s one of those where if I am caught up the pitch I have Pearce or Sweeney on the left down there to back me up.
“Since the gaffer has come in with his fitness regime, I feel much fitter this year. I’m feeling much fitter and sharper. At left wing-back you do need to put a shift in and I’m putting much more of a shift in now.
“It [increased fitness] is very important at wing-back. You have to be attacking and defending, so you have to put a shift in out there.”
Benning has started every game so far this season with CJ Hamilton on the opposite side – a system which has seen the Stags become difficult to break down and beat – with a two wins and three draws in all competitions thus far
He added ““We’ll take that [unbeaten start] from pre-season as well. We played against some decent teams and we’re unbeaten against them as well so it’s a good stat to have and we want to keep it up.
“We’re all frustrated not to have picked up two wins in the last two games, but we’re unbeaten and that’s a great stat to have.
“We’re in a decent stage in the table so it’s one of those where if you get a couple more points we’re right up there.”
Mansfield Town’s Academy Manager John Dempster has spoken of his delight of players making the transition from the youth set-up to the first team.
Lewis Gibbens, Jordan Graham, Henri Wilder and Tyler Blake have all made the step-up with defender Gibbens taking a regular spot on the bench as the clubs home grown player as per new EFL Ruling.
Dempster, who has overseen the development of the new academy since hanging up his boots as a player, said “The boys that have made the step up have a long way to go but the experience they are getting, training with the senior pros – what they’re learning on a day to day basis is something we [the academy] can’t actually give them. The link between Academy and first team has been brilliant – I can’t ask for much more really”
The former central defender who was part of the conference winning side added “Having been to see the first team in pre-season and starting the league and cup campaign, these [young] players are going to have to really step up because standards have gone up – the performance against Accrington was exceptional and it really hit home that we [the academy] have a lot of work to do [to match that standard].
“The manager [David Flitcroft] has put a massive emphasis on developing youngsters, he knows all of the under 18s, he knows all of the under 21 players – he’s keen to get them up as much as possible – he wants them training with the first team as much as possible.”
The Stags youngsters have won three consecutive titles in the Youth Alliance North East Division, Demspeter continued “Both the gaffer and Futch [Assistant boss Ben Futcher] have been really complimentary about the physiques, how they [the youngsters] are quite robust which is quite uncommon in academy players – they’ve been pleased with their intensity levels, as when they train with the first team they are pushed to the maximum.
“The feedback from the players is about the intensity of [first team] training, so we try and recreate that as much as possible, we mirror the formations that they play but one thing we can’t recreate is the actual playing/ training alongside the senior pros.
“We are still in our infancy just going into our fourth season so there are certain areas that I’ve highlighted that will help us improve the program and if we keep doing that, hopefully the players will keep improving and we’ll see one or two [more] in and around the first team at some point – but we do have to be patient, because the gap between under 18 and first team football is massive – but we are bridging it”
A full list of under 18 fixtures can be found here, whilst the fixtures for the under 21s, participating in the central league, can be found here.
Stags boss David Flitcroft says Colchester United’s 95th minute equalizer on Saturday has “ripped the heart” of his side, who took home just a point in a 1-1 draw.
The Stags took the lead against a resilient Colchester in the 81st minute when substitute Craig Davies riffled a volley into the top corner, but the home side failed to hang onto all three points – as Sammie Szmodics stole a point in the 95th minute.
Reflecting on the late goal, which denied the Stags the chance to go top of League Two, Flitcroft said “I’ve just watched it [again on a replay] it’s ripped the heart out of us – it’s totally flawed me because Colchester have come here, shut up shop they’ve had one shot on target and it looks like it’s gone straight in.
“It doesn’t matter how much time they put up, it’s not the referee’s fault it’s the way we’ve defended it – it’s not good enough, we could have gone top of the league tonight.
“If we get that last half a second right we go to the top of the league and that’s the difference between success and failure. I’ve got some players who didn’t deserve to be not a winning team today – I thought Ryan Sweeney was on a different level, I thought he was outstanding.
“I’m bitterly disappointed for our supporters because we should be walking away from here with three points and we’re not. I’ve told them [the players] after the game no matter if it’s five or seven minutes that goes up, it doesn’t matter – embrace that time , you’re one-nil up you’ve got something to hang onto, something to protect – that’s the spirit that I’d like to grow and foster.”
The Stags are back in action tomorrow [Tuesday] as they travel to newly promoted Tranmere Rovers, 7.45pm.
Mansfield Town midfielder Calum Butcher has been taken OFF of the Transfer List, assistant manager Ben Futcher has confirmed this morning.
The midfielder arrived last August from Milwall but failed to really hit the ground running, spending the latter end of last season on loan at Billericky Town in order to be closer to his family.
He was then transfer listed and becomes the second player taken off the list, following his impressive display against League One Accrington Stanley in midweek, where he contributed by winning a penalty, assisting Otis Khan’s goal and setting up the chance for Tyler Walker, who then won a penalty which initially levelled the game.
Assistant boss Ben Futcher said “Calum has come off the transfer list, he’s definitely part of what we’re doing. I think it was always a difficult one for Butch, he really didn’t enjoy it last season here and he was keen to leave in the summer after what happened.
“He’s come back, he’s got his head down and he’s worked quite close with the manager – he’s been fantastic in training and whenever he’s come in he’s done great. He’s really enjoying his football now and I think you saw that the other night. A Calum Butcher who is fit, firing and enjoying his football is definitely a great addition to a league two squad or team.
“He’s an attacking midfielder, he’s had two promotions out of league one playing as an attacking midfielder – that’s where we see him. He can run, he’s powerful, he’s dynamic and when he’s on it like he was the other night – he’s a real handful”
Mansfield Town striker Danny Rose made a triumphant return to the squad last night as the Stags came from behind to smash Accrington Stanley 6-1 and reach the second round of the EFL cup for the first time in over a decade.
A first half hat-trick for Tyler Walker, which included two from the spot, sent the Stags on their way before Otis Khan added a fourth before half-time.
Rose, who met with boss David Flitcroft on Monday to talk about his future, came from the bench to replace hat-trick hero Walker on 65 minutes – and took just a minute before latching onto CJ Hamilton’s left sided assist to score his first of the campaign and the Stags fifth.
CJ Hamilton netted the Stags sixth and final goal of the night in the final minute, and after the match, boss David Flitcroft put an end to the Danny Rose situation “I’m delighted for Danny [getting his goal] – the aggression that he’s run with to go and get that, it was nice to see the Danny of old. Seeing Danny Rose run at full flight to goal and get that goal, which was so important to him, was important
“Anyone in football and life will tell you that forgiveness is the best human quality – I’m not stubborn in anything I do I’m always professional – the valuation wasn’t met for Danny so he’s a Mansfield Town player contracted for Mansfield Town.
“We had a really good chat yesterday regarding that the move didn’t happen. He was worried about turning out tonight because of some of the stuff on social media, he was worried about that. I thought it was the right game to put him on and introduce him back into what we are doing.
“Danny’s made a mistake, we all do, he needs support – he needs my support, he’s been led down a line, he’s been lied to, manipulated, by the buying club – he was told he was a Peterborough player, absolutely told outright he was a Peterborough player and Danny’s chose to believe it.
“Now he can knuckle down and it might be a good thing – because he knows that he’s got to win these fans back over – he’s already done that once and he knows he’s got to do it again – he’ll fight for them, he’ll scrap for them, and he’ll run for them – that’s what the Mansfield public need, it’s what Danny’s got to do now. He’s not done that since I’ve been here but certainly tonight I saw the Danny Rose of old – and I’m delighted for him.”
CEO Carolyn Radford told Mansfield 103.2 “He’s a Mansfield player, he’s always given us 100% he’s an excellent person to work with personally and professionally. Sometimes [with] players, you have to remember they’re very young – they can be misadvised and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that we can’t disclose.
“It’s not been a very fair ride for him either, Danny knows what he is here for – he wants to develop and he wants to play for the club.
“The meeting [between David Flitcroft and Danny Rose] was productive, they spent a long time talking and they aired a lot of the issues that had been going on which makes it clear for all of us so we are in a better position to know where he’s coming from and what was going on – it’s clarified a lot of things in our heads and we’re thrilled [that’s he back involved].”
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft says he’ll speak with striker Danny Rose today (Monday) about his future, after the want away front man didn’t leave before Thursday’s deadline for permanent deals.
Rose handed in a transfer request a fortnight ago amid interest from League One Peterborough United and former boss Steve Evans – current Stags boss David Flitcroft believes something wasn’t quite right about the situation.
Explaining why Rose wasn’t part of the side which drew 2-2 at Yeovil Town on Saturday, Flitcroft said “Thursday got late and I think everybody including Danny was told that he was a Peterborough player – he was told that all week and then when it didn’t go through and they got Ivan Toney in then there was a realisation for Danny that he might still be a Mansfield player.
“We set off really early Friday [for Yeovil] so I gave Danny the weekend to sort of consider what he wants to do and consider probably what’s just happened to him that week – it was a tough week for Danny psychologically, he’d almost committed to the move, Peterborough committed him certainly behind the scenes [with] what he got told – but the valuation [on Danny] wasn’t met.
“Our chairman was really strong on that and the money that the chairman wanted for Danny didn’t come in – that’s a fact.
“We’ll have a good chat, I’m looking forward to seeing Danny on Monday we’ll have a great chat and go from there – I’ve spoken to his representatives, we’ll sit round a table and find the next solution – players can still leave on loan with a view to a permanent move so there still could potentially could be movement.”
The Stags did make one out-going deal on Thursday as they sold fellow front man Lee Angol to League One Shrewsbury Town, boss David Flitcroft confirmed the Stags had included a sell-on clause, should Angol earn a move elsewhere.
Speaking on incoming deals Flitcroft added “We’ve got a couple of weeks now [before the loan window shuts] to keep watching the situation if any of our players move out – if you can improve the squad and better it then that is something as Mansfield manager – I’ll always put those opportunities to the chairman.”
Mansfield Town enjoyed a relatively quiet Transfer Deadline Day, completing just the one deal in selling striker Lee Angol to League One Shrewsbury Town for an undisclosed fee, completed moments before the window slammed shut.
The 24-year-old scored 10 goals in 34 appearances in his one and only season for Mansfield last term following his transfer from Peterborough United the previous summer.
Elsewhere all eyes were on Danny Rose and where the want-away striker would end up. Four clubs were rumoured to have shown an interest in the popular 24 year old, however no movement was made and at the end of the window, Rose remains a Mansfield Town player.
Transfer listed midfielders Paul Anderson and Calum Butcher also didn’t make departures, nor did injured defender Zander Diamond who hasn’t been given a squad number for this season despite being the team captain last season.
Movement could still be made as clubs have until the end of the month to make loan deals, along with the following in accordance with EFL ruling clubs can…
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has hit back at predecessor Steve Evans claims of a bad relationship between him and want away striker Danny Rose.
The front man handed in a transfer request last Wednesday following speculation that Peterborough United, managed by former Stags boss Evans, had made a bid for the Stags leading front man.
Rose missed the Stags’ opening game of the season, a 3-0 win over Newport County – speaking after the victory to iFollow, Flitcroft cleared up the speculation “I felt towards the back end of the week it [the situation] was turning into a bit of a circus with the media – I thought that our professionalism was outstanding.
“We received a bid, it wasn’t good enough – the Chairman’s made that quite clear, if he wants to move, it’ll be at the Chairman’s valuation, no one elses.
“I think some of the stuff that’s come out from the club that has bid for him, certainly from a personal point of view – it was a personal attack on me and my relationship with Danny Rose.
“Just to set the record straight with Danny, I put him in the team and gave him his debut when I was at Barnsley – he helped secure me the job so I’ve nothing but admiration for Danny.
“When I went to Bury, I signed him and persuaded my then chairman Stuart Day to spend good money on Danny – I got promoted with him. In League One then when I was at Bury I had to stay in the league, so I got Leon Clarke and Tom Pope in – two League One top hitters.
“I explained to Danny that by getting them in, it’s important that he goes and plays games and really sets his career alight. He then moved to Mansfield, yes I was then manager that sold him then, I didn’t see him as the third choice centre forward – I saw him as a front line centre forward, he came to Mansfield and the rest is history – he was outstanding.
“I’ve had a fantastic relationship with Danny Rose. Every game he was available last season, I played him until he was injured”
The window for permanent deals slams shut at 5pm on Thursday, Flitcroft continued “I’d like to say that if Danny Rose goes on to do fantastically well I’ve played a part in that, in his career – that’s setting the historical facts right, I think it’s important that the truth is told and that’s what happened during my time with Danny Rose”
Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft has praised the EFL for introducing a new ruling, meaning clubs must name one club-developed player within their match-day squad during every game of the 2018-19 campaign.
The Stags kicked off their new season with a 3-0 win over Newport County on Saturday and named striker Jordan Graham and defender Lewis Gibbens on the bench, with Graham making his debut – when he replaced Craig Davies late on in the second half.
Flitcroft, who has been a big advocate of blooding young players since his arrival in March, told iFollow “Developing players is key, young players give you an energy, they give you an honesty. It’s a new initiative that the EFL have brought in – Lewis Gibbens was our club developed player.
“We’re a young academy. I didn’t want to put a player on that probably didn’t deserve to be put on, to just tick a box or get the paperwork right. So we fought really hard to get Lewis [ready].
“He’s done something like twenty-four-thousand hours with the football club and with our coaches. It’s a brilliant initative and if you look at the England team and the way they performed [At the World Cup] a lot of that team has come from the EFL.
“I think sometimes in the world of Football and Global Football, there is too much emphasis on the Premier League – there’s over 72 league clubs that underpin that and our EFL is superstrong. Probably 90% of that infrastructure of the England squad has spent time in there and has come from there.
“I’m delighted that Jordan [Graham] has had some game time – would I be worried about putting Lewis Gibbens on? No chance, I’d put him on at the drop of a hat – no problem”
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft, along with shot stopper Conrad Logan and defender Matt Preston say they’re ready for the new League Two season to get underway, when the Stags play host to Newport County on Saturday, 3pm.
Keeper Logan is now entering his second season for the Stags and after establishing himself as the first choice shot stopper, is keen to keep a regular starting place going into the new campaign
Speaking to iFollow, he said “You’re like a kid at Christmas again, it’s excitement, it’s back to work and back to getting three points. I want to improve on last year personally and as a team if I’m being honest – I had a pretty decent season, I think personally, but I can always get better I’m under no illusions about that.
“The boys have worked a lot of fitness we [the goalkeepers, Logan and Bobby Oljenik] will do different things we’ll do some bits with the team and some bits with the goalkeeping coaches which is different types of fitness – everyone’s embraced it [the fitness] this year, it’s been tough, but fair - there’s been a structure to it and the lads are reaping the rewards to that”
The Stags were beaten just once in pre-season, in their opening friendly during the Portugal training camp, as boss David Flitcroft has implemented a new system playing with three central defenders.
They include Matt Preston who joined from Flitcroft’s previous club Swindon – the 23 year old said the side aren’t getting carried away, despite beating three championship sides on home soil
“There’s a different competitiveness [between pre-season and the league] there’s a different mind-set to it because the League is where it matters. Pre-season is a friendly even though we’ve tried to make it as realistic as we can, you can’t replicate what pressures come with the league – we’ll find out at the weekend if we can take what we’ve been doing in pre-season into the league.
“I feel like we are a very, very strong team, I feel like we are an ambitious team and we want to do the best that we can. Everyone here believes that we can do well – it’s just a matter of showing everyone.”
For boss David Flitcroft it’s been a busy summer with the arrival of five new signings, however apart from the addition of Preston, the Stags boss is still short of a central defender after the trial of Nathan Cameron was ended due to an injury problem for the former Bury captain.
Flitcroft said “We moved on a couple of players, the difficulty is at the start of the pre-season window because a lot of the younger players are going [to train] with the Premiership and Championship squads and then with a week or so to go, it really loosens off – they start looking at the squad size and that’s probably the opportunity that presents itself now to get someone in on loan”
“We’ve had a look at a couple of permanent options but they’ve just not been right in terms of finance, so we’ll look to dip into the loan market on that one”
The Stags kick-off their League Two season at home to Newport County on Saturday, at 3pm
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