Stags’ defender Hayden White has cited David Flitcroft’s thorough pre-season training regime as a reason for the club’s positive start, explaining that the manager leaves ‘no stone unturned.’
White acknowledged not only boss David Flitcroft’s work on the training ground as the reason for the Stags’ recent success, but also the players’ willingness to get behind it.
“Everything we’ve done in pre-season really came through for us. We had a very thorough preseason and a lot of hard work through the manager,” White said.
“Fortunately, the players really took it on board and I felt like it really showed in the game.
“[The pre-season] was tough, very tough. The players bought into the project and the manager told us at the start that if we all commit to it, then we will get the rewards, which we saw in the game.
“There’s a big level of respect in the dressing room that the boys are willing to work as hard as possible, and that showed. I think the manager has instilled that respect level and the boys have really shown how together we are at the moment.
"He doesn’t leave any stone unturned, that’s one thing I can say about the manager. Every training session we’re going through set plays, set pieces and how we’re going to play."
“That’s something that the manager is big on and it’s really helping us. Nothing is by chance. We’ve been training very, very hard. The things we’re doing in games are things we’re doing on the training field.
“He doesn’t leave any stone unturned, that’s one thing I can say about the manager. Every training session we’re going through set plays, set pieces and how we’re going to play on the weekend and on Tuesday.”
Stags’ performance against Newport County last weekend was highlighted in part by White’s stunning clearance off the line in the 78th minute, preventing Pádraig Amond’s shot to preserve Mansfield’s clean sheet.
“I can’t say it was luck, it was one of those where I thought I’d try and make the effort to help the lads out and – sometimes they do hit you and end up going in – but luckily that one stayed out.
“I didn’t think I would actually get there, but I started running and I had a slight feeling he might not hit it as hard as he should.”
White has recently been utilised as a right centre-back, and thanked his fellow Mansfield defenders for easing the transition into the new role from his more accustomed right-back spot.
“You have to concentrate wherever you’re playing. You have to stay switched on a lot more, but it’s something that I’m really enjoying,” White said.
“I’ve got [Matt] Preston next to me and [Krystian] Pearce next to him and they’ve really helped me through it.
“It’s a position I’ve played a lot when I was a little bit younger. It’s a position I enjoy. Wherever the manager asks me to play, I’ll play happy to play with it.”
Looking ahead, White is hoping the match at Yeovil on Saturday marks the beginning of an improved away form in 2018-19, and emphasised the importance of more wins and fewer draws compared to last season.
He also mentioned the presence of Otis Khan, who came to Mansfield in the summer after a two-year stint at Yeovil Town.
“We all think we drew too many games and that’s definitely something we’re looking at changing this year. Hopefully we can go there, put in a similar performance [as last year] and come away with three points - we’re not taking any games for granted this year.
“Their loss [of Khan] is our gain, and hopefully he can show some more of what he was doing on Saturday. Him, and all the boys that the manager have brought in, have brought their own quality in. Otis does it every day in training, so that wasn’t a shock for me.
“Him, Craig [Davies], Tyler [Walker] and some of the boys we have from last year are all game-changers, so I think we’re in for an exciting season.”
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