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Interviews

Raynor lauds character after Millers fight-back

30 January 2018

Mansfield Town's assistant manager Paul Raynor praised the attitude of the Stags' squad after they booked their place in Central League Cup final with a superb 3-2 victory away to Rotherham United this afternoon.

Millers' defender Michael Ihiekwe had put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time but Omari Sterling-James stole the show for the Stags in the second half as he scored all three goals, scoring the winner late in stoppage time.

And after over-seeing a valiant second half fight back, Raynor praised the character of the Stags' players after again being forced to come from behind to win.

"These are the boys that have been on the fringes in recent weeks and they're still going to the end. They're not sulking and they are frustrated because they all want to play.

"They are showing me and the manager that they are desperate to get in there and there were a lot of good performances and a lot of plus points.

"We can go back and look towards Barnet on Saturday."

Former Solihull Moors' man Sterling-James produced a sublime second half hat-trick to seal our place in the final as Stags conceded two sloppy goals from set pieces, and Raynor insists it's important to 'iron out' mistakes such as the Millers' goals.

"These are the boys that have been on the fringes in recent weeks and there still going to the end. They're not sulking and they are frustrated because they all want to play."

Paul Raynor, assistant manager

"It doesn't take the gloss off the win and there are little question marks over any goal you concede but they were particularly two poor goals. And at poor times in the game, particularly the one in the last minute that looks like it's going to end up being a draw.

"We're disappointed [with conceding two goals]. We've highlighted that to the boys in there.

"It's okay at times patting them on the back for good performances but we also need to highlight the mistakes that we make and try and iron them out.

"On the whole that was the only real disappointment in what was a really good performance in many ways."

In addition to the stand-out performance of Sterling-James, Raynor also commended the display of young centre-half Lewis Gibbens, who replaced right-back Hayden White at half-time.

"I don't get a chance to see the young boys too regularly. I saw him [Gibbens] put in a very good performance in the FA Youth Cup against Crystal Palace.

"When we needed to make a change at half-time, we felt that young Lewis would slip in there nicely. I thought he had a good game, so I was pleased with Lewis.

"I was pleased with Jason Law when he got onto the field as well so it was good for the youngsters to get out there. We do have an experienced squad so sometimes they have had to bide their time and wait their turn."

Supporters will be able to watch Paul Raynor's full post-match interview on iFollow Stags on Wednesday.


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