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Stags' boss set to welcome back internationals

11 September 2018

Stags' boss David Flitcroft will welcome back the three Mansfield players who were called up for international duty over the weekend.

Defenders Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney, along with forward Omari Sterling-James, were called up by Barbados, Ireland under-21s and Saint Kitts and Nevis respectively.

All three players featured for their representative countries, with Pearce playing in his side's 2-2 draw with Guyana, Sweeney competing in Ireland's 1-1 draw with Kosovo under-21s, and Sterling-James featuring in his side's 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Manager Flitcroft gave an update on when each player will return to Mansfield ahead of Saturday's clash against Exeter City, who he believes have a 'fantastic group of players.'

“Sweeney will be with us today and Omari tomorrow," said the gaffer. "Pearcey came back in yesterday and the travelling and playing on a poor pitch has taken its toll a little bit. We have to manage that.

“The most important thing is Mansfield Town. We have to get him ready for Saturday. We have to now pick up that. I’m looking forward to getting KP [Krystian Pearce] back on the training ground and back in focus mode for Exeter City.

“Paul Tisdale [former Exeter City manager] did a phenomenal job building a football club. When I look back at his body of work, they’ve always been up near the top of the league. He’s left behind a fantastic group of players and a really good infrastructure.

“Matt [Taylor] has been on board with that and seamlessly took the plan on board. I think the biggest thing for Exeter is keeping Jayden Stockley, a scorer of all types of goal.

“Looking at what happened with Danny [Rose] over the summer, Jayden was probably a player that was on the hit-list of several higher-placed teams. He’s not gone and it’s probably the best bit of business they’ve done by keeping him.

"Sweeney will be with us today and Omari tomorrow. Pearcey came back in yesterday and the travelling and playing on a poor pitch has taken its toll a little bit. We have to manage that."

David Flitcroft, manager

“We have to understand what makes our form good and drive that. The Exeter form and model has been built on real strong foundations.

“Obviously the training ground that the chairman and Steve Hymas are currently working on, all the infrastructure that the chairman has put in and the work that Carolyn has done has given us an opportunity to build for the future.

“It’s just exciting whichever way I look at it. Mansfield Town just excites me.”

Due to the international call-ups, the Stags were given a rare Saturday off following the postponement of their fixture against Crewe, and the manager gave an update of how he spent his weekend instead.

“We got some minutes in [for the players] before the weekend," he added. "We did a real big hit with them. Then I allowed them to have some time with their families because of the programme that we have coming up.

“It’s strange when you’re not competing on a Saturday during the season. I was at a game myself watching a player that I’ve not had the chance to watch yet because the programme has been so busy.

“It was good just being sat in a different stadium and seeing football in a different way, but also having a look at someone who might end up being a future target."

Stags were last in action during their 2-1 victory over Lincoln City in the Checkatrade Trophy, and the Mansfield boss reflected on what was a hotly-contested match.

“It doesn’t matter what football match a Mansfield Town team takes on. If we’ve got an opportunity to win a football match then we will be over-committed to everything we do.

“I think that the statement [that we were trying to] ‘abuse the rules’ was a little bit strong. But it doesn’t surprise me from Danny [Cowley].

“We saw some afters after the game. It’s really important that the Referee’s Association gets a really tight grip on the situation.

“You need strong referees down at Lincoln. When a referee doesn’t make a good decision, or a positive decision in Lincoln’s favour, it’s like they deserve every decision. It’s like it’s expected because they’ve been on this winning curve.

“I think the Referee’s Association are probably getting wise to it and making sure that strong referees do turn up at Lincoln. They’ve got the crowd, they have the noise behind them. If it’s a referee with no experience, he can become unstuck there.

“That’s certainly one thing I will never become, intimidated. By anyone, certainly not Danny Cowley."

The Stags' boss also touched on midfielder Timi Elsnik's performance against Lincoln, in what was his debut for the club since joining on loan from Derby.

“He [Elsnik] hasn’t played a lot of football this season. He showed the reason why I’ve brought him to the football club [on his debut]. There’s a calmness when he’s in possession and he looks to link with strikers.

“He has a stunning left-foot and his pass completion is excellent. He will take risks and go to try and score goals.

“I think he complements what we’ve already got really well. He’s a left-sided midfielder so gives us that real balance. I think he improves us.

“Competition for places is something that is really important. I look at MacDonald and Bishop’s form over the last couple of weeks and it’s gone up again. It’s gone up to a level where once that consistency kicks in, they’re at a really good level.

“You have to keep people waiting in the wings who can overtake you if you let them in. That’s what Timi has given us. I’m delighted with the addition.

“Because I’ve worked with him before, you know what you’re getting. Sometimes the first time they come from a Championship club, it is completely different to real-time football.

“Because Timi has sampled that and felt the importance of winning, it’s important that we got him."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager's news conference in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.


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