Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that being without top scorer Tyler Walker for this weekend’s game against Cheltenham is a ‘blow,’ yet has put faith in his charges to secure victory in the Sky Bet League Two clash.
Mansfield are without several strikers for this weekend’s match, which has led to the manager ‘challenging’ his players to act as goal threats from ‘around the pitch.’
He says the key to victory against the Robins is getting his players into goal-scoring positions as often as possible.
“It [losing Tyler Walker] is a blow,” said the gaffer. “Tyler understands what he’s done and is very remorseful – we’ve put it behind us. He’s trained brilliantly this week.
“We’re without Tyler but now it’s a case of the rest of the squad having to step up in his absence. We have to make sure that we get goals from around the pitch.
“It’s just about getting players into goal-scoring positions. It’s a team thing, that as the manager I am responsible for.
“It’s a big opportunity for the players and Nicky [Ajose] is no different. He wanted to come [here] and make an impact, and show everyone what a good player he is.
“I’ve put the challenge down to all of the players to fill the big boots of Tyler’s absence.”
"We’re without Tyler but now it’s a case of the rest of the squad having to step up in his absence. We have to make sure that we get goals from around the pitch."
This weekend’s game marks the third and final ‘under-18s go free offer’ of the season, put in place by chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford.
David Flitcroft says it is ‘great’ that the club are finding ways to bring the next generation of fans to One Call Stadium.
“A friend of mine was at the game on Saturday and said that the place was bouncing and that the environment was fantastic. That’s what I feel as a manager.
“The lads love playing at home and there is that vibe. Hopefully they [under-18s who retrieved free tickets] have been a part of it – they’ve seen us win twice.
“They will hopefully come down when the offer is off. It’s great that our club has been able to put it [offer] on and try and drive more fans in.
“It’s a good place [here], and it has been for a year on a Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, as the weather picks up, it’s a great afternoon to come to the One Call.”
We host Cheltenham Town for Saturday’s clash, a side that the Stags’ manager described as an ‘excellent’ opponent, when referring to our 2-2 draw against the Robins earlier this season.
“They [Cheltenham] play a similar system to us and he [Michael Duff, manager] has given them an identity.
“I thought they were excellent against us [earlier this season] and we had to fight hard to claw the game back.
“You have to respect everyone and there are some really good managers in League Two and League One. We respect all of our opponents.
“It’s really important that our group of players focus on what it means to represent Mansfield. If we come off those values, we’re not as competitive.
“I enjoy watching us as a team when we’re in full flow – I enjoy watching us compete. Now it’s time to kick on and put teams to the sword. The players are certainly up for that.
“We’ve had a really strong week. It’s been very competitive [in training] and the players have responded in a manner that I wanted them to.
“As a team they want to be a part of a winning formula. Our home form is up there with the best and we have to make sure that we continue that.”
The manager also provided an update on striker Danny Rose, who suffered a broken jaw in this month’s trip to Newport County.
David Flitcroft says the forward has responded positively to a recent operation.
“It’s been really positive [with Rose]. Obviously he’s had the operation and over the week he’s started to get more substance and food in him. He’s lost around three or four kilograms.
“We’re building that up now. He’s out on the grass again – not with the first team – with our medical staff.
“We’ll step it up this week. I can’t give a definitive [date of return] but the signs are looking really good.
“From where he was at, I thought he was out for the season. But his operation was really successful and we have to see what he’s like when he’s back in contact [training]. Hopefully we’ll have him back sooner rather than later.”
The manager was also highly complimentary of Stags’ academy staff, who he says helped Mansfield’s first team players generate a response from the recent back-to-back away defeats.
“It’s really important that we focus on what our Mansfield Town looks like and how it plays. We’ve connected back with that,” said the Stags’ boss.
“Sometimes it takes a couple of defeats to bring everyone back together, and we certainly did that.
“I can only thank the academy for what they did, as they brought their under-18s up to play against us, then the under-21s on the Thursday.
“Since I’ve walked in the building, the support I’ve had from the academy staff has been second to none. That’s what, for me, makes a great club.
“You always have to think about the short term, and the short term is getting results. But I never ignore the medium and long term, because we have good young players at the club.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.