Manager David Flitcroft has paid respect to the ‘absolutely brilliant’ Mansfield faithful, with over 1,000 Stags’ supporters expected to attend Saturday’s game away to Port Vale.
We announced yesterday that Stags’ fans have sold out our allocation of adult tickets for the clash at Vale Park, with tickets still available to purchase on the day of the game.
The manager says that it is now up to the Stags to ‘represent’ the ‘amazing’ supporters.
“We’ve had the offers on at the One Call and a lot of people in Mansfield took advantage of that. We have to make sure that we represent those supporters,” he said, speaking in this morning’s news conference.
“We have to make sure that the fans see the best of us [this Saturday], and see what being a Mansfield Town player represents.
“I love working here. The supporters I’ve met are very honest, and I don’t mind that. There’s a generation of support here who do come up to me quite a lot and speak about the football we’re playing, and that pleases me.
“They [supporters] have been brilliant – they’ve been absolutely brilliant. From a difficult period last season, they now come to games optimistic.
“I love working here and training these players. On a Saturday, there’s a backing. And you can feel it behind you – it’s strong. The fans do represent us as a football team.
“The support we’ve had this season has been amazing. In our last [away] outing, we let those supporters down. It’s now a case of making sure we right those wrongs.
“We’ll make sure we commit to every action in the game and commit to everything we do – the players have certainly done that this week.
"They [supporters] have been brilliant – they’ve been absolutely brilliant. From a difficult period last season, they now come to games optimistic."
“We’ll really focus on ourselves. We’ve had a reserve game and two really good training sessions. It always helps when you bounce in from a win.”
Ahead of Saturday’s clash, the Stags’ chief is expecting a difficult encounter against a Port Vale side that has recently undergone a change in management.
“There are no bankers in this league,” he added. “It’s so tight – there are a lot of teams trying to get in the play-offs, and there’s a dogfight down at the bottom of the league.
“They [Port Vale] have had a management change and John Askey has come in, who did a phenomenal job at Macclesfield.
“There’s been sort of a wrestle period where he’s worked out the squad. They were dominant against Notts County and have energy in the team.
“They’ve now found a formula that they believe works for them. I’ve been reiterating [to the players] what we’re good at and the quality that we have in our team. We have to make sure that we commit to every moment.
“Not many teams ever go and dominate for 95 minutes. It just doesn’t happen. There are periods in games where we might have to change the system. The players are aware of that, and know where they have to be and what they have to do.
“The players take the message on board. We did it really successfully [against Cheltenham] and scored four really good goals.”
The manager also provided an injury update on his charges, giving the latest on Danny Rose’s recovery in particular.
Meanwhile, defender Matt Preston, who has a knee injury, will be assessed on Friday afternoon.
“We’re long-term with most of them [injuries]. We’re under a process with Danny Rose. That process is that the medical team have certain guidelines that they have to meet.
“He’s getting more work into his legs. We’ve not added opposition into that [training] yet, as all it takes is one trip.
“Hopefully, the start of next week, he’ll be in and around what we’re doing on the training ground. Danny is the one where hopefully next week he’ll be in and around what we’re doing.
“After Saturday’s game, Tyler [Walker] is also back in contention, so that ups the numbers.
“Being injured, you do feel isolated at times, and that Saturday afternoon is taken away from you.
“It’s important that we get round the injured players and keep telling them that they are a big part of that [squad].”
It was announced earlier this week that Rochdale Football Club had terminated the contract of manager Keith Hill with immediate effect.
As a close friend of Keith Hill, having worked alongside him at the Dale for a number of years, the Mansfield boss gave his opinion on the matter.
“What Keith Hill has done there [Rochdale] is probably one of the best jobs in football that I’ve witnessed.
“I spent six years with him, and he was my mentor. The detail he puts in and the passion that he has for the game, he’s relentless with it.
“I think it will be a heavy loss to Rochdale. People say that it’s a results business – which it is – but nearly six-million quid [in player sales], that’s results as well.
“They have a model that’s gone from strength to strength, and we started it probably around 11 years ago now.
“As a friend, you’re seeing someone who has lost his job, but when he comes out the other side of it, there will be other jobs out there that will challenge him again.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch David Flitcroft’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.