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Interviews

Stand-in boss looking to raise confidence

29 October 2020

Caretaker boss Richard Cooper says his first duty at the helm is to instil ‘confidence’ and ‘self-belief’ into the Stags ahead of Saturday’s home match against Walsall.

Mansfield will be looking for their first win of the season at the weekend following a poor start to the campaign.

Cooper says that the coaching staff at the club have aimed to make the players ‘feel good about themselves’ ahead of the upcoming clash with the Saddlers.

“I think it’s all about the players at this moment in time for us,” he told iFollow Stags. “We have to build their confidence and try to put some self-belief in them.

“There are good players in that dressing room. We’ll just try to get the best out of those lads and get a positive result on Saturday.

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“You have to go with your instinct on your game plan, and hopefully the players implement it. My only focus at the minute is getting those players confident to give a good account of ourselves on Saturday.

“I know the majority of the players, so I have my own ideas. We set the challenge in training to try and get them feeling good about themselves.

“It’s not an ideal situation, but at this moment in time, we have to pick those players up.

“It’s all about the players at the end of the day, because they are the ones who go across that white line on a Saturday.”

The interim manager looked ahead to Saturday’s match, and despite conceding that Walsall will pose threats to the Stags, insisted that his primary focus will be on the Mansfield players in the run-up to matchday.

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“I’m sat here because someone has lost their job, which is not nice. I’ve been asked to do a job now to try and steady the ship,” he said.

“That’s our only thought now, to try and get a positive performance on Saturday [against Walsall].

“We’ve looked back over Walsall’s recent games and we’re trying to prepare the players in the best way we can for Saturday.

“We’ve come in and tried to pick them [players] up – we’ve tried to be bright. I will say they’ve been absolutely excellent in their attitude and have done everything we’ve asked of them.

“We’ll plan tomorrow and then try and put something in place for Saturday. Walsall will be a strong opponent and they’ll be well organised.

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“But we really need to focus on ourselves at this minute in time. Yes, we know what Walsall are made of, but we really need to focus on ourselves.”

The following team news can also be revealed by the club ahead of Saturday:

The Stags will be without defender Ryan Sweeney, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. The centre-back is currently undergoing a ten-day self-isolation period.

Wing-back Mal Benning is expected to return from his self-isolation period on Friday, following his positive COVID-19 test. The wing-back is not expected to be fit for Saturday’s fixture.

Fellow defender Corey O’Keeffe is set to report back from his period of self-isolation on Monday.

Midfielder Ollie Clarke, who has been out of action with a calf injury, is reportedly around three weeks away from a return to training.

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Richard Cooper’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

Match passes are available for Saturday’s game and can be purchased for just £10 by clicking here.


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