Oppositions View - Mansfield Town
Feature by Gary Moss
Updated Thursday, 27th March 2008
Stags press officer and former NCM editor Mark Stevenson talks over all the burning issues ahead of Saturday's local derby and Football League survival six-pointer at Meadow Lane...A fascinating read from a worried Field Mill camp.How do you assess your sides form?
Paul Holland was made caretaker manager after Billy Dearden mutually left the club and he was given two games to prove himself initially. The first game they played some really good stuff against Hereford but unfortunately lost 1-0 with Micky Boulding missing a last minute penalty. You'd have put
How do you assess the Stags position in the relegation battle?
The situation is perilous. It has gone from alarming to perilous. If they do not beat Notts County on Saturday, I think they are in real trouble. If they can score two goals at Meadow Lane you should get some points. This is my personal opinion. But County look very strong at the back. The situation is bleak for the Stags but with eight games remaining, there is 24 points on the table. So, there is a chance. No-one here is holding up the white flag but we are realistic. Stags haven't won back-to-back victories all season, they cannot get a winning run together. But by the same token, they are a hugely unpredictable side. If Michael Boulding is on song they can be excellent going forward. But at the back, they are suspect at times. So it is in the balance.
From my point of view, Billy Dearden was the best manager I have ever worked with. He would do anything for anybody. He was unwavering in his helpfulness. Every single member of staff at the club has the utmost respect and time for him. But as we all know it's a results business. Off the field problems have not helped but at the end of the day results matter. Unfortunately, he went because of inconsistency.
Are you happy with appointment of Paul Holland?
'Dutch' is a fantastic bloke to have around the club. He is a Mansfield Town legend as a player and he has been youth team manager here and this is a job he has wanted for a long time. The fans wanted him to take on the role so they're pleased. For me, he has tried to implement a quicker tempo to the side and they try to play using the flanks more. I think there has been an improvement. But it is now or never for him. You do not want to be the manager who on his record has 'relegated with Mansfield' out of the Football League for the first time in their history. He is a very positive character and he is a very intelligent man. The club has a lot of time for him. He is new to the job but with different ideas. He is very enthusiastic and very driven.
Who is your danger man?
Micky Boulding. What a fine finisher. He has had a superb season. I think he would walk into any team in this division. I could go on all day about him. He started at Mansfield and rose up the ladder ending up at Aston Villa. He packed in football and went and worked with his Dad as a builder. He came
Who else should we look out for?
Johnny Mullins at right-back. He actually began the season on the bench but since getting into the team he has never looked back. He has attracted a lot of attention from various scouts and he has been so solid. He is one of the best players at the club and he is so consistent.
What did you make of the sides previous meeting?
What have you made of Notts' season so far?
It is sad to see Notts so low in the Football League. They have a proud history, a rich tradition and superb supporters. From an outsider looking in, they are not scoring enough goals.
What have you made of the impact of Ian McParland?
Charlie has come in and tightened things up in defence dramatically. I think they just need someone who will stick the ball in the back of the net up front. I hope Notts can climb up the league and I hope both sides can get out of trouble. I think if one side went out of the league, they would really miss each other. I honestly believe that. Not only financially but the two matches each season are occassions the sets of supporters really look forward to. To not have it next year would be a
Who do you see as Notts' danger man?
Richard Butcher on paper you would have to say. He is on 11 goals and a real threat. Mike Edwards is very solid at the back. I think he is one of the finest players at the back in League Two. It will be very interesting to see how Boulding does against him.
What sort of encounter are you expecting?
It is a massive game for both teams. Notts can go ten points clear and Mansfield would really be in the mire. If Stags win, they give themselves a great chance of getting out of it. We have to remain positive at this end. Until it is mathematically impossible, you have to keep believing and trying.
1-0 to Mansfield, Boulding to score.