Paul Anderson hoping to play for Mansfield Town against former club Nottingham Forest

Mansfield Town vs Middlesborough - Paul Anderson sends the ball forward - Pic By James Williamson
Mansfield Town vs Middlesborough - Paul Anderson sends the ball forward - Pic By James Williamson

Former Nottingham Forest winger Paul Anderson is hoping to play some part in Mansfield Town’s attractive pre-season friendly derby against his old club at the One Call Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

“I had some great years there and I have fond memories,” he smiled.

I still know a couple of the lads there and I still know a lot of the staff behind the scenes. I keep in touch with them all.

“So it will be nice to see some friendly faces, but again it’s another game we have to focus on our fitness.

“We don’t know what the manager is going to do with teams with the game on Friday as well (at Stamford tonight, 7.30).

“Hopefully I will get some minutes against Forest, it would be nice, but again it’s up to the manager and as a total squad we’ve all got to get the right minutes at the right time.”

Forest quickly sold out of their 1,541 ticket allocation and won’t be offered any more.

“It’s a local derby, there’s local rivalry and I’m sure we’ll have a nice crowd,” said Anderson.

“Hopefully we can put on a performance similar to Wednesday (against Forest’s Championship rivals Middlesbrough).

“I know we didn’t have loads and loads of the ball, but I think the fans have got to be looking at it being a team that has come down from the Premier League and we have done really well against them. We have shown we can score goals and create things.

“It will be another test against Forest, but it’s all in the bank and it’s good to play against teams of this level.

“Middlesbrough played some good stuff but defensively I thought we were brilliant. It was real tough work.

“When we conceded a goal straight after we’d scored it was really disappointing. I know it’s only a friendly but we want to wipe out these little mistakes we’re making.

“Hopefully we won’t get punished as much when we play against teams in our league.

“I think we did really well against Middlesbrough and gave a great account of ourselves.

“The two games I’ve played in against Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough I’d like to think you’re not going to come up against any teams in our league of that quality. There might be a couple that try and play.

“But it’s great to start to get to know the tactics and understand each other as a team. It helps everyone to talk and get into position.”

Anderson continued: “Hopefully over the next couple of games we can get a bit more ball time for us and do things going forward rather than going back.

“But we have scored some good goals against good teams and I think we’ve got to take a lot of credit out of those games.

“Results don’t really matter but none of us wants to lose no matter what game it is, even if it’s a friendly. But it’s about getting the fitness.”

The night before Middlesbrough, the rest of the Stags squad won 4-0 away at non-League Stocksbridge Park Steels.

“The boys at Stocksbridge did unbelievable as it’s never easy going to lower league opposition on a difficult pitch,” said Anderson.

“Now everyone has pretty much got 90 minutes under their belt and we’ll go into this weekend with two more games, then a couple more and then the big games start with Crewe away.”

The winger admitted pre-season doesn’t get any easier, but believes players get wiser how to deal with it.

“They get harder the older you get,” he said. “But I think the more experienced you get, you start to learn when to run in the right areas – not that it becomes easier – you just become a bit more aware of what’s going on around you and you know your limits.

“At the end of the day the most important thing is being 100 per cent fit for the first game of the season. “I have learned that over the last couple of seasons where I have missed the first game trying to push myself too hard too early.

“It’s the same for everyone. It’s all about creeping up and being fit and available for selection for that first game.”