Start right or suffer giantkilling, boss warns

STAGS boss Duncan Russell has warned his side to start correctly in Saturday’s FA Trophy quarter-final at Chasetown or risk becoming the latest victims of the Evo-Stik Premier League giantkillers.

The West Midlands side operate two leagues below Mansfield Town, but the Scholars are looking to complete a BSBP hat-trick on Saturday after knocking out Kettering Town and Grimsby Town in earlier rounds.

“Once we get out there on Saturday we need to quickly settle the nerves and do the horrible side of football,” said Russell. “We need to do the dirty side of the game and battle to earn the right to play football. And we need to defend properly as a team an as individuals.

“But, if we go about our business on the day the way we can, I can’t see why we should have too many problems down there.

“I know what we have in our locker and I know what they have in their locker, having watched them twice now.

“There is an expectation for us to win as we are favourites being from two leagues above them. We will be paying Chasetown respect like we would any team – but not too much.

“Anything can happen on the day – you saw how Crawley did at Manchester United last weekend.

“Chasetown have a great cup reputation and are used to a big occasion down there. It is a big game for both clubs and the atmosphere should be fantastic.”

He added: “Some people may say it’s only the FA Trophy but this is non-League’s FA Cup and we are really looking forward to it.

“Reaching Wembley would give this club a fantastic day out, and for my players to be able to grace that famous turf would be an occasion to remember for them.”

Stags are still waiting for the results from keeper Neil Collett’s knee scan, but it seems likely Hungarian loanee David Grof will remain in goal on Saturday, though the return of Alan Marriott to the bench after five months out injured will be a welcome sight.

Marriott is two weeks away from being able to kick properly but fit enough to be called upon in an emergency at Chasetown.

The only other question mark for Saturday’s squad lies alongside the name of Luke Medley, who has asked for a loan move.

Manager Russell publicly criticised the striker last week for ill discipline and said that was why he was out off the first team picture.

He said Medley had responded well to his words and knuckled down in training this week. But he believed the player still wanted to move and was planning a chat with Medley and his father before deciding if he could be included at Chasetown.

Saturday is due to be Louis Moult’s last game on his month’s loan from Stoke City but Russell is hoping to extend that by a further month before the weekend if all parties are happy to do so.