Fl­itcroft has abil­ity to get Stags leap­ing

MAN­AGER IS SO EN­THU­SI­AS­TIC

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP SECOND ROUND -

IT’S a tough job to fol­low Steve Evans. How­ever, David Fl­itcroft has done it bril­liantly at Mans­field Town.

Hav­ing a cause has al­ways been Fl­itcroft’s mantra, and he told me mak­ing his fam­ily proud was his. He works daily to make the best of what he has, try­ing to im­prove in ev­ery way.

He then seeks this from his play­ers and staff. Fl­itcroft was ter­rific com­pany on the UEFA Pro Li­cence course which we were part of a few years ago.

He would al­ways be on top form, in the thick of the ac­tion with dis­cus­sion top­ics but also eager to lis­ten and learn off oth­ers.

On the train­ing pitch, his en­thu­si­asm was in­fec­tious and he ab­so­lutely loved his job.

One task on the Pro Li­cence was to visit an­other in­dus­try and spend time there learn­ing about how it func­tions and the lessons learned that could be trans­ferred to foot­ball.

David went to the fam­ily-owned War­bur­tons bread-mak­ing fac­tory, which be­gan with one shop in Bolton and is now the market leader in the coun­try.

War­bur­tons strive day in, day out to pro­duce the best prod­uct they can, with the same high stan­dards needed with ev­ery loaf… sounds fa­mil­iar?

Fl­itcroft no doubt has ad­mirable lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and val­ues, the hu­man side learned from Keith Hill, whom he con­sid­ers one of the best in that re­gard.

Strength

The Mans­field boss worked un­der Hill as as­sis­tant at Rochdale and one of his great­est strengths is in how to man-man­age play­ers.

Whilst work­ing un­der Hill at Rochdale and then Barns­ley, Fl­itcroft was like a sponge, ab­sorb­ing the man­ner in which Hill dealt with the daily sit­u­a­tions that oc­cur man­ag­ing a group of men. He saw how Hill spent time to get to know his play­ers thor­oughly.

Fl­it­coft has taken that on a stage now, tak­ing them out to din­ner, meet­ing their par­ents and find­ing out what their mo­ti­va­tion is. Be that money, cars, to make their fam­ily proud, what­ever it is, un­cov­er­ing a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor has been key to how Fl­itcroft gets the best out of his charges.

He ar­rived at Mans­field af­ter de­part­ing Swin­don, who were in the play-offs at the time – it appeared a gam­ble. How­ever, like his time at Bury, Fl­itcroft felt he could build some­thing of sub­stance at Field Mill.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing three points out­side the play-offs, Fl­itcroft set about re­duc­ing the av­er­age age of the group whilst bring­ing in a batch of young, hun­gry play­ers.

Pre-season told a tale as the Stags won three games out of four against Cham­pi­onship op­po­si­tion, and they drew 0-0 in the other game ver­sus Sh­effield United.

The Stags car­ried this form into the new season with an open­ing day 3-0 win over New­port County which was fol­lowed up by a 6-1 de­mo­li­tion of League One out­fit Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley in the Carabao Cup.

Mans­field are still un­beaten away from home in the League Two, which is a fan­tas­tic feat.

Of the play­ers brought in, none has made as big an im­pres­sion as striker Tyler Walker, who has 11 goals so far.

Signed on a season-long loan from Not­ting­ham For­est, Walker has made an in­cred­i­ble im­pact, al­though he has great qual­ity in and around him in fly­ing winger CJ Hamil­ton and fel­low for­ward Danny Rose.

Rose went on the trans­fer list in Au­gust af­ter be­ing linked with clubs higher up, al­though he has been big enough to ac­cept he made a mis­take and re­quested to with­draw his de­sire to leave.

He has been wel­comed back with open arms, an­other sign of Fl­itcroft’s man-man­age­ment skills bear­ing fruit.

Rose, how­ever, has been put in the shade by Walker’s ex­ploits, though he will have a huge part to play if Mans­field are to stage a pro­mo­tion push.

I ex­pect the Stags to be sand­wiched some­where in the top seven and in with a chance come the end of the season if they can keep their for­wards fit and fir­ing.

PIC­TURE: PA Images

ON SONG: Tyler Walker, seen here in ac­tion against West Brom, has im­pressed on loan at Mans­field and, in­set, man­ager David Fl­itcroft

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