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Stamford set sights on victory over basement boys

Stamford manager Graham Drury is warning his charges not to underestimate struggling AFC Mansfield who visit the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday.

After a solid start following their promotion to the Evo-Stik League Division One East, the Bulls have slumped to the bottom of the table.

Their last league win was nearly three months ago and they tumbled to a heavy 8-3 away defeat at table-topping Morpeth Town on Saturday.

However, two draws and two defeats in their recent league outings mean Stamford haven’t won in the Division One East since the beginning of October.

And Drury insists his side can’t taking anything for granted against an AFC Mansfield side who recently signed Grant Ryan from the Daniels following the departures of ex-Stamford strikers Brad and Kieran Wells.

Drury said: “We will certainly not be underestimating them. I don't care about scorelines like they had last weekend because it was 4-3 with 10 minutes left and they've decided to have a go.

"You can't take notice of things like that in this league because it's so tough this season.

"Ourselves, Frickley, Cleethorpes and Stocksbridge are not finding it easy this season after doing well last year.

"The likes of Lincoln United are riding a crest of a wave at the moment and we need to do that as well.

"We need to start getting back-to-back results, but it's not an easy level.

"Giuseppe Iaciofano has come in loan from Northampton to join AFC Mansfield and is scoring goals while Grant Ryan is going to want to do well against us.

"You can't look at a bunch of fixtures and think you can go on a run because they are all tough games and you don't have a divine right to win them. We've got to work for it.”

Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson has left Stamford to join Grantham. (5851077)
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson has left Stamford to join Grantham. (5851077)

Joe Burgess returns from a one-match suspension which forced him to miss last Saturday’s goalless home draw with Pickering Town.

Winger Reece Morris, who has been having back and hamstring problems, has gone to Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division side FC GNG to get back to fitness but still remains part of the Stamford squad while striker Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson has left to join Premier Division side Grantham Town.

Fortnam-Tomlinson has become the sixth Stamford player this season to move up to a higher level following the departures of Cleveland Taylor, Taron Hare, Eliot Putman, Rob Morgan and Chris Salt.

Drury commented: “Tommo has the opportunity to play at a higher level and I don't want to stand in the way of any player who gets that chance.

“I’ve still got a good squad although it does keep changing with players moving on to a higher level but I can't help that.

"It's just one of those things and it's been hard work to replace those six players who have moved up.

"It would be nice to still have them all and pick the same squad week in, week out, but that hasn't been able to happen.”

Recent striking recruit Isia Marselia became the latest Stamford player to make his Daniels debut in the stalemate with Pickering on Saturday in another frustrating match for Drury and his charges.

He said: “Pickering deserve credit because they put their bodies on the line and got in some fantastic blocks.

"We hit the post twice and every block went straight into the keeper's arms and not either side of him.

"We also scored a good goal which the referee decided to disallow and then admit at half-time that he blew too quickly.

"It was a really frustrating afternoon for us. Dan Haystead did have to pull off a worldie of a save but, in a game of football, you've got to expect your keeper to make one or two saves.

"We worked the areas really well, but unfortunately it was just one of those days. The football gods are not with us at the moment.”

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