Tag Archives: Luton

Why has Jorge Grant failed at Mansfield Town?

When Jorge Grant signed for the Stags back in January on a loan deal till the end of the season, the transfer was met with much praise from Mansfield fans and left other League Two clubs envious of the shrewd business that the Nottinghamshire-based side had done to acquire the talents of Grant. However, after four months at the club, it appears Grant has split options at the One Call Stadium with some fans smitten by his skillful on-the-ball ability and dead-ball prowess. On the other hand, some of the Mansfield faithful have questioned his commitment and attitude towards playing for the Stags.

Grant joined Mansfield back in January on a loan deal until the end of the season from fellow Nottinghamshire-based club, Nottingham Forest. Grant had started the season out on loan at newly promoted Luton Town. However, after failing to establish a first-team spot in Nathan Jones’ side, Grant was recalled back to Forest who wanted to send the 24-year-old attacking midfield out on loan to gain key crucial game time.

Mansfield, along with a plethora of other suitors in both League One and Two, wanted to sign the midfielder, however Mansfield acted swiftly to secure the signing. The Stags also had the help of another Forest loanee and friend of Jorge Grant, Tyler Walker. Walker convinced the Banbury born midfielder to sign for the Stags and it seemed to fans and pundits that this could be the golden combination to help Mansfield achieve promotion to League One.

The first few games for Grant were stupendous with the attacking midfielder showing his range of talents that he has at his disposal. In Grant’s first five games for the Stags, the on-loan Forest midfielder contributed to six goals. (4 goals & 2 assists) Fans couldn’t believe their eyes and felt Grant was the missing piece in the Mansfield promotion puzzle.

However, after a tremendous start, Grant would fail to provide a goal or an assist for 533 minutes of football and would see an increasing amount of criticism head his way. Grant eventually broke his dry spell with a corner ball that found the head of EFL team of the season member Krystian Pearce. However, Grant’s game wasn’t remembered for his assist rather for throwing a childlike strop as he was substituted after 59 minutes.

But why has Grant failed to fit in at Mansfield? It appears that Grant is a highly talented individual who has the ability to turn a game on its head however it appears Grant doesn’t fit in the Mansfield system when playing better quality opponents. Under David Flitcroft, Mansfield have played a 3-5-2 system or a 3-4-1-2. In this system, Grant plays the furthest forward midfielder who drifts wide allowing wingbacks to cut inside and allowing midfielders Bishop and Mellis space to run into.

This system when playing an inferior opponent suits Grant to a tee with the midfielder allowed a free role allowing him to find space and time on the ball. However, when playing a higher class opponent or one that overloads the midfield similar to the tactics adopted by Oldham on Easter Monday, it means Grant has to track back and drop back into a flatter midfield three.

Grant has struggled to do this job. It just doesn’t suit his play style and leads to Mansfield being overrun in the middle of the park and the Stags being forced to carry a man for large parts of the game. If David Flitcroft wants to accommodate Grant into his side he would have to change from the reliable 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 that he has used all season and play Grant in either a left or right midfield role that Grant is much more accustomed to playing.

Case in point last season, the Banbury born midfielder racked up an impressive 19 goals and 9 assists playing for local rivals Notts County. During his loan spell with the Magpies Grant was deployed predominantly on the left side of midfield but also being used on the right.

With a wider role, Grant’s defensive responsibilities were reduced meaning he could concentrate on his attacking output however some County fans did question his effort during games starting at times that Grant was reluctant to track back.  

It’s clear to see Grant is a highly talented individual who can enthrall fans with his ability but lacks the correct attitude and defensive abilities to play in certain systems.  

Why do you think Jorge Grant has failed at Mansfield?

Luton Town surely on the way to the Championship, despite Nathan Jones departure.

Since gaining promotion from the Blue Square Premier in the 2013/14 season and having a sustained growth in League 2 for 4 seasons, Luton Town are finally back where many people would agree, at the top of League 1 and look destined to join the big boys in the Championship.

2018/19 Season

August didn’t start as according to plan for the Hatters, losing on the opening day 1 – 0 to Portsmouth, exiting the league cup in the first round losing to the same score line against West Brom and not picking up the first win of the season until they beat Southend United 2 – 0. However, since September, Luton have really hit the ground running and sit deservedly at the top of League 1 whilst on a current 22 unbeaten streak of games in the league collecting a heroic 75 points from their 35 games this season whilst scoring a total of 69 goals, the best of League One so far.

Star Man

20 of these 69 goals have come from their Irish striking superstar, James Collins. Starting his career at Aston Villa, Collins moved North of the border to Hibs in the Scottish Premiership and is enduring his most successful stint with the Hatters. Scoring a total of 39 goals in 77 appearances over 2 seasons has made him a certain fan favourite. The inform striker has definitely got the Luton Town owners rubbing their hands especially after signing him on a free from Crawley Town who currently sit 18th in League Two.

Recent Form (WWDWW)

Since the start of February, the Hatters have scored 11 goals with 6 of these coming from two 3 – 0 wins against Shrewsbury Town and Wycombe Wanderers in a week with a battling draw coming against Coventry City on the 24th.

Nathan Jones departure and the remaining games left for caretaker boss Mick Harford

The opportunity to manage a Championship side in Stoke City was too good to turn down in the end, which came of a bit of a surprise for me personally but also left a sour taste in the mouths of the Luton faithful. With a record of 87 wins, 46 draws and 37 loses, saw his team under his reign score 301 times and conceding 174 goals. The Welshman however seems to be struggling at Stoke with only winning just 2 games so far and losing 5. Spiteful fans hope he may regret his move but we are yet to find out with only 10 games in charge and a summer transfer window coming up to get his tactical approach across. Despite this, the club looks like he never left and has carried on in the way that the players and the fans can be very proud of. Jones, who left the club in second position, was on a 13 game unbeaten run in which they took 33 points from a possible 39 and has ultimately paved the way for current caretaker manager Mick Harford to take over the reigns and steer his team to glory. With 11 games remaining in the season to which 7 of these games to be played against teams in the bottom half of the table, it appears on paper that their most toughest games left come against Charlton (5th), Doncaster (6th) and Blackpool (8th) which will all be pushing for those play-off positions. Luton Town will play Oxford United on the last day of the season at home who currently sit 19th and may find themselves trying to escape relegation on the last day.

But who else will join the Hatters in the Championship and how will they bode next season?

Written by Jordan Smart