MK DONS PREVIEWS / YUSSUF RARING TO GO
Mansfield Town plan to learn how to shut up shop against MK Dons
chad.co.uk, John Lomas, Tuesday 21 July 2015
Newly-promoted Championship side Milton Keynes Dons provide the opposition at the One Call Stadium tonight (7.45pm) as Stags fans get their first chance to see Adam Murray’s new-look Mansfield Town side on home soil in their busy pre-season programme.
This game and Saturday’s visit of Premier League Leicester City also offer Murray’s side their first chance to properly work on defending against two teams expected to put them under the cosh.
“These are two big games coming up now and are planned to allow us to be more defensive-orientated as we know we will come under a lot of pressure,” said Murray.
“We don’t expect to see much of the ball over the two games, but our work in training now for the next 7-10 days will be on defending.
“Defensive organisation is an issue as we have new players getting used to each other and playing as a unit. We know we will be under the cosh and they will be a good test for us.”
Murray may leave out three or four players with minor niggles tonight as a precaution and will mix things up on the night to increase players’ minutes before trying to give as many as possible a full 90 minutes against Leicester on Saturday.
Central defender Krystian Peace comes back into the squad tonight after returning to training following a jarred ankle in the draw at Tamworth.
But Adi Yussuf may be rested up until Saturday having just completed the Muslim Ramadan fast and not being up to full power yet.
Karl Robinson’s Dons side won promotion on the final day of last season and he and head of coaching and Stags legend Richie Barker yesterday had their contracts with the club extended.
The 34-year-old Robinson has been in charge of the club since May 2010 and is the third longest-serving manager in England’s top four divisions.
Barker has been part of Robinson’s backroom staff for just over a year. having initially helped in an advisory role towards the end of the 2013-14 season before his appointment as head of coaching in May 2014.
Among their summer signings, the Dons have brought in Peru international midfielder Cristian Benavente from Real Madrid Castilla on a two-year deal, ex-Bayern Munich and Tranmere winger Dale Jennings, 22, who was available after leaving League One Barnsley, having been on loan at the Dons in a previous spell, former Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper, 22, and Welsh international forward Simon Church, 26, from Charlton. Church has 29 international caps, the most recent against Cyprus last October.
Murray will meet up with the Dons for their pre-match meal earlier in the afternoon to ‘pick their brains’.
“We’ve arranged to go and have a chat with them as I think they do some really good things and I’d like to pick their brains, particularly on areas like sports science. They have much bigger resources than we do but I can still nick their ideas.”
Tickets for tonight are £7 across all categories and can be purchased either in advance, online at http://www.stagstickets.co.uk, by calling 01623 482482, or at the ticket office.
Supporters should note that the Quarry Lane End will be closed for both of Mansfield’s home pre-season games.
Mansfield Town striker Adi Yussuf raring to go after Ramadan
chad.co.uk, John Lomas, Tuesday 21 July 2015
Adam Murray is hoping Mansfield Town fans will see a fully fit Adi Yussuf for the first time in Saturday’s friendly with Leicester after the 23-year-old striker began eating fully again following the Ramandan fast.
The Zanzibar-born goal ace observes the Muslim faith and his lack of food over the past month has left him short of his full pace and power.
Manager Adam Murray admitted dealing with different faiths was a new and interesting experience for him.
“With Adi and Malv Benning we have quite a mix of beliefs in the group which has been interesting for me as a manager,” he said. “This means different eating regimes and players only being able to eat certain things.
“It’s a whole new experience for me, but I fully respect people’s beliefs.
“Adi has fallen a little bit behind, but we have time now to get him back up to speed and I hope we will see him back in at the weekend.
“We can step up his training regime and he can have an intense two and a half weeks without putting his health at risk.”
Murray added: “I will try to give him a big chunk of Saturday’s game, though I don’t want to rush him. He is all about pace and power and if he’s not right, he’s likely to do a hamstring.
“He has done brilliant so far, yet he has only been at about 70 per cent. But I respect his beliefs and we want to help him out.
“When you are not getting the right fuel on board it can be tough. But he is a big character and he is very mentally and physically strong as he has shown already.”
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