MURRAY: WE HAVE SOMETHING TO FIGHT FOR
Play-off pack must be picked off - Murray
mansfieldtown.net, 9th March 2016
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray says now is the time to start taking points off the teams in the upper echelons of Sky Bet League 2.
Last night saw the majority of Sky Bet League 2 clubs draw level with the Stags on games played, with only Accrington Stanley and Wycombe Wanderers playing a game less than the rest of the top 10.
And after travelling to the Memorial Stadium to see Bristol Rovers beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1 last night, the boss says the time is now to defeat a side in the top 12 for the first time this season.
“The good thing for us is, and we keep saying it, we keep getting little lifelines. You look at the results last night again, unfortunately for all the teams that had four or five games on us, now they’re gone,” said Murray.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/lets-start-beating-teams-around-us-murray-2997961.aspx#Pk6ug0k5RxHUyAHC.99
“We’re two points off the play-offs so it’s all levelled out now. This is it, we’re two points off the play-offs with 11 games to go, and we’ve got to play them all. So if there’s ever a time for us to beat these teams, maybe we’ve left it until now!
“There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns. If we can stay in it and in or around it until the last few games and within two, three or four points of it, if not in it, we'll give ourselves a great chance [of finishing in the play-offs].”
The manager said that it was good to analyse the Gas’ strengths and weaknesses during last night’s clash with AFC Wimbledon, but he also enjoyed being able to see ‘the bigger picture’ in regards to where he sees his side in the future.
“They’re very good at playing a couple of different shapes. He’s (Darrell Clarke, Bristol Rovers’ manager) a bit like us and changes his shape for different teams. They’ve played together a lot and the group has been together a long time.
“The one thing they’ve got at the minute is a bit of momentum. I think what Clarkey’s done down there is he’s put a group together that got relegated, he kept most of it together and then they obviously got promoted and now they’re going again."
The manager continued: "They’re showing what we’re trying to get, and what I keep saying will come with time, is consistency. His group and his settled environment has enabled him the time to get that consistency. At the minute, yes he’s got good players, but I look at my players and my players are just as good but the thing they probably have over us at the minute is that consistency.”
Murray has a larger squad of available players to choose from this weekend after defender Krystian Pearce completed his two-match suspension against Yeovil Town last Saturday and midfielder Matty Blair is recovering well from illness.
The Birmingham-born manager is happy to have 26-year-old Blair available after the former Fleetwood Town man has started to show his best form in a Stags’ shirt in recent weeks.
“He’s been the Matty Blair that we signed. It was always going to take time, like it did with Greeny (Matt Green), because of the time he had out, but he’s a real threat when he plays.
“Sometimes even when he makes a mistake, he’s that quick he rectifies it. He gives you that threat of, he’ll get at people, he’ll make runs from deep that are ‘unmarkable’ and he’s started scoring goals as well. So if we can get him up to speed this week, he’ll be a good option for us on Saturday.”
Midweek results go Mansfield Town’s way again
chad.co.uk, John Lomas, Wednesday 09 March 2016
More results went Mansfield Town’s way last night as they sat it out for a second successive Tuesday night and watched play-off rivals fail to win their games in hand over the Stags.
Three of their rivals slipped up as Accrington Stanley lost 3-1 at home to Portsmouth, Carlisle United were held 0-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge, and Saturday’s opponents Bristol Rovers shot down AFC Wimbledon 3-1.
Stags boss Adam Murray travelled down to watch the Bristol Rovers game and said: “It was a super game - two good teams who are obviously fighting for the same spots we are, so it was good to get eyes on them, and I enjoyed the game. It was a really good end-to-end game.”
Mansfield remain two points off the pace with 11 games to go, but there is now a four-point gap between the top six and seventh place with about eight sides trying to make the play-offs still. But Murray doesn’t believe the top six is settled yet.
“It looks that way at the moment. But we have gone through the fixtures and everyone is playing each other,” he said.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/midweek-results-go-mansfield-town-s-way-again-1-7784849#ixzz42PKdTGI6
“Of the nine or 10 at least six or seven of their remaining games are against teams in and around them, so there will be a lot of twists and turns.
“If we can stay in and around it until the last few games within two, three, four points of it, if not in it, we can give ourselves a great chance.
“What we all wanted at the end of the season was to be in the last stretch with something to fight for, not struggling for our lives or going through the motions.
“We have done that and I have said to the team that I believe you can do this as you’ve put yourself in a position.
“Yes, we are frustrated about the last two results, but we haven’t played badly.”
Protective face mask for Mansfield Town midfielder Adam Chapman after nose operation
chad.co.uk, John Lomas, Wednesday 09 March 2016
Mansfield Town midfielder Adam Chapman looks set to wear a protective mask over his face at Bristol Rovers on Saturday to protect his broken nose after an operation to fix it yesterday.
Chapman, chief target for the boo boys in recent games, suffered the break by Ryan Tafazolli’s elbow in training on Friday and played on with it in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Yeovil Town in which he was booed off again when substituted in the second half.
“He has his operation yesterday,” said boss Adam Murray.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/protective-face-mask-for-mansfield-town-midfielder-adam-chapman-after-nose-operation-1-7785855#ixzz42QeUPVgs
“Taff broke his nose on Friday. I said to Chappie it was the first time he’d headed it all season, so that’s what happens.
“It was a bad one. We didn’t realise how bad it was until he went in.
“He’s had his sausage fixed. It wasn’t the best-looking sausage in the world anyway - it was all over the place.
“I asked the surgeon if he could make it smaller, which Chappie was happy about. They said it was worse than we thought and they had to give it a right few clicks.
“He had his mask moulded while he was under so he will rest today but he’s straight back in tomorrow, no problems.”
Murray said the heckling of Chapman in recent games was so unjust as to be comical.
“The thing is with Chappie, with the group, with me and my staff, we know what a good player he is,” said Murray.
“I’ve seen it all too many times here. Chappie made three or four great passes at times on Saturday and nobody says anything. He makes one not-so-good pass, as he is a footballer and he takes risks, and everybody is on him.
“It’s a little bit embarrassing really to cheer when one of your own players gets taken off. It doesn’t say that as supporter in the dictionary.
“You might not like a player. Sometimes last year I didn’t like some players. “But you still back them because you support them. If you want to moan about it, do it in the pub.
“If he’s not your cup of tea, fair enough. We can’t argue with that. Everyone has got an opinion about me, about every different player, about the coaching staff, about the chairman - that’s fine.
“But when you come into this environment, we all want the same thing. If we didn’t there’d be an issue.”
He continued: “It won’t affect Chappie as he knows how good he is. We are bored about speaking about things like this now.
“He finds it as funny as I do and the rest of the boys do. The rest of this league, the managers, and players who play against him, know what a good player he is. When he gets those kid of remarks it’s become comical.
“We were actually laughing on the bench as he came off as it’s such a joke - very silly.
“The funny thing is that we spoke to their staff afterwards, they said what a great job you’re doing here. You’re having a great season, I can’t believe they are booing. That was good to know.
“Most fans clapped us off at the end. It was decent for us. We walked off gutted, frustrated, angry as were the fans. But the big majority clapped us off as they knew we’d had a go.
“We appreciate those kind of people and that’s why we give our heart and soul every game for them.
“Not for the people who want to take the frustration of the cat doing a turd in the living room and they can’t clean it up - that’s not my fault.”
Matty Blair and Krystian Pearce hoping on Mansfield Town returns
chad.co.uk, John Lomas, Wednesday 09 March 2016
Mansfield Town expect to welcome back Krystian Pearce from suspension and winger Matty Blair from illness into the squad for this weekend’s tough play-off clash at Bristol Rovers.
Pearce has just completed a two-game ban, though he has also suffered illness this week and, with Lee Collins and Ryan Tafazolli combining well together at the back in his absence, may have to be patient on a return to the starting XI.
“Krystian has obviously been a good player for us, but to be fair to Lee and Taff, I think they have been superb in there so there is no rush to get him back in,” said boss Adam Murray.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/matty-blair-and-krystian-pearce-hoping-on-mansfield-town-returns-1-7785976#ixzz42Ua52He5
“He has been ill this week to be fair so we will monitor him at the back end of the week.”
Blair missed last weekend’s game after feeling ill on Friday and Murray said: “Matty came in Monday morning still feeling a bit groggy but a lot better than he was on Friday.
“He did a light session on Tuesday and we’ll see how he reacts to that.
“He gives us that threat. He will get at people, he will make runs from deep that are remarkable, and he’s started scoring goals as well.
“If we can get him up to speed this week he will be a good option for us on Saturday.”
Time for Mansfield Town to end season-long hoodoo against top sides
chad.co.uk, John Lomas
Mansfield Town know they will have to end their season-long inability to beat a side in the top half of League Two if they are to beat play-off rivals Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
It is an amazing statistic considering Stags are still up there in the mix, just two points off the top seven places.
But with only 11 games to go, Stags now face four play-off rivals in a row this month and boss Adam Murray said: “If there was ever a time for us to beat these teams, maybe we’ve just left it until now?
“I’ve got a sneaking feeling it’s fell this way for a reason - trends might just change.”
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/time-for-mansfield-town-to-end-season-long-hoodoo-against-top-sides-1-7787637#ixzz42W9gcSUy
Only one win in the last five has seen his side drop out the play-off places, but he said: “It’s been more frustrating than disappointing as we’ve not played bad.
“I even spoke to my mum on Sunday - and she hasn’t got a clue about football - and she said she was listening to it on Sky Sports News and they were saying it was all Mansfield and you lost - what happened?
“That sums it up. I think against Yeovil last Saturday we got too carried away with trying to score. Yes we want to win the games, but we can’t concede sloppy goals like that. The focus was on scoring and we let our guard down and got sucker-punched like we did at Newport last week.
“The good thing for us is we keep getting little lifelines and you look at the results on Tuesday night again, unfortunately for all the teams that had four or five games in hand on us, they’ve now gone and we are two points off the play-offs.
“So it’s all levelled out now. We have 11 games to go and we’ve got to play them all.”
Most fans clapped Stags off after the 1-0 home defeat by Yeovil, but Murray was hurt by some of the shouts accusing his players of not trying.
“I heard some sausage shout on Saturday - they don’t look interested and there’s no urgency,” he said.
“I was nearly sick in my mouth as you’re not going to get a more willing team than this one. They can’t run any more. I know as I have the GPS satnavs on them.
“It makes you angry as you know how hard the group is working. Yes, we are missing certain bits. But we are Mansfield Town. We can’t have everything.
“We are doing the best with what we’ve got and the boys are doing fantastic.
“We are competing and we should be proud of what we’ve done this season so far. We are in a position to affect these teams now which we shouldn’t be at the minute. We are battling with the big guns.”
He added: “Rovers turned down a big bid for striker Matty Taylor as they said he will them promoted, which is great to be able to do that as a football club and ‘say we don’t want this money’.
“Rovers have also taken centre forward Ollie McBurnie on loan from Swansea. “We asked about him three weeks ago but we couldn’t do it. They went and did it. That’s the difference.
“We will keep scrapping. No one can question this group’s work ethic or fight. The last two weeks we’ve not had that rub of the green.”
Bristol Rovers showing the way, says Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray
chad.co.uk, John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes Saturday’s opponents Bristol Rovers are a shining example of what happens when you keep a group of talented players together for a few seasons.
Murray said play-off rivals Rovers’ current consistency is exactly what he is hoping to achieve over the next couple of years as his newly-formed squad from last summer start to really gel.
Former Stags star Darrell Clarke was heartbroken the last time Mansfield visited the Memorial Stadium two years ago as a Junior Daniel goal relegated them to the Conference.
But his talented squad then clicked into gear and came back up at the first time of asking, now looking set to go up again as they really get into their groove.
“Speaking to a couple of people down there on Tuesday, the one thing Bristol Rovers have got at the minute is a bit of momentum,” said Murray.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/bristol-rovers-showing-the-way-says-mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-1-7787636#ixzz42WB3PxHN
“What Clarkey has done down there is he’s put a group together that got relegated, but he kept most of them together and they obviously got promoted. Now they are going again.
“What they are showing is what we’re trying to get and what will come with time which is consistency.
“His group and their settled environment has given him time to get that consistency. Yes, they have good players, but I look at my players and they are just as good.
“The thing they probably have over us at the moment is that consistency because they have been together for almost three years. They have a togetherness which gives you the chance to build and be consistent.
“It made me happy going to watch them as I know in my heart of heart that that’s where we will be - it will come to us.
“That may sound a bit arrogant but I am sure. You want to quicken it up but unfortunately you can’t quicken time up. We know which bits and bobs we need to tweak to make us better. That will come with time.
“To go and watch Bristol on Tuesday night was great with us playing them on Saturday but also to look at the bigger picture a bit.”
Murray was impressed with what he saw as they beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1, but believes his own side have enough in the locker to push the Pirates off course in Saturday’s big game.
Stags were unlucky at home to Rovers in October as they had two men sent off and then lost 2-1 to a last gasp Matty Taylor goal in an ill-tempered thriller.
Murray said: “I had watched a few of their games before last night and they are obviously very good at playing a couple of different shapes. He is a bit like us as he changes his shape for different teams.
“They are very efficient at doing that as they have played together a lot. They work very smoothly and are strong in areas.
“They are a threat going forwards and have some good goalscorers in the team which always helps.
“But this is League Two so every team have their weaknesses and I thought here at home against them we were the better side first half until we got the ‘28 sending-offs that left us with three players’!
“We are going there to try to win the game. We are looking forward to it. We are in the part of the season now that’s exciting.”
Along with Darrell Clarke, there is another Mansfield Town connection down there with the arrival of former Stags star winger Liam Lawrence from Shrewsbury Town in January.
However, he suffered a calf strain last weekend and could miss out on Saturday.
“Liam has only just got there and I think he’s injured and Clarkey is obviously a Mansfield boy, but I think that’s it as far as the connections go,” said Murray.
“It doesn’t really mean anything to us. It’s Mansfield v Bristol and it’s a game we want to win.
“We want to get three points on the board and get the frustration of the last two weekends out the way. They were two games that I don’t know how we lost and you come away from them feeling very angry.”
He added: “The atmosphere down there is fantastic. It is a massive club - you don’t realise how big it is. We looked around on Tuesday and it was packed.
“They are not a League Two outfit. Fair play to them, they are going for it. “They just got new owners and I read in the programme they have put all kinds of things in place already. They’ve got a performance specialist - and this is in League Two.
“They are having a crack and it will be interesting how it pans out.”
Murray on Craig Westcarr: "He had 24 appearances and 3 league goals and 4 assists. He wasn't going to feature in the next few weeks and he wanted game time, so we put the circular out and Southport came in."
Murray on the close-season: "we'll get to the summer and make us better" for next season.
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray explains Craig Westcarr loan decision
chad.co.uk, John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray this week explained his decision to allow one of his four strikers, Craig Westcarr, to go out on loan to Southport when Stags are short on goals.
Murray’s men have the second lowest goals for total in the top half of the table, and Murray said: “We are not scoring a lot of goals, but Craig has had 24 appearances and scored three, so would it have made any difference if we’d kept him?
“We needed to shuffle it up a bit to bring a bit more energy into the forward line, maybe a little more pace.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-explains-craig-westcarr-loan-decision-1-7787644#ixzz42aNGCONh
“Craig wasn’t going to feature in the next few games so there was no point in him sitting around with a mopey face, which I understand. If I wasn’t playing I’d be the same.
“He wanted game time so we sent a circular out to all the clubs and Southport came back.
“If I felt at this current time that Craig was going to score five or 10 goals for us obviously I wouldn’t have sent him out. But the pattern shows over 24 games, Craig has been a big part of it, but he’s got four assists and three League goals.
“We have a clause in there that if we need to bring him back for the last stretch, we can do.”
He continued: “No one is stupid. It’s that area in which, as good as the boys have been all round the pitch, we need to be more clinical.
“We just have to keep doing what we are doing and just add that cherry on top. Against the big teams you only get two or three chances and you have to take them.”
Bristol Rovers PREVIEW: I'm grateful for the chance the club have given me says Darrell Clarke
By James McNamara, bristolpost.co.uk, March 11, 2016
DARRELL Clarke has expressed his gratitude for being allowed the opportunity to right the wrongs of a painful relegation as Bristol Rovers prepare to welcome Mansfield Town back to the Memorial Stadium for the first time since the darkest day in their history.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 is a date that Clarke admits will "haunt me forever" after Mansfield midfielder Colin Daniel plundered the only goal of a game that ended with Rovers contemplating life outside the Football League for the first time in their history.
There were calls for Clarke, pictured, to be sacked for his failure to claim enough points to secure safety after taking over from manager John Ward for the final eight games of what had been a sorry season.
Clarke retained his job by the skin of his teeth and went on to win the hearts and minds of the majority of his critics when returning Rovers to the Football League via a penalty shoot-out victory over Grimsby Town on a glorious day at Wembley last May.
"A lot has changed in two years," said Clarke. "With Mansfield coming back to the Mem for the first time since that horrible day, it is a good time to thank the supporters for giving me the opportunity to go and right that wrong.
Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-Rovers-PREVIEW-m-grateful-chance-club/story-28899442-detail/story.html#ixzz42ckZ5RkW
"That day and that game still haunt me now and I know there will always be a minority of people who will never accept me because of what happened.
"I can understand that and the only things I can do are to apologise for it and to keep working hard to try and bring more success on the pitch."
Having masterminded last season's triumph, Clarke has steered Rovers into a promotion challenging position on their return to the Football League at the first time of asking.
They are achievements that have seen him become one of the club's most popular managers of recent times, but he said: "We've moved on since that day, but the time to look back is when you leave a football club.
"I want to be able to look back on my time here and simply be able to feel that I made a difference. I don't want to look back now because I am still hungry to achieve so much more success here.
"I will keep working hard to try and do that and then it will be up to everyone else to make their own minds up on whether I have been a success or a failure once my time here is over."
Rovers strengthened their hopes of earning a play-off place with a 3-1 victory over top-seven rivals AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night - their third successive win.
Clarke's side have also rectified the difficulties they were having on home soil earlier in the season by stringing together a nine-game unbeaten run in front of their own supporters.
"That's the reality of football," said Clarke. "You will go through good and bad patches. You can't always put your finger on why something has changed.
"I have been involved in a lot of promotion-chasing teams and the most important quality they have all had is that they have all been able to stay level-headed through the inevitable ups and down you will experience throughout a season.
"It is great for supporters to get excited when their team win two or three games on the bounce, but for me it is about staying professional.
"We are enjoying the momentum we have at the moment and we can take confidence from that, but, ultimately, it is about ticking the games off as they come.
"The league table is looking good for us at the moment, but there are still 33 points left to play."
Latest | March 2016