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Archived News from September 2016

18th September 2016 10:38

Murray staying positive despite mounting injuries
mansfieldtown.net, 12th September 2016

Stags’ boss Adam Murray says there’s enough quality in his injury-hit squad to keep winning points in Sky Bet League Two, despite having five players missing with various injuries.

Defender George Taft limped out of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Barnet at One Call Stadium with a hamstring injury to join fellow defender Kyle Howkins and centre-midfielders Jack Thomas, Chris Clements and Adam Chapman on the sidelines.

And after securing an impressive 11 points during the opening month of the season, the manager says his side need to ‘dig in’ to keep picking up points in Sky Bet League Two at a time when he has just 15 fit outfield players to choose from.

“It’s one of them things. We’re not doing anything on that side of things, or physically, different to what we were doing last season and we didn’t get anything [injury-wise], sometimes Lady Luck doesn’t like it does she and she likes kicking your face and pulling your hamstrings,” Murray said at his Monday morning news conference.

“At the minute, the injuries are starting to tot up now and they’re starting to have an effect on what we can do. If we’re being honest, we probably haven’t had our strongest team out this season so that is becoming a pain, we’re down to 15 outfield players.

“We were hoping this morning the checks would come back positives on the assessments on the players that we thought may be [available] but we’re looking at another two-three weeks before we see any more bodies back in.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/murray-staying-positive-as-injuries-mount-up-3303400.aspx#MjBsRCDpwkdatbXC.99

“We’ve got to dig in now. Dig in and get through this tough time, get through the ups and downs that we’re having and I’m more than confident that we’ll come out of this and I felt it in the summer, I feel it now, we’ll be 'up there' at the end of the season.”

Stags currently sit in tenth position in Sky Bet League Two and Murray now wants to see his side improve their home form to build on their solid start to the season.

“It is [disappointing], but then you flip it on its head and you say ‘would people expect you to go to Leyton Orient and win? Would people expect you to go to Newport and win?’ - they are two really tough places in this league to go.

“I think we’re still in a very good place, we’ve had a good start and it’s one of them where we need to get the hoodoo of this home form off our back because ultimately that will decide whether we are going to be amongst the big teams at the end of the season.”

Looking ahead to the trip to the North East to face Hartlepool United on Saturday, Murray says the focus will be entirely on his own squad as they prepare to face the Monkey Hangers.

“They’ll try and play. I think last year they finished strong, they’ve got some good players, some good attacking threats, but we need to make sure that we try and, with the bodies we’ve got available, we put something in place [to make sure] we impose ourselves on them.

“We’ve got good players here so until we get that full squad back, it’s about making sure we’re as good as we can be and the focus being on us.”

Supporters will be able to watch Adam Murray’s news conference, in full, later today on Stags PlayerHD.


Injuries bite as Stags go down to 15 fit outfield players
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk, Monday 12 September 2016

Mansfield Town look likely to be down to 15 outfield players for this weekend’s tough trip to Hartlepool United.

Central defender George Taft was their latest injury victim in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Barnet and, although Stags have not yet had the full analysis of his hamstring injury, it seems unlikely he will be ready for the weekend.

Adam Chapman joined fellow central midfielders Chris Clements and Jack Thomas on the treatment table before last weekend with a groin strain and it seems unlikely any of those will return to full training this week.

On loan defender Kyle Howkins is out with a hamstring injury for at least a month and striker Danny Rose is battling on with a protective mask on his fractured eye socket.

Taft’s injury was not helpful on Saturday as Murray’s formation had to be changed midway through the first half.

“Again after 20 minutes we had to change the whole thing, which threw us,” said Murray.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/injuries-bite-as-stags-go-down-to-15-fit-outfield-players-1-8120481

“I thought the shape looked really good for the first 20 minutes and we were controlling it.

“At the minute the injuries are starting to tot up and starting to have an effect on what we can do.

“To be honest we probably haven’t had our strongest team out this season, so that is becoming a pain. We are down to 15 fit outfield players.

“Until we get that full squad back it’s about making sure we are as good as we can be.” He added:

“We were hoping this morning the checks would come back positives in the assessments of the players we thought may be back, but we are looking at probably another two or three weeks before we see any more bodies back.

“So it’s tin helmets on and get through it. Although we are down to 15 players, they are good players.

“It hurts your consistency not being able to name a same XI week after week where everybody start to grown with each other.

“That’s a problem at the minute, but we do still have 15 very good players. “You only need 11. So we’ll put an 11 out on Saturday that can rock and roll.”

Murray was not anticipating good news on Taft this week. “We’ve not had the scan results back yet but our physios are very good here and they’ve told me it’s not good,” he said.

“It’s one of those things. We are not doing anything on that side of things physically any different to what we were doing last season, and we didn’t get anything.

“Sometimes Lady Luck doesn’t like you does she? She likes to kick you in your face.

“But every team goes through it. Everybody has it and it’s good we are having it in the first two months of the season when we are three points off second.

“But we’ve got to dig in no and get through this tough time and the ups and downs we are having. I am more than confident we will come out of this and be up the end of the season.”

With the transfer window closed until January and Stags going with a small squad, Murray admitted: “This is now the gamble. We are in it.

“We have 15 outfield players and all the cards are out now - and I’ve never gambled in my life!”


Stags boss Murray calls for ‘grit and determination’ at Hartlepool
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray wants to see his depleted side produce the ‘grit and determination’ they showed in the wins at Newport and Leyton Orient when they head for Hartlepool United on Saturday.

He also underlined that the biggest blow for the club right now was missing all three key midfielders Chris Clements, Adam Chapman and Jack Thomas.

After a hamstring injury last weekend Stags are now without George Taft as well as Kyle Howkins and the midfield three, leaving them with just 15 outfield players.

“We have 15 really good players and you only need 11 don’t you? We will put out 11 players on Saturday that we feel can rock and roll

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-murray-calls-for-grit-and-determination-at-hartlepool-1-8127706

“On Saturday I want to see that grit and determination I saw when we had 10 men against Yeovil, when we won last minute at Leyton Orient and when we won last minute at Newport.”

Hartlepool are without a home win all season and had only won one game until last weekend when they pulled off a timely success at Yeovil.

“It’s one of those things isn’t it?” said Murray. “But we are going to focus on ourselves. We are going to Hartlepool and we want to win.

“They do try to play. I think last year they finished strongly. They have some good players and some good attacking threats.

“We need to make sure, with the bodies we have available, we try to put something in place that imposes ourselves on them.

“We have good players here. So until we get that full squad back it’s about making sure we are as good as we can be.”

Stags were booed from the pitch after a 1-0 home defeat by Barnet last weekend, and Murray said:

“These fans at home get that angry because a lot of them don’t see it because they don’t travel away. And they go ‘okay we’ve heard about it and listened to it, but we want to see it’. It’s us that’s got to change that.

“Some of our performances this season have been super.

“You look at the games we’ve gone away and won and the performances we’ve put it, they have been outstanding. They have been promotion performances.

“Now we need to get that consistency home and away. When we get the group back together I believe that will come.

“It’s dig-in time, but we know it’s there.”

Murray knows his side is short of a creative central midfielder right now, but said: “You need one out-and-out ball-playing midfielder in your team.

“To be fair I thought Lee (Collins) and Mitch (Rose) did well on Saturday. I thought Lee was outstanding and Mitch did well.

“Having that energy in there helped. Mitch hasn’t played central midfield in a two for a long, long time, if he ever has.

“It’s a lot of positional discipline and he’s got to learn that. But I did feel at times we missed that cutting edge.

“Clem and Chappers get called for this, that and the other at times, but they’ve got the ability.

“Will they give it away at times? Yes, they will as they’re in League Two.

“But they’ve got the ability to hit that 40/50-yard pass that does open a defence up. And I thought there were points in the Barnet game where we could have penetrated a little quicker.

“That comes from a player like Clem picking the ball up on 18 yard box and try to put someone in on their 18-yard box.”

He added: “You have to have that balance of being able to play and keep the ball, but go for people’s jugulars, and we missed that a bit on Saturday.

“We are going to be without that for a few weeks so we’re going to have to re-invent ourselves.”


Home form must improve admits Stags boss Murray
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk

Adam Murray is not too despondent over Saturday’s first home League defeat by Barnet - but the Stags manager admits his side need to get some consistent home form going if they are to find success.

Stags, who play three of their next four games away, have not had a wonderful home record since returning to the Football League three years ago.

“We’ve had a good start, but we need to get the hoodoo of this home form off our backs as, ultimately, that will decide whether we are going to be among the big teams up there this season,” said Murray.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/home-form-must-improve-admits-stags-boss-murray-1-8123111

“Overall, from the fans to the players to the staff it’s like a little black mark at the minute. We’ve just got to keep trying to put it right.

“It’s not like we’re turning up and going ‘we don ‘t care about it’. We care more than anything. We’ve got to try to tick that box as it’s a big step in our progress.

“Let’s be honest, historically our home form is not great is it? That’s why it is constantly a big issue and it’s something you can’t really put your finger on.

“It’s like on Saturday. People say we didn’t create opportunities. But we had 14 shots and 56 entries into the final third - that’s opportunities. I am not saying they are chances, I’m saying they are opportunities to make something happen.

“We’ve got to be better than that. You can’t get in those areas that many times and not do something. I felt we should have had a goal. You can’t hide away from it. But we’re still in a very good place.

“In terms of tactics, what do you do? We played with two centre forwards, two out-and-out wingers and we have gone and tried to attack them.

“The only other you can do is put three big fellows up there and whack it every time you get it and try to get it in the box, to be fair we tried both on Saturday.”

He added: “It is disappointing but then you flip it on its head and say would people expect us to go to Leyton Orient and win. Would people expect us to go to Newport and win?

“They were two really tough places in this league to go, so I think at the minute it’s all balanced itself out because of not picking the points up at home.”

Murray’s biggest problem right now is the never-ending flow of injuries. “I think we’re going to be a very good team,” he said.

“The thing that’s killing us at the minute is again after 20 minutes you’ve got to change the whole thing, which threw us.

“We need that consistency. Last year from the off we knew our shape, our team that was going to put the shirts on and the people that were going to fight for those shirts to get in the team.

“Because of all the ups and downs at the minute we don’t know our shape, we don’t know what team we can put out. You can’t get into any rhythm or routine. Nothing is constant at the minute - and that doesn’t help. You are bitting and bobbing all the time.

“I think when everything settles down and we get bodies back in the building and back out on the pitch, and when we can start getting that flow and that consistency that will be a massive change. I don’t think we’ve had the same back four for 90 minutes yet.”

There were boos from the stands on Saturday at the end of the 1-0 defeat by Barnet, but Murray said:

“I understood people’s reaction on Saturday because I felt the same.

“When people were abusing me I wanted to scream back at them as I think we all felt we should have won on Saturday. So I have no qualms with that. We move on.

“I am buoyant after the weekend. I had a bad day on Sunday, but it was spent studying and we aim to get better.

“The eighth time of watching it I got a little bit more out of it. It was annoying.

“I spoke to a lot of people over the weekend who were at the game and people whose opinions I respect and first half I think some of the play was really good.

“We opened them up and we pulled them apart. So I think the passion from everybody in the ground after the game, including myself in the dressing room, and the players in the dressing room, was because we felt we should have won the game.

“I think when they scored we looked a bit shellshocked to be honest with you. We’d had large parts of the game, so to concede a goal like we did was like a knife to the heart.” Murray added:

“There were a lot of good bits on Saturday but we can’t have games like that and not win. Fair play to Barnet.

“Scott Shearer’s not had a save to make. I think he’s had two low crosses to come and collect and then pick the ball out the net which summed up the game.

“One thing we missed on Saturday when we did get into that third was that ‘grrrr’. I felt we lacked that little bit of ‘let me out the cage and let me put something or somebody in the back of the net.

“That’s the thing that wound me up on Saturday. We needed that little bit of nastiness to say ‘get out my way, this is going in the back of the net. We were too nice.”


Stags loanee Iacovitti shows his class on debut
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray was delighted with loanee Alex Iacovitti’s debut in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Barnet.

The Forest loanee had a fine game in the Stags’ defence and as he prepared his players for the trip to Hartlepool this Saturday, Murray said of the 19-year-old Scot: “He was outstanding, top drawer.

“We started him off on that left hand side and I thought his distribution was outstanding. “I said before the game he is a kid in a man’s mind and body.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-loanee-iacovitti-shows-his-class-on-debut-1-8124742?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

“He’s an aggressive little so-and-so, but he can play. “I felt the balance of the side was really good and when we had to shift it around it threw us a bit for five or 10 minutes.

“I wasn’t surprised, he did what I expected him to do.”

Murray understands some fans want to see the club’s own youngsters given an opportunity but tried to explain the gulf in class between the Forest youngster and what was in the building right now.

He said: “Yes he is a 19-year-old kid and I know some people looked at it and went ‘why aren’t we using our 19-year-old kids?’

“You have to understand this 19-year-old kid has been at one of the top academies for 12 years. “He is an international and he has played in the Championship at 18.

“We have very good kids here, but they are probably a year or two behind as they haven’t had that education from 10 or 12 building up.

“They’ve come from the local Sunday team and, with all due respect, it’s not the environment a top academy gives you. So we have to be a little more patient with our kids, though they will come.

“You look at how well they are doing this season again and they are 16/17-year-olds. We have to be patient.”


Rose risk as Stags admit gamble
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk

Stags boss Adam Murray admitted it was a risk to play Danny Rose last weekend as the striker recovers from a fractured eye socket.

Rose got through the game wearing a protective mask, surviving a kick to the face early on in the 1-0 defeat by Barnet, and will again be in the squad for Saturday’s trip to Hartlepool United.

“It was risk v reward,” said Murray.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/rose-risk-as-stags-admit-gamble-1-8127092

“But when you’ve got your best players and there is a percentage that you can get them on the pitch, we had a conversation and I won.

“It was an excellent mask. The guy who made the mask was Zorro’s brother!” There was one worrying moment as Rose was caught by a high boot, but Murray said:

“It didn’t look like it got the injury as he carried on playing.” The manager said he didn’t know how long the socket would take to heal, saying:

“I’ve have no idea. Once I knew he could wear a mask I stopped anyone asking questions!”

Rose has recently served a three game suspension, playing only in the EFL Trophy home defeat by Doncaster in which he suffered the injury.

Murray continued: “I thought Danny played really well on Saturday. He put himself about. You could tell we’ve missed him.

“He has got great energy and I think he’s going to score a lot of goals for us. He can score but he can link up as well and he had a superb game.

“I think towards the end you could see he hadn’t played a lot.

“One chance fell to him on the edge of the box and his touch let it get away from him. I think if he gets that opportunity this Saturday, he scores.”


Derby day as Stags and Spireites clash in Central League
by JOHN LOMAS, chad.co.uk

Bitter local rivals Mansfield Town and Chesterfield will lock horns once again this afternoon, this time in the Central League reserves clash at Rainworth MW’s Kirklington Road ground (2pm).

It will be the second game for Mike Whitlow’s new U21s Stags squad, though there may be U18s and possibly the odd first team name on show too.

A local derby at any level will raise pulses and Stags manager Adam Murray said:

“It’s a huge game. “People must understand with this U21s team, a lot of kids who finished the game against Rotherham were development lads.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/derby-day-as-stags-and-spireites-clash-in-central-league-1-8123122

“They weren’t U21 lads or youth team lads. They were lads from the development scheme which is half college course and half football, so they did absolutely fantastic.

“That’s a new project. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a couple of years to get the benefits from it like the youth team.

“We are only 18 months into the youth team. We didn’t have a youth team 18 months ago so you can’t expect to have the apples off the tree straight away. It’s patience. It’s a growing project - but we can all see the light there.”

With so many injuries and just 15 fit outfield players available for next weekend, Murray admitted playing any first teamers today would be a risk. But he explained the ethos behind the new U21s side, saying:

“Sometimes we’ll have first team players in there who want minutes and fitness, sometimes we’ll put people in to try things out, and sometimes it’s about giving the kids experience.

“It’s me, Demps (John Dempster), Mike (Whitlow), Coops (Richard Cooper) and Karl (Hawley), we all sit down and make sure we know what the plan is for that particular encounter and what we want to get out of it as we’ll want different bits.

Mike Whitlow’s side began their 2016/17 campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win away at Rotherham United last week through winger Charlie Shaw’s sixth-minute goal while the Spireites secured a 2-0 opening day success over Grimsby Town thanks to a brace from teenage striker Ricky German.

Admission this afternoon is admission price is £3, however U16s are admitted free of charge with a paying adult. Stags will also face Shrewsbury Town and Nottingham Forest in their other Central League Cup fixtures.



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