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Archived News from November 2015

17th November 2015 14:00

27 minutes of video interview on StagsPlayer. Even a reference to Stagsnet from Muzza ;-)


Midweek news conference with Chris Wilder on Cobblers Player

StagsPlayer subscribers can log into Cobblers Player to watch the full interview:

A few snippets from Chris Wilder:

"Mansfield have done great.
I know quite a few of their players.
I've managed their manager, who was a really good player for me when I was at Oxford. A bright boy, a football man. A bright up and coming young manager, who's got them playing decent football, and has got them together.
There's a number of players who I've managed.
There's Adam Chapman who was outstanding for me at the time at Oxford, and so was Matt Green. They helped us get out of the Conference.
And I've managed Lee Collins as well.
They've got some real good lads and good players.
They're going under the radar a bit but fully deserving of the position that they're in.
They're a dangerous outfit. Committed. Get behind one another. And they've got some talented footballers.
It's big test for us, but I'm hoping we've got momentum and we have the backing of a crowd again and it can keep us going moving forward."

transcribed by Martin


Top six clash excites Stags’ boss
mansfieldtown.net, 11th November 2015

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has hinted at a change of system ahead of Saturday's eagerly-anticipated top six clash at Sixfields, Northampton.

The Stags travel to Sixfields to face a Northampton side who sit one place above the Stags in the Sky Bet League Two table after 16 games of the campaign.

Murray now has defender Krystian Pearce available for selection after the centre-half missed the last four games through suspension and he admits that it gives the Stags an opportunity to ‘do something different’.

“It’s the first time we’ve had our three centre-halves fully fit, so with Pearcey (Krystian Pearce) back it gives us an opportunity to get two targets ‘up there’ and pin them back a little bit."

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/top-six-clash-excites-stags-boss-2796377.aspx#xMFTXC33p64uYiFR.99

He continued: “We defend from the front and Lee’s (Collins) come in and done what we expected him to do. He’s a top player, probably one of the best centre-halves at this level, so he’s come in and carried the mantle.

“With the three there it might give us an option to try something different.

"Building into Oldham, I feel it’s something that might affect them so we’ll have a look at it this week.

“Pearcey had a bit of bad luck missing the four games but it’s a good opportunity for him to get his legs going again.”

Murray’s side, who have recorded five wins on the road so far this season, face in-form Northampton Town who defeated Coventry City of League One in the first round of The Emirates FA Cup last weekend and the gaffer recognises that it'll be a tough test for the Stags.

“They’re flying at the minute, I think they’re a team in form. They were exceptional at Coventry, [it was] a real disciplined performance. They deserve to be where they are and they’re a very attacking team who create a lot of chances. It’s going to be a tough test for us,” Murray said.

“I know their manager (Chris Wilder) very well, I speak to him quite regularly and he’s a good guy. I enjoyed playing under him so his teams are always organised and play in an exciting way.

“I’m looking forward to the game, I think it’ll be a good game and we’re going to have to go there and be disciplined. Our away performances and results have been good so we go there in confidence, we’ll have to be on our mettle.

“It’s a top six clash and we’re up there [in the league table] on merit.”

Away from first team matters, Stags’ youth team host Dereham Town in the second round of the FA Youth Cup at One Call Stadium on Friday night.

“With us not having a home game on Saturday, it’ll be a good opportunity to get people through the doors and support the boys on Friday," said Murray.

"It’s a chance for them [the fans] to see the next batch of players we’ve got coming through. We’ve got some really exciting boys in that group, so it’ll be nice for fans to come and back them.

“Over the next three or four years, we believe we can be successful with the first team and move the club forward and progress like we keep saying. A part of that progression is bringing these kids through, we want to eventually have a large number of our own in the first team.”

Murray included 16-year-old midfielder Cain Smith in his matchday squad for last weekend’s cup tie with Oldham Athletic and the boss wants to continue the process of introducing young players into first team reckoning.

“There’s a couple more that are doing well and they’ll get their opportunity. What it does to the young boys that we’ve already got into the squad is that it gives them a kick up the backside, because if they’re not improving, daily, then they’ll lose a spot.

“It’s good for the older boys in the squad, too. It means they can’t sit on their laurels because if they do want to rest and think that they’ve achieved something then they’ll get their backsides bitten.”

You can watch Adam Murray's news conference, in full, on Stags Player.


No rush for a loan striker for goal-shy Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 11 November 2015

Mansfield Town will not be heading into the loan market for a new striker just yet after a run of three games without a goal.

The Stags have scored just twice in five outings, but boss Adam Murray said he was happy with how many chances his side are creating and confident his strikers would start getting on the end of more of them.

On the possibility of a loan striker, he said: “Not with 16 games gone. The last three games you talk about we had Portsmouth away, then if I am being totally honest we were the best team against Wycombe, and we’ve created three or four open cut chances on Saturday.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/no-rush-for-a-loan-striker-for-goal-shy-mansfield-town-1-7565739#ixzz3rCcTs63O

“You can look at these things in two ways, you can put a headline that we are struggling for goals or you can put a headline that we are creating loads of chances and playing really well. It depends what glass you are holding.”


Mansfield Town steel themselves for busy fortnight
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town are steeling themselves for four games in two weeks, starting at Northampton tomorrow, with boss Adam Murray admitting they could have done without an FA Cup replay at Oldham next Tuesday.

“We’d rather not have it to be honest as that makes it four games to play in two weeks now. It adds to the schedule,” he said.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-steel-themselves-for-busy-fortnight-1-7566378#ixzz3rMVNnmui

“But it’s a game we go into with confidence. We feel we can get something out of it. Then we have a decent tie for the winner against Sheffield United.

“We’d rather not have a midweek game, but we’ve got it, so we’ll go there full strength, we’ll go there to win it and hopefully get through to the next round.”

Monday’s draw sends Stags or Oldham to Sheffield United, who knocked Mansfield out of the Capital One Cup there last season, neighbours Sheffield Wednesday repeating that feat this season.

Murray said: “We’ve got a habit of playing these Sheffield clubs lately.

“It’s obviously a massive club, but I am not really too fussed about that one yet. There’s a lot of work to do before we get there.”

Murray felt Stags did enough not to need a replay last weekend.

“We were frustrated not to win the game as I felt we did more than enough to win it,” he said.

“But again I was really pleased with the performance and I think it was up there with our best performances so far. I enjoyed Saturday. We carved them open at times and we just need one to go in off someone’s backside at the minute.

“We’ve gone over it and had a couple of meetings this week and we do honestly believe someone is close to getting a thumping soon.

“If we weren’t creating chances it would be an issue, but if we keep doing what we are doing, eventually the law of averages says the ball will go into the net.

“We haven’t had the rub of the green with the ball, though at the same time we’ve had chances we have to score.”


Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray hopes crisis opponents Northampton Town keep the club alive
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town head to crisis club Northampton Town for a top six showdown on Saturday with boss Adam Murray hoping his former Oxford manager Chris Wilder’s club get out of the financial mess they are in.

The Cobblers are in liquidation and face a winding-up petition on Monday.

They also needed their wages paying by the PFA this month, but the turmoil seems to have had little effect on the pitch, the side sitting fifth in the table and enjoying an away FA Cup win at Coventry City last weekend.

“They are an excellent side,” said Murray.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-hopes-crisis-opponents-northampton-town-keep-the-club-alive-1-7566368#ixzz3rGgVUWPe

“They were exceptional at Coventry with a really disciplined performance and they are flying at the minute. They are a team in form and deserve to be where they are in the league.

“They are a very attacking team and create a lot of chances. They have a lot of very good players, so it will be a tough test for us.

“I know their manager very well. I had him as a manager and he is a good guy. He is someone I speak to quite regularly and I enjoyed playing for him as a manager. His teams are always organised and play in exciting ways.”

Murray added: “We are looking forward to it. I think it will be a good game. We will have to be disciplined. Our away performances and results have been good, so we go there with confidence.”

Stags will be boosted by the return of centre half Krystian Pearce after a four-game ban.

That was expected to give Murray a headache with Ryan Tafazolli and Lee Collins superb in Pearce’s absence.

However, Murray hinted he is considering a change in line-up and could go with all three centre backs.

“We will have to be on our mettle and it may be an opportunity for us to have a look at something,” he said.

“It’s the first time we’ve had our three centre halves fully fit, so with Pearcy back it gives us the chance to get two targets up there and maybe pin them back a little bit.

“Lee has come in and done what we expected him to do. He is a top player and probably one of the best centre halves at this level, so he has come in and carried the mantle.

“But before that Pearcey was on fire, then had a bit of bad luck missing the four games. So this is a good opportunity for him to get his legs going again.

“This is a game I think we might need two targets up there so with the three in there it might give us an option to try something different. Building into Oldham that is something I think might affect them. We will have a look at it this week, but we do have options.

“Defensively we have been tremendous, from Brian Jensen all the way through to the front men, it’s not just a back four thing. We defend from the front.”

He added: “It’s another new challenge and a top six clash which I think if we’d have said at the end of last season, everyone would have laughed at us. We are up there on merit, but it’s important we keep doing the basics and stick in there.”

With so much going on off the field for the Cobblers, did Murray think was a good time to face Northampton?

“It is probably the worst time,” he said. “These things are always tricky.

“I have had it once in my career when you don’t know if you are getting paid. You don’t know what’s round the corner. Playing would be lying if they said it doesn’t affect you.

“You are going into an environment where you are thinking what if this does go pear-shaped? What if I get injured, what’s going to happen then? What if my contract stops?

“So it’s a two-fold thing. There is a lot of anxiety around the situation, but it can bring you together.

“So for them it’s working at the minute and I know Chris will have them all pulling in the same direction and for the sake of football and, from my point of view, for the sake of Chris, I hope it gets worked out.

“At the end of the day they are a very good team and what goes on off the pitch shouldn’t affect the good work they are doing as a football club on the green stuff.

“I don’t think it will make it any easier for us. If anything I think it will have the reverse affect though, at the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11.”


Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray looking forward to fans’ Question Time
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 11 November 2015

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray said he is looking forward to his Question Time evening with supporters in the brand new 1861 Suite at One Call Stadium tomorrow.

The event, which starts at 7.45pm, follows the Stags Supporters Association AGM at 7pm, and is also open to non-SSA members, priced at £2 entry, which includes a raffle ticket.

“I enjoy these nights,” said Murray. “I think people know the way I am. I am open and honest with people and if they ask me a question, they will get the truth.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-looking-forward-to-fans-question-time-1-7565741#ixzz3rCdHwZLl

“But I’d like to think they are quite happy at the minute so it’s probably quite a good time to go in.

“It’s a big thing we’ve made a point of this season that the cliches of ‘we want people to be the 12th man and we are in this together’, a lot of it can be said with no meaning behind it.

“With us this season we have brought the community and fans into our group and I am hoping they feel that. We are up with the big boys at the minute and challenging teams in that top six or seven that have vast resources to us.

“So it’s important we do come together as a group and we are strong as one.”

He added: “Games like Dagenham and Yeovils when you are up against it and have to dig deep, it wasn’t just the lads on the pitch or in the squad, it was everyone and we appreciate that and will always show our appreciation.

“It will be good to catch up with a few and have a face to face view on expectations. We all want to succeed, but the thing we have to keep is the optimism versus the realism.”

Entry to the SSA AGM is by SSA Season 15/16 membership card.


Injured Mansfield Town defender Luke Jones to make decision on career
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 11 November 2015

Luke Jones is expected to make a decision on his football career this week with the Mansfield Town centre half likely to decide on retirement.

Jones, a superb defender and regular goalscorer from set pieces, came back to the club for a third spell in summer 2014.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/injured-mansfield-town-defender-luke-jones-to-make-decision-on-career-1-7566359#ixzz3rD98z7Uw

But a pre-season Achilles tendon injury has seen him have operations and long periods of rehabilitation without clearing up the problem and his contract expired in the summer.

With no light at the end of the tunnel, boss Adam Murray said: “Luke is having some bad luck.

“He’s worked his socks off to get to a certain point and it’s not improving. He’s now got a decision to make and we will speaking to Luke this week to sit down and see where we go with it.

“He is not in the best position. For someone like Jonah, who is one of the good guys in football, and there’s not many of them, it is a bit of a kick in the so-and-sos.

“But he is a strong character and, whatever his decision, he will make the right one.”


Mansfield Town delighted with speed of Mal Benning recovery
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town are delighted with the speed in which left back Mal Benning is overcoming what was initially thought to be a serious knee injury.

Benning limped off at the end of the home defeat by Bristol Rovers last month with damaged cruciate ligaments which it was feared could see his season over.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-delighted-with-speed-of-mal-benning-recovery-1-7566386#ixzz3rJ1DnDzW

However, he is now walking around with the aid of a brace and could be running again before the end of December.

“Progress has been quick,” said boss Adam Murray. “He came back in with a special brace that fits to his dimensions of his leg and how they need the injury to heal.

“When he first came in he was all over the place with a limp.

“He had two days with the physio and they corrected his walk. It was a mental thing more than anything.

“They said you can walk properly so stop walking like a sausage and the next day he came in he was walking properly.”

Murray smiled: “I think he can play now. Let’s get a big sock on his brace and get him in.

“It’s better than having an operation and the news we got that he didn’t need surgery was brilliant. He’s got to spend seven or eight weeks in that now, then he can start running again. So we are over the moon with that.”


Adi Yussuf in contention for a first League start for Mansfield Town at Northampton
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Adam Murray admitted Adi Yussuf was very much in contention for a first start for Mansfield Town for tomorrow’s trip to fellow high-flyers Northampton Town.

Yussuf, who joined the club from Conference South Oxford City in the summer, has twice notched goals when coming on from the bench and Murray is delighted to see the strides the Tanazian youngster is making.

“He’s made fantastic progress,” said Murray. “He is one of those that we probably took a bit of a gamble on in pre-season. He knows that.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/adi-yussuf-in-contention-for-a-first-league-start-for-mansfield-town-at-northampton-1-7566392#ixzz3rNx2fmXv

“We’ve given him the opportunity and we’ve put a lot of work into him. Credit to him, the games we are seeing at the moment are superb and he deserves a start.

“His hold-up play, his link-up play, his game intelligence, his fitness have all come on leaps and bounds.

“You watch him now and it’s a different Adi Yussuf to the one that played his first game at Rainworth and he does things now that a senior pro does.

“If he keeps working the way he is, he is going to score a lot of goals. Every time he goes onto the pitch now he gets a chance.

“When he does get that run of games he will get into his flow and those chances will be taken.”

Murray admitted: “Adi is very close to a start. It’s a big leap from playing, with all due respect, in the Conference North and South to come in and start in League Two. We’ve seen the step up from the Conference, which is a very strong league.

“It’s all right saying Adi deserves a chance, but he’s got to be ready.

“He has proved over the first couple of months of this season that he can handle it and create chances himself and score goals.

“So he is very close to a start - and that may be Saturday. It’s up to him when he gets it, he’s got to take it. It’s the old cliché - actions speak louder than words.”

A graduate of Leicester City’s academy set-up where he played regularly at youth and reserve level, the Tanzanian striker left the King Power Stadium four years ago to join Burton Albion.

He featured on 31 occasions in two seasons with Burton, before spending 2013/14 at Lincoln City. He also took in loan spells with Gainsborough Trinity (loan), Harrogate Town (loan) and Histon (loan).

Yussuf, nevertheless, was undoubtedly one of the star players in the Conference North last season as his 26 goals took Oxford to within a single point of the play-off places.

Mansfield Town youngsters warned next generation are even hungrier
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has warned the current youngsters in the first team squad that the next generation coming through are hungrier than ever to take their places.

Teenage midfielder Cain Smith was on the bench for last weekend’s FA Cup tie with Oldham Athletic and Murray said there were others ready to follow him and make the next breakthrough.

On Smith, he said: “He’s done brilliant so far. We spotted him in the trials over the summer.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-youngsters-warned-next-generation-are-even-hungrier-1-7566380#ixzz3rNxKY652

“He was at West Brom as a kid so he has a good pedigree and a good background. He is only 16 with an unbelievable hunger to be a footballer.

“He is physically in good shape. He’s got a man’s body, so he is coming to training with us and not looked out of place.

“He is technically good. He gets around and doesn’t mind doing the horrible stuff, so he is another one on the chain of those we are bringing through.

“There’s a couple more that are doing well and they will get their opportunity.

“What it does to the young boys we have already got in the squad is give them a kick up the backside. If they are not improving daily they will lose their spot which is unfortunate but is the nature of the beast.”

Murray added: “With the new youth set-up this is the way we wanted it. Over the next three or four years we believe we can be successful with the first team and move forward and progress, and part of that progression is bringing these kids through.

“Eventually we want to have a large number of our own in the first team which will up standards for the kids already in there.

“As young lads they have to work and do that extra bit of strength and conditioning work as they are still developing. “But everything they want to take a short cut on they will get punished for as this new breed coming through are even hungrier.

“It puts people on their toes, but that’s a good thing and good for the older boys in the squad too as they know they can’t sit on their laurels.

“If they do want to rest and feel like they’ve achieved something, they will get their backside bit. Credit to the boys down at the academy, they are doing a great job and are in the top two of their league.”


Yussuf working hard to repay faith
mansfieldtown.net, 11th November 2015

Striker Adi Yussuf is keen to repay the faith shown in him by manager Adam Murray after he brought him to the club from non-league Oxford City in the summer.

The Tanzanian was a summer acquisition from the part-timers and is currently settling into professional life and Sky Bet League Two football with the Stags. The 23-year-old was keen to express just how much his teammates and manager have played a part in his transitional period and spoke humbly about last season’s form which won him a move to Nottinghamshire.

“The time will come [for me to get some starts], I’m sure the gaffer knows what he’s doing, he’s trusted me so I give him 100 percent trust. There’s no rush, it’s a long season so I’m sure I’ll get my chance.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/yussuf-working-hard-to-repay-faith-2796529.aspx#gxCGDFjs8HoyqmRm.99

“The summer I went to Oxford City, quite a few teams said they didn’t want me and said I wasn’t good enough. In the same year I got a move to league football, I was pinching myself for a good week. I’m glad it’s happened and I just want to establish myself in League Two now. I got lucky at Oxford, we had a good team.”

On Mansfield’s forwards, he commented: “All of them have got different qualities. Matt Green is the fittest man I’ve seen, unbelievably fit. He’s got everything, I see him as an older brother. Every single day he comes to speak to me and gives me advice, I can’t thank him enough.

“(Craig) Westcarr’s a different striker to me but he’ll never lose the ball. His first touch is always on point. The way Beardo (Chris Beardsley) holds the ball up is probably better than any of us. All four of us are different. I take my tips off all of them - we’ve got a close team so we all talk to each other and help each other.”

The former Leicester City youngster was at Oxford City following spells at Histon FC, Harrogate Town and Gainsborough Trinity and Yussuf, speaking in this morning’s news conference, talked openly about the differences between part-time and full-time football.

“At Oxford we were only training on Tuesday night and Thursday night - quite a few people had two jobs so they were coming in late, we’d start training and 7pm and it wasn’t as intense because some people would be tired.

“Here it’s training every day, the gaffer’s working us hard, running every day, it’s good. I’m doing my extra bits but I’m still behind with the fitness side because I’m used to training twice a week so I’m still adapting to it. I’m slowly improving.”

There has been one person in Yussuf’s life that has been a constant presence - his Dad. The striker has heaped praise on his father, who has been there with him every step of the way on his journey to professional football.

“I’ve been through some hard times but my Dad would never, ever let me give up and I’ve never lost faith. If you work hard, then anything’s possible. My Dad never misses a game, if he could he would come to training as well. He’s actually asked me if he’s allowed to come [to training] and watch but I’ve said ‘no’ - that would just be annoying!

“He’s been to different countries [to watch me play], literally every game. Whenever I score, I always go up to him because I know when I score it makes his day and makes him proud - I always thank my Dad. He was the only one that was there for me when times were really bad.”

You can watch Yussuf's news conference on Stags Player later.


Striker Adi Yussuf hoping for a Mansfield Town start
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Striker Adi Yussuf is hoping he may get the call to start a League game for Mansfield Town for the first time at Northampton Town on Saturday.

But the Tanzanian youngster is happy to wait for his chance and still in dream land at landing the summer move from Conference North Oxford City.

Boss Adam Murray has hinted the 23-year-old is high in his thoughts for a first start this weekend.

But Yussuf said: “When the time comes it comes, there is no rush.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/striker-adi-yussuf-hoping-for-a-mansfield-town-start-1-7566370#ixzz3rGgk1nFI

“I am still pinching myself and can’t believe I am still here. The time will come. I am sure the gaffer knows what he is doing and he has given me my chance here.

“He’s trusted me so I give him 100 per cent trust. It’s a long season so I am sure I will get my chance and when that comes I will take it.

“I couldn’t have dreamt it before last season. Being here is really is like a dream come true. But I am glad it’s happened and I now just want to establish myself in League Two.”

Yussuf, nevertheless, was undoubtedly one of the star players in the Conference North last season as his 26 goals took Oxford to within a single point of the play-off places.

However, he modestly said: “I got lucky at Oxford.

“It wasn’t just me - we had a good team as well so I scored quite a few easy goals which they made for me, so I am really thankful that we had a good team that year.

“They are doing well again this year, I always follow them and see how they are doing. It’s a good set-up and a good manager which really made it easy for me.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got a move to Mansfield, considering the last few years I’ve had with injuries and getting released from other teams.

“I’d been on trial the same summer as I signed for Oxford City, but teams said they didn’t want me - I wasn’t good enough. But Oxford took the chance and then the same year I get a move to the League. I have to keep pinching myself.

“Now I just want to do well for Mansfield Town and hopefully go higher.”

He added: “Don’t get me wrong, I have been through some hard times. But my dad would never, ever, ever let me give up and, to be fair, I have never lost faith. My morals are that if you work hard, anything is possible.

“I just carried on working hard, never lost faith and it’s paid off.”

Yussuf has scored twice coming on a substitute and said the fitness levels and pitches were the two biggest differences he had found in the step-up in standard.

“The standard is obviously a lot higher,” he said. “Everyone is fitter, stronger, quicker and that is what I am trying to adapt to.

“Obviously the pitches are better as some of the pitches I played on last year I don’t think you’d walk your dog on, so it’s easier in that aspect.

“At Oxford we were only training Tuesday night and Thursday night, and there were quite a few people who were doing two jobs. So they were coming in late and tired. So it wasn’t as intense as here where we train every day.

“The gaffer works us hard here and we are running every day, which is good. I am still doing my extra bits too as I am still behind with the fitness as I was only used to training twice a week.

“I have adapted to it now and am slowly getting there.

“Even now it’s still a shock to the system, training hard every day. The body was not used to it.

“I did all right pre-season but then I picked up a niggle which kept me out for a week which obviously put me even more behind. I am always trying to better myself and work hard to get my chance when hopefully I will take it.”

A graduate of Leicester City’s academy set-up, where he played regularly at youth and reserve level, the striker left the King Power Stadium four years ago to join Burton Albion.

He featured on 31 occasions in two seasons with Burton, before spending 2013/14 at Lincoln City. He also took in loan spells with Gainsborough Trinity (loan), Harrogate Town (loan) and Histon (loan) before his move to Oxford City.

Although many of the Oxford players were part-time with other jobs, Yussuf is grateful he was well looked after by Oxford and given every chance to make it without seeking extra employment.

“Oxford were good to me,” he said. “I am from Leicester so they gave me a place to stay and everything I needed to just concentrate on football.

“I will always thank Oxford as they gave me everything to get me where I am now. They gave me an house to stay in and a gym to train at for free. It’s paid off.”

Yussuf said he was learning every day from the other three strikers at the club.

“All of them have different qualities,” he said. “Matt Green is the fittest man I’ve seen.

“He is unbelievably fit and he’s got everything. I see him as an older brother. Every single day he comes and speaks to me and gives me advice and I can’t thank him enough.

“Craig Westcarr is obviously a different striker to me. His quality is that he will never lose the ball and his first touch is always on point.

“Beardo (Chris Beardsley) has a different quality to all of us. The way he holds up the ball is better than probably all of us. All four of us are different and I take tips from all of them.

“All three are experienced strikers and they all come and speak to me. We all help each other which is good.

“The boys are buzzing, especially as it’s a new group. I think we’ve bonded quicker than the gaffer expected. It’s good to be in this position now and there is only room for improvements.

“I don’t think we are at our best yet and we are sixth. I don’t think I am 100 per cent fit yet, so hopefully I will get there and can give more to the team. I am looking forward to the season.”

Yussuf said the biggest influence on his career had been his father - and he celebrated every goal he scored with him.

“My dad and mum never ever miss a game,” he smiled. “If my dad could he would probably come to training as well and watch every training session.

“He has actually asked me if he is allowed to come and watch but I’ve said no as that would just be annoying.

“He comes to every single game no matter where it is. He’s been to different countries - literally every single game.

“When I score I always run up to him as when I score it makes his day and makes him proud. I always thank my dad.

“He used to play professional football in Tanzanier as well in the Arab Nations and that, so it’s literally like me playing for him.

“When times were bad, really bad, and I was at home on my own, he was the only one that was there for me so I owe him and thank him everyday.”

On Saturday’s game at Northampton, he added: “It’s a massive game.

“The gaffer has planned something a bit different for Saturday and changed it up a bit, so we are looking forward to it.

Yussuf will now be hoping he is part of that new plan to beat the Cobblers.



Latest | November 2015