HEED PREVIEWS + ADAM MURRAY SIGNS
Adam Murray is back!
mansfieldtown.net, Fri 01 Oct 2010
Fans' favourite Adam Murray has returned to Field Mill after signing for three months on loan from Luton Town.
He is then expected to put pen to paper on an 18-month contract in January 2011.
The tough-tackling midfielder, who celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday, enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Field Mill in 2002 while on loan from Derby County, scoring seven goals in 12 starts.
Spells at Kidderminster, Burton and Notts County followed before a return to Mansfield two years later.
In 2005, Murray joined Carlisle United, where he made 50 appearances.Torquay United and Macclesfield were his next stops, before signing for Oxford in 2008, where he enjoyed promotion back to the Football League last season.
Said boss David Holdsworth: "We recognise Adam's quality. He is a player who can score goals and is someone with prior knowledge of our club. He will bring, grit, steel and know-how to our squad."
Adam Murray commented: "This is a club special to my heart. It is like a home for me and I am buzzing to be back."
video interview with Adam Murray --->
New boy Murray: It's great feel wanted at Mansfield Town
THERE was no need for a hard sell from manager David Holdsworth to get Adam Murray to sign up for a third spell at Mansfield Town.
The midfielder knew exactly what he would be letting himself in for, having played at Field Mill twice before under Stuart Watkiss and Keith Curle earlier in his career.
And, finding his first team opportunities limited at Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Luton Town, he had no hesitation in switching allegiances once he got a phone call from Hatters boss Richard Money on Wednesday morning about a potential move.
It was a case of second time lucky for Holdsworth, who had hoped to agree terms with Murray in the summer following his departure from Oxford United.
Murray hopes it will be third time lucky for him, at a club where he feels familiar and comfortable.
"It's great to be coming somewhere I know so well, even if most of the faces have changed," said Murray.
"Mansfield is always a place where I have loved to play and this is a great opportunity.
"It was a strange one because I almost signed here in the summer and my heart was telling me to, but there were other factors to consider.
"I was told I would start at Luton, but it hasn't worked out that way and I haven't started the last three games.
"The manager (Money) didn't say I wouldn't figure in his plans, but when I knew I had the chance to come back to Mansfield it was a no-brainer.
"I met the manager (Holdsworth) on Thursday and he was telling me about the takeover and the new chairman. Everyone now wants the club to move forward and I want to be part of that.
"Every player wants to be at a place they feel wanted and I felt that speaking to the manager here."
Murray joins up with the squad to make an immediate return to Gateshead, where his then-Luton team-mates lost 1-0 last weekend.
He said: "It is one of those places where teams can get caught out.
"But all the squad are determined to get a result up there and I'm keen to play my part. I am certainly not a player to just pick my money up, but someone who gives their all."
Mansfield boss David Holdsworth will be banned from the touchline at the International Stadium after being sent off in the 2-0 midweek defeat at Luton.
But the arrival of Murray has acted as the perfect pick-me -up.
He said: "There is no point signing an average player; it has got to be someone who improves our squad.
"I think Adam is one of the best midfielders at this level if not the division above.
"It has come about because Mr Radford gave me the go-ahead to bring in a loan signing.
"We had a brief meeting and he said if there was the possibility of bringing in a player then I should alert him.
"That has come quickly and I didn't expect it to come this quickly. But if you have your finger on the pulse, sometimes you can surprise people.
"Luton have been very fair and I don't think any other clubs knew about his availability.
"The timing was imperative and if he had been on the open market I think there would have been a lot of competition for him."
Midfielder returns to Mansfield Town for third spell
MANSFIELD Town today made their first statement of intent since John Radford took over as new owner by signing Adam Murray.
The 29-year-old midfielder has signed a three-month loan deal at Field Mill, but his move to the Stags will become permanent in January when he will pen a contract until the summer of 2012.
Murray is well known to Stags fans having twice played for the club before under first Stuart Watkiss and then Keith Curle.
He has made more than 300 senior appearances for ten different clubs, including Notts County and Burton Albion.
He was a target of Mansfield boss David Holdsworth in the summer after leaving Oxford, but instead chose to join Blue Square Bet Premier title favourites Luton.
However, Murray has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth at Kenilworth Road.
He came off the bench in midweek to play against Mansfield in the Hatters' 2-0 victory.
Murray goes straight into the Mansfield squad for tomorrow's trip to Gateshead.
"It was a case of being in the right place at the right time and when we found out there was a possibility of signing Adam we moved quickly to establish it," said Holdsworth.
"I'm very pleased to sign a player of his quality. He can bring us a bit of everything.
"He can score goals and he brings skill as well as grit and know-how.
"He knows the place having been here before and I'm sure the fans will recognise what a top player he is.
"There is no reason why he won't come and play well for us.
"I have always said we are two quality signings short of having a very capable squad.
"We have proved we have got goals in us, but now the midfield is a very competitive area.
"You have got to play well. It is no use just turning up for one or two games at a time. If you do, you will find yourself out of the side."
Touchline ban for Holdsworth at Gateshead
Mansfield Town's David Holdsworth has accepted his one-game touchline ban and fine imposed by the FA after being sent off at Luton Town on Tuesday night.
Referee Steve Cook gave the Stags boss his marching orders after an exchange of views with the fourth official following Steve Foster's red card.
Holdsworth feels he has been harshly treated, insisting he did little wrong and didn't use threatening or abusive language.
But he will not appeal as it could lead to an increased ban should he lose it.
As a result, Holdsworth will watch tomorrow's game at Gateshead from the stands, while assistant manager Duncan Russell will be in the dug-out.
"I don't wish to accept it, but I'm going to. I certainly don't like it," said Holdsworth.
"I have spoken to the chief executive (Steve Barker) this morning and it is with reluctance I have come to this decision because I feel I am undeserving of the punishment.
"The other night I found some of the decisions very interesting and I don't think any manager would have condoned the decisions that went against us in that game.
"The likes of Gary Mills and Gary Silk deserved to be booked but the one for Luke Medley was a terrible decision. I thought the referee's interpretation was questionable."
With Steve Foster banned, Mansfield will have a new captain in the north-east – and fellow defender Chris Smith is likely to be favourite to get the nod.
But Holdsworth is not revealing his hand just yet and said: "I think there are a few contenders and it depends who starts the game.
"I don't wish to reveal but whoever gets it will do a good job, I'm sure."
Spotlight on Gateshead v Mansfield Town
Evening Post, 1 Oct 2010
Gateshead (from): Deasy, Kay, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Heckingbottom, Brittain, Gate, Turnbull, Nelthorpe, Shaw, Mulligan, Fisher, Cook, Ferrell, Marwood, Brown.
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Collett, Silk, C. Smith, Naylor, Sandwith, Stonehouse, Istead, Briscoe, Mills, Nix, A. Smith, Connor, Duffy, Medley, Parker, Gregory, Williams, Cain.
Team news: Gateshead are waiting on the fitness of ex-Stag Jon Shaw (calf), but hope he will be fit.
Paul Farman, Johnny Allan, and Carl Jones (all knee) are set to miss out.
The Tynesiders are set to sign right-back Michael Kay on loan from Sunderland and he could go straight into the team.
Mansfield are without suspended captain Steve Foster, who was sent off in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Luton, with youngster Tom Naylor set to deputise.
But Keigan Parker is back available after serving his three-match ban.
One to watch: Craig Nelthorpe, The in-form left-winger, who was on loan at Hucknall Town in 2005, has three goals in his last two games, including two in Gateshead's 3-1 win at Histon on Tuesday.
Manager: Ian Bogie. The former Port Vale man has justified taking Gateshead professional from part-time that sees them lie tenth in the table.
Naylor backed to do job for Mansfield at Gateshead
Evening Post, 1 Oct 2010
TEENAGER Tom Naylor has been backed by Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth to fill the void left by suspended captain Steve Foster.
The 19-year-old is poised to play at Gateshead tomorrow having made just one previous start for the Stags – a 2-0 win over Altrincham at the end of 2008-2009.
His second-half substitute appearance in the 2-0 defeat at Luton Town on Tuesday night – after Foster was sent off for two yellow cards – was his first competitive action of the season.
Holdsworth expects the former Belper loanee to stand strong alongside Chris Smith at the International Stadium.
"Fozzie (who is now banned for one game) will be missed because I've been delighted with the maturity and leadership he has shown," said Holdsworth.
"The problem we have is that to get players action they have to be loaned out – and then you can't call them back straight away, like with Mark Preece.
"But I have got every faith in Tom, which is why I have refused requests to take him on loan.
"He has progressed how we have wanted – he's more muscular and his technique and understanding have improved.
"I don't think we are throwing him in at the deep end because he's been on the bench, knows what this league is about and is very capable.
"It's now down to the young man to show our faith is justified and, who knows, maybe keep his place."
Holdsworth is weighing up whether to appeal what is likely to be a one-game touchline ban and fine for his own dismissal at Kenilworth Road.
He said: "I either have to take the consequences or risk getting banned for two more games.
"I want to stick up for myself because as a manager, I believe I was entitled to ask questions of the officials, as I did."
Stags midfielder Istead hoping to shine among familiar faces
Evening Post, 1 Oct 2010
WHEN Steven Istead talks about "Mum coming to watch us play," he is, of course, referring to himself alone, even if his Geordie accent suggests otherwise.
But it is highly likely she will be well-acquainted with several other players on show when Mansfield Town run out at Gateshead tomorrow – because her son grew up playing with many of them.
The combative 24-year-old midfielder spent his formative years just down the road on the Gateshead side of the river Tyne in Jarrow.
As such, it is no surprise he lists current Heed first teamers Ben Clark, Phil Turnbull, Kris Gate, Craig Baxter and Martin Brittain among his former team-mates from his time on the books of his beloved Newcastle United and later Hartlepool United.
Not only that, but Istead spent a brief spell on the books at the International Stadium, where he played under now boss Ian Bogie, then a member of the club's coaching staff.
No wonder Istead is relishing a return to his native north-east as the Stags look to bounce back from Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat at Luton Town.
"It is about five minutes down the road from where I used to live and all the family and friends will be there, so it's a massive game for me," said Istead.
"It's really nice for my mum, particularly because she doesn't get to see me as much these days.
"She will go mad if I play well, especially if I score!
"I played for Gateshead for three months when I got released by Hartlepool at 20 and I was trying to get fit after injury, but they saw me at my worst.
"I didn't do very well, which was a shame – so it would be nice to go up there and show them I can play well after things have turned around.
"I know most of their team from when I was playing up there. Phil Turnbull was my best mate at Hartlepool when we came through together.
"They are trying to attract the right type of player and have a good coach in Ian Bogie. They are a decent team and will make it hard."
Two former Stags players now ply their trade at Gateshead – who have kept clean sheets in five of their six home games.
Left-back Paul Heckingbottom joined the Tynesiders, initially on loan, towards the end of last season, while Jon Shaw moved north in the summer for family reasons.
Istead said: "I can only speak from my own experience and I know playing against an old club always adds that extra bit of spice.
"You want to do well and, if they have let you go, prove to them they were wrong to do so."
After initially being out of the Stags team, Istead has now started the last five games – his best run since joining the club in June 2009.
"I'm chuffed to be back involved and the fact the team is doing well in an added bonus," said Istead.
"The role I am playing suits me quite well – it's the role I used to play for the gaffer at Ilkeston.
"I used to be an out and out right-winger when I was younger, but know I am a bit more defensive- minded.
"With me tucking in a little bit it gives Adam (Smith) a free role – and that's what you want from him.
"He can trouble defences and he doesn't have to worry so much about tracking back in because he knows there will be cover.
"If you keep clean sheets, you are a lot more likely to win matches."
Stags must produce the goods against the top teams
Evening Post, 30 Sep 2010
STEVEN Istead insists Mansfield Town must start producing the goods against the Blue Square Bet Premier's top sides if they are to mount a serious promotion push.
The Stags were beaten 2-0 at title favourites Luton Town on Tuesday night to slip from second to fourth in the table.
They have also lost at the two teams – Fleetwood Town and Newport County – who were at the top of the division ahead of last night's matches.
It was a similar story for the Stags last year when they only twice beat teams who finished in the top six.
Mansfield face AFC Wimbledon, Rushden, Darlington and Crawley in October – all teams who have play-off or automatic promotion aspirations – and Istead is hoping the team can shine.
"The next few weeks are massive because we play all the big clubs around us and that will tell us where we are," he said.
"We haven't got carried away just because we have been up around the top of the table. We know we can't think we have done the hard work because there is a lot more to come.
"Only when we have played those teams around us will we be able to judge how good we are because we haven't played that many of them yet.
"After the next couple of months we should have a really good idea of how strong we are. If we want to stay up there, we have to beat the best teams."
"But we definitely go into those games in a positive frame of mind. "We have beaten some of the so-called lesser teams convincingly with clean sheets. It shows how well the back four and Mazza (Alan Marriott) have played."
Latest | October 2010