MURRAY ON NEW MANAGER WHILE GREGORY JOINS HALIFAX
Murray delighted at Stags decision to hand job to Russell
Evening Post, 24 Dec 2010
ADAM Murray today admitted he expected Mansfield Town to go for a more experienced manager than Duncan Russell – but is delighted he has been given the nod.
The new Stags boss has never bossed at senior level, although he has been on the backroom teams at Blackburn, Walsall, MK Dons and Macclesfield prior to coming to Field Mill as David Holdsworth's assistant.
The move by Mansfield chairman John Radford has drawn criticism from sections of the club support, who wanted a well-established man at the helm.
But Murray insists there have been no complaints in the dressing room, where Russell and assistant Paul Hall have brought unity.
"I was a bit surprised. I think everyone had their minds on Dave Penney because he has been at a few of our games," said Murray.
"I think Duncan was a bit shocked too, but I'm happy about it and I'm sure the rest of the lads are too.
"As the weeks have gone on we have taken to Russ and Hally and they have got everyone playing for each other.
"Before the old manager went I don't think everyone was pulling in the same direction but they are now.
"They have really lifted our spirits and they have done especially well to do that at a time when there has been a lot of difficult things going on off the field that could have meant we ended up feeling sorry for ourselves."
Several of Mansfield's players see their loan deals run out in January including Murray's.
But the 29-year-old has cleared up any confusion over his future by confirming he will sign permanently for the Stags on January 1, as was agreed with previous boss Holdsworth when he joined in October.
Murray said: "It's still in place for me to sign in January – Mansfield have already agreed that with (parent club) Luton and I have agreed terms."
"I can't actually sign until the transfer window re-opens, but it is virtually done apart from that and I am still more than happy to sign."
Mansfield hope to beat the wintry weather to take on Grimsby on Boxing Day at Field Mill (1pm), with the club due to hold an inspection at 10am today.
If the game is on, the Stags will have to keep a tight rein on Mariners top scorer Alan Connell who has already bagged 17 goals this season.
"He is going to be a danger no doubt about it, but we have players who have players and ability who can cope with it like Rhys Day," said Murray.
"He has played against a lot of good players before, it is not as if we don't have experience at the back – and that is important."
Midfielder Murray pleased with Russell vow of continuity at Mansfield Town
Evening Post, 28 Dec 2010
A NEW broom sweeps clean, the saying goes.
So it is perhaps no surprise that some members of the Mansfield squad will be relieved their new boss, Duncan Russell, is not completely fresh to Field Mill.
David Holdsworth's former assistant has stepped up into the hot-seat, vowing to limit the number of changes to his playing staff.
That is borne out of the fact he has worked closely with them all season already and is convinced they have the ability to perform better than they are.
Had Mansfield chairman John Radford opted to appoint someone like Dave Penney or Martin Foyle, their respective standpoints may have been entirely different.
As it is, changes in the upcoming January transfer window may now be less widespread, giving those already on the club's books a fresh chance to stake their claim.
Set to sign for the Stags permanently on January 1 – having initially been on loan from Luton – Adam Murray's immediate future looks more secure than most.
But the former Derby midfielder is nevertheless pleased with Russell's stance. He believes, like his manager, that Mansfield don't need to make sweeping changes to start climbing the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
"It is encouraging to here Russ wants to keep the current squad together. There is a lot of talent here and I think in the long run we will show that," said Murray.
"We also have plenty of experience and know-how, people who have done it at this level and above, which is important.
"But we have got a big squad – one of the biggest in this or any division – so I don't know if he might have to move a few people out.
"Russ has got a lot of contacts in the game so I'm sure he will have his eye on one or two to bring in.
"But the main thing is there is already good competition. Even the lads who have been on loan have come in and trained brilliantly.
"That is the type of competition you need if you're going to move to the next level, which I think we are capable of doing."
Murray – in his third spell at Mansfield after playing under both Stuart Watkiss and Keith Curle – has been impressed by the way Russell and assistant Paul Hall have gone about things since originally taking charge in caretaker capacities back in November.
The duo have overseen two victories and a draw in the three games that have been possible amid the lengthy cold snap.
Murray said: "They have both been really positive. There has been a change in atmosphere and spirit. You have to give them credit.
"One thing that was said by Russ straight away was that he didn't know how long he was going to be here – it could have been a day or a few weeks – but whatever issues people may have had were all gone.
"He said he was his own man and that we would all have a fresh start, including those who had not been in the team.
"He said we would get his trust and asked us to give him ours in return and was going to put his own take on things. I think the lads have responded well to that.
"Russ wants us to go out and play in a particular way; he wants us to play with freedom and go out and attack our opponents."
Weather permitting, Mansfield will travel to Cambridge United this afternoon, hoping for better fortunes than on their previous two visits.
The Stags were beaten 3-2 at the Abbey Stadium last season after John Shaw missed a late penalty and were beaten 2-1 by a late goal in 2008-2009.
"I think they are one of the big clubs in this league and they have a good manager in Martin Ling," said Murray.
"Things haven't quite gone as well as they would have liked in the first half of the season, but they have some good players and played well when I played against them for Luton earlier in the season.
"They will be well organised and will be a tough test for us. I don't think I've played with any of their team before but I've played against Paul Carden loads of times and their is usually a bit of banter between us."
Another tough away trip follows to Grimsby on New Year's Day, but Murray and the Stags squad are aiming high.
He said: "We go into these two away games with confidence and with a good buzz about the club.
"They are two teams who expect to be fighting for promotion.
"But I know Russ will be drumming it into us that coming away with anything less than six points will not be satisfactory.
"If you set your targets low, then you are always going to be disappointed but if you aim high and then almost get there, it's not too bad."
Gregory moves to Halifax
mansfieldtown.net, Fri 24 Dec 2010
Lee Gregory has today signed for AFC Halifax Town for an undisclosed fee.
The 21-year-old striker joins the Evo Stik Premier side after impressing on a loan spell at The Shay at the end of last season.
Lee signed for us in 2009 from Stavely Miners Welfare and spent much of last season on loan to Glapwell followed by Harrogate Town and Halifax.
Gregory has found first team opportunities hard to come by this term and has made just two appearances for us this season, scoring one goal in our 2-1 win at Southport in September.
We would like to thank him for his efforts during his time at Field Mill and wish him well for the future.
Grand delighted to be back at Field Mill as he relishes Boxing Day clash with Grimsby
Evening Post, 24 Dec 2010
AND so, after all the drama and uncertainty of the last few weeks, it is back to Field Mill for what Mansfield Town hope will be their first league game in a month.
As ever in the recent cold snap, Boxing Day's game with Grimsby Town is by no means a racing certainty to go ahead.
If it does, all concerned will be delighted the fixture is taking place in the town, rather than in Ilkeston, Alfreton, or even Nottingham, Rotherham or Doncaster.
A new lease agreement between chairman John Radford and landlord Keith Haslam means the Stags are no longer homeless – while Duncan Russell has been named manager until the end of the season.
Many a Mansfield fan will raise a glass or two to that over Christmas lunch.
But it is not just the club's fan base that realise the significance of playing at NG18, the players do too – and none more so than Simon Grand.
Although the central defender is one of the newest arrivals at the Stags, he has experienced a similar scenario at one of his previous clubs.
And the 26-year-old is determined Mansfield can ride on that timely boost to record a victory over Grimsby Town, a team just one place and two points below them in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
"I've had it before at Northwich where we were locked out of the ground and I saw it happening again here," said Grand.
"But this one has been sorted much quicker. It would have been a shame had we missed games there as it's such a nice ground where you can get a good crowd behind you.
"As a player you can't really afford to get side-tracked by what goes on off the field.
"If you start worrying too much about it, then it affects your own job, which is getting results out on the pitch.
"You have to trust the board to sort it out and they have done, pretty quickly.
"It will probably be a bit easier because we haven't had to play anywhere else and the aim is to show it with a win over Grimsby."
Grand, currently on loan from Fleetwood, has spent a spell at Blundell Park at the tail end of 2006-07 season.
But he made just seven appearances, three of them as substitute, before leaving in the summer.
Grand said: "The six months I was at Grimsby was probably the most unhappy time of my career.
"It was a couple of years ago and Alan Buckley was the manager, but it just didn't work out.
"It was disappointing because I had left such a good club like Carlisle and then I wasn't in the team.
"These things happen in football. Neil Woods is manager now, and he was on the coaching staff when I was there. He has done a fantastic job."
Grand is not surprised that Grimsby, relegated from the Football League at the end of the season, have found it far from easy at non-league level, much the same as the Stags.
"Gone are the days when a side goes down from the Football League and goes straight back up. There are too many big teams now," said Grand.
"At one time this was not just a game in the Football League but two teams who might be up there challenging for promotion.
"But there are a few teams in this league who you could say that about, teams who if they were in League Two now could stay up and do well.
"That's what makes this league so competitive and hard to get out of.
"Both Mansfield and Grimsby are the type of teams who could get on a roll before the end of the season."
Grand was delighted with the way Mansfield disposed of near-neighbours Worksop in their FA Trophy game last time out.
They now host Newport County in the second round on January 15.
Grand said: "Worksop was a difficult one because it's one of those no-win situations as the higher-ranked side.
"It's about doing a professional job and I think we did that and more."
Evening Post, 30 Dec 2010
The first movement of his tenure came with the exit of striker Lee Gregory who has joined former loan club Halifax Town in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Russell revealed it was Gregory who opted to leave Field Mill when the club wanted him to stay.
He said: "The chairman, chief executive (Steve Barker), Paul Hall (assistant manager) and myself all wanted him to stay here and graft to get himself into the team.
"I told him I wanted him to stay but he was not willing to do that. I am not going to stand in the way of a player who is disgruntled."
Latest | December 2010