MURRAY CALLS FOR FANS BACKING
Bring it on, says Stags chief
mansfieldtown.net, 5th February 2015
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray says his players have a siege mentality as they enter the month of February in which 18 points are up for grabs.
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Speaking at this afternoon's press conference ahead of Saturday's home game to Stevenage, the Stags' chief spoke candidly ahead of six matches in three weeks, starting with Saturday's visit of eighth-placed Stevenage.
Said Murray: "The boys are bouyant. The group's positive. We have a siege mentality against the world at the minute. We have to dig deep and stick together. We have 19 games remaining, 57 points [to play for]. Bring it on!"
When asked about his team slipping into the relegation places following last week's 2-1 defeat at Carlisle United, he said: "For us as a group, it hasn't changed our frame of mind. We've been in a relegation battle since day one. We need to cut the mistakes out. Earlier in the week, we analysed how we are conceding goals and it is coming in one area. We are putting that right and I am fully confident in the group that is here.
"Like we keep saying, this team has had four games together. If people expected us to hit the ground running... it was never going to happen. I looked at the transfer window and the last day and you see how many signings clubs around us are making, they will have to go through the same gelling period as we've had. We did our business early to allow for these four to six games of bedding in.
"We have to be careful not to do what a lot of people have done and hit the panic button and say 'we must do this, that and the other'. We have to take each game on its merit.
"The boys have performed well 70% of the time. We need to up that now and get a higher percentage of good decisions and get the win ratio up as quick as we can."
In team news, doubts hang over two of Murray's frontmen. Burly striker Matt Rhead withdrew midway through today's training session with a calf injury whilst fellow hitman Vadaine Oliver, our leading goalscorer, is ill with a sickness bug. It follows the more serious injury news from earlier in the week when it was announced that new winger Matty Blair would be out for the season after suffering with a cruciate knee injury.
"I pulled into the car park on Monday, put my breaks on continued to skid into the fence, so that sums it up," smirked Murray.
"It feels like one of those times in life at the minute which you go through as human beings when you have to come out fighting," said the Stags' chief.
"We have players who are more than capable of taking the mantle. Your Alex Fishers and Billy Kees come in to play. We're ready for the battle. The week's preperation has been geared towards getting three points and nothing changes."
Meanwhile, Chris Clements has returned to training following illness and will be fighting for a starting berth. New goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley, who joins us on loan until the end of the season from Newport County, will be aiming to make his debut for the Stags.
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Boss Adam Murray calls on Stags fans’ backing for ‘Project Survival’
by John Lomas, 05 February 2015
As Mansfield Town prepared to begin ‘Project Survival’ with a home clash with Stevenage on Saturday, manager Adam Murray called on supporters to stick together behind the side as the Stags face the first of four home games in a crucial six-game February.
Stags dropped into the bottom two for the first time after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Carlisle United and also lost new signing Matty Blair to injury.
But Murray said: “Everyone has hit the panic button because we have dropped below that dotted line in the table. But nothing has changed our frame of mind at the football club as we have been in a relegation battle since day one.
“The lads are buoyant. We have a siege mentality. It’s us against the world at the minute.
“When I say we have to stick together and it’s us against the world, I include the fans in that. We can’t have fractions, little groups here and little groups there. We have to stick together if ‘Project Survival’ is to be a success.
“Get behind the boys and give them every help to keep this club in the Football League.”
It’s been the week from hell for Murray, but he is still enjoying every minute of the challenge.
He said: “It wasn’t an easy couple of days at the start of the week with Matty Blair’s injury as well. It’s like we are being kicked in the gonads all opportunities at the moment. But we haven’t got time to feel sorry for ourselves.
“We picked the boys up first thing Monday and we have had a good week.
“It feels like one of those times in life that you go through as human beings and groups of people and you have to come out fighting.
“Even in the car mark on Monday when I came in, I put my brakes on and skidded straight into the fence. That sums it up.”
To make matters worse there are now doubts over strike pair Vadaine Oliver (illness) and Matt Rhead (calf) for Saturday.
“We have had a couple of mishaps this week and it’s two of our big hitters,” said Murray. “That hasn’t helped our preparation. But we have just got to dig deep.
“We do have players in there more than capable of taking the mantle.”
Oliver’s illness comes on the back of a similar problem last week for Simon Heslop, who played at Carlisle, and Chris Clements, who missed out.
“Simon was off for the majority of the week but came in Friday and gave us his all,” said Murray. “Clem didn’t make it but was back in training on Monday and has worked hard all week. I think we missed his guile on Saturday.”
Murray said he and the players were looking forward to a busy February, saying: “It is a good period for us.
“As a player you sometimes don’t want to think about things. You just want to go out there and play Saturday/Tuesday.
“We have not had many of those this season. You look at our successful times, especially in the Conference, and we got in a routine of playing Saturday/Tuesday. As a footballer that’s what you want to do.
“We have got to be careful not to hit a panic button and must take each game on its merit.
“When I decided to go for this job at the last minute I knew what I was taking on. I never thought it would be a bed of roses or a barrel of laughs. I knew what I wanted to do. We were going through a rough patch and I knew it would get worse before it got better.
“I have had some sleepless nights. But it’s part of my journey and, I won’t lie, I love it. I am in charge of the football club I love more than anything and I will do whatever is needed.
“People I have spoken to have told me to stick to my beliefs. Fortunately I am a big character myself. I will stick on my path and the path I feel is right for this football club.
“It’s been a steep learning curve, but I believe in myself and what I am doing.
“These players have only have four games together. People expected them to hit the road running but that was never going to happen.
“You saw how many signings clubs around us made in the last week, we did ours early and now those other clubs have got to go through the gelling period. We still have 19 games, 57 points, bring it on.
“Fans are not stupid. It is stating the obvious where we are. It’s about how we get out of it and we will do that by continuing to do what we are doing.
“We have analysed how we are conceding goals and they are coming in one area. We are putting that right and I am fully confident in the group we have here.”
He added: “I can’t get too angry as the mistakes being made right now are honest mistakes - people trying to what they think is right.
“We have had a few heated words to put that right this week. Players in those situations have to take responsibility.
“In this group we have some big characters and the more this goes on the more we will see the benefit of what we have brought in.
“We knew what we were coming up against at Carlisle and we dealt with it well for most of the game.
“We are coming up against much of the same in the next few games. We will be playing some competitive, physical sides and we have got to be ready for the battle.
“We are coming to the part of the season when, with the pitches, it’s tough to play the kind of football you want. We have been able to zip it round a bit until now. It’s all about preparation for each battle and picking horses for courses.”
Saturday will probably see a debut for former Chelsea goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley, who joined the club on Monday on loan from Newport for the rest of the season.
“He is a leader and he is a big signing for us,” said Murray. “He is a huge character. Lenny has had a great career and played at a high standard. Physically, he is a presence.
“At 30 he is just coming into his peak as a keeper as they play until they are 40 now. It will be great for Sasha (Studer) as he will learn a lot from him. Before we had two babies fighting for one place and both learning on the job.”
Pidgeley’s arrival means loanee Adam Smith has returned to Leicester City. But fellow Foxes loanee Callum Elder will play the last game of his month’s loan and Murray hopes that can be extended this week.
“He is a great player and I have no doubt he will play in the Premiership at some point,” he said. “He has slotted in and bought into our ethos. For a young lad he is a big character and it would be good to keep hold of him.”
On opponents Stevenage, he added: “It’s great credit to Graham (manager Westley) that they have a DNA and everyone knows what they are about. We will be prepared for it.
“At their place they beat us up and in the first 10 minutes the game was over. They play at a tempo and have certain attributes that are superb. We have to deal with that.”
Mansfield Town player-manager Adam Murray told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"The league is that tight this season from top to bottom, everybody can beat everybody. It's a case of getting consistency. Anyone up to 15th can go down.
"We are not getting beaten in open play and we are not getting torn apart or pulled open. We are giving teams games and, as a manager, that is the most frustrating thing in the world because your preparation goes out of the window.
"We are looking to nail that and it will go down to the wire.
"We went up against a top-of-the-league team against Wycombe and the performance was superb. We should have won and their manager admitted we should have won the game. It was the same against Burton and against Exeter.
"As a group and a club we feel one win will be a stepping stone to us pushing on. When that win doesn't come you get a little bit anxious but we have to stay focused."
Loanees expected to fill the void left by Pett and Marriott
thecomet.net, 05 February 2015, by Michael Edwards
Bruno Andrade and Danny Johnson are expected to fill the void left by injures to Tom Pett and Adam Marriott when Stevenage travel to Mansfield Town on Saturday.
Andrade and Johnson were 11th hour deadline day loans from Queens Park Ranger and Cardiff City respectively. They joined up with the squad this week and are expected to start at Field Mill
More than just fill in for Pett and Marriott, manager Graham Westley expects the pair to be like-for-like replacements.
“I lost Pett and Marriott through injury when the side has been performing well with Tom’s thrust and Adam’s busyness and eye for goal,” he said. “I didn’t have money to play with so it was a case of leaving it very late in the day and seeing who was still available and who we could get. Both Danny and Bruno were available at the 11th hour and we managed to secure them.
“Bruno will give us thrust; he’s prepared to take the game forward, he’s got pace about him and he’s a good lad to work with. He showed against Portsmouth last season, when he made the first goal, what his pace can do. I’m looking forward to having him back and filling in for Tom.
He added: “Danny has got an eye for goal. He’s got a similar background to Marriott. I spoke to [Cardiff manager] Russell Slade about him much earlier in the season. He offered me Danny before he want to Tranmere so I’ve kept an eye on him - I saw him play while he was on loan there and he was similar to Adam. He’s a graduate from non-league, busy, bright and has an eye for goal.
“Those two will give us what Adam and Tom were giving us before they went out.”
Match preview: Mansfield v Stevenage
06 February 2015, by Michael Edwards
Graham Westley is looking to bounce back from last week’s “shocking” display against Oxford United when Stevenage travel to Field Mill to take on Mansfield in League Two.
Boro lost 2-0 against Michael Appleton’s United at the Lamex Stadium as they recorded back-to-back losses. This Saturday they will look to pick up their first win in three games, and try to complete a league double over the Stags. Chris Whelpdale scored two and Charlie Lee added another as Stevenage won 3-0 back in September.
With Mansfield languishing at the foot of the table, play-off chasing Boro head into the match as favourites, a title Westley is relishing.
“It’s better to be the favourite than the underdog, I think. It doesn’t change our mindset. Whether you’re the favourite or the underdog, you can still win the game so we have to get ready to do what needs to be done to win the match,” he said.
“The last game between us showed that we can beat them. Every game needs to be won on its merits [because] every team will try to produce a different level of performance. But we know we can beat them and we’re long enough in the tooth to know it’s about what you do on the day.
“We’ll go in with confidence but every side is trying to pull a performance together on the day. We need to make sure we’re ready for it and have enough desire to win the points on offer.”
Westley will not have Tom Pett (leg) and Adam Marriott (knee) at his disposal but, with the loans of Bruno Andrade from Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City’s Danny Johnson, plus a possible return for Whelpdale, the manager is expecting a much better performance than against Oxford.
“Whelps will hopefully be back for the weekend - it looks as though we can manage him back into action - which is great because missing him, Adam, Tom and [Dean Wells] took a lot away from us last weekend. We tried to adjust but it was to a completely different game,” he said.
“It’s difficult for a side that’s got into a groove and done well over six or seven games to suddenly start to play a different game. Last week, let’s face facts, we were shocking. The changes were a part of that. That’s not a negative reflection on the side. They had got into a rhythm and a way of playing and had to come out of it and adjust to new players and we didn’t do it very well.
“We’ve brought in lads who give us the sort of threats and creativity we were showing before the injuries. We were a handful to try to deal with, scoring goals and looking threatening; we need to carry on threatening and keep our defensive work at the level it was to make sure we’re wining games convincingly.”
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