Underdog tag suits focussed Stags' boss
mansfieldtown.net,16th September 2015
Mansfield Town will head to Luton Town on Saturday as underdogs, despite having enjoyed a more fruitful start to the season than their Bedfordshire hosts, manager Adam Murray has said.
The gaffer expects a hostile environment at Kenilworth Road and says the Stags’ approach to the game will be tailored to cope with that environment.
“Saturday’s a game where we’re going to have to go there and be solid. We will go there as underdogs so the team selection and the formation we go with will be one of positivity but also one of respect to the environment we’re going to," said Murray, speaking at today's news conference.
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“It’s hostile, it’s tense and it’s a crowd that expects from the home side and they can be a very strong twelfth man. It’s something you have to control down there and the game management is vitally important.
“We’re going there to put points on the board and that’s the main focus.”
Luton have taken just five points from their opening seven league fixtures of the current campaign but Murray believes their performances have been better than the table suggests.
“When you actually sit back and watch the games that they’ve played so far, they’re not playing bad.
“Sometimes in this game, as we know, you don’t get that slice of luck that you deserve and they’ve put in some really good performances where I know John [Still, Luton manager] would believe that they deserve more points on the board than they have got.”
Murray is continuously on the lookout for ways to improve the club and says the recent use of GPS trackers by Wycombe Wanderers is something that he’d be keen to implement.
“I read in the papers at the weekend about Wycombe having the GPS systems for the games and for training and that’s something we haven’t got at the minute.
“It’s something that I’d love because the analysis from that and the data from that is superb and you can programme training and people’s loads to use that data to your benefit, so that’s our next step.
“There’s a lot of growth for us to do as a football club still, so as I said earlier in the week, we’re pushing forward and these little things help."
Stags this week welcomed back goalkeeper Scott Shearer and winger Matty Blair to full training and Murray says the latter is looking stronger and quicker than ever.
“Matty Blair has joined in full training now and he’s probably tempting me a little bit too much because he’s looking strong. It’s a case of patience with him now because we want to get him in [the squad], he wants to get in but we’ve got to bide our time.
“It is a temptation [to put him in the squad] but at the same time we’re not stupid. We’re seven games in and there’s a lot of football to be played and Matt will play a big part in that so it’s about biding our time.”
Our boss says the travelling Stags’ support on Saturday will be vital to the success of his side and wants the club to go to Luton ‘together’.
“We’ll go in there together, we won’t go in there as the football team and the football supporters, we’ll walk in the ground together and we’ll come out together.
“For that 90 minutes we’ll stick together and make sure that we are one and we go into war as one and hopefully at the end of it we’ll come out with more points on the board.”
Mansfield Town still underdogs at struggling Luton Town, says boss Adam Murray
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 16 September 2015
Despite Luton Town sitting 18th in League Two with only one victory, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray knows better than to take the sleeping giants lightly when Stags still travel to the ever-hostile Kenilworth Road as underdogs on Saturday (3pm).
Stags are sitting pretty in seventh place after last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing of Crawley Town, but Murray admitted: “With the battles we’ve had with them in the League and the Conference, we know what we are going into on Saturday.
“It will be a tough encounter and, even though they’ve probably not had the start they wanted, we will go there as underdogs and that suits us.
“But we are not going there to experience Luton Town. We are going there to put points on the board. That’s the whole focus and it has been all week.”
Although Stags have done well in recent seasons at Kenilworth Road, last season saw Stags well beaten 3-0 three games into Murray’s time as manager.
“We were a totally different outfit when we went there last year,” he said. “It was obviously early on in my reign. We go there this season in a different kind of light with a different kind of focus and we will be going there to put ourselves onto them.
“It’s a very tense place to go. As soon as you arrive there you feel the kind of atmosphere around the place. It’s brilliant and as a player I loved going there. Obviously I had a short spell with them and it is a great place to be involved in.
“But we are going there to try to upset the applecart and nothing less. We are in a confident mood. We are on a process I believe is going to be successful and we will be going there to put them on the back foot.
“It won’t be a case of going there and taking in the sights. We will be going there to add to our points total.
“It’s hostile, it’s tense, it’s a crowd that expects from the home side. But they can be a very strong 12th man, so it’s something you have to control down there in that environment and the game management is vitally important.
“We are not going there with fear. We are going there with positivity. We want to stay where we are in the League and push on from there.”
Murray firmly believes the Hatters in a false position right now and will go on to have a good season.
“100 per cent,” he said. “When you sit back and watch the games they’ve played so far, they have not played bad. They are playing well but sometimes in this game, as we know, you don’t get that slice of luck you deserve.
“They have put in some really good performances that I know John (manager Still) will believe they should have more points on the board than they’ve got.
“The League table lies in terms of their position at the minute because we have gone through their squad and their team this week and they have got some very good players. We haven’t kidded ourselves or let the lads believe we are going there to face a weak Luton Town side because they are extremely strong.
“But we will make the week and the preparation about us as we believe we are strong in what we do.”
Mansfield Town fighting Matty Blair recall temptation
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray admitted is having to fight a strong temptation to immediately recall winger Matty Blair after the winger dazzled during his first week back in training after almost eight months out injured.
But Blair, who suffered a serious knee injury in January, will not be in Saturday’s squad at Luton Town.
“Matty Blair has joined in full training now and he is probably tempting me a bit too much because he looks strong,” said Murray.
“He took a couple of kicks yesterday from Mal (Benning) as he was up against Mal as a left back and Mal had a bad morning - put it that way.
“Blairy is looking sharp. I am sure he’s got stronger and quicker which benefits us. It’s just a case of being patient with him now. We want to get him in, he wants to go in, but we need to bide our time and make sure we do it at the right time.”
Murray will resist bringing Blair back on Saturday and play the long game.
“It is a temptation,” he said. “But at the same time we are not stupid. We are seven games in. There is a lot of football to be played and Matt will play a big part in that.
“It’s about biding our time. Saturday is a game in which we are going to have to go there and be organised and solid in. We will go there as underdogs, so the team selection and formation we go with will be one of positivity but also one of respect to the environment we are going into. So we have to be careful when we put Matt in.”
Adam Murray praise for John Still on eve of Mansfield Town’s Luton showdown
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray spoke of his immense respect for Luton Town boss John Still on the eve of their showdown at Kenilworth Road.
Murray, an ex-Luton player himself, said, as a young manager, it was hard not to learn from someone like Still.
“He is superb and somebody I have got a lot of time for,” said Murray. “Obviously as a very young manager myself he is somebody you can look up to and learn from his traits and his attitude towards the game.
“He is someone with great experience and his staff are the same. We have had a few chats with those guys and we have utter respect for them. But from 3pm on Saturday that goes out the window and we want to put them to the sword.”
Murray added: “With their experience you can’t not learn from people like that. Myself and our group of staff here are very open and very humble at where we are in our journey and anything you can learn in this game, you have to be a good thief.
“Anything you can, you take and put your mould on it and you try to make it better to what you believe in, and that’s what we do.”
Murray is hoping the Stags fans can play their part in the stands tomorrow at a ground where the hostile atmosphere can make it an intimidating venue to play at for visiting teams.
“They are going to be with us on Saturday,” said Murray. “We will go in there together.
“We won’t go in there as a football team and football supporters.
“We will walk into the ground together and we will come out together. For that 90 minutes we have got to stick together and make sure we are one and we are going to war as one and hope we will come out of it with more points on the board.”
The sky's the limit for Westcarr
mansfieldtown.net, 16th September 2015
Stags' striker Craig Westcarr is no stranger to success after winning promotion from League Two in the 2009/10 season with Notts County, and that hasn’t diminished his ambition to do it again.
The 30-year-old joined the Stags from Portsmouth in the summer and insists that his aim is to fire the Stags to promotion.
“I haven’t come here just to be in the squad and play every week and just be happy with mid-table. I’ve come to Mansfield with one target; to get in the play-offs or go up automatically," said Westcarr.
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“I’ve not come just to sit about and pick up my money. I’ve come to help the team and help the manager. The manager’s put faith in me to come here and my aim is to reward him by getting to where we want to be as a squad.”
The former Nottingham Forest frontman has obtained a place in the starting XI in the last two matches, after beginning the season as a substitute and says that his hard work in training hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Obviously I didn’t start the season properly but I’m in the team now and the gaffer has said 'when you’re in the team you’ve got to keep the shirt'. You’ve got to keep your standards and I’d like to think I’ve done that at the minute and long may it continue.
“The gaffer picks the team and it was up to me to work hard and the gaffer’s seen that I’ve been working hard in training and he’s given me my chance really which I’m happy for.”
Westcarr says there is a positive atmosphere within the squad and everyone is working towards the same goal.
“It’s a really good squad, it’s a hard-working squad and everyone wants to do well for each other.
“There is some good banter but everyone wants to work hard on the serious side and everyone wants to win.
“The senior lads are always talking to the younger lads to help them. There’s quite a few that I always talk to and I always let them know what’s what and what they need to do to help themselves.”
The forward has enjoyed a striking partnership with Matt Green recently and Westcarr hopes it can continue in the weeks to come.
“Playing alongside Greeny is always brilliant because he runs in behind and he does all the stuff that the top strikers do. It is really good to play with him and hopefully he can keep scoring and [we can] get to where we want.
“Greeny’s not reached top gear yet but we’re a new team at the end of the day and people need to realise that it does take a while to gel.
“People need to be patient with what the gaffer’s brought in because it is a brand new team and we’ve got a really good squad and some really good players.”
Mansfield Town new boy Craig Westcarr remains ambitious for more glory
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
As he joined the elite band to have worn the shirts of all three senior county sides, Nottingham-born Craig Westcarr this week stressed he had signed for Mansfield Town to win something.
The 30-year-old former England U21 player was the youngest ever player to turn out for Nottingham Forest at the age of 16 and has since had a career in which he has won two championships and scored in a Wembley final.
But he is hoping he still has more glory days ahead and said: “I have come to Mansfield to get into the play-offs or automatic promotion. I’ve not come here just to pick up my money.
“I’ve come to help the team out. The manager has put faith in me to come here and play. My aim is to reward him and get to where we want to get to as a squad and me personally.”
Westcarr had to sit out the first three League games before winning a place and said: “The gaffer picks the team. It’s just up to me to work hard. I’ve done that and the gaffer has seen that.
“He’s seen me working hard in training and he’s given me my chance which I am happy for and hopefully I am repaying him. He brought me in and I want to repay him and do what he wants me to do.
I am in the team now and the gaffer has told everyone, once you’re in the team, keep the shirt
“I am just happy to be in the squad and play every week. But I don’t want to see us just be happy with mid-table.”
Having seen his side achieve his first target of making the top seven, boss Adam Murray has now challenged them to force their way into the top three.
But Westcarr said if they can simply string some consistent results together, the climb up the table will happen anyway.
“The target for me is to be consistent,” he said. “Once we are consistent like Saturday and, to be fair like we have been apart from the Accrington game, I think those places just automatically come.
“We have a good enough squad. We just need to keep listening to the manager and Coops (Richard Cooper) and Nicky (Hunt) and keep doing the right things in training.
“We will get to where we want to get. It’s easy to say but we have just got to go out there and do it. At the moment we are, so we have to keep that up.
“It’s a really good squad - it’s a hard-working squad. Everyone wants to do well for each other which is good. There is a good bit of banter, but everyone wants to work hard, on the serious side.
“Everyone wants to win and after the Wimbledon game you’d have thought we’d lost as we all know how good we are and what level we are going to get to. We want that level to come quick, but it does take time and everyone has to be patient.
“It’s a good squad to be in. It’s a good atmosphere and everyone gets along.”
Westcarr said he wanted to use his vast experience to help bring on Mansfield’s up and coming youngsters.
“The senior lads, including myself, are always talking to the young lads to help them,” he said.
“I know Mal (Benning) from Walsall, there are quite a few I talk to and let them know what’s what and what they need to do - what will help me and what will help them. We are all in it together and I am really enjoying it. There is a good chemistry between the players.”
He said the best advice to the youngsters was: “Play it simple. Play your way into the game and then you can start showing everyone how good you are.”
Last year Westcarr spent a season at the southern footballing outpost of Portsmouth, where every away game seems like a huge trek.
“It was an experience at the end of the day which I have had now and it was interesting,” he said.
“It wasn’t really bothered about the travel, it was just about playing every week which as you can see I am happy enough doing here.
“If I was playing every week it doesn’t bother you. But when you are travelling and you are not playing then it does grind on you a lot to be fair, and that’s what it did.”
Westcarr’s family and friends are now finding it a whole lot easier to watch him play, but he said: “To be fair they came down when I was at Portsmouth anyway.
“It was a great experience down there. Sometimes you’ve got to do it. Obviously it didn’t work out for me but being back up here.
“Speaking to the manager here, he was brilliant. I’m here now and I hope I can repay him. My family do come down and it’s a lot easier here, I can’t lie, but I have come here to try to do something.”
Westcarr has now joined the small elite band of players who have turned out for all three Nottinghamshire clubs and said: “It is good and I am absolutely proud of that.
“But I have come to win things like I did at Notts and achieve things like I did at Forest, so hopefully I can do that here with Mansfield.”
He is certainly looking forward to striking up a fruitful strike partnership with Stags goal ace Matt Green, both setting each other up for a goal last weekend, and said: “Playing alongside Greeny is brilliant.
“It’s always good to play with him as he runs in behind and does all the stuff the top strikers do.
“Hopefully he can keep scoring and help us to get to where we want. Greeny has not even reached top gear yet but, at the end of the day, we are a new team and people need to realise it does take a while to gel.
“On Saturday everything came together, but people still need to be a bit patient with what the gaffer has brought in as it is a brand new team and a really good squad with some really good players.”
Westcarr thoroughly enjoyed last weekend’s 4-0 pasting of Crawley Town and said: “It was a very good win on Saturday.
“The team played really well and it was a good bounce back from the Wimbledon game which we felt we could have probably done a bit better in. Everything we worked on in the week, you saw it all on Saturday.
“I think everyone felt relaxed. There was a good focus from the boys before the game and throughout the week. We played really well and we hope to continue that form now.
“Saturday’s game was really tough so it was good to beat Crawley, who have had some really good results against some of the top teams and have gone to Cambridge and won. So it wasn’t an easy game. We are a lot happier now we’ve got past that and come out with three points.”
However, he is aware how tough Saturday’s trip to Luton Town will be.
“It’s a very difficult place to go,” he said. “They’ve had a bit of a slow start, but we know we need to be on our game and produce what we did on Saturday.
“It will definitely be a tough game - like all of them are - and a different challenge. It is definitely a great game to play in and hopefully we can get the right result.”
He added: “12 points from seven games and we haven’t been 100 per cent, I am really happy with. Saturday was probably when it all clicked together, but we know we can do more and be even better than what we’ve shown.
“Being seventh in the table at the moment is a good place to be. We could be like some of the other teams and be down there and having a totally different conversation. So we are happy at the minute. We know we’ve got a really good squad and we know there are several more gears to go up.
“Obviously I didn’t start the season properly, but I am in the team now and the gaffer has told everyone, once you’re in the team, keep the shirt.
“You’ve got to keep your standards and I like to think I’ve done that at the minute and I hope it continues.”
Latest | September 2015