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Archived News from January 2016

MURRAY PREVIEWS AFC WIMBLEDON GAME
18th January 2016 23:59


Adam Murray press conference pre AFC Wimbledon, 12th January 2016

14 minutes in full at
http://www.player.mansfieldtown.net/latest-news/2af4df98-ab1d-4a10-bc8f-ce6abb41c8e6

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On Baxendale, Murray said: "It's up to him now to 1. cement his place in the team and 2. earn himself a contract. One game's brilliant but it's about consistency that gets players deals."

On Benning, Murray said: "Mal Benning's back to virtually full training. I'm not giving you a date for him being back in the team though."

On Beardsley, Murray said: "Beardo's got the all-clear from a specialist. So he's back into full training now. It's been tough for him, because every time he's been getting going, his shins given him a setback."

transcribed by Martin

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twitter Mansfield Town FC ?@mansfieldtownfc
FREEVIEW: 10-11 wins should see us in the play-offs: Murray
https://youtu.be/GMEdsjLPiXU

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The difference a year makes for Stags’ boss
mansfieldtown.net, 12th January 2016
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray is pleased with the progression of the club as he plans for the 21 games of the season

Twelve months ago, Murray was masterminding a plan to keep the club in the Football League but now, the manager and his staff are plotting an assault on the Sky Bet League Two play-off positions.

“The staff spoke about it in the week and what a difference a year makes," said Murray, at a news conference this morning.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/what-a-difference-a-year-makes-for-stags-boss-2897078.aspx#bOXrr8tAKeLuSK5f.99

"This time last year we were saying we probably needed nine wins or ten wins to stay in the league, so it’s a different mind-set this year and a different challenge.

“We’re looking at trying to achieve play-offs, which in the space of 12 months is super, so that next step for us is to improve the home form, like we did [on] Saturday, and keep the away form going.

“I think a lot of the teams around us, we’ve drew with. I think if you take points off these teams - draws or wins - then it always helps," Murray continued.

“The next step for us is to beat the teams in and around us, that will get us in the play-offs. I think it’s 21 games [left] and I think you’re probably looking at 10 or 11 wins in that to get you into the play-offs, which we believe we’re capable of.”

A pre-recorded message from Murray was played over the tannoy at One Call Stadium prior to Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stevenage, and the gaffer insists that the only way for the club to move forward is by unity.

“The strength of the town has always been the fact that when the going has got tough over the years, they’ve stood together. You look at the mining days, like I said on Saturday, they stood together in protest.

“What we’ve got to do as a football club is exactly the same, because people, all they’ve done over the years is say: ‘Mansfield Town, they’re a bang-average team, the way they do it is ugly’ and we’ve had a lot of bad press,” Murray said.

“I think everyone in the ground needed to hear from me on Saturday that the only way we move forward is by sticking together. You’ve done it for years as a community and you’re that stubborn in your pride and your ability not to lie down - bring it to the stadium!"

Stags travel to Surrey to face AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, just over a year since their last visit to The Cherry Red Records Stadium in a game which resulted in a 1-0 win for the Stags thanks to Vadaine Oliver’s second-half strike.

And the gaffer believes that his side will be in for another tough encounter this time around after seeing the sides play out a 1-1 draw back in September at One Call Stadium.

“You look at their recent results and they’ve been decent; they’ve picked up some excellent points and they’ll be one of the teams that will be fighting for a place in the play-offs at the end of the season.

“They play some great football but they mix it up well - they play football when they have to but 'work areas' when they have to, so we know we’re going be in for a tough game [on] Saturday.

“We’ve had a lot of home games recently and it’s one of those feelings where it’s all been rolled into one. Each game has just gone into each game so it’s nice to have a break and go into a different environment.”

You can view Adam Murray’s news conference on Stags Player.

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Manager Adam Murray challenges Walsall loanee James Baxendale to show consistency and win a Mansfield Town contract
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Adam Murray has challenged loanee James Baxendale to show consistency after his magnificent start and earn himself a permanent contract.

The Walsall midfielder made a dream debut on Saturday and Murray said: “We’ve known James for a while and he stuck in my mind from when I played against him here in a pre-season game a couple of years ago.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/manager-adam-murray-challenges-walsall-loanee-james-baxendale-to-show-consistency-and-win-a-mansfield-town-contract-1-7671358#ixzz3x7ASXzw1

“I spent 90 minutes arguing with him and thought he was a cocky little so and so, but I couldn’t catch him.

“He creates things and he is an excellent person, which is a big thing for us.

“It’s up to him now to earn himself a contract. One game is brilliant but it’s consistency that gets players deals.”

Murray added: “I think he probably scared a few when he walked out, being 2ft 7ins and 6st 4lb, but he is technically very good. He has got a brain - he is clever.

“He gets into pockets and is effective with it. We have got some good footballers here and the next step for us is making sure, when we get into good areas, we make something happen.

“At times this season we have kept the ball for possession’s sake. It becomes good to dominate games but it becomes a little bit ineffective. So Bax will give us that drive and that little bit of X-Factor we have probably missed at times.

“For a debut it couldn’t have gone much better really - a win, a good performance and a goal - considering he’s not played much football over the last 12 months.

“He’s had a game, but we are not looking to jump in and give him a five year contract. We need to bed him into our environment and, hopefully, if he continues doing that then we’d like to put him down on a permanent deal.”

It was one in and one out during the first week of the January transfer window as winger Nathan Thomas left for Hartlepool United.

“There are a couple of other bits and bobs we’re looking at,” said Murray.

Stags are still hoping to tie up a deal to sign Notts County loanee Blair Adams on a permanent basis now the Magpies have new manager Jamie Fullarton in place.

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Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray explains pre-match speech idea
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray explained the thinking behind his recorded pre-match speech to rouse the troops and get fans behind his side for last weekend’s visit of Stevenage.

Murray’s voice came over the tannoy just before kick-off, calling on fans to stick together and show the resilience and solidarity the town has a reputation for.

It certainly seemed to work as the fans largely stuck with their side and Stags won 2-1, but Murray said he didn’t see it as a rallying call and just wanted to remind people who they were as a town.

Read more: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/local-sport/mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-explains-pre-match-speech-idea-1-7673667#ixzz3x9E75xmp

“It wasn’t a rallying call but more a perspective of who we are as people,” he said.

“The Mansfield community have intrigued me for many years. I think they have so many qualities that sometimes they forget what those qualities are.

“Sometimes it becomes one of those environments where we end up getting that confused who we are that we beat each other up.

“The strength of the town has always been itself and when the going has got tough over the years they’ve stood together.

“You look at the mining days, like I said on Saturday, when they stood together in protest.

“Now what we’ve got to do as a football club is exactly the same.”

He continued: “All people have done over the last couple of years is said Mansfield Town are a bang average team and the way they play is ugly.

“We’ve had a lot of bad press and on Saturday, I though everyone in the ground needed to hear from me that it was time to stick together.

“You have done it for years as a community. You are that stubborn in your pride and your ability not to lie down, bring it to the stadium.

“Win, lose or draw, stick by these boys as I can guarantee you there’s not one player in my squad that will have a bad game on purpose.

“There’s not one player in my squad that won’t go out there and give his everything.

“If he is having a bad game, he’s having a bad game. We are in League Two - that happens. But they will be giving everything.

“As I said last week, this is a culture change for us and I might not be able to do it, but I am going to do my utmost to try.”

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Stevenage win has given Mansfield Town squad a massive boost says boss Adam Murray
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray said Saturday’s 2-1 win against Stevenage seemed to have given his squad an unexpectedly large boost.

After four games without a win, three of them at home, the pressure was building and Murray said he had been surprised just how much relief the Stevenage win had produced.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/stevenage-win-has-given-mansfield-town-squad-a-massive-boost-says-boss-adam-murray-1-7673676#ixzz3xAfnvb7S

“Realistically that result shouldn’t have had as big an effect as it has had,” he said.

“We had only lost one in five, though only one win too. We haven’t lost a lot of matches and we have been playing okay, we’ve not been bad.

“So a win shouldn’t really have had the effect it’s had but, because of the environment we are in - it can be tense at times, the win was massive for the boys.

“It was a big three points for the lads and will give them confidence. Take away the Accrington game, our performances have been decent.

“Even though they have been draws, they’ve been against good teams, though we felt we let ourselves down in the York game which affected the whole situation probably more than it should have.”

Murray added: “We should have won by more on Saturday as we created enough opportunities in the game to have scored four.

“Overall I was really pleased with the result. We are one point off the play-offs again and it’s put us in a really good place.

“For the first half-hour we looked very anxious, very tense, and we didn’t have enough flow in our play. The game was very horizontal. We are better when we make the game lateral.

“After that, when we calmed down, we got our rhythm and I think there was only one team in it second half. That comes from then confidence and belief that, when we do what we do and we play how we play, we are a good team.

“We showed that second half. It was booster - they probably needed to know they are a good team.”

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AFC Wimbledon trip is another chance for Mansfield Town to beat a play-offs rival for the first time
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town have another chance to finally beat one of their promotion rivals this season when they head back out on the road to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday after three successive home matches.

Despite a decent season so far and sitting just one point off the play-offs, the Stags have still to beat a side in the top half of the table and the Dons trip gives them another opportunity to get that particular monkey off their backs.

“I said in the press a few weeks ago that that is our next step,” said manager Adam Murray.

“We’ve drawn with a lot of the teams around us. We haven’t lost too many.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/afc-wimbledon-trip-is-another-chance-for-mansfield-town-to-beat-a-play-offs-rival-for-the-first-time-1-7675459#ixzz3xE1bhFuI

“If you can take points off these teams - draws or wins - then it always helps.

“We are in a great place. The next step for us is to try to beat the teams in and around us - that will get us in the play-offs.

“We’ve got 21 games left and you are probably looking at 10 or 11 wins in that to get yourself in the play-offs, which we believe we are capable of.”

He added: “What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were saying we probably needed nine or 10 wins to stay in the League, so it’s a different mindset this year. It’s a different challenge.

“We are looking at trying to achieve play-offs which in the space of 12 months is super.”

Stags will be happy to be back on the road, having struggled for wins at One Call Stadium all season, and Murray admitted that was another issue that had to change.

“The next step for us is to improve the home form like we did on Saturday and keep the away form going,” he said.

“Obviously we’ve had a lot of home games recently, it feels like it’s all been rolled into one, each game’s just gone into each game, so it’s nice to have a break and get into a different environment.”

The Dons have just won two on the bounce after a spell of indifferent results and now sit just three places and two points behind Mansfield.

There is also a real feelgood factor to contend with down there as, after years of exile, the Dons have just been told they can build a new stadium back in their home borough of Merton.

“It’s going to be a very tough game,” said Murray. “You look at their recent results and they’ve been decent. They’ve picked up some excellent points.

“I wouldn’t see them as a surprise package, though, and they will be one of the teams up there fighting for a play-off place at the end of the season.

“We have seen here at home that they are a strong outfit with lots of energy and physical in the right departments but probably get labelled with the physical tag a bit too much as some of the individuals they’ve got play great football. They mix it up well.

“But we believe when we are on our game and stick to our game plan then we can give anyone in this league a game - we have proved that now. We’ve proved there is no one in this league we fear or feel are miles ahead of us.

“We feel that on any given day, if we are on and all our players fit, then we can compete with anyone.”

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Mansfield Town stay patient over Mal Benning return
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town have no plans yet to organise a behind-closed-doors friendly for left back Mal Benning as he recovers from a bad knee injury.

Stags would like Benning back in the side as soon as possible and admit they are having to hold the player back - but Stags are still refusing to even publicly guess at a return date.

“Mal is back to virtually full training,.” said boss Adam Murray.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-stay-patient-over-mal-benning-return-1-7675386#ixzz3xKl89CC1

“When the time is right we will throw something in there for him. But it will have to be the right environment. We are not going to play a team that’s going to threaten anything or risk anything with Mal.

“When we feel it’s right to put minutes into him we will. The good thing with Mal is that he is naturally fit, so his rehab has been good so far. He’s been working hard and he’s already at a very good level of fitness.

“We’ve seen with Nicky Hunt, he was out for seven weeks but has come back and feels fitter than before he was injured. You saw last Saturday, he looked sharp. That is a credit to the physios and DT (Daryl Thompson, strength and conditioning coach).

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Chris Beardsley back to play big part in rest of Mansfield Town’s season
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town believe striker Chris Beardsley can play a big part in the second half of Mansfield Town’s season

Beardo is back in full training after a niggling shin problem which saw him miss part of a first half of the season in which he often found himself on the bench.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to AFC Wimbledon, manager Adam Murray said: “Beardo has seen a specialist and got the all-clear. The programme we had him on has worked well.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/chris-beardsley-back-to-play-big-part-in-rest-of-mansfield-town-s-season-1-7675384#ixzz3xJ7a5Obf

“I had a chat with him the other day and he feels like a proper footballer again. “It’s been a tough season for him as every time he’s looked like he was getting going, the shin has given him a setback. He’s not been able to get his rhythm and we’ve not been able to use the option of the target man he is.

“Everyone you speak to about Beardo will tell you he is an absolute handful at this level and he’s won promotion from this level in a very successful team.

“So to have the option of using him or changing games with him is another tool, and I believe we are going into this second half of the season stronger.”

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Mansfield Town deny rumour on trial for controversial former Leicester City defender James Pearson
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 13 January 2016 (the day after the press conference)

Mansfield Town have denied a story saying they had taken ex-Leicester City defender James Pearson on trial with a view to a permanent contract.

A story purporting to be from an agent suggested Stags had given the controversial son of former Foxes boss Nigel Pearson a chance, the 22-year-old sacked by the club last summer after his part in a much-publicised racist sex video.

However, when asked if there was any truth in the rumour this morning, Stags boss Adam Murray gave a simple “nope”.

Read more: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/local-sport/mansfield-town-deny-rumour-on-trial-for-controversial-former-leicester-city-defender-james-pearson-1-7672432#ixzz3x9DzxVAY

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AFC Wimbledon: Ardley and co hope struggles at surface level are not a case of deja vu
by Tim Ashton, yourlocalguardian.co.uk, 15 Jan 2016

AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley has been relying on his neighbours this past two weeks, but it has come at a price.

The Dons Windsor Avenue training base has been virtually unusable due to waterlogged pitches, so Ardley took his men to Sutton United’s 3G pitch.

However, despite being lauded as the future of football, the artificial surface has not helped Ardley maintain the positive momentum built up prior to an enforced two-week break because not all the players can train on it.

Moreover, striker Adebayo Akinfenwa has suffered a tweak in a back injury after training on the 3G, and while he will be fit for the visit of Mansfield Town this weekend it has left Ardley hoping history does not repeat itself.

Read more at: http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/sport/football/afcwimbledon/14205642.AFC_Wimbledon__Ardley_and_co_hope_struggles_at_surface_level_are_not_a_case_of_deja_vu/?

The Dons were not in action last weekend as the FA Cup took centre stage, and last time they took a similar break it was not a happy return.

“The break is bad for us because the boys just want to play,” he said.

“The last time we had that break we came back for the Stevenage game, which did not go according to plan.

“It has been hard because all the pitches at the training ground have been water-logged, and we’ve had to manage the training.”

He added: “We’ve been on the 3G at Sutton United a number of times and having that facility close by is very helpful.

“But some players can only do the odd day on it, some cannot go on it because it flares up old injuries.

“You’re trying to keep everyone at it and bubbling along, but at the same time you know you’re not on a normal surface.

“It’s certainly a test for the management team and hopefully the players will keep their mentality strong, and come Saturday it won’t be a problem.”

The Dons sit 11th in the League Two table, while the visitors are eighth and a point outside the play-offs.

Ardley said: “Their defensive record is very good over the course of a season and they are not an easy team to break down - [Ryan] Tafazolli and [Krystian] Pearce are very strong at the back.

“They have a striker in Matt Green who is one of the better ones in the league.”

He added: “Adam [Murray, manager] has done a good job turning them around over the past two seasons from one looking over their shoulder to one looking up the table.

“It will be difficult, but we all feel we can finish the season stronger than we started it, but that has to be put into practice.”

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AFC Wimbledon ace Robinson: We are getting the winning mentality
South London Press, Thursday, 14 January 2016, By Toby Porter

PAUL Robinson believes AFC Wimbledon are finally settling into the style to get them into the play-offs.
Neal Ardley’s team now have just two defeats in their last 12 League Two games.
But a string of draws meant they had not recorded a victory in seven games until they won twice on the bounce in their last two.
Centre-back Robinson, a captain for more than five years at Millwall and promoted with them after scoring the winner in the 2010 play-off final, can now see them mounting a challenge for the knock-outs.
“We have a decent squad with some good players, with the right mix of youth and experience,” he said. “But it is quite new - there were a few came in during the summer.

Read more http://www.southlondon-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=115504&headline=AFC+Wimbledon+ace+Robinson%3A+We+are+getting+the+winning+mentality§ionIs=sport&searchyear=2016

“It has taken a few months to get to know each other and to find a settled way to do things. We now know each other much better and are starting to string some results together.
“We are in a good position, just three points from the play-off spots.
“We want to do something this season.
“We had a good Christmas, with being unbeaten in four games - and want to use that as a springboard for making something happen.
“Hopefully we are ready now to make a firm push for the play-offs.”
Robinson, who has done his coaching badges with a view to perhaps sitting in the dugout one day, can see the importance of manager Neal Ardley’s methods.
“He is a very ambitious young manager in the modern mould,” said the 34-year-old.
“He gives us plenty of rest but when we work on the training ground, we work hard.
“And we have a good work ethic on the pitch, too.
“We have been ruining teams at times - and that is a credit to the way he is doing things.
“He does not want to tire us out. We had last weekend off, with not having a game on the Saturday.
“We did train hard last week but after playing Saturdays and Tuesdays for a few weeks, it was good to be able to get a weekend off and recharge our batteries.
“He also likes his players to be problem-solvers - to see what situations arise and react to them the right way.
“He is very methodical and thoughtful in his approach.”
Robinson hit his first goal for the club in the 4-1 victory at Cambridge United on January 2 - ironically the club where he made his breakthrough for Millwall, in an FA Cup draw almost exactly 13 years before.
He has hit the woodwork a few times for the Dons, but was impatient to open his account.
“It was nice to get off the mark,” he said. “It was overdue, because I have had quite a few opportunities.
“Hopefully, I will start to go on a run now that I have got the first one.
“But more important was getting a good result at one of the teams who are in and around us in the table - and to keep our run going.
“Mansfield tomorrow will be a tough game. They have done alright so far but we need to see it as a chance to take points off the teams close to us in the table.”
Robinson is fine with not wearing the armband at Kingsmeadow, and playing alongside skipper Barry Fuller - an ever-present since signing from Gillingham three years ago.
“It doesn’t make much difference to the way I do things,” he said. “I would like to think I play the same way whether I am captain or not.
“Barry is an excellent captain so he has it all in hand. The lads all look up to him and admire the way he goes about it.
“That is fine by me. From my point of view, it can ease the pressure a bit.
“You can sometimes relax a bit more and focus on yourself, rather than making sure everyone else is alright.”

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AFC Wimbledon striker reinventing himself at Kingsmeadow
getwestlondon.co.uk, 13 JAN 2016, BY MATT LEWIS

Tom Elliott admits he is still very much a work in progress as he develops his game

AFC Wimbledon have had an extended break ahead of this weekend’s visit of Mansfield and few on the training ground will have worked harder than Tom Elliott.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/afc-wimbledon-striker-reinventing-himself-10725787?

The Dons saw their League Two fixture with Carlisle postponed on Saturday due to their opponents’ involvement in the FA Cup third round.

It gave Wimbledon extra time to prepare for the clash with the Stags at Kingsmeadow on Saturday and Elliott is one man intent on using his time at their New Malden base wisely.

Given his towering frame, the speedy forward has primarily been used as an aerial threat at his previous clubs.

That has been changing since he joined the Dons from Cambridge in the summer.

Elliott is the first to admit he is still very much a work in progress but is using sessions with Neal Ardley , Neil Cox and Simon Bassey to reinvent himself as a player.

He explained: “They want me to get in behind and work on my movement. I need to be more penetrative and get in the box more.

“I enjoy training and the staff are great. We’ve just got to get consistency here now and do what we do on the training pitch each weekend on a matchday.

“I felt I could progress as a player here and I know what the coaches want me to do here. I need to listen to what they say and learn from them.

“I came here as a target man and they think that because I’m quicker than most big men that I can be more than just a target man.”

Elliott has found competition for a starting place hard to come by with the likes of Ade Azeez, Bayo Akinfenwa and Lyle Taylor all battling for a spot in Ardley’s XI.

He has still managed to make 23 appearances, largely off the bench, and has chipped in with four goals for the Dons this term.

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Latest | January 2016