Murray wants his underdogs to gatecrash play-off party
mansfieldtown.net, 2nd March 2016
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has declared that the next six weeks is ‘make or break’ time as his players look to reclaim a Sky Bet League 2 play-off place.
The Stags are in tenth-position after seeing all of their top-seven rivals in action on Tuesday evening.
And boss Murray, who was at Sixfields to watch AFC Wimbledon snatch a draw against table-toppers Northampton Town, believes the midweek fixtures panned out nicely for his side.
“It was an interesting night. It just proves how tight the league is at the minute. I think it went really well for us last night. It’s a game [in hand] for most teams [over us now] and we’ve got to play them all. We’re two points off fifth; it’s going to be so close.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/big-six-weeks-ahead-for-murrays-stags-2985169.aspx#ujfaJqw7CSMtSWaB.99
“It’s make or break. We’re playing everyone around us; we have to take [it] game by game but I’m a sucker for patterns and trends and at some point there has to be a swing in that motion.
“If we can swing that at this stage of the season and start taking points off the teams around us, we’ve got a great chance of being in the mix [for a play-off spot].”
Murray also thinks that the expectation is firmly with their promotion-chasing rivals to extend their season by finishing in the top seven, and has called on his players to have faith in their abilities.
“All these teams up there have got a pressure to stay there. We’re coming as the underdogs and we’re enjoying it. We’ve gate-crashed the league so far this season, that’s a credit to the players. When we’ve needed them, the supporters have ‘come to the party’ [also].
“What we’ve managed to do is set some good platforms to build on. I’ve watched everyone in this league a number of times now and we’re up there with the best. The players have got to believe how good they are.”
The Stags face a resurgent Yeovil Town on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) at One Call Stadium. The 21st-placed Glovers will be buoyed after an impressive 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday, and Murray has acknowledged the challenge that the Somerset side will bring.
“This will be as tough as playing one of the top seven teams. They’re playing with a lot of spirit at the minute [and] a lot of fight. Like any team, they’ve got weaknesses.
“I’ve watched their last six or seven games - the shape they play and the way they play, they play very well. They’ve picked up a lot of draws in the run but they’re also an attacking threat.
“It’s a little bit different to our pressure. Ours is a pressure that we’re enjoying because it’s a goal we didn’t expect to have this season, so as long as we take care of our business, we’ll be ‘in the mix’.”
In addition, 34-year-old Murray has said that his bond with the players is one of the reasons why he’s doing so well as manager of the Stags.
“My forte is coaching, I love coaching. I don’t want to lose my ‘player head’ because I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I’ve got very good relationships with all of my players; I know them inside out."
You can view Murray’s full news conference on Stags Player.
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray happy with results on night off
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wednesday 02 March 2016
Adam Murray was delighted with results last night’s League Two programme which saw Mansfield Town drop only one place and sides around them with games in hand spill precious points.
Mansfield were one of only two sides without a game last night but ended the night still just two points off the top five and all to play for.
“It was an interesting night - I went to watch Northampton v Wimbledon, which was a good game,” said the Stags manager.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-happy-with-results-on-night-off-1-7766955#ixzz41lD7Xchr
“Obviously I was watching the scores coming in and it just proved how tight the league is at the minute.
“I think it went really well for us last night. It couldn’t have gone much better really. A few weeks ago people were telling me clubs had three games on us or four games on us.
“But it’s one game now with most of them and we’ve still got to play them all. So it was a good night for us.
“You look at the positions and, though we dropped, we are still only two points off fifth. It’s going to be so close and, as long as we do our business, we’ll be in the mix.
“It’s about belief I’ve watched everyone in this league a number of times now and we are up there with the best. Now the players have to show that.”
Murray saw little to worry him in the Northampton v Wimbledon game, saying: “Watching the game last night between top of the league and a team that’s in the mix with us, me being a bit arrogant, I don’t believe they are any better than us.
“What they’ve had over us is consistency, and our inconsistency, for me, has come with an influx of 15-16 new players. We were always going to have inconsistency in the first season.
“But we’ve set some good platforms to build on and we will become consistent with time.”
Stags are at home to in-form relegation battlers Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Don’t take Yeovil Town too lightly warns Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Adam Murray warned his side to ignore the current League Two table or risk taking relegation-haunted Yeovil Town too lightly.
The Mansfield Town boss is well aware of the Glovers’ resurgence under new boss Darren Way since December and, with only one loss in the last eight League games, their current form is more like that of a play-off chasing side - even though they are still only six points clear of the drop zone.
“The bottom teams have now started to pick up and are winning games,” said Murray.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/don-t-take-yeovil-town-too-lightly-warns-mansfield-town-boss-adam-murray-1-7770258#ixzz41qjMJVjr
“Yeovil are a prime example. They are on a good run. We’ve had them watched a few times and they are in a false position. They’re a very good team.
“Fair play to the guys down there. They’ve got them moving in the right direction and we know we’re in for a tough game on Saturday.
“With all due respect to Newport and Dagenham, for me, in my opinion - and I could be totally wrong - I think Yeovil are on a different level.
“They are showing at the minute that they were in League One. They obviously had the bad start and a lot of change.
“They have a new manager and they are fighting for him. They’re playing some really good stuff. Their position is false at the minute. If they’d made a better start they would have been in the mix as their form at the minute is probably play-off form.
“This not a bottom of the table team we are facing on Saturday. This is a very good team, so we are going to have to be on our mettle and preparations started on Sunday. The missus wasn’t happy but Sunday was Yeovil Sunday.”
Murray continued: “This will be as a tough as playing one of the top seven teams. They’ve had a right turn-around.
“Yeovil are playing with a lot of spirit at the minute - a lot of fight - but like any team have got weaknesses.”
However, he pointed out the Glovers were still playing under an immense amount of cloying pressure - a very different pressure to the one that underdogs Mansfield are enjoying in their unexpected play-off chase.
“The run they’ve been on is fantastic, but we know ourselves that when you are down there, it’s a different kind of pressure.
“They’ve had a good set of results recently, but they are still only six points off it. No one knows better than we do, as we’ve been there, that a couple of bad results and you’re back in there.
“So, it is a horrible pressure to have on you as you have to keep repeating those 110 per cent performances.
“It’s different to our pressure. Our pressure is one we are enjoying as it’s a goal we didn’t expect to have this season.
“I am going to give Yeovil credit as I’ve watched their last six or seven games and the shape they play and the way they play, they play very well. They are very structured and organised and very hard to beat. There’s a lot of draws in the run.
“But they are also an attacking threat. They play with three up there which drops to a five when they need to.
“It will be a tough test, but we’re in good form ourselves. We have a lot of confidence in the group and we play with a lot of freedom.”
Stags will be without central defender Krystian Pearce, who completes a two game ban while striker Craig Westcarr has gone out on loan to Southport.
Make or break March for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town face a make or break March, starting with tomorrow’s visit of much-improved relegation battlers Yeovil Town.
With Stags down to 10th and two points off the play-offs, Adam Murray’s men then face four tough clashes with promotion rivals Portsmouth and Northampton at home and Bristol Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers away.
Stags are yet to beat a side in the top half of the table all season.
“The next five or six weeks are make or break as we’re playing everyone around us,” admitted boss Adam Murray.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/make-or-break-march-for-mansfield-town-1-7770661#ixzz41va1X7Tn
“We have to take it game by game, but I am a sucker for patterns and trends and at some point there has to be a swing in the motion.
“If we can swing at this point in the season and start taking points off the teams around us we have a chance of being in the mix.
“The teams up there I expected to be there. Wimbledon expected to be up there as they’ve had a little go at it. Those teams have a pressure on them to stay there.
“We are the underdogs and we’re enjoying it as everyone is saying: ‘what’s this lot doing here? They shouldn’t be here.’
“We want to stay there and now we want to get back in the top seven and go out with a massive bang, whether we are successful or not.
“We have gatecrashed the league so far this season which is a credit to the players and, when we’ve needed them, the supporters have come to the party. “The football club has been brilliant and it’s been a good season so far.”
Whatever happens, Murray is happy with his squad, most of whom will stay in the summer, and believes the future is exciting.
“It’s a bright future with the squad of players we’ve got right now,” he said.
“We are going to be competitive every season. I am quite excited about the next few years with everything that’s in place.
“We are in a great position. I want the boys to enjoy this run-in and give it everything we’ve got. As fans, as coaches and as players - let’s go out with a bang.
“We have nothing to lose. We are happy with what we’ve achieved so far this season, but we’re not content. We’ve been in the top 10 virtually all season so we want to finish up there now.
“Wherever we finish we want to finish with a massive building block, a massive step for next season.
“Whatever division we are in next season I honestly feel we are going to be better than this season. We want to finish on a high and go out with everything we’ve got.
“If we don’t quite make it, we’ll be disappointed, but we go again. We build and we come into next season a hell of a lot wiser and a hell of a lot better with a know-how how to win which is priceless.”
Murray continued: “We don’t want to go out and finish 14th - even though that would be a good season from where we were. Everything we’ve got as a football club now we’ve got to chuck at 12 games and see where it goes.
“Last game of the season, if we fall over the line either way I want my players virtually dead on that last game of the season as they’ve given everything. I know I would have given everything I had mentally and physically and they have to do the same.
He added: “If we’re not ruthless in this last 12 games we won’t achieve. If we can do what I believe we can do I honestly believe we’ll be up there.
“If we take care of our business we will be in there. That’s the bottom line.
“We know we’re doing above what was expected. But we are that close and I really believe we can do this.
“We’ve just got to keep going and the boys have go to keep believing how good they can be.”
In-form Yeovil can't be taken lightly - Collins
mansfieldtown.net, 2nd March 2016
Captain Lee Collins says the Stags may need to go ‘all guns blazing’ against in-form Yeovil Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
The Somerset outfit have only lost three out of their last 14 Sky Bet League 2 games with draws against Portsmouth and Plymouth Argyle proving a particular highlight, before a fantastic 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
And Collins knows that despite their lowly position in the division, the Glovers shouldn’t be taken lightly as they look to extend the six-point gap that currently stands between themselves and the bottom two.
“When we played them down there (at Huish Park), I thought they were a good team, they played well. They’re in a good run of form.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/yeovil-clash-wont-be-easy-collins-2985352.aspx#j3quPYsI5Uk3tUXL.99
“I’ve got a friend that plays there; I speak to him every other week and he says they’re playing good football but not getting the rub of the green. We can’t turn up and expect to win half-heartedly, we’ve got to come ‘all guns blazing’.”
After viewing Tuesday night’s results and seeing the Stags now only two points from the play-offs, Collins was encouraged and briefly reflected back to the pre-season predictions made by many pundits which have been proven wrong.
“Northampton did us a little bit a favour (drawing 1-1 against AFC Wimbledon). We could’ve done with them winning for us! There’s so much competition for those four spots in the play-offs but I think we’re well equipped to give it a good go.
“We deserve to be up there for what we’ve done for the majority of the season. At the start of the season we were favourites to go down so for us to be there still with teams around us that are expected to be there, there’s a bit more pressure on them to hold on to those spots.”
Although Collins has spent much of the season donning the captain’s armband, the ex-Northampton Town man doesn’t feel it alters the way he approaches matches.
“It’s never changed me, I’ve been captain before here. I don’t change anything that I do; I’m still vocal, still try to organise and demand more from players.
“As a senior pro, I put a lot of pressure on myself anyway to be someone that sets us off or influences other people. I think we’ve got a team full of captains, especially with the senior lads.”
You can view Lee Collins’ news conference, in full, on Stags Player.
Let’s come out all guns blazing, says Mansfield Town skipper Lee Collins
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town skipper Lee Collins said the Stags need to come out all guns blazing when in-form Yeovil Town visit One Call Stadium on Saturday.
Although still only six points above the drop zone, under new boss Darren Way the Glovers have been much improved, only losing once in eight League matches.
Collins said: “When we played them down there I thought they were a good team and they played well. We pinched the points in the last minute.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/let-s-come-out-all-guns-blazing-says-mansfield-town-skipper-lee-collins-1-7771046#ixzz41vaCZLxF
“They are in a good run of form and have only lost three games in 15.
“I have a friend who plays there. I speak to him every other week and he says they are playing really good football but just not getting the rub of the green.
“They had two good draws back-to-back with Plymouth and Portsmouth, so they are a good team.
“Most games at this level are close anyway. We can’t just turn up and expect to win half-heartedly. We’ve got to come out all guns blazing on Saturday.”
The Stags are 10th, two points outside a play-off battle they were never expected to be involved in.
“We are there for the hard work we’ve put in and we deserve it for what we’ve done,” said Collins.
“We’ve been up there for the majority of the season. And we’re there on merit.
“At the start of the season we were favourites to go down, so for us to be there still with teams around us that were expected to be there, there is more pressure them to hold onto those spots rather than us making it into them.
“I kept an eye on the results on Tuesday night and Northampton did us a little bit of a favour, though we could have done with them winning for us.
“It’s still really tight and there’s so much competition for those four spots in the play-offs, but I think we’re well equipped to give it a good go.
“We had a bit of negativity aimed as us as teams had a few games in hand on us, but we said at least we’d got the points on the board and they’ve got to win them. At the moment the teams around us haven’t gone and won those points.
“So it’s levelling out now and it’s going to make for a great last home straight of 10 games.”
With Nicky Hunt’s departure for Leyton Orient, the captain’s armband has been handed back to Collins, who said he takes that in his stride.
“It doesn’t change me,” he said. “I’ve been captain before here and captain at another club.
“I like to think I live my day-to-day lifestyle, in and out of training and on the pitch, as a captain anyway.
“To be given the armband is an extra bit of credit. But I don’t change anything I do. I am still vocal and I still try to organise. I still demand more from players. So it’s not much of a change.
“As a senior pro I put a lot of pressure on myself every game to be someone that sets us off or influences other people, that’s a captain’s job anyway.
“We have a team full of captains here really, especially with the senior lads.”
Collins is delighted to see the club already confound bookies’ summer predictions of relegation.
“With the squad the gaffer has put together I knew we wouldn’t struggle,” he said. “I felt insulted we were favourites to go down, but obviously we’ve proved a lot of people wrong.
“We have a lot of quality in there and a lot of strength in depth. All our bench could equally start every game.
“There’s a lot of lads that have played a lot of games, then you have the young, fresher lads who have a lot of potential to do well in their career. So we have got the balance right and we bounce off each other quite well.
“We are an aspirational club. We want to do well. This year is a bonus as we are a brand new squad and we’ve been in the top 10 all season, pushing for top seven.
“If promotion doesn’t work out this year, it’s firmly on our mind for next year.
“The foundation is there, so there will be no excuses. But that’s not to say we aren’t going for it this year.”
PREVIEW: Mansfield Town v Yeovil Town - Turnaround in Glovers form "fantastic" says Darren Way
By Western Gazette, March 04, 2016
DARREN Way says the upturn in Yeovil Town's form is "fantastic" ahead of their trip to Mansfield Town.
The Glovers' 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday made it successive Sky Bet League Two wins and stretched their unbeaten run to four games. More importantly it opened up the gap between themselves and the relegation zone to six points.
"It has been a fantastic turnaround in form," Way said.
Read more: http://www.westerngazette.co.uk/PREVIEW-Mansfield-Town-v-Yeovil-Town/story-28853270-detail/story.html#ixzz41vZRfFVw
"When I took over as manager I wanted the fans to sense it, see it, feel it - but I also wanted that from the players.
"We had lost that because when you are losing that's what happens and peoples' emotions get affected. We have got that back on track again.
"It's important the players have a focus and that focus is staying above the line. They know what they're coming in to work to do every day.
"I want to make sure that people know that staying in the Football League will be a massive achievement. This club was spiraling out of control and it wasn't a nice place to be around.
"I don't do pats on the back for myself. I just keep working hard and players and staff follow that."
Way's side travel to take on a Mansfield team playing well above expectations this season. Tipped for relegation before the 2015-16 campaign had begun, the Stags are currently tenth in the English fourth tier and just two points off the playoffs.
They have already beaten Yeovil this term at Huish Park - courtesy of a Reggie Lambe winner in the tenth minute of injury-time - and in Adam Murray have an ambitious and up-and-coming boss that Way can relate to.
"He's a good, young manager setting out his mark," the 36-year-old said.
"He's done a fantastic job and had his struggles last year. Like me he wants to build the club rather than the team and he's had chance to do that and is reaping the rewards.
"Not so much this season but I look at what he did last season and it was a miracle what he did and that is what I am trying to achieve here.
"He had to concentrate on the short-term then, but now he has got a chance to focus on the long-term and that is something I want to do.
"It's a tough place to go."
The turnaround of the South Somerset side - who currently have the fourth best form in the division in 2016 - has not gone unnoticed by Murray, who is expecting a tough game at Field Mill on Saturday.
"They have a new manager and they are fighting for him. They're playing some really good stuff," he said.
"Their position is false at the minute. If they'd made a better start they would have been in the mix as their form at the minute is probably play-off form.
"This not a bottom of the table team we are facing."
The Glovers are confident that the worst of the illness that has affected at least eight players in their squad over the past couple of weeks has passed, whilst there is more good news with Jack Compton likely to make a return at the weekend.
Mansfield have just two absentees from their squad. Centre-back Krystian Pearce will complete a two-game ban on Saturday, whilst out-of-favour striker Craig Westcarr has gone out on loan to Vanarama National League side Southport to play first team football.
Junior Daniel, back with the club on loan from Port Vale, makes his second 'home debut' two years after leaving the club. A versatile player, Daniel is likely to partner Matt Green upfront having done so against Newport County last weekend.
Holding midfielder Jamie McGuire is nursing a knee problem ahead of a possible summer operation and, having played on the sand at Newport last time out, may be rested. Adam Chapman would therefore come in as the one change from the side that lost 1-0 in South Wales.
Stags info courtesy of John Lomas, sports editor Chad.
Darren Way Speaks To The BBC As Part Of The Build-Up To Mansfield Town
ciderspace.co.uk and BBC.co.uk
Yeovil Town manager Darren Way spoke to BBC Somerset reporter Dan Albutt on Thursday 3rd March 2016 as part of the build-up to the trip to Mansfield Town.
DA: Were there any knocks or anything like that picked up on Tuesday?
DW: No there's always one or two that people are talking about. We've had one or two that have gone through the team, and the viral infection has hit us hard. But having said that, the squad like challenges at the moment and they have responded really well. If someone steps out, then someone steps in and does the business. We want to keep that going.
DA: So as far as the infection is concerned, are you seeing the back end of it now?
DW: Yes, although there's one or two. It's never going to be an overnight thing where everyone wakes up okay. As you know yourself, if you've ever had an infection, it takes a few days. But we've done everything that we can from a medical point of view to make sure that we're following that up. We'll keep positive, and everyone is keeping believing, and so far, fingers crossed, no-one has gone down since.
DA: Do you have to be careful about the after-effects about that, in that the symptoms can be gone, but it can still take a toll on your body?
DW: No, I think that if it happens, then it happens. There's nothing that we can do about it. You just have to let it take its course. It just gives someone else an opportunity to step up to the mark and play well. That's what I've done since I've taken over and I don't want any excuses. So far, the players have given themselves no excuses, so that's fantastic.
DA: So as we're sat here now, you're hopeful that there won't be any absences illness-wise for the trip?
DW: No, we're positive. We're really positive - it's a fantastic football club. Everything is going really well. We've had fantastic results, and we're looking forward to Saturday.
DA: With those back-to-back wins, managers often talk about those, because a win-draw-lose kind of sequence is fine, but when you can really get those points piling up in a short space of time it changes everything.
DW: Yes the home form has been great. As I've said, the Dagenham game was something that was really positive, as there was a lot of pressure on that game. But it's something the boys are really relishing at the moment. So they've taken ownership really. I know I'm the manager, but they've taken ownership of what's gone on that pitch, and let's make sure that it continues.
DA: You've been very up front. Some managers try to deflect the pressure, but you've been straight down the line and told them what's at stake here. Are you surprised at how well they've responded to that?
DW: Not really. I see their faces every day. I know their personalities and there are some powerful personalities within the group. It's important that the younger players followed that, which has been happening. We're very limited with resources, but we've come up against some really big challenges. The players, as I've said to you before, have taken ownership and they've shown a lot of leadership, and it's been a fantastic turnaround in form.
DA: I guess it's about having those right leaders. If you get the right people that the youngsters can follow, it makes your job a lot easier.
DW: Yes, it is. Having said that, I think that when you're winning I think it makes it a lot easier. So far we've got a strategy, and we've got a game plan that we're sticking to and the players are following that through passion, and those are the sort of key ingredients that as a manager you look for - commitment, and that they're willing run and they're willing to work hard for the badge, and that's not been seen in previous years. So far they are carrying that well.
DA: Obviously you've been on the other side of the fence as a player. I guess when you see a manager's style and you see that it's working it gives you the extra belief that actually this is the right way and bringing success.
DW: When I took over as manager I wanted the fans to sense it, see it, feel it. But I also wanted that from the players. As it stands at the moment, I think both groups are together. We had lost that (togetherness) understandably, because when you're losing that's what happens. Peoples emotions get affected in football, whether it's a player or whether it's a supporter. But so far we've got it back on track again, and we'll keep it going.
DA: When you think about the previous seasons, the Championship was somewhat different given the size of teams you were playing, but certainly from last season it's been a long time since you had that winning feeling around Yeovil, but it's come back relatively quickly since you took over. I'm sure you won't praise yourself too much but that's quite impressive.
DW: No, as I've said I don't do pats on the back myself. I try to just keep working hard. You'll be surprised that players follow that and staff follow that if you keep working hard and keep maintaining your standards. You then affect the group, and then players have got high standards. That can be a player - if a player has got high standards then other players are going to follow that, especially when they are winning.
DA: The gap is growing between you and the bottom two and hopefully that continues. I would imagine you can start to look at those couple of places just above you and think you might catch them.
DW: Our media officer put a statement out that I thought was quite interesting from the game on Tuesday night. It just shows that it's not going to get any easier. It's going to be a tough task, but I just want people to know that the achievement of staying in the Football League will be a massive achievement. Sometimes when you're dealing with adversity and you stay strong through that, that achievement is bigger than if you are in mid-table going for the play-offs. This club was spiralling out of control. It wasn't a nice place to be around, and that's why I say the players have to take credit for that because I don't want them to spend their summer with a relegation on their tails. It's not nice, but we want to make sure that we do the job sooner rather than later.
DA: Are you able to spend a little time looking ahead, because you got this squad together and obviously you want to reap the benefits of that, and try to tie them down a bit longer and keep them at the club over the summer?
DW: There's a big job to do every week before we start really knuckling down on the future. Of course I want to be able to do that, and I want to do that sooner rather than later. I think that everything else will take care of itself once we make sure that we stay above this line.
DA: Let's talk about this weekend. Mansfield in the reverse fixture was a pretty difficult one. Hopefully this one will be a little bit better for you.
DW: He (Adam Murray) is a good young manager setting out his mark. He's done a fantastic job. He had his struggles last year, and like me I want to be able to build the club, rather than the team and he's had a chance to do that. He's reaping the rewards. It's a tough place to go but having said that, every game has had its own strengths and weaknesses, and we'll just focus on what we do.
Latest | March 2016