MURRAY, HURST AND GREEN REACTION
Murray - We coped well with physical challenge
mansfieldtown.net, 23rd July 2016
Stags’ manager Adam Murray said today’s draw with Alfreton Town forced his side to deal with a more physical threat compared to their previous pre-season fixtures.
An early goal from striker Matt Green was cancelled out by Reds’ frontman Adam Priestley just before the half-hour mark on a warm summer’s day at the Impact Arena.
And the gaffer says the game was an opportunity for his side to prepare for the physical nature of League Two, with defenders George Taft and Krystian Pearce being forced to defend against a number of high balls.
“We knew that this would be our most realistic game; it was physical at times and we had to deal with a lot of direct balls which we haven’t had to probably come across so far [during] this pre-season,” Murray said.
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“So we knew it would be more of a League Two style game, which we wanted. It was a good test for us, I felt at times we could’ve been better at a few things but it was good to see the areas that we need to work on and I think we showed some really good play at times.
“I think the amount of direct balls we had to cope with, and we haven’t come across that in pre-season yet, so defensively it showed us things that we need to work on, which we wanted.”
The 34-year-old Stags’ chief selected an unnamed trialist in his starting XI against Alfreton and he praised the left-back’s performance, whilst also admitting that he hasn’t ‘isolated’ one area which he feels he needs to strengthen before the season’s curtain raiser against Newport on 06 August.
“I thought he did really well, [he was] technically very good, very combative. I thought he had a very good performance, to come in and just play with a new group of lads is tough and I think the two left-backs we’ve seen have been pleasing.
“Obviously Mal’s injured at the minute so the left-back’s come in, we haven’t got another left-back at the club so hence why we’ve had two on trial.
“If we can [bring someone in], obviously we’ve got 20 players so if we can, we’ll look at it, if not we’ll deal with what we’ve got.”
Murray revealed that left-back Mal Benning had been left out of the side as a ‘precaution’ after picking up an injury against Bolton Wanderers last Saturday, whilst also reaffirming his earlier message that every player can still win a starting place at Rodney Parade in a fortnight’s time.
“I’m doing a lot of weighing up at the minute, I’m weighing up who’s going to have the 11 shirts at Newport at the minute.
“I think there’s two weeks to go, there’s a lot of work to do and individuals need to show that they want to be playing in the first game of the season.
“I think there’s certain people that have stepped forward [and] certain people need to do more but, like I say, we’ve still got two weeks to go of work and we’ll see how that goes.”
Supporters can watch Adam Murray’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.
Trialists impress Stags boss Murray
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray has been impressed by both left back trialists he has used over the past week
With regular left back Mal Benning resting a minor knock, Murray has no cover there so has run the rule over a pair of available, but unnamed defenders.
One played in the 1-0 home defeat by Hull last week and another was given an outing in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town.
“I thought the lad did really well on Saturday,” said Murray. “He was technically very good and very combative.
“It was a very good performance. To come in and just play with a group of new lads is tough and I think the two left backs we’ve seen have been pleasing.”
He continued: “I am doing a lot of weighing up at the minute. I am weighing up up who are going to have the 11 shirts at Newport at the minute.
“There are two weeks to go and there’s a lot of work to do. Individuals need to show they want to be playing in that first game of the season.
“Certain people have stepped forward and certain people need to do a little bit more.”
Murray said a decision on whether left back cover could be signed was down to the chairman, John Radford.
“I have not isolated one area I think we need to fill,” he said. “Obviously Mal is injured at the minute, and we haven’t got another left back at the club, hence why we’ve had two in on trial.
“We’ll look at the squad, but ultimately I won’t make the decision. Of we can bring somebody else in that’d down to the powers that be.
“We have 20 players, so if we can we’ll look at it, if not we’ll deal with what we’ve got.
“Mal is obviously a big player for us, so it’s more precaution than anything that we’ve left him out.”
On the bruising draw at Alfreton, Murray said: “It was the exact work-out we expected.
“We knew this one would be the most realistic game. It was physical at times and we had to deal with a lot of direct balls, which we haven’t come across so far this pre-season.
“So we knew it would be more of a League Two-style game which we wanted. It was a good test for us.
“I thought at times we could have been better with a few things, but it was good to see the areas we need to work on. But we showed some really good play at times.
“Once we finally got to grips with it, we coped and put ourselves back onto them. We got out the game what we wanted to get out of it, but we can pick in holes in that to make us better.”
He continued: “Obviously with the weather I think the game at times was a little bit sluggish. The pitch was lovely but, with the heat, it was very sticky and very dry which slowed the tempo down.
“But overall it was another good work-out and another game we’ve got something out of, so I am pleased.”
Hurst pleased with Alfreton workout
mansfieldtown.net, 23rd July 2016
Stags’ midfielder Kevan Hurst said today’s 1-1 draw with Alfreton Town was good preparation for the club’s opening Sky Bet League Two match against Newport County.
Alfreton Town frontman Adam Priestley equalised for the home side in the 29th minute after Stags’ striker Matt Green had opened the scoring inside the opening five minutes at the Impact Arena.
And summer acquisition Hurst said Alfreton’s style of play is similar to Newport’s, which will help the Stags prepare for the threat of the Exiles.
“[It was] definitely a good workout. It’s more realistic to what we’re going to come up against,” Hurst said.
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“Alfreton are a good outfit, they’re strong up top, they like to get the ball forward, as do Newport, so it’s kind of a good workout for us.
“Today, I thought we were founding wanting defensively in our shape. We didn’t deal with things as quickly as we should’ve done, which led to their goal, but there were some positives there; I thought we played some nice stuff at times, we just need to get it all smoothly in a balance of each [style of play].”
The 30-year-old midfielder is going into his 13th season as a professional footballer and he says this pre-season campaign is one of the most physically demanding that he’s encountered.
“I’ve had tough pre-seasons [and] this is definitely ‘up there’. But I think the running aspect of things is sort of coming down now, it’s bouncing off towards more football and the games are really putting is in a good place I think, so I think we’ll be ready for when the season comes.
“The gaffer’s got a good plan and I like the fact that he knows exactly what he wants from his players. It makes our jobs easier because obviously we can go away and focus on what needs to be done.
“In terms of fitness, I think the lads are really fit and really enthusiastic so I think we’re looking forward to the actual season getting going now.”
Supporters can watch Kevan Hurst’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.
New boy Hurst enjoying tough pre-season
New Mansfield Town midfielder Kevan Hurst is sweating his way through one of the toughest pre-seasons of his career - and enjoying every minute of it.
Hurst, who again caught the eye with his classy display in Saturday’s 1-1 friendly draw at Alfreton Town, said: “I have really enjoyed it.
“The gaffer has got a good plan and I like the fact he knows exactly what he wants from his players.
“It makes our jobs easier because we can go away and focus on what needs to be done.
“In terms of fitness, the lads are really fit and really enthusiastic, so we are looking forward to the actual season getting going now.
“It’s tough. I have had tough pre-seasons and this is definitely up there.
“But I think the running aspect is coming down now and it’s balancing off towards more football and the games are really putting us in a good place. So I think we’ll be ready for when the season comes.”
On the bruising game at Alfreton, he added: “That was definitely a good work-out. It was more realistic and what we are going to come up against.
“Alfreton are a good outfit. They are strong up top and like to get the ball forwards as do Newport, so it was a good work-out for us.
“I thought today we were found wanting defensively in our shape.
“We didn’t deal with things as quickly as we should have done, which led to their goal.
“But there were some positives there. We played some nice stuff at times and just need to get a smooth balance of each.”
Frontman raring to go ahead of new campaign
Stags’ striker Matt Green says he’s ‘feeling a lot sharper’ at this stage of pre-season in comparison to last year as he gets ready for the new season.
The 29-year-old scored 16 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions last season after spending almost two years on the sidelines with a serious knee injury whilst at former club Birmingham City and he’s now aiming to progress even further next season.
“I’m sure it was good for the gaffer and the staff around to see that I can get through 47 games and knock the odd goal in as well last season, which was great for me as well personally but also very helpful for the team,” Green said.
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“It’ll be something I’ll be looking to improve on this season and like I say, I feel a lot sharper going into pre-season this season compared to last, so hopefully it’ll be something to build on.”
Last season’s top scorer has regularly lined up alongside summer signing Danny Rose in attack during pre-season and Green says that he’s enjoyed linking up with the former Bury man, but also praised the Stags’ diverse talents in the final third.
“He’s a talented lad. You can see that he’s got experience in League football and he plays the ‘percentages’ of the game very well.
“Whether it’s me or one of the other strikers, we benefit from him and I think we all complement each other at the moment.”
The former Oxford United frontman scored the opener in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Alfreton Town to take his pre-season tally to three goals, however Green says although it’s nice to score goals, pre-season is more about improving fitness levels.
“It’s always good to score goals and it was a not very complicated one [on Saturday], so I’ll take it, but we had a lot of chances and we got the ball in decent areas so we’ll be looking to make them count in the next couple of weeks and pressing on to the first game of the season.”
Although the Bath-born man refuses to set targets at the beginning of the campaign, he hopes to help Adam Murray’s new-look side achieve success next season.
“I’ve never been a person to put targets in there; if there’s a goal there to be scored I’ll try my best to score it and hopefully that tally will add up to a total that everyone will be happy with, with some success as well at the end of it.
“It's (the squad) definitely a lot stronger, a lot quicker, [there’s] a lot of pace in the team. We’re playing a lot better standard of football, we’re playing with a lot more patience and we’re a lot more organised, you’ve seen that over the last few games that we’ve played and I’m really excited about it.”
Supporters can watch Matt Green’s interview on Stags PlayerHD.
Sharp Green is raring to go for Stags
Mansfield Town’s talisman striker Matt Green is feeling as sharp as he has done since his two-year injury lay-off and gelling well alongside his new strike partners.
It’s great news for the Stags and bad news for League Two defenders as Green eases back towards being the player who shot Stags to promotion and made a big move to Birmingham City before a bad knee injury halted his progress.
Green, who scored 16 times last season, notched another after only five minutes in Saturday’s physical 1-1 friendly draw at Alfreton Town and said: “I feel a lot sharper going into pre-season compared to last. So hopefully it will be something to build on.
“It’s just about getting the fitness and the minutes on the pitch and getting run-outs at tough places like this (Alfreton). It was a good work-out.
“It’s more about getting your fitness pre-season, but it’s always good to score goals.
“It was a not very complicated one today, but I’ll take it. We had a lot of chances and got the ball in decent areas, so we’ll be looking to make them count over the next couple of weeks and press on to the first game of the season.
“Last season was very important for me personally and I’m sure it was good for the gaffer and the staff to see that I could get through 47 games and knock in the odd goal last season.
“It was great for me and also very helpful for the team. It’s something I’ll be looking to improve on this season.”
Green added: “I’ve never been a person to put targets in. If there is a goal there to be scored I try my best to score it. Hopefully that tally will add up to a total everyone will be happy with plus some success as well at the end of it.”
Green is impressed by the rise in standard of the squad and the new strikers brought in to play alongside him like Danny Rose and Pat Hoban.
“The squad is definitely a lot stronger and quicker,” he said. “We have a lot more pace in the team. We are playing a lot better standard of football, with more patience, and we’re a lot more organised.
“You’ve seen that in the last few games we’ve played and I am really excited by it.”
Against Alfreton, Green was again partnered by Danny Rose and Green said: “ “He’s a talented lad.
“You can see he’s got experience in League football and he plays the percentages of the game very well.
“So whether it’s me or one of the other strikers, we will benefit from him and I think we all compliment each other at the moment.”
Latest | July 2016