MURRAY: PERFORMANCES CAN STILL GO UP DRAMATICALLY
Boss tasks players to cement high league position
mansfieldtown.net, 5th September 2016
Stags’ chief Adam Murray says the Sky Bet League Two table is beginning to take shape and has challenged his players to retain their top seven place alongside the league’s ‘big teams’.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Cambridge United saw Murray’s men pick up their 11th point of the season after three wins, a draw and a solitary defeat in the first month of the season.
And Murray has now tasked his players to continue their early season form to cement their position towards the top end of the table.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-tasks-players-to-keep-high-league-position-3291663.aspx#vbi1giaiUlb4WVjJ.99
“I think now you start to look at the top seven and I think there’s only us and Morecambe who are not expected to be in it, so I think you’re right in that, I think the table is starting to take shape now,” Murray said.
“The big teams are starting to take their places amongst the top places and it’s important that we hang in there. I think if we can stay in there after ten games, that’s a real good building block for us and then we want to build on that and push on.
“Performances can still go up dramatically, I feel. But to be a six/seven out of ten at the minute and be picking up the points that we are, we can’t really complain.”
The 34-year-old admitted that his side can improve ‘with the ball’ and he is keen to dispel the theory that his side play a ‘direct’ style of football.
“I’m a little bit confused at the minute and it’s something that we’re trying to fathom out because I don’t know if it’s just because we are a big side; you look through our side and we’re all six foot plus, when you read other people’s comments about us, we’re a big, strong and direct team and that’s the opposite to what we look at ourselves as.
“We need to be better with the ball. That’s one area that we need to progress on because I think when you do control games a little bit more than we are at the minute, that takes us to the next level. If there is another level in us and we’re sitting fifth in the league, then I’m happy with that.”
The boss, speaking at his weekly news conference, revealed that striker Danny Rose is seeing a specialist this morning regarding his eye injury, and also provided an update on the other injured players in his squad, including defender Kyle Howkins, who suffered a hamstring injury in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Doncaster Rovers last week.
“Because it’s a hamstring injury, we didn’t want him driving to Mansfield every day, it’s not going to do it any good. So for the first week, I think he lives two miles from West Brom’s training ground so for the first couple of weeks, he’s going to have his initial treatment there because that’s the most important part of it, and then when he starts his proper rehab, he’ll be back in with us.
(added by Martin - Murray suggested Howkins will be out for about 4 weeks)
“[Chris Clements and Jack Thomas have] upped their rehab. I think today they’re hitting a higher intensity, so it’s a big week for both of them [starting] today. I think you’ll probably see Clements before Jack Thomas."
Supporters can view Adam Murray’s Monday morning news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.
Stags boss Murray to revert to one striker?
by John Lomas, chad.co.uk, Monday 05 September 2016
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray today hinted he may go back to playing his old system of one central striker ahead of the weekend’s visit of Barnet.
Despite partnering Matt Green and Darius Henderson as a twin-pronged attack on Saturday, Stags were held 0-0 at home by Cambridge United and Murray said: “Like everyone wanted for so long, we have played with two centre forwards every game now.
“All our substitutions on Saturday were attacking ones, but some people are still are calling us negative so it is bewildering.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/stags-boss-murray-to-revert-to-one-striker-1-8106054?
“I am way past taking it to heart. I know what works and what doesn’t work.
“We have played two centre forwards at the start of the game all season so far and even first half Saturday at home we had two out and out centre forwards up there, and I don’t think it worked.
“We didn’t control the game and midfield were getting overloaded with their three versus two in there.”
Murray added: “I will do what I believe is best - that’s what I get paid for and with that I will ultimately move on to another club and be successful, move up the leagues with Mansfield and be successful, or I’ll get sacked.
“It’s got to be on my terms. If it’s on Ian the plumber from Sutton’s terms then there is no point in me doing the job. I am no good at plumbing so I’ll stick to this.”
Happy Stags boss Murray surprised by ‘long ball team’ accusations
by John Lomas, chad.co.uk
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray is delighted to see his side end the first month of the season in fifth, but is bewildered to hear accusations of Stags being a long ball team.
Murray has tried to encourage his side to play out from the back and keep possession while mixing it up with longer balls to a very talented array of strikers.
It has certainly paid dividends so far, even without hitting top gear as yet.
“You look at the top seven and there is probably only us and Morecambe that are not expected to be in it,” said Murray.
“The table is starting to take shape now. The big teams are starting to take their place among the top places and it’s important we hang in there.
“If we can stay in there after 10 games, that would be a really good building block for us.
“Then we want to build on that and push on and, with what we’ve gone in the dressing room, there is no reason we can’t.
“I think we are sitting in a great place. If we’d turned one of the draws into a win we’d be top of the league, so we can’t really ask for much more.
“I feel performance levels can still go up dramatically, but to be a six/seven out of 10 at the minute and be picking up the points we are we can’t complain.”
However, comments have come from some other managers and elsewhere that Murray is employing a physical, long ball game, which he says has surprised him.
“I won’t lie, I am a little bit confused at the minute and trying to fathom it out,” he said.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/happy-stags-boss-murray-surprised-by-long-ball-team-accusations-1-8108005
“I don’t know if it just because we are a big side. You look through our sided and we are all six foot plus.
“But when you read other people’s comments about us we are a big, strong, direct team - that’s the opposite to what we see ourselves as.
“Because we haven’t been as good with the ball as we can, sometimes it does paint that picture.
“At the same time, when you’ve got centre forwards like the four senior boys we have got, you want to get it into them as much as you can and you are then relying on them to be good players.
“I think we are far from direct. Would we like to get it into our forwards and play? Yes, we do. But you look at some of our play and the way we set up and I find it (the comments) a little bit strange.
“If it was fair and we were a direct team and that’s the way we played I’d have no issue with it. It’s about winning games.
“But I think you saw last year and you’ve seen in pre-season we do have some very good footballers here and we’ve played some very good football.”
He added: “I think what does happen is it becomes lazy.
“One manager will label you with it and then when you have strikers like Matt Green and Darius Henderson, without doing the homework, they’ll just say we are direct because of the kind of strikers we’ve got.
“We do need to be better with the ball. It is one area we need to progress on because when we do control games a little bit more than we are at the minute, that takes us to the next level.
“If there is still another level and we are fifth in the league then I am happy with that.
“It’s a great deflection for managers. I know Cambridge fans this season have labelled their side with being quite direct and not playing a lot of football. It’s such an easy thing to say.
“We don’t mind. We are sitting fifth in the league. We know what a good football team we are. We know what good football we can play.
“Do we need to be better at it? One hundred per cent. But we are really pleased with where we are at the minute.”
Last season Murray and his players looked at sets of games in batches and worked out where the points might come from in them.
However, this season that methodology has been abandoned.
“I am focused on game by game,” said Murray. “Sometimes you can look at a set of fixtures coming up and lose sight of what’s important.
“Before you’ve got the points on the board you are worrying about what’s happening two games down the road.
“Obviously we are aware of the fixture run-up and different challenges that we’ll face, but in terms of points hauls and points totals we’ll just take every game as it comes this season.
“We haven’t looked at it and gone, we want to be here at that point or we want that many points at that point, it is game by game.
“We believe we are strong, we are organised and very disciplined. I wanted us to be, just as we were last season, hard to beat and I think we are, and then have that attacking edge as well.”
Stags boss Murray ready to tame ‘Mad Dog’s’ men
Adam Murray is looking forward to crossing swords once more with Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen as Mansfield Town take on Barnet at home on Saturday.
As well as the manager, the Stags boss also admitted he was an admirer of the Bees’ goal ace John Akinde, but dismissed fans’ suggestions he was on his shopping list.
Murray said of Allen: “I am looking forward to watching his press this week - he is a top guy.
“He is an excellent manager with loads of experience, he thinks outside the box and has signed some very good players this summer.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-murray-ready-to-tame-mad-dog-s-men-1-8113904
“They’ve had a really good start. They were 1-0 up on Saturday, scoring really early on, before it got called off at Newport.
“We know what the threats are already and we saw last year here that they are tough opponents, so we will be aware of what they bring to the table. But we need to focus on us. We have got very good players this season.
“If we make it all about us there won’t be many teams who can handle it.
“We can spend a lot of time worrying about other teams but we won’t get the work into our players that they deserve.
“Even though we are in a fantastic position at the minute, we want to grasp it and get to the next level as soon as quick as we can.”
Murray has been linked with possible moves for burly striker Akinde, and said: “He is very good for this level, let’s get that right.
“I know Barnet offered him a new contract. To get someone like John you’d have to pay extortionate money because he is a massive asset at this level.
“But to get someone like John you have to play a certain way as well, so it’s swings and roundabouts. You can’t play tippy-tappy football and have John Akinde up front.
“I am more than happy with the centre forwards we’ve got. We’ve got some of the best in the league in our armoury at the minute.”
He added: “It was good to get Hendo (Darius Henderson) some more minutes on Saturday as he needs that.
“He needs game time, he needs catch-up time and I think at times he looked strong. You can see he hasn’t had a pre-season. He’s not had a lot of minutes - but that will come.
“We are now getting Pat Hoban up to speed too. He played more again and I keep saying he is going to be a massive player for us.
“Even though we have got four of the best strikers in my eyes in the league, three of them haven’t been at 100 per cent for three weeks to a month now.
“To a certain degree, we’ve had to reply on Matt Green again. “It’s frustrating for all of them, it’s frustrating for me and it’s frustrating for the squad as we know we’ve got a strong squad. But someone comes back and then you lose someone else.
“When we can get them all fit and get them up and running we will be even stronger. Until then we have to keep ticking points over.”
Stags were held 0-0 at home by Cambridge last weekend, but Murray was delighted to see his side take on board his demand that, if it’s not your day take a point and don’t lose it.
“One thing I want from my team this year that I didn’t feel we had last year, which I think could have made the difference for us last year, is that when we are average, we must nick points. And when we can’t win we don’t lose,” he said.
“We can’t win every game even though we want to more than anything.
“On Saturday it wasn’t clicking and you could tell it was one of those games.
“Every time we tried something it didn’t work. You have to come out of that with something on the board or we’d all be sitting here crying.
“I have gone back over it, but we want to put it to bed very quickly. There were aspects of it we were very pleased with, but things we knew first hand that we need to improve on.
“It was an average performance, but we didn’t get beaten and chalked another point off against a good, strong side. We have taken a lot out of the game.”
Hawthorns rehab for injured Stags loanee Howkins
by John Lomas, chad.co.uk
Injured on-loan Mansfield Town defender Kyle Howkins will receive treatment at parent club West Brom for a couple of weeks as he battles back from a hamstring injury.
The 6ft 5ins 20-year-old made a very impressive start to life in League Two with the Stags before limping off in midweek last week in the EFL Trophy clash with Doncaster Rovers.
That forced boss Adam Murray to have to delve into the transfer marker for cover and bring in Nottingham Forest’s highly-rated Alex Iacovitti on loan for the rest of the season.
Howkins is expected to be out for at least a month and Murray said: “Kyle is a big miss, but I think we’ve got a more than adequate replacement.
“Because it’s a hamstring injury we didn’t want him driving up to Mansfield every day. “That’s not going to do him any good. I think he lives two miles from West Brom’s training ground, so for the first couple of weeks he’s going to have his initial treatment there.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/hawthorns-rehab-for-injured-stags-loanee-howkins-1-8109983
“That’s the most important part of it. Then when he starts his proper rehab, he will be back in with us.
“He has many attributes. He looks like a rugby player doesn’t he?
“Kyle is physically huge, but he’s quick. You don’t usually find someone that big as lightning quick. And he can play.
“He will go on to have a very good career. As it stands, his loan with us is until January and it will be something we will be looking at extending.
“So, like Alex, we want him to enjoy his season with us.”
On new boy Iacovitti, Murray continued: “Alex can play just as well at left back as centre half so we have a lot of options with Alex.
“They are two very good players that make us better and hopefully they will push us on.
“Kyle is a big miss. But we haven’t seen Alex yet and he is going to be a fantastic player.
“Even in a couple of days training we’ve seen, for a kid, he is a leader. He is aggressive, he’s strong, he’s technically very good.”
Stags boss Murray staying patient over Thomas ‘growing pains’
by John Lomas, chad.co.uk
Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray is being patient over midfield ace Jack Thomas’ lay-off as he believes the youngster will come back bigger and better.
Thomas has been sidelined all season so far by what have been described as ‘growing pains’ as the 20-year-old begins to bulk out into the size of his relatives.
“It’s not growing pains like when you were four! It’s something to do with his pelvis,” said Murray.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-murray-staying-patient-over-thomas-growing-pains-1-8111236?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
“If you see Jack’s brother and his dad, they are all six foot plus and Jack is going to end up a big bloke.
“But because he’s been in such intense training from a young age he’s still finding his body.
“His hips are a little bit all over the place at the minute and it’s his pelvis which is causing his groins to be very tight. So every time he does something it flares up.
“He’s having to do some strengthening exercises that keep his pelvis and hips in the right place before he can go onto the next stage of his rehab. So it’s a slow burner, but it is what it is.”
Murray added: “I think it’s the way the game is going. “Look at the Premier League now, they are all athletes, they’re all superhuman and they can play. Jack will eventually fit into that mould.”
Thomas is joined on the treatment table by fellow midfielder Chris Clements with a hamstring problem. Murray said both were progressing nicely and explained:
“They have upped their rehab. “They are hitting a higher intensity today so it’s a big week for both of them this week. I think we’ll probably see Clem before Jack Thomas.”
Forget winter breaks, sort August shambles, says Stags boss Murray
by John Lomas, chad.co.uk
Instead of once again discussing winter mid-season breaks, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes the FA should be trying instead to solve the fixture congestion clubs have just suffered in August.
A two-week break early in the year is back on the national agenda, but Murray said:
“I think they need to look at the first month. That first month is a shambles for everybody involved.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/forget-winter-breaks-sort-august-shambles-says-stags-boss-murray-1-8113918
“If you get through the cups you end up playing eight or nine games in the space of four weeks - it’s ludicrous.
“For small clubs like ourselves with low squad numbers and resources it is a hindrance to be in the cups as we can’t fight on all levels.
“I know a few managers have in put official complaints and I am hoping they will look at that first month and spreading the games out a little bit.
“But as far as a winter break is concerned, I like the nitty-gritty of the Christmas period. No winter break for me.”
Another mooted idea is to move FA Cup games from weekend into midweek after round three.
“I think they get bored and just want to do things for the sake of it sometimes,” said Murray.
“It’s like some of the new rules that have come in with the referees - you are just confusing the refs.
“It’s not helping them, it’s just confusing them as there are so many grey areas. But that’s another story.”
Martin Allen: “We will have to be at our very best”
barnetfc.com, 8th September 2016
Barnet’s manager looks ahead to this weekend’s match at Field Mill…
Martin Allen believes that Barnet will have to be at the top of their game if they are to secure a result against Mansfield Town on Saturday.
The Bees’ manager will have been buoyed by a solid first half performance against Newport County last weekend, before the match was called off due to a waterlogged pitch:
Read more at http://www.barnetfc.com/news/article/2016-17/martin-allen-we-will-have-to-be-at-our-very-best-3295946.aspx#QACGJFRLyP0XRmvg.99
“I thought that we played ok against Newport and that we had a couple of good chances early on to get ahead,” said Martin.
“We could have passed the ball better, which is something that we’ve been working on of course.
“But overall I thought that we did ok, especially as the game wore on and more rain began to pour down.
“The puddles were getting bigger and more difficult to play in.
“But as we know with our players, they always give everything that they’ve got.
“It’s just a disappointment that the match was called off immediately at half time.”
Ben Tomlinson made his first start of the season against the Exiles and Martin was pleased with the forward’s performance:
“Ben played very well and he’s been doing well in training,” he revealed.
“I’ve always said that the door is never closed on anybody and he was buzzing to be involved.
“To make the pass for the goal will do his confidence some good.
“He’s a great lad - if everybody knew him then they’d realise what a lovely lad he is.
“He really does train his hardest and is very conscientious with a great attitude.
“It was pleasing for him to get out there and do so well.”
Luke Gambin missed Saturday’s match in Wales after being called up to the Malta squad for a World Cup qualifier against Scotland.
Martin was delighted to see the Barnet winger in action for his national team, saying:
“I was proud to see Luke playing for Malta against Scotland - a couple of years ago he was struggling and didn’t play many games that season.
“He was behind Lee Cook in the promotion winning campaign, but made around 40 appearances last year.
“His progress and development over the last couple of seasons has been amazing.
“So I am very proud of him, he’s a great lad.
“I did watch the game live on Sunday night.
“Believe it or not, it got to the last few minutes and my wife said ‘can we turn it over now because I’m taping X Factor’.
“So I said ‘yes darling, no problem’ and watched X Factor with her.
“Then early Monday morning an arranged phone call came in from Luke - I said how well he’d played and how pleased I was with him.
“I never mentioned that he’d been sent off because I didn’t know!
“When I got into work someone said ‘that’s a shame that Gambo got sent off’ and I didn’t even know about it!
“It’s a shame that he’s not going to get the chance to play at Wembley, but I suppose at least he can play for us which is good news.
“He’ll be involved with us on Saturday.
“Thank God that transfer deadline is out of the way because it has been stirring issues up behind the scenes, left, right and centre.
“Thankfully that is now out of the way, he’s played brilliantly for his country & now I want to see him back for us and buzzing.”
Ross Eames’ Barnet team beat a Southend United XI at The Hive on Tuesday afternoon and the Bees’ manager was pleased with what he saw from the players on display:
"It does give me headaches - those players are playing so well and it was an outstanding performance,” he said.
They are so close to playing in the first team; we saw Justin Amaluzor come on at MK Dons and play well, and Harry Taylor has come in and done so well at right back.
"Harry's little brother, Jack, has also been fantastic.
“Fumnaya Shomotun played his best game in a long time - he was outstanding, and Wesley Fonguck has grown in confidence.
"Joe Payne was a substitute at Newport County and I don't think many of the fans know him.
“He's only 16 or 17 and has done tremendously well.
“Nana Kyei is nearly back to full fitness and Shane Cojocarel is doing well too.
"Tom Day has been in and around the first team but he got concussion in that collision with Bira Dembele, so that is why he hasn't been available for the last couple of weeks.
“All Barnet supporters know he is a good player.
“So they are all close to the first team.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s clash with Mansfield Town, Martin said:
"Adam Murray lost some good players in the summer but replaced them with some good signings.
“He is a very good manager and they played very well here last season when they beat us.
"Adam conducted himself really well and I was impressed by him as a person.
“So I have kept an eye on him and I think he is one that people will be looking at in the future.
“He is young, has good energy and I think he is a good up-and-coming manager.
"As I always say, we will have to be at our very best to get anything from the game."
Finally, Martin had an injury update for Barnet fans, saying:
"Michael Gash had his operation in central London on Tuesday morning, so he is back at home now.
“Gavin Hoyte is probably a month away from starting training with Ross' group.
“James Pearson is walking on his crutches which is good news, but we all know that he's a long way off.
"Tom Day has concussion and Bira Dembele has bruised ribs.
“He had a scan and there were no cracks, just bruising on the area which is very sensitive.
“We have missed Bira because he has been good in pre-season.
"Nana Kyei is back in training after his foot injury.
“We all saw how good he was at the end of last season, away at Crawley when we won 3-0.
“Nana was the best player on the pitch, so I'm waiting for him to make that step up now."
Latest | September 2016