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Archived News from October 2016

LUTON PREVIEWS
27th October 2016 15:24


Boss hopes to reap rewards of team-building
mansfieldtown.net, 20th October 2016

Stags’ boss Adam Murray took his first team squad on a team-building exercise earlier this week to further improve their communication following the 1-1 draw with Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday.

After training on Tuesday morning, manager Murray, his staff and players travelled to Escapelogic in Nottingham, a puzzle-solving venue where teams have to work together to escape from a room before the time runs out.

And Murray, who didn’t take part in the event but watched how the players worked together on CCTV screens, says it was a ‘fantastic’ exercise.

“We went to [Escapelogic] in Nottingham and it was incredible. We broke the lads [up] in to teams of four and five and there’s different themes to each room and you’ve got an hour, as a team, to work out how you’re going to get out of the room using different clues,” Murray said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-hopes-to-reap-rewards-of-team-building-3373920.aspx#4PyqhVMx9xhBz6it.99

“I think one room was an earthquake and halfway through the time, this big wall comes down and shuts one of your team in a separate part and you’ve got to work out how to get him out before he ‘dies’.

“Then there was the butcher room where the butcher was coming back to ‘kill you’ if you didn’t get out - so we locked them all in that room!

“It was good to see the characters come out and we’ve done something a little bit different in terms of our preparation for the game this week as well which put a little bit more onus on the players, which they were fantastic at.”

The Stags face Luton Town on Saturday (22 October, 3.00pm kick-off) and Murray has praised his opposite number, Hatters' manager Nathan Jones, for the job he's doing at Kenilworth Road.

“Credit to Nathan, I think it’s (the club) in the best place it’s been in a long time, they’re playing a good brand of football, I think he’s got the club as ‘one’, which is tough to do and he’s doing a great job there.

“He’s signed some excellent players, I think they’ve got one of the best strikers in the league in [Danny] Hylton and he’s been fantastic for them this season so it’s going to be a tough game for us, we’re not stupid.”

Speaking to the local press at Thursday morning’s news conference, the manager revealed that midfielder Jamie McGuire will almost certainly miss Saturday’s trip to Bedfordshire with a knee injury, however defender George Taft is stepping up his rehabilitation from the hamstring injury he picked up against Barnet in September.

“He (Jamie McGuire) got Player of the Month [in September] for a reason. He’s been a massive part of what we’ve done over the last few weeks so we want him back as soon as we can but we’ve got [other] people that we can put there.

“We had a little bit of a, not a worry, but a slight concern on Saturday where he (George Taft) felt, not sore, but a little bit tight, which worried the physios but he upped his rehab on Monday and Tuesday and he feels really good now.

“He was back out on the pitch yesterday so, touch wood, that’s going to go to plan and we’ll see Tafty soon because he’s another big plus for us.”

Supporters will be able to view Adam Murray’s news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD later today.

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McGuire setback for Stags ahead of Luton trip
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 20 October 2016

Mansfield Town were dealt a pre-match blow ahead of Saturday’s tough trip to Luton Town with the news that midfield tiger Jamie McGuire may miss out again with a setback on his leg injury.

McGuire won the club’s Player of the Month last month, but missed last weekend’s home draw with Wycombe Wanderers after suffering a leg injury in training which ended up with him passing out due to extreme swelling and having to go to hospital.

The injury improved over the weekend and the early part of the week, but a build-up of fluid has set him back and on the hopes of him playing at Luton, boss Adam Murray today said: “I am going to say no.

“I thought he would be, but he’s had to go back to the hospital today to try to have something drained. So I think Saturday will be too soon.

“So we are going to have to re-jig. We missed him. It’s a massive statement but I think if we’d had him last Saturday, we’d have won.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mcguire-setback-for-stags-ahead-of-luton-trip-1-8191990

“That’s no disrespect to anyone who played, but he gives us something that not many people do.”

Murray continued: “It’s a dying art in the game, that old school mentality.

“Having a personality on the pitch. It’s gone - that know-how, that little bit of a rough edge at times. We missed it on Saturday.

“He got player of the month for a reason and has been a massive part of what we’ve done over the last few weeks. We want him back as soon as we can.”

Murray admitted his respect for what McGuire offers had ballooned since ex-manager Paul Cox signed him for the Stags to join Murray in the midfield, as before that Murray was far from a McGuire fan.

“He was someone as a player I didn’t like,” said Murray.

“When I came across him he was nasty, horrible, and we used to have some scraps. We used to poke each other in the eyes.

“Then when Paul signed him and we played together, you appreciate what he does.

“I have now stepped onto this side of my relationship with Jammer, and it’s become very close.

“He is probably one of my right hand men in the changing rooms, along with a couple of others, and he has been fantastic. He does the things that go unnoticed.

“But the big thing he does for me is he keeps the group ticking over, as well as the skipper, and he brings the club together, which is a massive thing.

“He has got a lot of passion for the club. It means something to him. “He cares - that’s one of the biggest things. It’s not just a job for him. It’s a life and death scenario which you don’t find any more.”

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Green enjoying being a ‘super sub’, says Murray
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Manager Adam Murray hinted goal ace Matt Green could again be on the bench this Saturday as Mansfield Town head for high-flying Luton Town.

Green has been left out for the last five games after a spell without scoring, but has bagged four goals in the last three games after coming on as a sub, winning two games and securing a late draw last weekend.

However, Murray said that the striker was not banging his door down for a recall and suggested he was quite enjoying his superb sub role and would continue it, though it’s impossible to say if that is a mind game with the Hatters as fans expect Green will return.

“My door is always open - there’s not a door to bang,” said Murray.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/green-enjoying-being-a-super-sub-says-murray-1-8193490?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

“After the Grimsby game Greeny didn’t deserve to be in the team as he hadn’t scored any goals. So I took him out of the team.

“If it was any other player in the team you wouldn’t want to write a story about it. It’s only because it’s Matt Green you want to write a story about it.

“Unfortunately Stags fans, there is no story there. He wasn’t performing so he came out the team.

“The performances he has put in and his attitude since he’s not been in the team have been superb. And I think at the minute he’s enjoying being super sub. So we’ll just carry that on.”

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Murray talks differing fan perspectives ahead of Stags’ trip to Luton
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has spoken of the different views fans have on the two clubs’ start to the season as they head for promotion rivals Luton Town on Saturday. Stags have had some frustrating results at home and could have been higher in the table, while the Hatters are in the play-off zone and are thought to have started well.

However, with a quarter of the season gone this week, Murray pointed out that Stags will be a single point adrift of Luton if they can win there on Saturday in a game that is always played in the manner of a ‘local derby’ due to the club’s old rivalry from their time together in the Conference.

“I was listening to a lot of press this week and people were saying what a good start Luton have had, and they have,” said Murray.

“They’ve had some big results already, but if we go there and get a result on Saturday, we are one point off them. So it’s all about perspective isn’t it?

“We are confident. The boys are in a good mood and have worked really hard this week.

“We have had a good week this week. It’s a big statement but we obviously feel we should be inside that top seven now.

“But we are probably a little behind schedule from where I wanted us to be. That’s for a number of reasons, but we will get back to where we believe we can be.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/murray-talks-differing-fan-perspectives-ahead-of-stags-trip-to-luton-1-8193306?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

“After the first quarter, if someone had said to us we’d be three points off Portsmouth and four points off Luton, we would have taken that.

“We are in an okay position with a lot more to come.” Murray continued: “It’s taken a bit longer than expected.

“We have not had the cohesion wanted in a number of areas. If I am being brutally honest we brought more new faces into the building than we planned to do.

“We have also had a couple of well-documented situations that have gone on that have not helped.

“The injury situation didn’t help either, but that’s football at times. We can talk about it. Is it a reason? Is it excuses? It’s whatever glasses you’re looking through. But it obviously all affects it. “We are on the right track now. We spoke about the process with the players this week and we believe the process is right. We have just got to keep doing what we are doing and improving what we are doing. “We are very confident we’ll be in or around it all season. “We are only one point off it and there is a lot more to come. I think we’ve seen over the last few weeks, performance levels have gone up.

“Apart from the first half on Saturday I think we’ve been really good lately, though not taking the three points when we should have done.

“It’s fine margins at the minute. You turn one of those draws into a win and you’re in the play-offs and it’s a totally different conversation.

“The boys are positive. We’re very optimistic about the rest of the season and we are excited. There is an excitement in there.”

Murray was full of praise for Stags’ supporters last weekend.

“The reaction of the fans on Saturday was fantastic as I think they can see what’s coming and know it’s just around the corner,” he said.

“It was a good feeling. It was good for the players, even though they were frustrated. I think everyone saw that second half they gave everything to try to win the game. “Apart from probably one of the best young goalkeepers I’ve seen, we would have won it.

“I knew he was half-decent but I didn’t realise how good he was, not just the saves he made but he commanded his area fantastically. We were putting set plays into the box and he was on the edge of the area catching them, which you don’t see nowadays.

“If it wasn’t against my team I’d say it was a pleasure to watch.” Murray, a former Luton player himself, enjoys the passion of the games with the Hatters. He smiled: “It’s a weird one isn’t it? It’s like the Grimsby one - the local derby that’s four million miles away!

“It is so not a local derby. It’s like us playing Plymouth in a local derby. “We had some good games against them in the Conference and we’ve had some good games against them in the League. “Luton is a good football club. We can’t get away from that. Credit to Nathan (Jones), I think it’s in the best place it’s been for a long time.

“They are playing a good brand of football and I think he’s got the club as one - which is tough to do. He is doing a great job there and he has signed some excellent players.

“They’ve got one of the best strikers in the league in Danny Hylton. He has been fantastic for them this season. “It is going to be a tough game for us - we’re not stupid. We’re going to have to be on our mettle, but we go into it unbeaten in five. We’d have liked a couple more wins in that, but know we’re strong.”

He added: “Obviously I played there for a short time - and if I am honest I was awful there. In fact I don’t think they will even remember me playing, I was that bad. “I didn’t have the time there I was hoping to have. “They obviously get decent crowds, but it’s a two-way thing.

“It is a club with a lot of history and the fans are passionate. It’s like any football club - the environment can go two ways.

“If the sun is shining and the roses are out, it’s brilliant. But if that changes it becomes a problem, a bit like our place. It’s something you take into consideration.

“It’s a tough game, a tough place to go, a good team, good manager; but we’re in the same boat.”

Murray said he had tried something new this week to involve players more in preparation.

He said: “We needed something a little bit different in terms of our preparation for the game this weekend as well which put a bit more onus on the players, which they were fantastic at. It surprised me a bit to be honest.

“We are getting to where we need to be. This isn’t a one-year or two-year thing. This is a long-term project.

“With the way we are doing things at the minute we are making sure the football club is going to be a competitive club for years to come.

“It wasn’t last year we wanted to be fighting for the play-offs, we want it to be this year and next year as well, in this league or the league above. That’s the aim for this football club now, not messing around at the bottom of the league or being in the Conference. We’re moving forward.

“We want to get in the play-offs. That’s what we want to do.”

Forest loanee defender Alex Iacovitti is back in the squad this weekend after his Scottish U21 duty. Explaining why he missed out last weekend, Murray said:

“He didn’t get back until Thursday last week and they have Thursdays off.

“We’d done a lot of our work and we started with the five defenders on the pitch. At home we want to be attacking.”

West Brom loanee defender Kyke Howkins returned from his hamstring injury last week and Murray said:

“They are a Premiership club so we expected him to come back in tip-top condition.

“He’s only a kid so he is fit, he’s strong, and I thought he was excellent on Saturday.”

Also back from injury for the first time this season last weekend was midfielder Jack Thomas, who came on at half-time. “Jack is just Jack,” said Murray.

“I thought he looked strong when he came on and he’s obviously in our thoughts for Saturday now.

“Again, he is a younger versions of Jammer in his passion and his enthusiasm to want to play football and want to enjoy the game. He cares for the football club.

“When you have that genuine feeling you can’t make up or con people with, it shows through. I think we saw that on Saturday when both Jack and Greeny came on.

“I think they added that little bit of oomph.”

Apart from the concerns over a leg injury for Jamie McGuire that could keep him out on Saturday, the only player still out injured is centre half George Taft and Murray said:

“It’s good now. We had a little bit of a slight concern last weekend when he felt a little bit tight, which worried the physios.

“But he upped his rehab on Monday or Tuesday and he feels really good now. “He was back out on the pitch yesterday, so touch wood, that’s going to go to plan and we will see Tafty soon because he’s another plus for us.

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Team bonding as Stags escape ‘earthquakes’ and the ‘butcher’s knife’
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 20 October 2016

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray took his side to Nottingham’s Escape Rooms this week to help build team relations in a week in which he also banned mobile phones from the building.

Concerned by his side’s poor communication on the pitch last weekend and the number of new faces from the summer he feels are still to really settle in, Murray whisked the squad for a fun-packed day escaping ‘earthquakes’ or the ‘butcher’s knife’, which he felt worked a treat ahead of Saturday’s game at Luton Town.

“We have had a really good week this week,” smiled Murray.

“We had a team-building exercise on Tuesday which was fantastic and one of the best we’ve done.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/team-bonding-as-stags-escape-earthquakes-and-the-butcher-s-knife-1-8192115

“We went to the Escape Rooms in Nottingham and it was incredible. We broke the lads into teams of four and five.

“There are different themes to each room and there are five rooms. You’ve got an hour as a team to work out how you’re going to get out of the room.

“One room was something like an earthquake and halfway through the time a big wall comes down and shuts one of your team in a separate part and you have to work out how to get him out before he ‘dies’. So we had to save him.

“Then there was the ‘butcher room’ where the butcher was coming back to kill you if you didn’t get out. So we locked them all in that room!

“It was like our half-time team talk on Saturday in the butcher room!” Murray enjoyed watching the reactions of his players and seeing characters emerging.

“It was quite comical actually,” he said. “The staff didn’t do it as we wanted it to be a player thing. But we actually got to watch it on CCTV.

“I won’t go into some of the things I’ve seen, but we saw people hiding in corners! It was good to see the characters come out.

“It was fantastic, then we went for a meal - all little things. “We were massive on it last year. We did stupid things last year like ‘Date Night’.

“It brought the team together and I think, because it hasn’t gone a smoothly as wanted and with the 11 or 12 players we’ve brought in, we only planned to bring about half of that in.

“So we’ve had to take a little bit longer getting it together. Basically we’ve had to start again.”

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Murray surprised by media coverage of mobile phone ban at Stags
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray said he was surprised how many headlines had been made by him banning mobile phone from the club this week.

Concerned by his side’s lack of communication on the pitch, Murray moved to outlaw mobiles from One Call Stadium last weekend - a move that has been reported by national newspapers.

“It’s probably got more headlines than I expected it to,” he said.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/murray-surprised-by-media-coverage-of-mobile-phone-ban-at-stags-1-8193536?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

“It’s not a new thing, we’d banned them anyway. It’s just that we only banned them through certain times and now they are banned full stop.

“You are not allowed to bring it into the building. I don’t understand why you should.”

Murray added: “It’s not just in football. I don’t like it and I have issues at home.

“I have four kids and they all think their life revolves around an iPhone.

“I’ve got issues with my oldest one at the minute with Snapchat or flapjack or whatever it is. It’s just ruining the world isn’t it?

“They come home from school and it’s like ‘where are the kids?’ They’ve gone to the cyberzone, see you tomorrow!”

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Hatters boss unlikely to repeat Pelly experiment
by MIKE SIMMONDS, Thursday 20 October 2016

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted he is unlikely to repeat the experiment of putting Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu upfront against Mansfield Town this weekend.

With Danny Hylton suspended for the recent trip to Hartlepool United, Jones thrust the former West Ham youngster alongside Jack Marriott during the 1-1 draw at Victoria Park.

Hylton is once again missing due to a ban on Saturday when the Stags visit Kenilworth Road, but when asked if he would use the midfielder in a striking berth, Jones said: “We’ll be a little bit more used to what you see this weekend though, rather than doing something a little bit of out of the box.

“We know what Pelly gives us in terms of a lot of potency on the pitch, it’s just we tried something, I’m not sure if it quite worked, but we’re not afraid to try things as we feel we’re that type of club and that type of group.

Read more at: http://www.dunstabletoday.co.uk/sport/football/hatters/hatters-boss-unlikely-to-repeat-pelly-experiment-1-7638919?

“It was something that we tried, we probably won’t do that Saturday, but he’s definitely in contention for one of the other positions.”

The Hatters boss knows Hylton’s absence will be keenly felt, as the summer signing is the club’s top scorer with eight goals so far, and has netted in his last three matches too. However, Jones has his plans in place already, as he continued:

“We know what we’re going to do, we’ve worked on it this week.

“Danny’s going to be a miss for us as he would be a miss for any team in this league and probably the league above in all honesty.

“But we’re going to have to cope, we’ve learned how to cope without him, as we had to do it before. We should have won the game up at Hartlepool, but we didn’t so we’re going to have to learn to cope without him or continue to cope without him for Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity, someone has to step up and however we go, whoever we pick in that position, we’re looking for the same level of performance we get from Hylts and that’s all we need really.”

It’s unlikely that Jones will drop Marriott to the bench as he had done against Crawley with Hylton struggling due to his cheekbone injury, as the boss added:

“We’ve got no worries with Jack’s form. He’s gone a few without scoring, but that’s a personal thing for him.

“I’m happy with how he’s playing how he’s contributing and if others are scoring it’s not hindering the team at the minute as we are second or first top scorers in the league.

“So as long as he continues that and the performance level then the goals will come as he’s that type of player.”

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Luton Town: Stephen O'Donnell wants return to way he's played all career
LutonOnSunday, October 20, 2016, By James Cunliffe

Stephen O'Donnell says scoring goals and creating chances is how he's played all his career, so hopes to rediscover that if he keeps his place for the visit of Mansfield on Saturday.

The defender had started every League Two game under Nathan Jones, since the manager's arrival at Kenilworth Road in January, but after two straight defeats last month he was dropped.

That gave promising Academy graduate James Justin his full Hatters debut and the 19-year-old impressed, keeping his place until pulling his calf in the warm-up to Saturday's 2-1 win at Leyton Orient.

His misfortune saw O'Donnell thrown back into action with just 20 minutes' notice and he helped the side to a first win in four league games and, asked if he's hoping start against the Stags this weekend, the 24-year-old said: "Definitely, I hope I have done enough, but obviously I'm not the one to ask that, you can ask the gaffer and let me know if he says I'm playing!"

While he was relieved to be back in action after just one appearance in the much-changed EFL Trophy side that beat West Bromwich Albion's Under-23s, O'Donnell knows there is still room for improvement.

The former Partick Thistle full back said: "[Against] West Brom I could have got two or three assists, could have scored two goals and that's how I want to play, that's how I've played all my career, I just want to get back to that, but we need to as a team get back to that together and hopefully that will happen."

Read more at http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/luton-town-stephen-o-donnell-wants-return-to-way-he-s-played-all-career/story-29825976-detail/story.html?#bjOFgEmLVzRM5OYi.99

Despite a few of forays forward at Brisbane Road, O'Donnell said: "That's not enough though for a team like Luton, the way we want to play, the way the gaffer came in last season and set out his goals and this year we had to buy into it or we wouldn't be here, and we just need to get back to that."

While fourth-placed Town are now six games unbeaten in all competitions they've not been as fluent as they'd have liked and boss Jones admitted last week that his side could be in a better position.

Talking after the Orient win, O'Donnell said: "I felt the quality just wasn't quite good enough. Where we want to be, we set goals at the start of the season and promotion is right at the top of that, but we wanted to get promoted in a fashion and a style, and that's maybe not happened, but we won nonetheless."

Another player that will be hopeful of keeping his place, after just his second league start for Luton last weekend, is Newcastle loan midfielder Alex Gilliead.

Manager Jones said: "We know how good Alex Gilliead is. The thing is, with Alex Gilliead, he joined us late so he missed a lot of pre-season, a lot of our structural work, especially out of possession.

"I know what he can do in possession, he's a wonderful, wonderful player and he's starting to prove that now. He's had to be patient, he hasn't wanted to be patient, because he came here to play. Provided he keeps at the level he is, he will."

Jones will be without top scorer Danny Hylton for the visit of 11th placed Mansfield on Saturday. The striker collected his fifth booking of the season at Orient to earn a one-match suspension, while midfielder Olly Lee will be available for selection again after serving his ban at Orient for the same accumulative offences.

The manager will also have striker Craig Mackail-Smith available - though unlikely to start - after the striker ended his seven month recovery from a broken leg with 45 minutes in the development side's 3-0 Beds Senior Cup win over Barton Rovers on Tuesday night.

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