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Archived News from April 2016

7th April 2016 11:16

Stags' boss has turned me from boy to man - Tafazolli
mansfieldtown.net, 31st March 2016

Commanding defender Ryan Tafazolli today hailed Stags’ boss Adam Murray as ‘the best manager outside the Premier League’, adding that the 34-year-old chief had transformed him from ‘a boy to a man’.

The former Southampton trainee is now in his fourth season at One Call Stadium and is the club’s current longest serving player,

Widely regarded as a contender for the Player of the Season award, the 24-year-old has been a mainstay in our backline, making 40 appearances in all competitions.

And today he heaped praise upon manager Adam Murray in a news conference at One Call Stadium whilst declaring his intention to play under the Stags’ boss next season.

“Playing under the gaffer; he has turned me from a boy to a man, he really has,” said Tafazolli.

“He has 'brought me on' massively and I can’t speak highly enough of him.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/stags-boss-has-turned-me-from-boy-to-man-tafazolli-3034181.aspx#rIHhJ16wMYTuIjxg.99

“For me, he is ‘hands down’ the best manager outside of the Premier League.

"I want to improve as much as I can as a footballer and I know that if I'm playing under Adam Murray I will become twice the footballer I am this time next year.

“There are no managers out there who would improve me as much as him. To work underneath the gaffer here again [next season] would be unbelievable."

When asked how he had improved as a player during his stint in North Nottinghamshire, Tafazolli said: "The biggest thing for me, as I have said, is going from a boy to a man.

"He’s [Adam Murray] taught me how to become a leader, set examples, influence others and get the best out of my team mates. That’s probably what I’ve improved on the most. I'm a 'different animal' now and I have to put that down to the gaffer."

The defender was substituted mid-way through the first half in Monday’s 2-2 draw against league leaders Northampton following a dead leg. It is unknown at this stage whether the centre-half will be fit for Saturday’s trip to in-form Hartlepool United, with the club awaiting results of a scan.

“I had a scan yesterday and am waiting for the results now. I’m hoping it’s not too serious and that it’s a minor one so I can get back in [the line up] for Saturday,” he added.

Stags, who currently lie in 13th position in Sky Bet League Two, travel to Hartlepool United on Saturday, who sit four places below Adam Murray's men.

Tafazolli is eager to earn a positive result at Victoria Park to act as a benchmark heading into the last six games of the season.

"We just want to build some momentum now. If we can get a good result at Hartlepool, I'm sure we can begin some momentum and take this into the final stretch of the season."

View Ryan Tafazolli's full interview on Stags Player HD.


New Stags deal for Tafazolli looking bright
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 31 March 2016

Mansfield Town will sit down and have talks with centre half Ryan Tafazolli next week over signing a new deal with the club this summer with the player keen to stay.

Being out of contract, Tafazolli will attract interest elsewhere from bigger clubs, but the 24-year-old today said the biggest factor in keeping him would be another season under boss Adam Murray whom he described as the best manager working outside the Premier League.

Murray said club chairman John Radford was ready to push the boat out on a deal to keep Tafazolli at the club.

Tafazolli said: “Playing under this gaffer here he has turned me from a boy to a man - he really has. He has brought me on massively and I couldn’t speak highly enough of him.

“For me he is hands-down the best manager outside of the Premier League.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/new-stags-deal-for-tafazolli-looking-bright-1-7826466#ixzz44V4ghYQz

“That’s a big thing for me as I want to improve as much as I can as a footballer and I know this time next year if I am playing underneath Adam Murray I am going to become twice the footballer I am now.

“That’s a massive thing for me. There are no managers out there that would improve me as much as Adam Murray has.”

He added: “From the start of the season to now I can name a lot of things I have improved on, and it’s not been that long a period compared to the first three years I was here.

“That’s a massive factor for me. Being able to work under the gaffer here again would be unbelievable.

“I have improved all-round in every aspect. The biggest one for me is going from being a boy to a man.

“He has taught me how to become a leader and set examples, how to influence other players and get the best out of my team mates.

“I am definitely a different animal now and I have to put that all down to the gaffer.”

Tafazolli said he wanted to be a part of a settled side that can grown together.

“What you’ve seen this season is a progression throughout the season of what we are about and what we are trying to become,” he said.

“You look at the teams at the top end of the table now and they’ve just become well-oiled machines. Teams like Oxford over the last two seasons have put together good teams.”

Boss Murray is hopeful he can keep his defensive rock and expects him to be captain at some stage.

“He has been superb,” said Murray. “He has shown a maturity and since I’ve had the job he has come on tenfold.

“Taff is a leader now and I look at him in a captain’s mould.

“He dictates and dominates and has a lot of respect from his peers and myself. He is a big player for us.”

On a new deal, he added: “I spoke with the chairman about it and the chairman will push the boat out to try to keep him.

“He will do everything he can to put a deal on the table that we feel warrants Taff’s ability.

“I want to keep him and the chairman is desperate to keep him as he’s been a good player, but what we will find this season is that there will be a lot of good players available.

“Me and Taff are always talking - he never stops! We’ve had a lot of chats about it and we both know where we are at.

“We are due to sit down again probably at the start of next week with the chairman and hopefully discussions will be positive.

“Up to now he’s been a great servant and, as I said, I see him as a leader in this group and someone that will be a captain in his career. So if we can keep him - super-duper.”


Stags waiting on Tafazolli scan result
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 31 March 2016

Mansfield Town centre half Ryan Tafazolli is awaiting results from a scan on his ‘dead leg injury today to determine if he may be able to figure in Saturday’s game at Hartlepool United.

Tafazolli limped off midway through the first half of Monday’s 2-2 draw with leaders Northampton town and this morning said: “I had a scan yesterday and I am just waiting for the results now, so I am hoping it’s nothing too serious.

“Obviously it’s a dead leg and I am hoping it’s a minor one to be fair so I can get back in for Saturday, but we’ll see.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/stags-waiting-on-tafazolli-scan-result-1-7826309#ixzz44V4Tdlcc

“It felt terrible on the day and it felt bad the day after, but I’ve just been smashing it with ice and following the basics of ice, compress, elevate and it’s got better rapidly.

“It’s not 100 per cent yet. I am going to test it out today but it’s touch and go at the minute.”

Having to leave the action so early in such a big game was Tafazolli’s biggest frustration.

“That the worst thing, I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was in the 85th minute and we were still winning 2-0,” he said.

“But it was early on, and at the time we were 2-0 up. So it’s disappointing to have to go off and not being to contribute to trying to win the match.

“I remember a ball was played into me and I tried to turn out, and as I did their striker John Marquis has carried on going in the direction of where I am standing and his knee has gone straight into the top of my leg and caused it to tighten up straight away.

“I knew then I wouldn’t be able to carry on. I couldn’t do myself justice.”

Boss Adam Murray added: “It’s not looking great. It was a bad one and for Taff to have come off at that point in the game threw us, but we dealt with it.”


Strikers to benefit from Karl Hawley experience
mansfieldtown.net, 31st March 2016

Stags’ boss Adam Murray revealed during this morning’s news conference that former Football League striker Karl Hawley has joined the club on a short-term basis to coach our strikers.

The 34-year-old former Carlisle United frontman is currently playing for Stourbridge in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League and Murray says he hopes his crop of forwards will benefit from having someone with vast Football League experience working with them.

And Hawley will look to refine the skills of Stags' marksmen Matt Green, Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Adi Yussuf and Chris Beardsley in the coming weeks.

“Karl’s obviously someone who I’ve known through football all my life and he’s someone that I trust and he’s got a lot of experience in the Football League at a very high standard - he’s obviously scored a lot of goals through his career.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-brings-in-striker-coach-3034094.aspx#Z1QRdTvdo4auQtb1.99

“So just for these few weeks, towards the end of the season, I’m just having a look at him doing some work with the forward players because he’s obviously got a lot of nous in that final third.”

After amassing over 400 appearances in professional football, Hawley is the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s top scorer this season with 24 goals and the boss believes that his experience can add another ‘one percent’ into Stags’ forwards.

“Karl had a chat with Greeny (Matt Green, striker) the other day and there was a real enthusiasm about what could possibly be done there, for all of our strikers coming through the club. He’s played at Championship level and scored goals - he’s averaged something like one in two [or] one in three through all his career.

“To try and get that [knowledge] into our young boys and people like Greeny, they appreciate that.”

The gaffer hopes that Hawley’s spell with the club will prove to be valuable for everyone and is open to making the arrangement a permanent one if it suits all parties.

“It’s one where there’s no ties on it - there’s no rules to it, we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how it works out in terms of the players and how they take to it and if it suits Karl and the rest of the staff. If it does, I think it’ll add to us because I’m a big believer that the game is moving in that way - there will be 'unit coaches' which are permanent in the game soon.

“You look at sports like American football and stuff like that, they’re (unit coaches) a constant, it’s a given. What I’ve never got is goalkeepers always have a goalkeeper coach, why hasn’t every other unit got one? We’ll see if it can help, if it does then brilliant.”

You can view Adam Murray’s news conference, in full, later today on Stags Player HD.


Karl Hawley joins Stags as striker coach
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 31 March 2016

Experienced striker Karl Hawley has been drafted in to help the Mansfield Town coaching staff as a forward specialist until the end of the season as manager Adam Murray looks to squeeze another of his ‘one per cents’ out of his players.

Both parties will see how it works before looking beyond this season, but Murray said: “I am a big believer that the game is moving in that way. “There will be unit coaches permanently in the game soon. Look at sports like American football, they are a constant. It’s a given.

“Teams always have a goalkeeper coach, so why have the other units not got one? We will see if Karl can help, if he does then brilliant.

“He’s been here about 48 hours and Greeny (Matt Green) has scored two goals!”

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/karl-hawley-joins-stags-as-striker-coach-1-7827401#ixzz44VvVr63m

Hawley, 34, is much travelled and is currently scoring goals for Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division side Stourbridge but has played as high as Championship level with Preston.

“Karl is someone I’ve known through football all my life and is someone I trust and someone that has a lot of experience in the Football League at a very high standard,” said Murray.

“He has obviously scored a lot of goals throughout his career, so just for these few weeks to the end of the season he is doing some work with the forward players.

“He obviously has a lot of nous in that final third and to have that at the level he’s played at and to try to get that into our young boys and players like Greeny, they appreciate that.

“Karl had a chat with Greeny the other day and there was a real enthusiasm about what could possibly be done there.

“He has played at Championship level and scored goals. I think he’s averaged something like one in two or one in three throughout his career and I think he’s on 23 goals this season as well.”

Murray added: “It’s another one per cent I am looking at. Can we get something out of Karl to influence the centre forwards and the forward play for the last seven games?

“We will see how it goes. There’s no ties on it, no rules to it. We will see how it works out with the players and how they take to it. If it suits Karl and the rest of the staff then I think it will add to us.”


Murray targets Stags' best finish for 12 years
mansfieldtown.net, 31st March 2016

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray wants his side to surpass the 60-point mark in Sky Bet League 2 for the club's first time in over a decade.

Stags last recorded more than 60 points in a Football League season in 2003-04 when they secured 75 points in what was then Division Three.

And with his side sitting seven points from that tally with seven games to play, Murray says he wants to reach that landmark as quickly as possible.

“In our first year back in the league [2013-14], we probably had double the resources we’ve got now and finished on 60 points - we’re seven points off that total with seven games to go with half the resources. I’m proud of my team and what they’ve done so far and we want as many points on the board in the last seven games [as possible].”

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-targets-stags-best-finish-for-12-years-3034497.aspx#DAwkfC4ZO0orTMxW.99

Looking forward to Saturday’s clash with Hartlepool United at Victoria Park (3pm), the manager believes his side will face tough opposition with the Pools enjoying an upturn in form under new manager Craig Hignett.

“Fair play, they’ve done great down there, they’ve changed it around - they’re looking very solid, very hard to beat and [they’re] taking results. So it’ll be a tough game away from home but we’re going to take our performance from Monday into Saturday and if we do that then we’re confident in our ability.”

The North East side have two former Stags’ players in their ranks in the form of striker Rakish Bingham and winger Nathan Thomas, and Murray says he expects the latter to play in the match following the change of manager at Victoria Park.

“We saw for probably two 90 minutes here that he can be a good player. When Nathan left, we were all disappointed in the move but we said at the time, and without going too much into it, it was more of a personal move than a football move. Nathan wanted to go back home and I think his performances of late have probably shown why he wanted to go back home.

“It’s a little bit frustrating because at the time [of the transfer] it was a different manager and in these circumstances you have gentlemen’s agreements that obviously he wasn’t going to play and stuff like that, but [they’ve had] a change of manager now so we expect him to play and we’ll deal with it.”

Our boss confirmed that both winger Reggie Lambe and striker Adi Yussuf have returned to training following the international break. Bermudia-born Lambe will be available for this Saturday’s match, whilst Yussuf will serve the final game of a five match suspension.

However, defender Ryan Tafazolli is waiting to receive the outcome of a scan on the dead leg he suffered in Monday’s draw with Northampton Town which could rule him out of Saturday’s match.

Meanwhile, Murray said he is hoping to sit down with the defender next week to discuss a new contract at the club.

“I’ve spoken with the chairman about it and the chairman will ‘push the boat out’ to try and keep him, he’ll do everything he can to put a deal on the table that we feel warrants Taff’s ability. I want to keep him, the chairman’s desperate to keep him because he’s been a good player.

“We’re due to sit down again probably [at] the start of next week with the chairman and hopefully discussions will be positive.”

You can view Adam Murray’s full news conference on Stags Player HD later today.


Adam Murray to move quickly to strengthen Stags this summer
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Adam Murray will move quickly to strengthen his Mansfield Town side next season.

With the end of the loans window, there will be far less scope to chop and change squads next season and manager Murray knows he doesn’t need too much to enhance the talented squad already at the club.

“A large part of this group will be here next season but we will add a little bit more X-Factor in areas that we feel will improve us and have another good season,” he said.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/adam-murray-to-move-quickly-to-strengthen-stags-this-summer-1-7827435#ixzz44ZStpRYB

“We have got five weeks to go and we want to improve. The way the game is, it moves quickly.

“I know a couple of players at other clubs have already spoken to other clubs about next season, so people are not messing about.

“They are changing the transfer loans window policy next year which will affect people’s recruitment and people are doing a lot of work early this season. So we’ve got to be on the ball.”

Murray felt this season’s experience of League Two football would be invaluable to his youthful squad.

He said: “This spine of our team is young. The average age of our side in recent weeks has been 23/24 and they have been naïve.

“We saw on Monday we are naïve. We were done by gamesmanship and that’s where we need as youngsters to get better and learn and appreciate sometimes this is League Two and it’s ruthless.

“You can’t just smile all the time and enjoy your football. You’ve got to be a little ruthless in your actions and the way you go about games.

“The year some of these young boys have had will be the best year they’ve had.”

He added: “Look at Mal Benning - he is a perfect example. He got over his injury, had four days training and we chucked him back in.

“He came in flying, then his form dipped a little bit and it was a case of do we rest him or allow him to learn on the job? And that’s what he’s done.

“I thought on Monday he was outstanding again, but only because we’d allowed him to go through that process of making mistakes then coming out the other side and being better from it.

“We have a few like that who will have taken a lot from this season and it will be about keeping the majority of the group and adding the bits on top of it that in the tight games this season will see out a draw or a 1-0.”


Can Stags close the gap again at Hartlepool United?
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 31 March 2016

Largely now written off for a place in the play-offs this season, Mansfield Town head for in-form Hartlepool United on Saturday hoping a powerful finish to the campaign can still see them sneak back into the top seven.

Stags are eight points short with seven games to go and boss Adam Murray said: “We said at the start of the season it was always going to be a tight affair.

“You say people have written us off now, but people had written us off at the start of the season so that’s nothing new.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/can-stags-close-the-gap-again-at-hartlepool-united-1-7827362#ixzz44V4vRPae

“You never know. If we win Saturday, all the teams above us are playing each other again.

“You come away with a win and everyone’s mind changes again and all of a sudden you’re going to win the Champions’ League again.

“But we are not looking at the league now. We are focussing on performances and putting performances in like we did on Monday, being ruthless at one end and solid at the other, and you never know.

“Whether we are involved in it or not, this will go down to the wire.

“For our first year back in the League we had probably double the resources we’ve got now and finished on 60 points.

“We are now seven points off that total with seven games to go - that’s on half the resources.

“So I am proud of my team and what they’ve done so far and I want as many points on the board as we can from the last seven games with 21 points to play for.

“What upped the expectation was our start to the season. But did anyone really expect us to get the play-offs? No, to be honest.

“Even when we were in there people were saying the wheels would fall off.

“What’s done us this season if we haven’t come out the top 10 for 90 per cent of it. That’s our downfall as everyone expects you to be up there then. “Realistically if we can get into the top half of the table this season, for this football club it is an achievement. Our early success probably put a burden on us.”

He added: “As much as people hate it you have to have patience and put building blocks in place. We will keep building and improving. We know we need to add certain bits to the squad but that was always the case.”

Stags need to end a run of six games without a win, and will face a Pools side that are unbeaten in six and have not conceded in their last four as new boss Craig Hignett steers them well clear of the trouble they were in.

“It’s been a recent trait of ours that we’ve played all the teams that were struggling when they’ve become Bayern Munich,” smiled Murray. “They’ve done a great job down there and changed things around.

“They’re looking very solid and hard to beat and getting results. So it will be a tough game away from home.

“But we will take our performance from Monday into Saturday. If we do that we are confident in our ability.”

On Hignett’s influence at Victoria Park, he said: “There is a little bit more stability in selection and probably a bit more organisation in the team. “They look very solid defensively but at the same time they have decent attacking threats. Hartlepool is always a tough place to go. It has been over the last two years, but we’ll take loads of confidence from our performance.

“This end of the season now is about us. We want to get past that 60-point mark and build from there as quickly as we can. You never know.”

Stags will be without suspended duo Jamie McGuire and Adi Yussuf while defender Ryan Tafazolli is trying to shake off a dead leg.

But winger Reggie Lambe is back from international duty with Bermuda and available again.


Yussuf raring to go as he completes Stags ban
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town striker Adi Yussuf is raring to go after completing his shock five-game suspension when he misses tomorrow’s trip to Hartlepool United

Yussuf was banned by the FA after allegations of urinating in public at Plymouth Argyle and has been allowed to train with the Tanzanian national side last week, though was unable to win his first cap for his country due to the ban.

“He is back in training today and it’s been a great experience for him,” said manager Adam Murray.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/yussuf-raring-to-go-as-he-completes-stags-ban-1-7827442#ixzz44bzJG0r1

“He is one of our young lads who has gone out and gained some invaluable experience with the international set-up.

“He is back today so he will get ‘beasted’ this week. It will be good to have him back.

“He is our joint second top goalscorer - that says it all when he’s hardy started a game. It’s been a great year for Adi in terms of bringing him on from where he’s come from.

“He was training twice a week last season. So he is another who will be stronger next season.”

Ironically Northampton’s penalty that brought them back into the 2-2 draw on Monday was won by James Collins, who has avoided FA action despite reportedly urinating in public at the Cheltenham Festival, instead only fined by his club.

“You can’t write it! But you can’t dwell on it,” said Murray.

“It’s been another massive experience for Adi. It is rare to have a ban like that for having a wee. The way it got blown out of proportion was incredible.

“He will have learned from it. He will have had a couple of weeks of pain and us trying to pick him up as he knew he was missing an important part of the season. And he was just coming into a good run of form, looking fit and sharp. But you just have to take it on the chin.

“We will have everyone back for a strong finish to the season.”


After ‘March of Doom’ Stags hope for better April
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town are hoping for a better April, starting at Hartlepool United tomorrow, after a nightmare March in which they failed to win and slid out of the play-off places.

“It was a bad month in which everything that could go wrong went wrong,” said manager Adam Murray, who labelled it the ‘March of Doom’.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/after-march-of-doom-stags-hope-for-better-april-1-7827474#ixzz44bzUL7T0

“We had people going off on international duty, people getting banned, goals going in from situations they shouldn’t be going in, last minute goals going in against you, and it knocked confidence.

“As a group it was - what next? Even Micky Moore broke his laptop screen coming into work. It was a bad month.

“But we look at our performances against Portsmouth and Northampton, two of the best teams in the league, and we have to take positives from them.

“I keep saying to the players, it doesn’t matter who you are up against, we are good enough to compete with them all. The thing we need to do is be consistent, which comes with time.”

He continued: “The games you can’t win you don’t lose. The more I speak to other managers, they’ve all got time limits.

“I spoke to one manager in the top seven the other day and he said when I get to 65 minutes and it’s 0-0, I take 0-0. I don’t try to go and win it, I don’t leave us vulnerable. We take the point.

“That’s where I think I need to be a bit more cute instead of at 0-0, going for the game like against Yeovil where we ended up losing it, yet that was a point on the door.

“Newport was the same as we wanted to win that bad with the top seven set on our sights and again, last minute, 1-0 we lose.”


Stags boss Murray praises loanee Dieseruvwe
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Chesterfield striker Mani Dieseruvwe was this week praised by boss Adam Murray for his contribution to the side since coming in on loan three games back.

The 21-year-old is out of contract this summer and Murray said: “Mani has come in from Chesterfield and been superb. I’ve been really, really impressed.

“He is another young kid and to come from your local rivals you’ve always got to do a little bit extra and I think the fans appreciated his performance on Monday. When he came off he got a lot of applause.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/stags-boss-murray-praises-loanee-dieseruvwe-1-7827460#ixzz44bzboPyW

“You can always tell with people. With his endeavour and commitment to come in at this part of the season and do what he’s done, I am, over the moon with him.”


Agreement off as ex-Stags winger Thomas revs up to face former club
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Thursday 31 March 2016

Former Mansfield Town Nathan Thomas will be able to face his old club on Saturday after a change of manager at Hartlepool United meant a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ was now null and void.

Thomas, who had a frustrating time at One Call Stadium this season before declaring himself homesick and asking for a move back to his native North-east in January, has now hit some fine form with Hartlepool.

But Stags’ agreement on Thomas’ availability to play with boss Ronnie Moore went with Moore’s sacking and now new boss Craig Hignett can pick him.

Manager Adam Murray said “It’s a bit frustrating as, at that time, it was a different manager and in these circumstances you have a gentleman’s agreement about players playing, but it’s been a change of manager now so we expect him to play and we will deal with it.

“We saw for probably two 90 minutes here that Nathan can be a good player.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/agreement-off-as-ex-stags-winger-thomas-revs-up-to-face-former-club-1-7827384#ixzz44V5jNgBq

“When he left we were all disappointed in the move, but we said at the time without going too much into it, it was more of a personal move than a football move.

“Nathan wanted to go back home and his performances of late have probably shown why he wanted to go back home.

“He is obviously settled and his head is settled and he is a character that needs that peace of mind in his daily life to make sure his football flows.

“It wouldn’t have been right from a human point of view for me to have kept him away from going back to his family. So I still believe we made the right decision.

“It was about doing what was right for a human being - and that’s what we did.”


Team News: Pools v Mansfield Town
Thu 31 Mar 2016

We take a look at the latest from both camps ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two game against Mansfield Town at Victoria Park (3pm kick-off).

Craig Hignett has admitted he will find it hard to make any changes to his line-up for this weekend’s game following the performance in victory at Leyton Orient on Monday.

The Pools boss has overseen a six-game unbeaten run and has named an unchanged starting eleven in the last four outings so could opt to do the same again against The Stags.

Read more at http://www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk/news/article/team-news-hartlepool-united-v-mansfield-town-3034315.aspx#R0KI8yEckwmrkzFO.99

Michael Duckworth played sixty minutes for the Reserves on Tuesday after recovering from hernia surgery but the weekend’s game could come too soon for the full-back to be in contention.

Mansfield boss Adam Murray will be hoping defender can shake of the dead leg which forced him to limp off during the first half of their draw with Northampton Town on Monday.

Adi Yussuf and Jamie McGuire remain sidelined through suspension but Reggie Lambe is available again after missing the Easter schedule due to being called up for international duty by Bermuda.


Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett ponders breaking up winning side
Sports Mail, Thursday 31 March 2016

Craig Hignett is facing a major headache ahead of Hartlepool United’s League Two date with Mansfield Town.

Pools are unbeaten in six games so the team should really pick itself.

Read more: http://www.peterleestar.co.uk/sport/football/hartlepool-utd/hartlepool-united-boss-craig-hignett-ponders-breaking-up-winning-side-1-7825406#ixzz44T3II4wm

Indeed, Hignett has sent out the same starting XI for the last four games and has been rewarded with two wins and two draws - all with clean sheets.

But the Pools boss is considering changes to his side. He admitted being awake until 3.30am on Monday as he wrestled with the dilemma before the 2-0 win at Leyton Orient.

And there is likely to be more soul-searching and brain-wracking in the next two days before the Stags come to Victoria Park.

SportMail reported earlier this month of Hignett’s desire to look at members of his squad he has yet to see in competitive action, once Football League security was assured.

And while Pools are not mathematically safe, it would take a dramatic collapse or a York miracle to see them drop down the table.

So is the time now for the boss to alter his team?

“That’s a decision I have to think about,” said Hignett. “We either go with what we’ve got and see how high we can get in the table or I use a real chance to have a good look at the squad in proper, meaningful games.

“I think while we are on this run and while we have kept four clean sheets then we’ll keep going and see how far we can push it, see if we can go and break records.

“But that’s for me to decide.”

It will be a tough call for Hignett, who says he has been impressed with not just his in-form League Two side but with the quality and attitude displayed by his players who can’t get in the side.

Of Monday’s match-day 18, Adam Bartlett, Rakish Bingham and Rhys Oates have yet to start, though the latter two have come off the bench.

Bingham, Oates and Michael Woods would certainly be entitled to starts should Hignett decide to tinker, as would Josh Laurent, who was a transfer deadline day signing from Brentford, while Scott Harrison made his only appearance in the ill-fated 4-1 drubbing at Bristol Rovers.

Throw the likes of Ebby Nelson-Addy, Kudus Oyenuga and Connor Smith into the reckoning and the manager has more than a few candidates he could send out in the remaining nine fixtures.

Pools have risen to 17th, having been 22nd and uncomfortably close to the drop zone for a number of weeks.

Realistically, 16th would probably be their highest finishing position - Crawley currently hold that spot but Pools are just five points behind them with two games in hand and a better goal difference.


Hignett urges Thomas to carry on good form against former club Mansfield
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett has asked former Mansfield Town winger Nathan Thomas to simply keep producing the electric form he has shown of late when he faces his former club at Victoria Park tomorrow.

Thomas joined Stags last summer but left in the January window, homesick for his native North-East.

Recently he has played a big part in Hartlepool’s current fine run of six games unbeaten, scoring a superb goal in the 2-0 win at Leyton Orient.

“You always want to do well against a former club but Nath has so many we’ll come up against one every week,” smiled Hignett.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/hignett-urges-thomas-to-carry-on-good-form-against-former-club-mansfield-1-7827415#ixzz44ZSlMwvJ

“He’s at a really nice place in himself, he’s playing well and enjoying his football. He’s been great for us, he was outstanding again at Leyton Orient, a real threat.

“I won’t ask him to do anything different against Mansfield, my message to him will be to keep doing what you’ve been doing.

“He scored a great goal, he’s got that in him and I’ve told him that any time he’s got a ‘one v one’ is get at them.”

He added: “We switched him right at the start of the second half at Orient because I wanted him coming in at goal, thankfully it had an effect, as it had at Barnet where we did that. He cut in there and scored a great goal.

“I’m pleased for him that goals are coming, he should be scoring double figures every season with the ability he’s got.”

On the game itself, Hignett said: “They are all tough games. There is nothing we fear in the league but anyone can beat anyone on the day.

“We have to make sure we are bang at it and we are everything we have been in the last month.

“Mansfield will come and pose us problems, but if we are right I’m confident we’ll win the game.”


I Can't Wait Admits Fired-Up Thomas

In-form star Nathan Thomas has insisted he is ready to hit top gear again this weekend and help Pools to victory over his former club at Victoria Park.
The flying winger joined Pools from Mansfield Town during the January transfer window and has admitted that the fixture against The Stags was the first one he looked for upon signing.

Thomas has now started the last twelve games and underlined his excellent form with a sensational solo goal in Monday’s 2-0 win at Leyton Orient - now he’s determined to turn it on again on Saturday.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” the 21-year-old told us.

Read more at http://www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk/news/article/hartlepools-nathan-thomas-cant-wait-to-face-former-club-mansfield-3037102.aspx#Dp9mFSfrJVQfhyT8.99

“This is the first fixture I looked for when I came to the Club so I knew it was coming and I can’t wait for it.

“I feel like I am going in to it in good form; everyone knows that I am playing really well, scored a couple of goals, set a few up and am creating chances.

“I reckon I know how Mansfield play and I know how they will try and stop me so I am a step ahead of that and I know how to get around it.

“There will be a lot of emotions involved because this is the one game of the season where I want to do really well and win - but I know it won’t be as easy as that.

“I slept well after the game on Monday but since then I’ve not slept too well because I just can’t wait.”

Thomas has been an ever-present since Craig Hignett was appointed boss in February and has proved a key part of the recent unbeaten run which was lifted Pools up to 17th in the table.

His direct approach is something that the new management team have been encouraging and Thomas and his team-mates are feeling the benefit on a regular basis.

“What I have found with the gaffer and Curtis is that they say little things that fill you with confidence,” he explained.

“They give you so much belief ready for when you step out on the pitch every game.

“They’ll tell me that the opposition have revolved their game around stopping me, that they expect me to be a good player and that I shouldn’t disappoint them.”


Nathan Thomas @Naththomas19
Saturday can't come quick enough



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