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Archived News from April 2016

12th April 2016 18:24

Murray fears Clements' season could be over
mansfieldtown.net, 5th April 2016

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray revealed during this morning's news conference that midfielder Chris Clements could miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old was substituted during the first half of Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United and upon receiving the results of a scan, Murray revealed that the injury is worse than feared.

"It's probably Clem's season done. Obviously it's a gutting blow for us. We are down to bare bones now and he went for a scan yesterday and the results weren't good.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-fears-clements-season-could-be-over-3043509.aspx#qtaqMIYEJMpliJhy.99

"So we're going to have to reshuffle and reshape and have a look what we can do for Saturday."

Separately, defender Krystian Pearce has been suspended for three games by the FA following his red card against Pools last weekend and the manager says the 26-year-old needs to make better decisions after being dismissed for the third time this season.

"Krystian's got to learn from his mistakes, because that's three games he's going to miss now.

"I want to stand up for him and I want to protect him because he's been a good player for us, but he's got to learn from his mistakes."

Supporters will be able to watch Adam Murray's new conference on Stags Player HD later today.


Clements to miss the rest of Stags’ season
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tuesday 05 April 2016

Mansfield Town today revealed that midfield ace Chris Clements will miss the rest of the season.

Clements limped out of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Hartlepool United with an injured hamstring and boss Adam Murray this morning said: “That’s probably Clem’s season done.

“He went for a scan yesterday and the results were not good.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/clements-to-miss-the-rest-of-stags-season-1-7834415#ixzz44y0dcMGf

“Chris is going to be a massive loss to us, but hamstrings are hamstrings and if they go, they go.

“It may mean bringing some of the kids in and having a look at them, we are down to 17 or 18 players now.

“We can reshuffle. We’ve got one or two bodies with which we can maybe change the shape and try one or two things.

“We might bring in one or two from the youth team, who are flying.”

Stags head to Carlisle United this weekend looking to end a run of seven games without a win.


Three-match ban for Stags defender Pearce
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tuesday 05 April 2016

Mansfield Town centre half Krystian Pearce will begin a three-game ban this weekend after his third sending-off this season.

One of Stags’ best players of the campaign, the defender will also have sat out at least eight games suspended by season’s end, his latest spell on the sidelines due to conceding a penalty when being the last man at Hartlepool last weekend.

“Kris has got to learn from his mistakes,” said manager Adam Murray.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/three-match-ban-for-stags-defender-pearce-1-7834604#ixzz44y0ke0dE

“That’s another three games he’s going to miss now. You look at the number of games he has missed and that’s points we could possibly have dropped from him making bad decisions.

“I want to stand up for him and I want to protect him as he’s been a good player for us, but he can’t keep costing himself and costing the team.

“We are utterly disappointed as it was a bad decision to put himself in that position in the first place.

“Don’t forget he is only just 26 and he’s still learning the game, but he will be a miss for us. It’s such fine lines at the minute that’s costing us games.”

Pearce will miss Saturday’s trip to Carlisle, the home derby with Notts County and the midweek trip to Exeter.


Stags boss Murray weighs up options for new assistant
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tuesday 05 April 2016

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray will use the final six games of the season to make up his mind on who his new No.2 will be next season.

He admits he is still open as to whether to bring in an experienced older head or to give the role to a young and eager coach with fresh ideas.

Stags fans were shocked when Murray released first team coach and former Stags assistant boss Micky Moore on Saturday to free up the new No.2 vacancy which Murray sees as vital to help him guide the side to success next season.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of experienced heads that have worked at very high levels in the No.2 role that I’m looking at,” he said.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/stags-boss-murray-weighs-up-options-for-new-assistant-1-7834719#ixzz44y01gUXd

“But also I have people that have been in the Football League and played in the Football League and been around the top levels that I have around me already that are maybe a little bit younger.

“I had a chat with somebody yesterday who is a little bit more of an older head than me who has been there and done it at Championship level and been to World Cups and stuff. So it’s a major experience that could be of benefit to the group.

“On the flip side of it I have got a young and hungry couple that are eager to learn and come in with new and fresh ideas which I think from the Academy upwards we have all benefited from.

“You look at the first team staff this season and they’ve all been young, which gives you a new impetus on the game.

“The game moves rapidly and at the current time it’s going at a rapid pace of evolvement. We’ve got to stay with that, so these are interesting times.”

Murray admitted at the weekend that telling Moore his contract would not be renewed in the summer had been tough and emotional.

“It was a massive decision for me personally, forget the football club. It’s still a little bit raw,” he said.

“As a person Micky was huge for me in a lot of ways, as a player, a coach and a manager now. But it’s one of these decision I’ve taken on my back that we might need a new impetus in terms of another voice or a fresh face.

“This staff has been together a long while now, so it was a case of adding something new.

“The decision to do it now with six games to go was, one, for the respect of Micky as I didn’t want him left ‘in the turd’ come the end of the season, without a job and the season over.

“At least now he’s got time to get his name out there. Everyone will know what a good football person he is.

“At the same time it gives me the opportunity to look at things without having to make any quick decisions.”

He added: “It’s not like it’s the summer and I am thinking Mick’s left and I’ve got to bring someone in. You are gambling it’s going to work without trying it.

“So the timing was to give everybody that breathing space to get their head around things and look at different options - whether it will be experience or whether it will be hunger and energy we will see.

“We are doing it as we speak now. That’s not a case of it was pre-planned and this or that was going to happen.

“It was a case that we didn’t have time to waste.”


Boss wants basics to be mastered at Carlisle
mansfieldtown.net, 5th April 2016

Stags’ boss Adam Murray wants his players to simplify their performances as they aim to return to winning ways away at Carlisle United on Saturday.

The Stags sit in 13th place in Sky Bet League 2 and boss Murray says his players need to eradicate some poor decision making which has prevented the team obtaining more points than they have gained in recent matches.

“At the minute, we’re taking risks and gambles that we don’t need to and that’s what’s costing us - you look at some of our decisions at the minute, at vital times in vital areas - it’s killing us," said Murray.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-lets-go-back-to-basics-3043816.aspx#kCG6wBHJyOrbOsbD.99

“It’s looking at eradicating that and keeping it a little bit more simplified in terms of your individual performance and your individual jobs and roles - it’s a massive cliché that I hate, but it is [about] going back to basics of your job and just focussing on that and not doing anything ‘outside the box’.”

With defender Krystian Pearce suspended for the next three games after being dismissed in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Hartlepool and midfielder Chris Clements likely to miss the remainder of the season through injury, Murray says now could be the time to introduce some of the youth team players into the senior setup.

“We’ve got a couple of bodies where we can maybe change the shape and try and have a look at a few things and if we have to use the kids and bring in a couple from the youth team, who are flying, so be it.

“There’s a number in that team who the fans haven’t seen yet, or aren't probably aware of, that can come in and get some experience and we’ve probably put ourselves in that position now where it’s six games of pride more than anything.

“We want to finish on a positive for the fans - we want to give them something to go into the summer with more hope for next season and continue on the kind of hope that we’ve had for the majority of this season.”

The manager will be able to welcome back Adi Yussuf into contention for Saturday’s match after the Tanzanian striker completed his five-match suspension, and Murray says the Stags have missed his ‘impact’ during his spell on the sidelines.

“We know every time we put Adi on, he gets a chance or he creates a chance for somebody else. If Adi was here over the last five games, would he have maybe nicked us a game or nicked us a goal here and there? I think he probably would.

"He’s our second joint top goalscorer I think and he hasn’t started a game yet, so this might be a period now that we can introduce him and allow him to get that match fitness that we’ve been desperate to get him.”

Following the news that first team coach Micky Moore left the club prior to Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United, the manager revealed that he will use the remaining weeks of the season to ‘have a look at a couple of bits and bobs’ with regard to his coaching staff.

"The timing [of Micky's departure] was to give everybody that breathing space to get their head round things and then have a look at different options.

“I had a chat with somebody yesterday who is a little bit of an older head than me who has been there and done it at Championship level, been to World Cups and stuff, so it’s a major experience that could be a benefit to the group. On the flip side of it, I’ve got another young and hungry couple [of coaches] who are eager to learn and come in with new ideas.”

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


Can Stags striker Yussuf finish season with a flourish after ban?
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray is hoping striker Adi Yussuf can finish the season with a flourish after completing his five game suspension ahead of Saturday’s trip to play-off chasers Carlisle United.

The football world had much sympathy for Yussuf after he was hit with such a big and unprecedented ban for urinating behind a stand while warming up as a substitute at Plymouth Argyle.

In the meantime, Stags have had to bring in Chesterfield loanee Mani Dieseruvwe who will hope he has done enough to stave off Yussuf’s long overdue first League start after signing from non-League Oxford City last summer.

Although he has struggled fitness-wise to make the step-up from part-time to full-time football, Yussuf has been superb as a substitute, netting five times and Murray said: “I think we’ve missed his impact.

“There have been certain games, and Saturday was one, we know every time we put Adi on he gets a chance or he creates a chance for somebody else.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/can-stags-striker-yussuf-finish-season-with-a-flourish-after-ban-1-7836566#ixzz453EPyBV8

“If Adi had been here over the last five games, would he have nicked us a game or got us a goal here and there? I think he probably would.

“He is our joint second top goalscorer yet he still hasn’t started a League game.

“This might be a period now when we can introduce him and allow him to get some of that match fitness we’ve been desperate to get him.

“By the same token I think Mani has been superb since he’s come in.

“He was the one we had to sacrifice on Saturday as we like playing with 10 men at the minute don’t we? We are going to try it from the off on Saturday and just start with 10 men!”


‘Let’s finish on a high for the fans’- Stags boss Murray
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Adam Murray has set his Mansfield Town side a target of ending the season with the club’s best League finish for 12 years to reward the loyalty of their supporters ahead of Saturday’s tough game at Carlisle United.

Stags’ play-off hopes look all but dead with only six games left to make up the eight-point gap and Murray said: “We have probably put ourselves in that position where it’s six games of pride now more than anything. But we want to finish our season on a high for the fans.

“Last Saturday they stuck with us. They were fantastic, trying to suck the ball into the net for us. Even after the game the atmosphere was really good from them and they appreciated the work the boys had put in.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/let-s-finish-on-a-high-for-the-fans-stags-boss-murray-1-7839205#ixzz459yCbu00

“It’s been one of those seasons that, because of our start, expectations went so high. But we are coming out of it in a disappointed frame of mind, and we shouldn’t be.

“The aim of the group now is to get to 60 points. You never know what will happen. We are eight points off it still.

“We want to give fans something to go into the summer with to give more hope for next season and continue the hope we’ve had for the majority of the season when, for seven months, we didn’t come out of the top 10. No one expected that, but we’ve dried up a bit of late.”

The Stags are now without a win in seven and this weekend will try to stop former boss Keith Curle edging his side into the play-offs spots, currently sitting one point short.

But, with so many good displays in that seven games, Murray feels his side are on the verge of giving someone a hiding.

“If we keep playing like this we know results will come,” he said.

“I went into the dressing room on Monday thinking I am going to have to pick this group up now as they will be thinking what more do we need to do?

“But they came back at me and we are in a great frame of mind at the minute. “We know we are playing well and it’s only a matter of time before we give someone a right spanking.

“With the last two games, we know we should be two points off the play-offs. It gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach.

“60 points is what we want as quick as we can and we will go from there. We want that to start on Saturday.”

On the Cumbrians, he added: “I think Carlisle are a very, very good side and probably should be in the play-offs if I am being honest. I have watched them a few times.

“It’s another old manager of mine and he’s done a fantastic job up there. I think they were in the same position as us last year in that they were scrambling for their lives and have had a big turn-around in players.

“They have a big squad with some very good players in it, so there is a lot of choice there. They rotate the team a lot and rotate the shape a lot.

“When you have a group of players like that you can do that, so it does give you options that we’d like at the minute.”

Stags led at Brunton Park last season through a Vadaine Oliver goal only to lose to two late goals, lose Matty Blair with a serious injury, and drop into the relegation places.

“We are expecting a tough test,” said Murray. “It was a bad time when we went there last year so we are going up there, strange to say it, in a lot better place.

“We want to right the wrongs of last year’s visit there. We want to go there and put points on the board, more for the team’s belief than anything.

“The lads need to see that these performances we are putting in actually do put points on the board.

“It’s very frustrating. I think the reaction of the fans last week after the Hartlepool game showed their appreciation for what we tried to do up there.

“We had a right go and it was a game that perfectly summed up the period we are in. We couldn’t have done much more to win the game, but shot ourselves in the foot.

“It was a very good performance. I’d probably go as far as to say it was one of our best away performances this season - the amount of shots we had, the amount of shots on target, the possession we had, the chances we created.

“But you can’t do it with 10 men. That the problem we’ve found over the last two games.

“You look at the last three goals we’ve conceded and they’ve all been penalties. We can’t keep getting people sent off and expect to win football matches.”

He added: “You look over the last seven games and you’re talking missed opportunities with chances created and not taking them, then Newport and Yeovil last minute goals conceded when the games should have been out of sight, Wycombe a cross that has gone in, Portsmouth an own goal, Northampton the sending-off and a penalty and then Saturday at Hartlepool, you couldn’t write the script at the minute.

“But, strange as it seems, the camp is really positive as we know someone is millimetres away from getting an absolute smashing.

“If it was bad performances and the camp was down or the lads weren’t fighting for the cause and we weren’t playing well, it would be a different story. But we are wondering what we have to do to win a game at the minute.”

Stags are still seven points short of the new minimum 60-point target and Murray said:“Our season is not over in terms of what we want to achieve.

“We know we’ve had a really tough run of late, but we are still sitting in a very respectable place from where we’ve come from and who we are.

“We are probably at the minute where we deserve to be. We are probably where this squad is at.

“Mid-table at the minute probably suits the position the group is in. We will be so much better for a year together and so much better for a few additions in the summer and what the players have come through this season. We are probably where we deserve to be.”

With games running out, centre half Krystian Pearce starting a three game ban and midfielder Chris Clements out for the season, Murray said he may now take the opportunity to blood one or two youngsters.

He said: “To get 60 points would be a great achievement for this group, and for myself to be honest if I am being selfish.

“It would be our highest League finish in 12 years, I’d be really proud of that. So that’s our aim now. We will push on from there.

“At the same time I have half an eye on next season now in terms of the way we are going to go about it, where we need to improve, and what was missing this season. It is only little bits we need to add and to get better at.

“That might mean bringing a few of the kids in and having a look at them. We are down to 17/18 players now.

“If we have to bring in a couple from the youth team, who are flying, then so be it.

“Cain Smith and Zayn Hakeem are two who have been with us all season. “They are two boys who are doing really well, but there are a number in that team the fans haven’t seen yet who could come in and get some experience.”

At Carlisle Murray will welcome striker Adi Yussuf back into the squad after his five game ban, while midfielder Jamie McGuire is back from a one game suspension.


Glaswegian stopper keen to stay at Stags
mansfieldtown.net, 5th April 2016

Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer says he’d be ‘delighted’ to remain at the club next season.

The stopper has appeared 17 times for the Stags in all competitions this season and he revealed during this morning’s news conference that he has spoken with manager Adam Murray about renewing his contract.

“It’s something that me and the manager have spoken about, but again it’s up to him to decide,” said Shearer.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/glaswegian-stopper-keen-to-stay-at-stags-3044270.aspx#kiM737ZYI82qQ8ry.99

“I’d be delighted to stay. When I signed here the manager sold it to me on a long-term project, not just one season so that’s what I signed up for originally.

“We started with a whole new team basically this year. We started so well, we’ve fell away [from the play-offs] but we’re not far away from being a team who’s going to compete. I’m used to having success and I want success still - I want to keep continuing to get that, so that would be part of my reason for staying here.”

The Glaswegian ‘keeper began the season as the club’s number one, however he suffered an infection during the warm up against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup in September, resulting in him losing his place to Brian Jensen.

“The infection I caught at the start of the season took a bit of time to recover from and you know I’ve been delighted to get back into the team and play the run of games I have. It’s just about playing games and that’s just it for me.”

After performing penalty heroics this season by saving two spot-kicks in the 2-1 victory against Morecambe in February and one against Portsmouth in the 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium last month, Shearer says he uses his instinct when facing a penalty, but also does his homework with the club’s backroom staff.

“At the moment, there’s a lot on instinct but we do our homework and like I said before, Sean (O’Callaghan, performance analyst), him and I work a lot on not just penalties, but also set pieces and everything to do with the game coming up.”

Speaking about the two penalties he faced in the 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United, Shearer said: “He didn’t hit it well, the first one, and I just went too far past it and the second one, it was a gamble really. We sort of planned on maybe one penalty but again we’ve given [away] two and I just gambled. I’ve had the rub of the green once before, but not on Saturday.”

Supporters can view Scott Shearer’s news conference on Stags Player HD on Wednesday.


Scott Shearer targets promotion No.8 with the Stags
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town goalkeeper Scott Shearer is keen to stay with the club next season as he believes it will give him a chance to celebrate a remarkable eighth promotion.

Shearer, 34, had played for 11 clubs including Wycombe, Rotherham and Coventry, before Stags in a 15-year career, and been a promotion winner no fewer than seven times.

Now established in the No.1 jersey after a stop-start beginning to his Stags career, he said: “It’s (staying) something me and the manager have spoken about, but that’s up to him to decide. I would be delighted to stay.

“When I signed here the manager sold it to me on a long term project, not just one season, so that’s what I signed up for originally.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/scott-shearer-targets-promotion-no-8-with-the-stags-1-7837052#ixzz4588iDxl7

“We basically started with a whole new team this year. We started so well and, yes, we fell away, but we are not far away from being a team who are going to compete if we can take that into next season.

“I am used to having success, and I still want success. I want to continue to get that. That would be part of my reason for staying here.”

Shearer felt Stags were not far short this season, but just need to start being more ruthless in front of goal.

“I think everyone knows the top sides take most of their chances and the ones that aren’t up there don’t take as many of those chances,” he said.

“We have been creating chances from all over the pitch. We’ve just not been taking them.

“For the top teams, the front lines are the difference in this league.”

Shearer recently hit the headlines for saving three penalties, two in one game against Morecambe.

But last weekend at Hartlepool United, he was beaten by two penalties in the 2-1 defeat.

“Again we’d done our homework and it was just one of them,” he said.

“The first one I don’t think he hit well and I just went too far past it.

“The second was a gamble really. We’d planned on maybe one penalty, but we’ve given away two.

“I just gambled and that’s it. I’ve had the rub of the green once before, but not last Saturday.

“There is a lot of it on instinct, but we do our homework. Sean (video analyst Sean O’Callaghan), me and Brian (Jensen) work a lot on not just penalties, but set pieces and everything to do with the game coming up.”

Overall Shearer was pleased to finally get his season going since the turn of the year.

He played in the opening League game against Carlisle United before picking up an infected leg from an insect bite at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek and finding himself out for three months.

He returned to play in the FA Cup tie with Oldham Athletic, but it was five months in total until he regained his League place in late January.

Of the season, he said: “It’s been indifferent.

“The infection I caught at the start of the took a bit of time to recover from, but I’ve been delighted getting back into the team and able to play the run of games I have. It’s about playing games for me.”

He added: “It will be a tough battle at Carlisle on Saturday. But we’ve got to get back to basics and getting back to winning football games.

“We’re on a run of seven now without a win so we’ve got to rectify that.

“It’s not as if we are a bad team. We actually dominated the game last Saturday with 10 men.

“So we’ve got to take the positives out of it - and we’ve got to take the errors out of the game also.”


MANAGER: This is when we need you
Author: Andy Hall

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about another big game ahead following the important Tuesday night victory over Hartlepool.

“Saturday is massive,” he said. “I know we have about 12 or 13,000 Cumbrians out there who want us to do well. We need to tempt them out because they do help when they’re here and behind us.

Read more at http://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/news/article/keith-curle-ahead-of-a-huge-game-at-the-weekend-3046684.aspx#5yBYxfgchjmTjwc0.99

“The atmosphere on Saturday has got to be electric and they have to be the extra person for us. There’s nothing better - and I don’t care who you are - than when the home supporters are singing your name.

“I’ve got a good relationship with the fans here and that’s because they see I’m prepared to do things which I think are right. We'd love it if the fans could bring a mate or their next door neighbour on Saturday - anybody who has an interest in Carlisle United.

“This is when we need you. A lot of supporters have been through the gloom in recent years but we've got new people involved at the club and we're trying to create a new impetus. We're moving forward and we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

“The only way we look at things, and it’s been the same ever since I came to this football club, is to look at the next game in turn,” he explained. “We review the game we’ve just played but the focus and attention will then change very quickly to the next one.

“Our aim is to win every time we go over the white line and we will always make sure we’ve done as much preparation as we can to make that happen.”

On Tuesday night’s clean sheet, he said: “Goalkeepers love clean sheets and we had a lad in goal who had made a mistake at the weekend.

“We have a very accepting environment here whereby we know that every mistake is an honest one. All you can ask from anyone is that they learn from it. What we don’t do is praise failure, but the players know they will be rewarded for success and for reacting positively when faced with adversity. Mark [Gillespie] did that and he got his reward.

“We got a man of the match performance from Macaulay [Gillesphey] and he deserves a pat on the back for that. He has matured a lot and his development has gone the way Newcastle would have wanted.

“He’s playing against experienced professionals and this level looks too easy for him at times. I think he’s going to be a very good player, and that’s why we brought him here. He's changed from a young prospect into a player who can step in and hold his own.

“There’s still more to come from him and we've been picking the right times to play him in the positions where we feel he has strengths. I don't make decisions out of loyalty. I make them based on my belief that we can get more wins than defeats. I do that with a clear head and honesty with every position and player on the pitch.”


MANAGER: A step towards where we want to be
Fri 08 Apr 2016, by Andy Hall, carlisleunited.co.uk

Keith Curle looks ahead to the Mansfield game
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the Saturday visit of Mansfield Town at his Friday afternoon press conference.

“I know Adam [Murray] well and I can tell you that he likes to win football matches,” he said. “Mansfield will be a very competitive team and we will have to match the energy they will bring.

“Adam was with me as a player at Mansfield. He’s done well with a host of new players and that shows he has a vision for where he wants his club to go. The more managers who can come into the game and stay for longer than the one year cycle we see so often the better it will be overall.

“He was at the game on Tuesday and I think he will try to flood the midfield area. It could be a scrappy encounter because of that, but we’ll be prepared to work hard to try to get on top.”

“Hopefully it’ll be another step towards where we want to be,” he added. “It’s been an interesting journey and it’s seen us become very competitive at the right end of the table. Our focus is on looking up and that’s a really pleasing thing.

“It doesn’t get better than this. We’re coming into the last six games of the season and it all starts for us with a home game against a side who will try to spoil our party. If I was in Carlisle on Saturday afternoon I know what I’d be doing - I’d be showing my support and coming to the football match so that I could be part of it.”

Read more at http://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/news/article/keith-curle-looks-ahead-to-the-mansfield-game-3049703.aspx#CdkwH5U3IGiey7Yi.99

“Our fans have been superb all season and let me tell you, I do hear the paddock,” he commented. “They have their timing absolutely bang on. As soon as it goes quiet there are three or four voices I recognise and they pipe up just at the right time. I daren’t turn round!

“I enjoy it because it’s their football club. They’re not coming to be entertained by me but by what we’re trying to serve up on the pitch. That means they’ll have an opinion and I think that’s excellent. We don’t want to hold boards up saying ‘clap now’ because that’s not how we want it to be.

“If they’re disgruntled or unhappy then they have every right to voice an opinion. That’s what they’re there for. Likewise when they see something that makes them happy they let us know.”
“My job ever since I got here has been to get everyone to pull in the same direction,” he said. “That focus is there now and it can only be good for us.

“Every game now is vitally important and to be in touching distance with six games to shows we’re on an upward spiral. We’ve come through the distraction and disruption of the floods but ultimately we’ve ticked a lot of boxes.

“The lads have had a lot of mental challenges to face this season and they’ve adapted to that and dealt with it. We have a very committed group who want to learn and strive to improve, and I think that’s fantastic.

“There’s a unity growing and everyone connected with the club can feel very proud of that.”

Speaking about his time at Mansfield, he said: “I have some lovely memories of my time there. One of the biggest memories is when we emptied Mansfield to go to the Millennium Stadium for the play-off final against Huddersfield. We’d beaten Northampton over two legs in the semi-finals and we went into extra time in the final. We had a goal disallowed in the last minute and unfortunately we were beaten on penalties.

“It was a similar situation to what I found here when I got there. I took on a club which had been relegated the season before and we had a lot of work to do. Some firm foundations were put down and we had some good players who went on to have very good careers.

“It was my first job in football as a manager and I think you always remember that. It didn’t end how I wanted to but I made a lot of friends.”

On his own squad, he said: “We have a clean bill of health. Every single player is available. There’s a real competitive edge so we have to manage that within the training sessions we do. We added players to the squad in the transfer window with this scenario in mind. We wanted to have a strong squad to cover every possibility.

“Charlie [Wyke] is fit and ready. We rested him purely as a precaution and that shows the strength and belief I have in the squad that we were able to sit him out. If it had been a cup final or the last game of the season, he’d have played.

“He’s now back and completely injury free. He’d taken a knock and it would have made it worse if it had happened again on the same place. He wanted to be involved but it was purely my decision, with advice from the medical staff, that I chose to leave him out.”



Latest | April 2016