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Boss wants Stags to sharpen up in final third

24 August 2015

Stags’ boss Adam Murray wants his side to be more clinical in the final third after Saturday’s draw with Oxford United.

Craig Westcarr’s first goal of the season was cancelled out by a second-half penalty courtesy of Oxford midfielder Kemar Roofe to deny the Stags their first home win of the season.

Murray was pleased with the build up play against Oxford, but says he wants his players to take advantage of the ‘great positions’ they keep finding themselves in.

“I think [playing in] the final third of the pitch, we can get better at. I think we need to [use] a bit more instinct; we need to play a little bit quicker in the final third because we’re getting in some great positions and then it’s breaking down. 

“We need to be a little bit more clinical. We need to find that final pass, that cutting edge. We got in some great positions on Saturday and if we take advantage of that, then the game’s out of sight.”

The Stags were awarded their first penalty in 86 games on Saturday, but striker Matt Green's well hit shot smashed against the woodwork. 

“Greeny (Matt Green) was an angry man after the game on Saturday and I love him when he’s in this frame of mind because you have to get out [of] his way. 

“He’s due a goal. He wants a goal more than anything and he’s normally a menace when he’s like this. He had to have intense treatment last week to get him right [for the game against Oxford] and I think a Matt Green who had trained all week grabs a hat-trick on Saturday. 

“We’re happy that he’s getting in the positions he is and I think we all know that the goals will come.”

The goals will come: frontman Matt Green

Murray added that Green’s all-round play has improved in the two years he spent at Birmingham, and he believes that can only be beneficial for the team.

“I think going away to the Championship and coming back, we’ve seen an improvement in Matt in terms of his hold-up play and his work for other people. 

“Don’t get me wrong, you’ll never take the instinct and the goal-scorer out of Matt, because that’s his strengths. But what he is doing now is bringing people into play and he’s a good link up for people.”

Prior to Saturday’s game, Murray confirmed that winger Matty Blair is set to re-sign for the club.

“He’s looking strong. He’s a couple of weeks away from being ready to come back into action but he’s come on leaps and bounds - he’s a new and improved Matty Blair from what I’ve seen in the training bits he’s done with us and his work with the fitness guys. He’s added power to the speed now which will be a real good bonus for us.

“He’s getting to the point now where he’s itching to get involved; he joined in training on Friday and he’s jumping around and slide tackling in a passing drill and I’m thinking ‘come on Matt, calm down!’. He’s looking fit and he’s looking sharp considering he’s coming back from an injury.”

Murray, who made over 170 appearances for us as a player, also had news on Scott Shearer’s injury after the ‘keeper missed the last three games. He said: “It (Shearer’s ankle) ‘blew up’ after the warm-up [in the Sheffield Wednesday game]. He hadn’t twisted it and he hadn’t taken a kick on it so it was a bit of a strange one.

“Then after the game, he came in and didn’t feel very well, and then the following day he was really ill and his ankle just went red raw. So we rushed him to hospital and they [the medical staff] think he’s been bitten by something. 

“He was in hospital last week and they were going to operate but he’s responded well to antibiotics, so now we’ve just got to wait for that to kick in and calm him down and we can’t put a timescale on it,” Murray added.

With young players like Conor Green and Chris Spencer out on loan, Murray has a squad of just 22 players to choose from, but is unlikely to add to his squad before the end of the transfer window next Tuesday 01 September. 

“We’re happy with what we’ve got. We’re obviously a tight-knit group but I think we’ve got quality in there. We’re always going to run the risk of injuries and suspensions but I think the group is tight [knit].

“We showed [on] Saturday that we’ve got people like Craig Westcarr who can come in and affect it. We’re doing a lot of work on the conditioning side, Daryl [Taylor, strength and conditioning coach] has come in and he’s working very closely with the physios and it’s putting the boys in good nick and minimalising the chance of injury.”

Watch manager Adam Murray's full interview now on Stags Player.

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