Stags’ boss Adam Murray believes the signing of Matty Blair adds even more quality to his tight-knit squad.
The ex-York City winger put pen-to-paper on an incentive-based deal this morning, and Murray is pleased with how Blair’s recovery has progressed.
“We’re over the moon that he’s agreed to join us, and it’ll be a contract that suits us and the club. It is incentive and fitness based and we’ve got the option to extend it at the end of the season.
“Matty’s had a serious injury but he’s worked very hard. He's had a couple of stints at St George’s Park which have been beneficial to him and we’re lucky in the fact that Matty is one of these lads that’s naturally fit, so his healing process is quicker than what we thought [it would be] and he’s looking strong.
“It’s a massive boost for the squad, he’s got another week at St George’s Park next week which they call a ‘return to play week’ where he’ll be pushed to his limits, physically, for fitness and then he’ll come back ready to go.”
Murray believes that the signing of Blair will only add to the competition which is already present in his squad.
“It’s a squad that’s packed with quality, even though it’s quite small. Everybody’s pushing each other, everybody has a chance of playing and Matty coming back into the picture gives us more competition, not just in the wide areas.
“He can play up front, he can play in the ’10’ role behind the striker and at Fleetwood he played in a midfield three as one of the attacking ones, so he gives us that versatility.”
Our boss is content with how his team have started the season, but wants to keep the players focussed on their long-term goal.
“We had a meeting with the lads yesterday and it’s about carrying on the belief of what we believe in and [what] we’re about.
“When we do get to the full package of what I believe we can bring to this league then we’re going to be a real force. We’ve seen bits and bobs through the games that we’ve had so far and when that comes together then I really believe that we can affect this league.
“We’re looking to the boys now to understand that we’ve got certain strengths in our team and we need to make sure that we set about games to enable those strengths to come out.”
The gaffer believes that everyone associated with the club is balanced and realistic in terms of their goals for the season, and hopes that continues in order to succeed this season.
“I do believe that there is a truly good balance around the football club at the minute, we want to succeed, and we want to break into that top seven. There’s a balance that we know that we’re a progressing team and I think people are seeing the bigger picture, and that makes me really happy.
“If we win on Saturday then we’ve hit our targets for the month so that puts us on course to be in the top seven.
“I’m not looking at anything else; I’m not looking at mid-table, I’m not looking about surviving, I want this team and this club to push forward this season and that’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of discipline.”
Just a few games into his first full season as a manager, Murray says he is 'learning everyday' and everybody around the club is in a positive frame of mind.
"I really am enjoying it. I'm working with a group of players who I think are extremely good, not just football-wise but they work so hard, they want to learn, everyday they’re pushing me for something new, which as a coach or a manager you can’t ask for anymore.
"Everything is positive; I look at the fans and they’re positive, the people behind-the-scenes can’t work any harder at the minute, everything is moving forward. I'm happy and I’m privileged to be working for Mansfield Town at the minute because I do believe it’s a club on the up."
To hear more from the gaffer, go to Stags Player.