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Blair ready to push Stags forward

14 January 2015

Winger sets targets following move to One Call Stadium.

Winger Matty Blair is aiming to get regular game-time and establish himself as a firm fans’ favourite following his short-term switch from Fleetwood Town.

The 25-year-old, who has been a persistent thorn in the Stags’ side whenever he’s lined up against us, agreed a deal yesterday to join us until the end of the season.

“It was a very busy day and quite a long one,” said Blair.

“I had a phone call and e-mail on Monday night to say that things had been agreed, so I’ve packed up all my stuff, signed here and [I hope to] get myself settled and ready to go for Mansfield.”

He continued: “I’ve been attracted [in a move here] for a while. Mansfield have been interested for a while and under Adam [Murray, manager] now, I’ve seen how he’s changed things and developed the squad.

“I spoke to him a couple of times and he was really enthusiastic and it was quite exciting the way that he was talking. It just made me want to come here, work hard and play under him and give it a good go.”

As well as playing on a regular basis, Blair is also determined to become settled over the coming months following what he admits has been a frustrating first part of the campaign.

The Warwick-born winger featured 10 times for Fleetwood, before spending two months on loan with Sky Bet League Two side Cambridge United – playing against us twice in the FA Cup.

“This season has been a real rollercoaster,” added the winger. “I started at Fleetwood and thought I’d had a good pre-season, but didn’t start [the first few games]. It was frustrating because I thought I should be starting or certainly involved and it just never came about.

“I asked to go out on loan and was meant to come to Mansfield, but it didn’t work out for whatever reason, so I ended up going to Cambridge on loan for what should have been six to eight weeks, but that didn’t work out either.

“Again, I don’t think there was any reason of my own – it was just the timing and the way it was at that club as well, so Fleetwood recalled me.

“I thought I’d go back up there and really try and ‘kick on’ and again it was the same situation. So when Mansfield came back, it was a great fit with the timing.”

Blair will be best remembered by Stags fans for his exploits whilst at York City – especially as he scored the winning goal in our Conference Premier play-off semi-final defeat to the Minstermen in May 2012.

Whilst playing for Fleetwood against us, the 25-year-old won a penalty in the fifth minute of injury-time in our memorable 5-4 defeat to the Cod Army at Highbury, back in November 2013.

Reflecting on the play-off game and his goal, he said: “It was a great moment for me, but obviously not for Mansfield. I hope to be doing that for Mansfield now – scoring some goals and helping the team out where I can.”

Blair continued: “I’ve made my name as a right-sided centre-forward, but I just like playing anywhere really. 

“I think I had a lot of success under Gary Mills [ex-York City manager] because he didn’t restrict me to one place. I knew where I needed to be discipline-wise for defensive purposes.

“When it came to offensive duties – attacks and counter-attacks – he sort of let me run in-behind, down the channels, and generally just into goalscoring positions. That’s what I’ll look to do here as well.

“I want to achieve good things here. I want to be a little star; I want to be back playing football and enjoying it again, happy, and [playing here] also gets me back nearer to where I’m from – Coventry.

“I really want to settle down, settle in, kick on and take the club forward.”

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