Manager Adam Murray is looking forward to the challenge of Oldham Athletic in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup first round tie.
The Stags have a break from Sky Bet League Two action this weekend as they welcome the Latics to One Call Stadium, and Murray is looking forward to the prospect of challenging the League One outfit..
Speaking at this morning’s news conference about the preparation, he said: “It’s been a great week, it’s been a week where we’ve refocused. It’s been good to have a recap of where we’re at, what we feel like we need to do better. We go into the game on Saturday which is a great challenge for us.
“They’re a very good side, probably underachieving at the minute but they want to play football so it’ll be a good game. They’re a league higher than us, we’re going to have to be on our guard because they’ve got some big players.
“The FA Cup is something you want to play in, as a kid it was always something special.
"We want to go and express ourselves against a better team, there’s no reason why we can’t go and beat them.”
The interval in league fixtures has given Murray time to reflect on the campaign so far and he is positively encouraged by how the Stags are doing, but knows where they can still improve.
“We’re up against some big hitters this year. [So] Credit to Mansfield Town, credit to our fans and our board and most importantly our players for us punching up there with them.
“We’ve got to be better with our end product at home, because teams are going to come and try and ‘shut up shop’ on us. Away from home, teams come out at you which makes them vulnerable. At home we’ve got to reinvent little bits to make sure that when teams do come and defend against us, we know how to break them down. If teams are looking in that manner at us now then ‘well done us’”.
The boss attended Monday night’s FA Youth Cup game between Stags and Cambridge City, and Murray thinks the game, despite not being the perfect performance, was another step in the right direction for the club.
“They can play better. [In the] first half we were average but second half we showed our quality, but like the first team it’s a whole new set-up – it will take time for us to get it exactly where we want it.
"The whole club is in a great place. We’ve got them (the youngsters) in today training with us, seven of them, because the ultimate aim is to get them out there [for the first team].
“When you play in the FA Youth Cup it’s a massive occasion. I know the boys built themselves up for it for four or five days before – there were a lot of nerves out there and they looked a little anxious and second half they began to play football. It’s another step on their journey.”
The manager's extended interview can be viewed on Stags Player.