Stags’ chief Adam Murray says his men are 'up for the challenge of three points', speaking ahead of this Saturday's League Two curtain raiser at Newport County.
The manager and his squad will travel to Rodney Parade this Saturday (3pm kick-off) in our first competitive fixture since the end of last season.
And the manager believes everybody at One Call Stadium is optimistic for the 2016/17 season and the summer additions he’s brought in to the club have improved the squad.
“I think it’s very positive [the mood], there’s a lot of energy in the group at the minute. We’ve had a good pre-season, we’ve had a fair few games and we’re up for the challenge of three points,” Murray said.
“I think the biggest thing that this squad’s gained is 12 months’ experience together, I don’t think you can put a price on that. So the core of the group has had 12 months together and 12 months of working with myself, so that’s the major positive.
“I think we’ve added a little bit more quality to the group over the summer, but the team spirit and the energy in the camp is still as high, if not higher, than it was last season.
“The new boys have come in [and] settled in really well – it’s like they’ve been here for a long, long time.”
Focussing on the first game of the season, Murray says the Stags’ opponents, Newport County, have also improved since last season and he’s expecting the match to be ‘cagey’.
“Obviously [they’ve] made a lot of signings, a lot of solid signings. I think towards the back end of last season, Warren (Feeney, Newport manager) got them playing for himself and he added a lot of energy and a lot of grit to them, and I think they’ll be a strong side this season.
“It’s always a tough place to go. Hopefully, [because it's the] first game of the season, the pitch might be a bit better than it was last season, at the back end.
“[In] the first game of the season everyone’s still ‘finding their feet’ so we’re expecting a very cagey game but one that we’re prepared for. We’ve got a lot of tools in our armoury and we’ll decide which ones we’ll need to use for our enemy on Saturday.”
After left-back Mal Benning completed 90 minutes against Worksop Town last Saturday following his return from the injury which kept him out of the Stags’ previous three pre-season friendlies, the manager says his squad is looking strong ahead of the season’s opener, with the possibility of a further addition.
“We’ve got nigh-on a full strength squad to go into the weekend. We’re making sure that we get everyone’s fitness levels up to where they need to be in terms of minute-time and training time.
“So we’re looking quite healthy on that front. We need to make sure that the boys who have missed a couple of games and missed a little bit of training do the work this week."
On a potential new signing, the manager added: “There’s a possibility of one coming in. The chairman’s working very proactive at the minute to try and make that happen. If we could add the body that we want to the squad, it would be a beneficial one in my eyes.”
Supporters can view Adam Murray’s midweek news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.