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Stags unscathed after Mickleover friendly

26 July 2016

Manager Adam Murray was pleased to report a clean bill of health from the select XI which faced Mickleover Sports this evening.

First team players Mal Benning and Jack Thomas have missed previous friendlies because of injury concerns, although they are not believed to be serious.

And the Stags’ chief noted his satisfaction in seeing a number of his players increase their match sharpness at this evening's contest in Derbyshire.

“It was a very competitive game, I enjoyed it,” said Murray, who fielded a blend of youth and first team players in the match which ended in a 1-0 defeat.

“There was a bit of an edge to it, some good play, some points to work on. It was a good to get the mix – it was 50-50 with kids and (first team) boys who we needed to get the minute bank up.  So overall, I was pleased with the workout. We managed to get 90 minutes in some people’s legs and we’ve come out of it with no injuries, so that’s the main thing.”

Murray said the match would be a ‘big learning curve’ for his younger players, four of whom completed the Stags' defensive line-up.

“It goes to show that the gap from under 18 football even to, with all due respect men’s football at Mickleover’s level, is huge. 

“The intensity and the power and the purpose in the game is a totally different level, so it’s an eye-opener for them. 

“We had a very young back four today and at times that showed, but it’s a great learning experience for them and they won’t get better unless we put them in situations where they’re stressed and where they make mistakes.  

“For them, it will be a big learning curve but overall it was the minutes in the bank that we wanted.”

At the half-time interval, first team coach Karl Hawley entered the fray and the Stags’ chief hinted that whilst Karl is not in his immediate first team plans, he could be a useful option in the 2016-17 League Two campaign.

"He’s a good player. I think he showed that today. His experience and his ability to communicate on the pitch are tools that we have in the toolbox if needs be and [in order] to have that tool available to us we have to keep Karl ticking over in terms of his own fitness. 

"Like I said a few weeks ago:  Is he in the forefront of my mind to be on the pitch? No. But he’s a great option to have.

"I’ve spoken to a few people who keep telling me I’ve got to register him because he could be a big weapon to have at this level and I don’t disagree with that.  He showed some touches today and his ability to bring other people into the game and to get into dangerous areas [was impressive].  

"With a small squad we need as many options as we can," he added.

The manager's interview can be viewed tomorrow (Wednesday) on Stags PlayerHD



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