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Murray targets Stags' best finish for 12 years

31 March 2016

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray wants his side to surpass the 60-point mark in Sky Bet League 2 for the club's first time in over a decade.

Stags last recorded more than 60 points in a Football League season in 2003-04 when they secured 75 points in what was then Division Three. 

And with his side sitting seven points from that tally with seven games to play, Murray says he wants to reach that landmark as quickly as possible. 

“In our first year back in the league [2013-14], we probably had double the resources we’ve got now and finished on 60 points – we’re seven points off that total with seven games to go with half the resources. I’m proud of my team and what they’ve done so far and we want as many points on the board in the last seven games [as possible].”

Looking forward to Saturday’s clash with Hartlepool United at Victoria Park (3pm), the manager believes his side will face tough opposition with the Pools enjoying an upturn in form under new manager Craig Hignett.

“Fair play, they’ve done great down there, they’ve changed it around – they’re looking very solid, very hard to beat and [they’re] taking results. So it’ll be a tough game away from home but we’re going to take our performance from Monday into Saturday and if we do that then we’re confident in our ability.”

The North East side have two former Stags’ players in their ranks in the form of striker Rakish Bingham and winger Nathan Thomas, and Murray says he expects the latter to play in the match following the change of manager at Victoria Park. 

“We saw for probably two 90 minutes here that he can be a good player. When Nathan left, we were all disappointed in the move but we said at the time, and without going too much into it, it was more of a personal move than a football move. Nathan wanted to go back home and I think his performances of late have probably shown why he wanted to go back home. 

“It’s a little bit frustrating because at the time [of the transfer] it was a different manager and in these circumstances you have gentlemen’s agreements that obviously he wasn’t going to play and stuff like that, but [they’ve had] a change of manager now so we expect him to play and we’ll deal with it.”

Our boss confirmed that both winger Reggie Lambe and striker Adi Yussuf have returned to training following the international break. Bermudia-born Lambe will be available for this Saturday’s match, whilst Yussuf will serve the final game of a five match suspension. 

However, defender Ryan Tafazolli is waiting to receive the outcome of a scan on the dead leg he suffered in Monday’s draw with Northampton Town which could rule him out of Saturday’s match.

Meanwhile, Murray said he is hoping to sit down with the defender next week to discuss a new contract at the club. 

“I’ve spoken with the chairman about it and the chairman will ‘push the boat out’ to try and keep him, he’ll do everything he can to put a deal on the table that we feel warrants Taff’s ability. I want to keep him, the chairman’s desperate to keep him because he’s been a good player.

“We’re due to sit down again probably [at] the start of next week with the chairman and hopefully discussions will be positive.”

You can view Adam Murray’s full news conference on Stags Player HD later today.

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