Stags’ chief Adam Murray says the Sky Bet League Two table is beginning to take shape and has challenged his players to retain their top seven place alongside the league’s ‘big teams’.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Cambridge United saw Murray’s men pick up their 11th point of the season after three wins, a draw and a solitary defeat in the first month of the season.
And Murray has now tasked his players to continue their early season form to cement their position towards the top end of the table.
“I think now you start to look at the top seven and I think there’s only us and Morecambe who are not expected to be in it, so I think you’re right in that, I think the table is starting to take shape now,” Murray said.
“The big teams are starting to take their places amongst the top places and it’s important that we hang in there. I think if we can stay in there after ten games, that’s a real good building block for us and then we want to build on that and push on.
“Performances can still go up dramatically, I feel. But to be a six/seven out of ten at the minute and be picking up the points that we are, we can’t really complain.”
The 34-year-old admitted that his side can improve ‘with the ball’ and he is keen to dispel the theory that his side play a ‘direct’ style of football.
“I’m a little bit confused at the minute and it’s something that we’re trying to fathom out because I don’t know if it’s just because we are a big side; you look through our side and we’re all six foot plus, when you read other people’s comments about us, we’re a big, strong and direct team and that’s the opposite to what we look at ourselves as.
“We need to be better with the ball. That’s one area that we need to progress on because I think when you do control games a little bit more than we are at the minute, that takes us to the next level. If there is another level in us and we’re sitting fifth in the league, then I’m happy with that.”
The boss, speaking at his weekly news conference, revealed that striker Danny Rose is seeing a specialist this morning regarding his eye injury, and also provided an update on the other injured players in his squad, including defender Kyle Howkins, who suffered a hamstring injury in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Doncaster Rovers last week.
“Because it’s a hamstring injury, we didn’t want him driving to Mansfield every day, it’s not going to do it any good. So for the first week, I think he lives two miles from West Brom’s training ground so for the first couple of weeks, he’s going to have his initial treatment there because that’s the most important part of it, and then when he starts his proper rehab, he’ll be back in with us.
“[Chris Clements and Jack Thomas have] upped their rehab. I think today they’re hitting a higher intensity, so it’s a big week for both of them [starting] today. I think you’ll probably see Clements before Jack Thomas."
Supporters can view Adam Murray’s Monday morning news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.