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Stags building up to season opener

27 July 2017

Assistant manager Paul Raynor says Stags will 'sharpen up' in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Alfreton Town with the Sky Bet League Two opener away to Crewe Alexandra just over a week away.

Stags have enjoyed a packed pre-season schedule thus far, with games against Alfreton Town (Saturday 29 July) and Rainworth Miners Welfare (Tuesday 01 August) the only fixtures remaining before the big kick-off.

And speaking to the local media this morning, Raynor says Stags will now work on different things in training in order to be ready for the visit to the Alexandra Stadium.

"It's about sharpening up now. The fitness levels are pretty much there now, or should be," Raynor said.

"And it's about sharpening up, working on a few things that we've been looking at in training and hopefully it'll be another piece in the jigsaw towards 05 August.

"It's all about peaking at the right time and peaking on 05 August away at Crewe and that's what we've been building up to. It's all about game-time; you see all these top clubs going abroad and I listened to an interview with Jose Mourinho last night talking about 'it's just about game-time, it's not always about results.'

"It's about sharpening up, working on a few things that we've been looking at in training and hopefully it'll be another piece in the jigsaw towards 05 August."

Paul Raynor, assistant manager

"Everybody wants good results but it's just about peaking for that first game of the season and we're no different. If it's good enough for the likes of those teams, then it's certainly what we're all about as well."

The former Preston North End midfielder says there are a number of factors to be considered before team selection for the Crewe clash is finalised, but is pleased with how the squad have gelled throughout the pre-season campaign.

"Obviously we've got to bear in mind the shape that Crewe are going to play, the style that Crewe are going to play and we've also got to take into account the boys that deserve to be picked on merit and the formation we're going to use.

"There's lots of factors and obviously we've started to have a good look at Crewe. We'll be there on Sunday watching them against Stoke, so that will be a factor.

"There's lots of pieces to put together before we decide what we're going to do. We've got a fair idea in our mind now but it's nice that people are giving us a few headaches and it's been a great pre-season in terms of that.

"It's been a long pre-season but a really enjoyable one and the boys are gelling together nicely. The team bonding's gone very, very well and they're a real unit now already and that'll be absolutely vital going into the season, we're going to need that."

Ahead of Saturday's friendly against Alfreton Town, only winger Alex MacDonald will be missing following his knee surgery, but Raynor is pleased with how the former Oxford wideman is progressing.

"Alex is coming along very well. I've seen him down there in the medical room and he's moving around nicely and he's getting there. Everyone seems to be good, which is really important in pre-season.

"It's a very vigorous time in terms of training – we train hard but we also play games as well, so it's vital that the recovery is right. The medical department deserve a lot of credit for the way that the boys are in shape."

Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags later today to view Paul Raynor's news conference in full.


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