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Futcher pleased with level of fitness shown in pre-season stalemate

14 July 2018

Stags' assistant manager Ben Futcher believes today's 0-0 draw with Hednesford Town was crucial in terms of building fitness, with the majority of Mansfield Town players who started the game playing the entire 90 minutes.

Futcher took charge of today's clash against Hednesford, while Stags' boss David Flitcroft watched on at Cannon Park, where another Mansfield Town XI put five past Retford without reply.

The game at Keys Park may have finished goalless, but the affair was not short of drama, with tempers flaring on several occasions, and Stags creating a number of chances to win the match.

Despite having the chances to emerge as victors in the match, Futcher remained delighted with the way his side performed, and was pleased with how 10 of the 11 players who started the match played the full 90 minutes.

"It was a really good game where the lads got 90 minutes in," he said. "Fitness-wise it was perfect and the pitch was lovely.

"They changed their team a lot at half-time but our lads really did well.

"First-half I thought it was a bit scrappy, but very competitive. I think second-half, when we settled down, we moved the ball.

"We could've got four or five really in the second-half. But the workout was really good and the fitness is really there for the lads now with their first 90 minutes. Plus there were no injuries so I'm delighted.

"It's early days yet and it's still about fitness really. I think first-half it was really scrappy and there were a lot of stoppages."

Futcher was also pleased with how his side performed a second-half that saw the Stags link up superbly time after time.

"Second-half, when we moved the ball a bit quicker, we were a bit brighter and I thought we really dominated. It was a decent exercise. 

"We'll keep developing as the pre-season goes and we'll fine tune things. The final third we'll tidy up a bit now as we draw into the season. But it's all quite good at the minute.

"There were quite a lot of tackles going in [in the first-half]. Second-half we really upped it and hit the strikers a bit earlier and caused them a lot of problems."

Stags' assistant boss also commended the intensity his players showed in the second period, and will be hoping they can take the level of energy showed in today's game into the clash with Derby County on Wednesday at One Call Stadium.

"First-half it wasn't there with the intensity we wanted, but second-half [I was] really happy with them," he added.

"There's still plenty of time to go until the first game of the season. Everyone is trying to impress.

"Everyone's got 60 to 90 minutes today and that was the plan. We'll come back on Monday and see where everyone's at, and look forward to Derby County at home on Wednesday."


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