Mansfield boss John Dempster has provided an update on what the next few days in Portugal will consist of for the Stags, adding that he plans to continually ‘increase intensity’ up until the opening match of the season against Newport County.
The amber and blue arrived in Amendoeira on Thursday 27 June for a ten-day intensive camp that has already included a behind-closed-doors match against Glasgow Rangers, and will feature an inter-squad game and a further training match against Championship side Swansea City.
Stags’ manager John Dempster explained what the next few days of the trip to Portugal will consist of for the players, and spoke in further detail of Friday’s inter-squad fixture.
“We’re due to out this [Tuesday] afternoon and do some out-of-possession work after doing some shooting this morning,” he said, speaking to iFollow Stags yesterday afternoon.
“Tomorrow [Wednesday] will be a bit more of a down day because the boys have worked really hard.
“The boys will have an opportunity to play golf, use the gym, potentially go into town. But we’ll still be doing some gym work.
“Thursday and Friday will be used to prepare for the Swansea match we’ve got on Saturday. There will be some physical work done between now and then.
“The likelihood is that we’ll play two XIs [in Friday’s inter-squad match], because we’re still in the early parts of pre-season. The boys were exceptional against Rangers, and we came through unscathed which was really important.
“If we can get 45 minutes work into some of our more senior players and also introduce some of our under-21 players in amongst it, I think that will be the plan.
“The plan is to play two 45 minutes [on Friday], so that intensity will increase a little bit more than from the Rangers game, where we played three 30s [minute periods].
“That’s the plan, to increase the intensity between now and when we kick off against Newport [on the opening day of the season].”
The manager revealed that a back-four was utilised in Saturday’s behind-closed-doors clash against Glasgow Rangers, yet he plans to instil a flexibility into his defence, which will allow him to interchange between a back-three and back-four.
“The players are being judged every day, and even more so in the games,” he added. “We’ll be looking at [using] a back-three on Saturday – we played with a back-four against Rangers, which the boys coped with really well.
“I’d like to have that flexibility to play with a [back] four or three this season. We have three outstanding senior pro’s that can play in a back-three.
“[We have] Ryan Sweeney – who has been immense this week – and obviously KP [Krystian Pearce], the Chief – a brilliant leader - and Matty Preston, who is an absolute beast.
“I’d be a fool not to use that back-three when you look at the [defensive] record last season. But we’re also going to have that flexibility to go between the two.”
Earlier it was revealed that Stags’ fans will have an opportunity to meet and chat with the first team players for 30 minutes following Friday’s inter-squad match at the home of Guia Football Club, as a gesture of thanks from John Dempster to those who have travelled.
The manager added that he has been pleased to already speak with a few of the Stags’ faithful in Portugal, and is looking forward to meeting more of the supporters on Friday.
“We’ve already seen three or four [fans] on their travels, which has been brilliant to catch up with them.
“I had a good chat with a nice gentleman at the airport as well, which was really positive.
“It will be great to see them [fans, on Friday]. The Friday session will go into a game, but it will be mostly match preparation for the Swansea game.
“Obviously we can’t do too much, because we want the players to be raring to go on Saturday.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.