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Manager targets new recruits

21 May 2019

Stags’ boss John Dempster says he plans to sign up to five new players this summer ahead of his first season as manager of Mansfield Town.

The new boss, who was appointed as first team manager last Tuesday, says that chairman John Radford has pledged his ‘full support’ ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Stags’ chief also added that he has registered his interest in the possible return of Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker, who scored 26 goals last term during a successful loan spell at One Call Stadium.

“I’m looking to sign three to five [players this summer],” he said. “It’s not a rebuild, but if we can strengthen in key areas, this squad will only become stronger.

“The chairman has promised me his full support. He’s aware that the current squad is strong, and he will support me with the new signings.

“When you have an owner and CEO like ours [John Radford and Carolyn Radford], they want the football club to progress, like it has. The long-term vision of the club has always been to get to that next level, and that hasn’t changed.

“We’ll be speaking to players and speaking to agents. This is an attractive place to be for footballers, but we won’t rush into signing players for the sake of it.

“They have to be of the right character as well as the right player. We’ll be speaking to the right people and getting references on character.

“I spoke to Tyler Walker this week and wished him well. He’s back at [Nottingham] Forest, speaking to the manager there to find out what the plans are with him.

“He’s another player who spoke really highly of the football club and enjoyed his time here. I’ve told Tyler that he would be more than welcome back here next season.

“Being realistic, he will have a whole host of clubs that want him if he is made available for loan. But it’s one that we’ll keep in the pipeline.

“I just wanted to let Tyler know how the football club felt about him. I felt that was important.”

"I’m looking to sign three to five [players this summer]. It’s not a rebuild, but if we can strengthen in key areas, this squad will only become stronger."

John Dempster, manager

The manager says he is ‘lucky’ to have ‘such a good squad’ at One Call Stadium, while also revealing that midfielder Jacob Mellis – who made 48 appearances for the amber and blue last term – has verbally agreed to stay with the Stags for next season.

“This isn’t a rebuild,” he explained. “I’ll make several tweaks along the way, but we have a good nucleus. We have good quality in particular areas, and I’ll look to add to that.

“I’m lucky to inherit such a good squad, and I’m lucky to be at this football club with the support I’ve got. I’m really confident I can move things forward.

“[I’m looking to improve] wide areas and centre-forward areas. They will be my main focus at this moment in time.

“We have good defenders at this football club. I’m speaking to Ben Turner later on today. He’s doing his UEFA B [licence] at St. George’s Park so I haven’t had the chance to speak to him yet.

“We have real strength in depth already under contract. It’s just about adding to some areas where I think we will improve.

“Jacob [Mellis] will be part of our squad next season. He’s a talented lad. I’ve given him a brief outline of what I’m looking for from him next season, but that will become clearer in pre-season.

“It [agreement with Mellis] is just verbal, but that won’t be a problem. He will be part of our squad next season.

“He is someone that has the ability to get players in behind, pass forward and is comfortable on the ball. He will play a big part in our squad next season.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and all of the other players.”

Since being appointed as the first team boss last Tuesday, the new manager has held meetings with Stags’ first team players ahead of their respective summer breaks.

“It [first week] has been busy,” he added. “It’s brilliant to sit down with the players and discuss plans going forward. It’s been a really positive first week.

“There was a lot of disappointment [from the players] on how the season finished. After having those discussions, all of the players left with a positive mindset.

“I asked them to go and enjoy their break, to go and complete their off-season programmes and come back with a really positive vibe looking forward to the season ahead.

“[The players] are good characters. The biggest thing for me is how the players spoke about the football club.

“It’s a place where they enjoy working and they are grateful to be here. I think that says a lot.

“The players will report back on 26 June. We’ll be back and we’ll be fitness testing. It will be a gradual build-up throughout pre-season.

“We obviously have the Portugal trip. We’ll be there for a week and then we’ll start rolling into the games.”

John Dempster also hopes to have the vacant assistant manager’s position filled by the end of the day.

“I’m hoping that [assistant manager position] will be finalised today. We’ve agreed verbally with an experienced assistant manager who is coming in. We can get that out there later today hopefully.

“I’ve enjoyed it [first week]. We have some good characters in and around the ground, not just the medical and coaching staff, but in the offices here.

“I’ve enjoyed it. The pressure will start when the games start, that’s natural. But it’s so far, so good, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into later today.

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