Mansfield Town preview

mansfield badgeMansfield are another one of those teams looking to improve on a couple of consolidatory seasons in League Two. Former manager Paul Cox set high standards in 2013/14 with a 10th placed finish, a position that current coach Adam Murray couldn’t replicate, finishing just above the drop zone, clinging on to his job in the process. A mountain of new recruit have been brought in over the summer to revamp the squad, and it may be just what Murray needs to fight for a place amongst the leagues elite.

Last seasons goalkeeping horror show hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, both Cameron Belford and Sacha Studer both failed to capitalize on the opportunities given to them, and two new shot stoppers have once again been drafted in the ease the goalkeeper crisis. A mistake the management staff are not willing to make again is purchasing an inexperienced keeper, in Brian Jensen and Scott Shearer they have two seasoned veterans that have been pulling fingertip saves out of the bag for years. Former Danish international Jensen will work alongside Murray as a Goalkeeping coach, passing on that over 20 years worth of knowledge to nurture the young talents.

Defensively it is a similar story, a whole new backline could start the opening fixture against Carlisle on the 8th August, something that has resulted from disappointing performances and definitely too many goals flying in last term. Accomplished right back Nicky Hunt has been recruited from Accrington Stanley, the former Bolton Wanderers man offers a wealth of defensive know-how, and is yet another ex Premier League name to add to the Stags ever growing list. The central duo of Krystian Pearce and Lee Collins will expect to enter the season as the first choice centre halves, but with fans favourite Luke Jones and a large group of youngsters breathing down their necks, it could be a tough choice for Adam Murray.

Green returns to the One Call
Green returns to the One Call

The departures of Rakish Bingham, Matt Rhead and Vadaine Oliver have left a gaping hole on the Stags frontline. The space has been filled by the returning Matt Green who endured a disappointing couple of seasons with Championship side Birmingham City. Green last played for the Stags during their promotion season of 2012/13, where he grabbed 25 goals becoming the leagues top marksman. This spectacular goal ratio turned heads around the football league, but Green failed to make an impact away from the One Call Stadium. Joining Green on the battlefront will be former Portsmouth striker Craig Westcarr. The 30-year-old has a proven record at this level, something that is desperately needed to avoid being drawn into a relegation dogfight.

Overall Mansfield have a reasonable chance of reaching the top 12. They severly lacked a leader last season, and experience was also non existent throughout the Stags squad. The inclusion of Brian Jenson and Nicky Hunt should solve these problems and give the youngsters the kick up the backside they need to improve their performance.

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