Chris Clements close to Mansfield Town return, Matty Blair ready for a start

Mansfield Town's Chris Clements'Picture by Dan Westwell
Mansfield Town's Chris Clements'Picture by Dan Westwell

Adam Murray said there is an outside hope that midfield ace Chris Clements could be fit enough to rejoin the Mansfield Town first team for Saturday’s visit of bottom club Newport County.

He also said, despite no midweek friendly planned to help boost Matty Blair’s fitness, he would have no qualms throwing the winger in if needed for a first start since his serious knee injury in January.

On Clements, Murray said: “Hopefully we will have Chris Clements back very soon. Saturday wouldn’t be too soon for me – it’s these physios. You’ve got to watch these physios, they have cotton wool round his ears at the minute.

“They know better than I do and they won’t risk Clem if he’s not right, but Saturday might be an opportunity.”

On Blair, he added: “He is working his socks off. He is in a good place. In a perfect world we’d have another game this week. But unless we can find a five-a-side team that wants to play us, we haven’t got the players to get another game.

“The youth team are flying but they’ve got cup games to play too , so we haven’t the numbers to put a team out that would enable Matty Blair to get some more minutes. So he is just having his training programme intensified.

“We are putting him in as many game-related scenarios as we can and getting him kicked as much as we can. But he looks fit, he looks strong.

“I would have no hesitation at putting him in now. But the boys that are in there at the minute are superb. They are playing with a real confidence and arrogance at the minute which is great to see.

“What they are doing is they are buying into the defensive side of the game that I want, sometimes with attacking flair players they think that’s all they have to do.

“If that’s the case they won’t be in the team. But at the minute this structure is getting us where we are and they have to do that nitty-gritty bit.

“Matty is learning that, coming back into the fold. He has now got to earn his right.”