Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray said he will use the last two League Two games to experiment ahead of Saturday’s final home game against Portsmouth.
He also said he has meetings planned with chairman John Radford and the board this week to discuss next season when he promised fans they will see an Adam Murray team that they can be proud of.
I will pick two teams I want to represent the football club in a manner that people will walk out the ground feeling proud of
Youngsters Liam Marsden, Jack Thomas and Joe Fitzpatrick are all expected to add their minutes played this Saturday while we could also see a debut for defender Corbin Shires.
Striker Dan Fletcher, who has already been blooded, is away on loan with Carlton Town but will be back in time for next week’s final game at Accrington.
“The preparation and planning for next season has started already and I am looking forward to it,” said Murray.
“But we have two games to go and there are still six points to play for. While ever there are points to put on the board and a game of football, I want to go out there and win it.
“There is so much to do, it’s important we get started as quickly as possible as we don’t want to miss the train on certain things.
“I will pick two teams I want to represent the football club in a manner that people will walk out the ground feeling proud of. It will be two teams that will show enthusiasm to play for Mansfield Town and I can experiment with certain things.
“I have a blank canvas so I can now start being the manager I want to be. I have a couple of meetings with the board and chairman this week. I want them to know how I see this going and put out a product that is me.
“I don’t want to be in this job if people can’t see Adam Murray out there in the team I field.
“Actions speak louder than words and people have heard too many words this season. There has been a lot of talk and a lot of reasons and they feel like excuses. If I was a fan I would be bored of talking.
“I want to put the hard work in now behind the scenes as I want my actions to speak. Hopefully I will get the ingredients and be allowed to do what I want to do and people will see what type of manager I am.
“Certain individuals have had their chance. It’s time for other people to build on and show what they are about.”
On the youngsters, he added: “Liam has not had much chance this season as our defending has been quite fragile and it would not have been fair to put that pressure on him.
“Joe has shown again what a talent he is and we’ve all seen what Jack is about. It will be nice to give these boys some minutes and the experience.
“We have two tough games in which they will be able to test themselves and I can use them in different formations and different areas of the pitch. We can allow them the freedom to go and play. They can express themselves without the anxiety and pressure of recent weeks.
“It will be nice on Saturday for fans to be able to breath a sigh of relief, look at our prospects and see them taking this place forward.”
Despite criticism for saying it, Murray again today reiterated that he believed this season had been a successful one as his target of avoiding relegation had been achieved.
“I know people have lost their heads because I said the season has been a success, but I had only one target when I took the job,” he said. “As a group we have achieved that. But there’s always some people who expect us to win every game.
“When you are down there it gets tough. Clubs below us have changed managers and got experienced managers in, but they are struggling. When you are down there everything kicks you in the so and so’s.
“So this has been an achievement for us. People must understand what our target was – not promotion or the play-offs. It was staying in the League.
“It could have been a make or break scenario being my first job. But it was a risk I was willing to take.
“It’s a season I’d like to wipe off. It’s been horrible, it’s been horrendous, the worst four or five months of my life.
“I have put an enormous amount of pressure on myself as I didn’t want to let the football club down. Because I am so close to the club, the thought of letting it down kills me.
“The lessons I have learned on the football side of it, the individual side of it and the environment side of it have been huge.
“I think I could have played for a couple more years. Instead I’ve been thrown in at the deep end and I am grateful for that as what I’ve learned could have taken me a couple of years had I gone into a mid-table job.
“I have got more wrinkles and if I grow my hair there is more grey in it, so I have to keep shaving it off.”
Stags’ safety was assured last weekend, despite a lacklustre display in the 3-1 defeat at Cambridge, which left Murray and his side not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
“There were a lot of mixed feelings,” admitted Murray. “I was angry at the performance, but there was a sweet feeling that would be in the Football League next year, which was the target we had set. So it was a weird feeling.
“Saturday was nothing new. If it had been a bolt from the blue then you would probably accept it. But it’s been a common theme with this group. They’ve put in some great performances and then the next games are below par. They’ve done it a number of times this season like the Luton and Oxford games. It’s why we are where we are in the League.
“A lot of things need changing, I’ve known that for a long time, and they will be addressed. At the same time, as much as people don’t want to, you have to give this group of players credit for keeping this club in the Football League.”