New Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has made his first signing as boss – awarding an 18-month professional deal to youth team striker Dan Fletcher.
The 17-year-old has been in tremendous form in recent weeks and scored a hat-trick in the club’s 3-0 win over Northampton Town in the FA Youth Cup last month.
Boasting excellent pace and great technique, Fletcher has been outstanding at youth level and scooped the prestigious Jack Retter Trophy – awarded to the youth team player of the year, last season.
Fletcher travelled with the first team squad to Kenilworth Road for last Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two game with Luton Town and could travel again for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie at Cambridge United.
Adam Murray was unveiled as the new manager of Mansfield Town at a news conference yesterday.
The 33-year-old, who becomes the youngest boss in the Football League, succeeds Paul Cox, who departed the club by mutual consent last month.
Murray has transformed the fortunes of the Stags in recent weeks – leading the team to a 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle in his first game in caretaker charge, before overseeing a gritty 1-0 victory at Concord Rangers in the FA Cup.
His first game as permanent manager will be todays FA Cup second round tie away to Cambridge United.
The Stags’ new boss said: “After much thought and consideration, I feel the time is right for me to take this step into management.
“I’m excited about this challenge and new adventure and I believe I have the knowledge, ability and contacts throughout the game to be successful.”
He added: “This is the proudest day of my career to date.”
Murray has amassed a wealth of experience and contacts within the professional game, having made over 500 appearances during his 17-year playing career and winning promotion no fewer than five times.
He started his career in the Premier League at Derby County, making his debut for the Rams against West Ham United in April 1999, before going on to feature on 32 occasions in the top flight.
In the 2001/02 campaign, he joined the Stags for the first time – on loan from Derby – and played a crucial role in helping the team to win promotion to the third tier, scoring six goals in 13 appearances.
His second stint with the Stags was in 2004/05, when he featured on 37 occasions before joining Carlisle United, for whom he was a twice a promotion winner in just 17 months at Brunton Park.
After spells at Torquay United and Macclesfield Town, the midfielder moved to Oxford United in January 2008 and skippered the club to a long-awaited return to the Football League two years later.
Following a short stay at Luton Town, he returned to One Call Stadium for a third time in September 2010 and helped the club reach the FA Trophy Final at the end of that season.
In a combined captain/assistant manager role, Murray then made 38 appearances as the Stags defied the odds to win the Blue Square Bet Premier title in 2012/13 – and with it achieve promotion back to the Football League.