Time to end abysmal away form, says Stags manager Murray ahead of Newport trip

Stags boss Adam Murray.
Stags boss Adam Murray.

Mansfield Town’s players spent Sunday analysing their previous away games as they prepare to head to Newport County tomorrow and try to put an end to their abysmal form on the road.

The Stags made it three wins and two draws in five home games with Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge to pull further away from the drop zone.

But away from home they have the second worst record in the division after bottom club Hartlepool with two wins and three draws and boss Adam Murray said: “This away form is really winding me up now.

“We sat and watched our previous away games yesterday as a group to look at what is the problem.

“We looked at each game individually and took each on its merits. You start to understand certain reasons we have not got the results we should have.

“We don’t need to change things around a lot in the way we go about things to put that right. We just need to tweak our shape a bit and I am sure we can get some away points on the board.”

Stags make the long haul to South Wales tomorrow to take on an Exiles side that sit in the play-off spots in seventh and last weekend pulled off an excellent 1-0 win away to table-topping Burton Albion.

Newport lost boss Justin Edinburgh to Gillingham last month with assistant Jimmy Dack promoted into the hot seat and Saturday’s win underlines their potential.

But they have lost two and drawn one of their last three home games, having won their previous four on the bounce.

“There have been a few tweaks there,” said Murray. “I know the boys down there quite well, they are good football guys. They have had some good wins and good performances and fair play to them.

“It will be a really tough place to go. They have done well since they came back into the Football league and it’s something we are looking to do. We want to move forward and be sitting where they are. It is a good game to go into. Confidence is good.

“We hit our targets set by the staff and players for February which was pleasing and we will set the March ones between us today.

“It is now about turning up the heat and putting our foot down on the gas.”

Indeed, February’s 10-point haul was the best of the season and Murray added: “We are starting to see results for all the hard work we’ve put in.

“When I first took over and I first got the job I always said this was a product and a project that was going to take time. We have only scratched the surface so far and are nowhere near where I believe we should be.

“But we have shown we can win ugly if we have to and play some good stuff when we need to. We are starting to get the balance right, people are stepping up to the mark and performing well now.

“That was a big three points for us on Saturday and a big step in our journey, but if we’d lost it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

“It wasn’t pretty, but people have to understand how bad the conditions were out there. Trying to take goalkicks and corners, the wind was actually moving the ball and we couldn’t get out of our half in the first half.

“So I don’t think the players have had the credit they deserve as our defending was awesome in that first half with the wind and the pressure we were under.

“And if our first goal had been in the Premiership it would be getting played over and over again.”

Stags should have centre half Ryan Tafazolli available, despite dislocating a shoulder during the Dagenham win.

“I thought he had been shot when he went down,” said Murray. “He looked like something out of Braveheart on the battlefield. I just thought ‘get up you seven foot monster’! Credit to him for carrying on and getting through the game.

“It shows the steps he is making not just as a footballer but also as a man. Him and Martin Riley have shown me how well they can perform together these last few games.”

One enforced change will be in goal where Newport loanee Lenny Pidgeley will not be allowed to play against his parent club.

That will mark a return for Swiss keeper Sascha Studer and Murray said: “He is a very good goalkeeper and I have no qualms about him going in. This is another chance for him to show everyone how good he is.”