Manager Adam Murray challenges Walsall loanee James Baxendale to show consistency and win a Mansfield Town contract

Mansfield Town v Stevenage - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 9 jan 2016''James Baxendale
Mansfield Town v Stevenage - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 9 jan 2016''James Baxendale

Adam Murray has challenged loanee James Baxendale to show consistency after his magnificent start and earn himself a permanent contract.

The Walsall midfielder made a dream debut on Saturday and Murray said: “We’ve known James for a while and he stuck in my mind from when I played against him here in a pre-season game a couple of years ago.

“I spent 90 minutes arguing with him and thought he was a cocky little so and so, but I couldn’t catch him.

“He creates things and he is an excellent person, which is a big thing for us.

“It’s up to him now to earn himself a contract. One game is brilliant but it’s consistency that gets players deals.”

Murray added: “I think he probably scared a few when he walked out, being 2ft 7ins and 6st 4lb, but he is technically very good. He has got a brain – he is clever.

“He gets into pockets and is effective with it. We have got some good footballers here and the next step for us is making sure, when we get into good areas, we make something happen.

“At times this season we have kept the ball for possession’s sake. It becomes good to dominate games but it becomes a little bit ineffective. So Bax will give us that drive and that little bit of X-Factor we have probably missed at times.

“For a debut it couldn’t have gone much better really – a win, a good performance and a goal – considering he’s not played much football over the last 12 months.

“He’s had a game, but we are not looking to jump in and give him a five year contract. We need to bed him into our environment and, hopefully, if he continues doing that then we’d like to put him down on a permanent deal.”

It was one in and one out during the first week of the January transfer window as winger Nathan Thomas left for Hartlepool United.

“There are a couple of other bits and bobs we’re looking at,” said Murray.

Stags are still hoping to tie up a deal to sign Notts County loanee Blair Adams on a permanent basis now the Magpies have new manager Jamie Fullarton in place.