Adam Murray was delighted to see Matty Blair sign his new contract this week with the wing ace agreeing to an incentive-based deal as he proves he is over his serious knee injury.
Blair wrecked his knee in only his second game after signing for the Stags at Carlisle on 31st January and has worked hard ever since to return.
Murray knows what a fully-fit Blair could bring to his squad and after agreeing a deal, he said: “We are over the moon with it.
“Obviously Matty has a had a very serious injury, but he’s worked very hard. He’s had a couple of stints at St George’s Park which have been really beneficial to him and we are probably lucky in the fact that Matty is one of those players who are naturally fit, so his healing process has been a little bit quicker than expected and he’s looking strong.
“We are getting a new and improved Matty Blair so that’s a massive boost to the squad. He is a couple of weeks away from being involved full-on back in the squad, so to speak.
“He’s got another week next week at St George’s which they call a ‘return to play week’ when he will go and be pushed to his limits physically for fitness and then come back ready to go.”
Murray added: “We are over the moon he has agreed to join us again. It will be a contract that suits him and the club, all incentive-based on him being fit and we have the option to extend it if the club wants to. So it’s a really good deal for both parties.
“Because he has been out, Matty is a clever lad and realistic to what he can get offered. We have done it to the end of the season on an incentive-based package, based on him being fit and performing.
“Then we have the option as a club to keep him for next season if we wish to and if Matty is performing. It’s a really good deal for Matty and a really good deal for the club.
“I think having someone like Matty Blair coming back in at the start of this season is a massive plus for us.”
Once upon a time, Blair’s cruciate knee ligament injury was one that spelled the end of their career for many players. But it would seem more and more are returning as the medical world improves its knowledge and treatments.
“It’s getting easier,” said Murray. “The technology and the work the physios do these days is incredible. What you do see is people coming back from this injury stronger.
“A few years ago it was looked upon as that was it, you were done. Things have moved on over the last five to 10 years.
“The pre-hab and re-hab to it now is very strong. So as long as we look after Matty and make sure we don’t over-push him, he’s coming back in a good state.
“When we signed him he was looked at as a marquee signing, an X-Factor signing. He is someone that will give us something different. He will give us that raw pace, but with an end product - his delivery into the box, his final pass, and he scores goals.
“So it’s something that will take the group up a notch again.”
Murray said Blair would provide some excellent competition in the squad – and not just for the wingers.
“We need it. It’s a squad that’s packed with quality even though it’s quite small. Everybody is pushing each other and everyone has a chance of playing at the moment.
“Matty coming back into the picture will give that bit more competition, not just in wide areas as he can play up front, he can play in the No.10 role off the striker or in the midfield three as one of the attacking ones. So he gives us that versatility as well.”