Adam Murray is looking forward to crossing swords once more with Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen as Mansfield Town take on Barnet at home on Saturday.
As well as the manager, the Stags boss also admitted he was an admirer of the Bees’ goal ace John Akinde, but dismissed fans’ suggestions he was on his shopping list.
Murray said of Allen: “I am looking forward to watching his press this week – he is a top guy.
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“He is an excellent manager with loads of experience, he thinks outside the box and has signed some very good players this summer.
“They’ve had a really good start. They were 1-0 up on Saturday, scoring really early on, before it got called off at Newport.
“We know what the threats are already and we saw last year here that they are tough opponents, so we will be aware of what they bring to the table. But we need to focus on us. We have got very good players this season.
“If we make it all about us there won’t be many teams who can handle it. “We can spend a lot of time worrying about other teams but we won’t get the work into our players that they deserve.
“Even though we are in a fantastic position at the minute, we want to grasp it and get to the next level as soon as quick as we can.”
Murray has been linked with possible moves for burly striker Akinde, and said: “He is very good for this level, let’s get that right.
“I know Barnet offered him a new contract. To get someone like John you’d have to pay extortionate money because he is a massive asset at this level.
“But to get someone like John you have to play a certain way as well, so it’s swings and roundabouts. You can’t play tippy-tappy football and have John Akinde up front.
“I am more than happy with the centre forwards we’ve got. We’ve got some of the best in the league in our armoury at the minute.”
He added: “It was good to get Hendo (Darius Henderson) some more minutes on Saturday as he needs that.
“He needs game time, he needs catch-up time and I think at times he looked strong. You can see he hasn’t had a pre-season. He’s not had a lot of minutes – but that will come.
“We are now getting Pat Hoban up to speed too. He played more again and I keep saying he is going to be a massive player for us.
“Even though we have got four of the best strikers in my eyes in the league, three of them haven’t been at 100 per cent for three weeks to a month now.
“To a certain degree, we’ve had to reply on Matt Green again.
“It’s frustrating for all of them, it’s frustrating for me and it’s frustrating for the squad as we know we’ve got a strong squad. But someone comes back and then you lose someone else.
“When we can get them all fit and get them up and running we will be even stronger. Until then we have to keep ticking points over.”
Stags were held 0-0 at home by Cambridge last weekend, but Murray was delighted to see his side take on board his demand that, if it’s not your day take a point and don’t lose it.
“One thing I want from my team this year that I didn’t feel we had last year, which I think could have made the difference for us last year, is that when we are average, we must nick points. And when we can’t win we don’t lose,” he said.
“We can’t win every game even though we want to more than anything.
“On Saturday it wasn’t clicking and you could tell it was one of those games.
“Every time we tried something it didn’t work. You have to come out of that with something on the board or we’d all be sitting here crying.
“I have gone back over it, but we want to put it to bed very quickly. There were aspects of it we were very pleased with, but things we knew first hand that we need to improve on.
“It was an average performance, but we didn’t get beaten and chalked another point off against a good, strong side. We have taken a lot out of the game.”