Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray today expressed his thanks to neighbours Nottingham Forest for helping him bring in promising young defender Alex Iacovitti to the club on loan for the rest of the season.
Murray had to move swiftly to replace hamstring victim Kyle Howkins, on loan from West Brom, but few fans thought Murray would be able to bring in someone of the calibre of Scotland U19 player Iacovitti, who has already played twice in the Forest first team this season.
There was much interest elsewhere in taking the 18-year-old, so Murray was relieved he ended up with Mansfield, coming in as a centre half but also cover at left back.
“I am very pleased. It was a very eventful day and we had to move swiftly to try to get one over the line,” said Murray.
“We didn’t think we’d be able to get Alex, but we’ve managed to push it through so we thank Nottingham Forest and Jack Lester and Gary Brazil there, who helped us push it over the line.
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“It got a little bit stressful this afternoon because I didn’t know if it was going to happen and if we were going to have to look elsewhere but we got our target and we’re very happy to bring him in to the club.
“There was a lot of interest in Alex. He’s had a very good start to his season personally; he made his debut, played the first couple of games for Nottingham Forest and now they believe it’s time for him to go out and try to get some regular football somewhere.
“There was a lot of interest in him so we’re chuffed to bits to bring him in to our team.”
He added: “I think obviously being local to Forest helped get him here, but I also think the guys down there know what we’re trying to build here and it’s a good environment to come into.
“It’s important when these young boys come into our environment that they are getting the right education and I believe we can give them that.
“I think you’ve seen the progression Kyle’s (Howkins) made in the short time he’s been with us. It’s a growth period for the lads coming on loan but it’s also a situation where it helps us become stronger as a team, so it works for everybody.”
“We’ve kept an eye on Alex for a while now. Obviously being local we’ve seen him play a few times. With him being in the first team and playing the first couple of games I don’t think a week ago probably he was available.
“So with the change in the situation, we pounced on it and he will add to us.
Murray describes Iacovitti as an ‘old-school centre half’ and said: “He’s got a very good presence about him, left-footed, which will give us balance and he’s very aggressive – he’s an old-school centre half who can also play
“He’s got very good pace, I think we’ve seen the difference that it makes having that little bit of pace at the back with people like Pearcey (Krystian Pearce), Tafty (George Taft), Kyle (Howkins), that little bit of pace helps and Alex has that in abundance.
“We’re very happy to bring him in to the building. He played left-back in the first game for Nottingham Forest v Burton, so he’s somebody that gives us cover in an area that I believe we’re a little bit light in.
“He comes in as a centre half, but to play at left back in the Championship, it proves that he’s comfortable there as well.”
Stags anxiously await the result of a scan on Howkins’ hamstring, but are prepared for the worst.
“It’s not good at the minute,” said Murray. “Kyle’s done his hamstring. “How bad, we’re not 100 percent sure until we get the scan results back but from the diagnosis last night and the way it’s feeling today, the physios are predicting it’s not going to be a short amount of time, hence why we’ve moved so quickly to bring Alex in.
“It’s very disappointing as I think Kyle has been excellent since he’s come in.
“But we’ve still got very good competition in there with people like Krystian Pearce, George Taft was excellent again against Doncaster, Lee Collins, who has obviously been playing there as well.”
Stags also lost Jamie McGuire after a heavy tackle against Doncaster on Tuesday and Murray said: “Jamie is struggling.
“He took a big bang on Tuesday night and couldn’t walk on Wednesday morning. So we are just going to have to see how he comes through the next few days, see how he reacts over the weekend, building into next week.”
However, there was brighter news on injured midfield pair Jack Thomas and Chris Clements who are nearing fitness.
“Those two are very positive. We are getting to where we need to be with them two now,” he said.
“They are both massive pluses for us being able to come back into the squad which was something that put a massive smile on my face this morning.
“It’s four and a half months now to the next window so we needed to make sure we are covered for every event and now, with the boys coming back fit, we are set for the first half of the season.”
Stags were relieved to see the transfer window shut last night with no new bids for striker Matt Green.
Stags had turned two bids down already and the player had insisted he wanted to stay.
“We’ve seen from Matt’s performance on Saturday and the way he trained on Monday and Tuesday, his focus is on Mansfield and we want him to see his career out here,” said Murray.