Stags thrust into last minute striker search for Yussuf replacement

Adi Yussuf'Picture by Steve Uttley.
Adi Yussuf'Picture by Steve Uttley.

Mansfield Town are searching for a new striker on the eve of the new season after Adi Yussuf asked to go out on loan for regular football.

Fans were asking where the 24-year-old striker was when the annual team picture was shot at the weekend and tonight Adam Murray confirmed he had agreed for Yussuf to join League Two rivals Crawley Town until 22nd January.

Stags begin the season with an away trip to Newport County on Saturday (3pm) and Murray said he was hoping to bring in a replacement for Yussuf.

“Adi had a half-decent season last year but he didn’t get one start which at the time I didn’t feel he was up to that starting berth,” he said.

“He has come back this season, and I know he has worked hard over the summer, and he feels like he should be playing at the minute.

“He feels he is ahead of the other three senior pros and he doesn’t really want to sit on the bench. He wants to play games which I totally understand.

“So he came and asked if he could move on to get that game time and we are fully understanding of that.”

Murray has his eye on a replacement and is working frantically with chairman John Radford to make that happen.

“We are looking at bringing somebody in,” said Murray. “Me and the chairman have both been working very hard over the last couple of days to get that body in.

“If we can, we need to go into the season with four senior strikers.”

He added: “We have got the emergence of Zayn Hakeem, but the kid is only 17 and we want him to progress from where we were last season. To do that I don’t want to put too much pressure on Zayn.

“He is going to have enough peaks and troughs throughout the season as will always happen with a 17-year-old.

“We need to make sure we give him the breathing space to make that, when he is having a tough time, be able to come out the pressure of not having to start games.

“If we can get a fourth senior striker that we are happy can start games and can affect what this team is about we will look to do that.

“The chairman is working very pro-active at the minute to try to make it happen. If we could add the body we want to the squad it would be a beneficial one in my eyes.

“But like I’ve said over the last couple of weeks the squad is a very tight and strong-knit group, so it won’t be the end of the world if we didn’t.”