TEAM PREVIEW: Mansfield Town – Kevin Pilkington wants to see his old side succeed

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Mansfield certainly didn’t have it easy last season and we’re on of several to keep their league status by the skin of their teeth. But they’ve been as busy as anyone this summer and Adam Murray clearly feels it is time to push on.

Last Season: League Two (21st)

Manager: Adam Murray

 

Squad

GKs: Scott Shearer, Brian Jensen
DFs: Luke Jones, Ryan Tafazolli, Corbin Shires, Liam Marsden, Malvind Benning, Lee Collins, Nicky Hunt
MFs: Reggie Lambe, Jamie McGuire, Jack Thomas, Matty Blair, Chris Clements, Joe Fitzpatrick, Adam Chapman, Mitch Rose, Nathan Thomas
FWs: Danny Fletcher, Chris Beardsley, Matt Green, Adi Yussuf, Craig Westcarr

 

Transfers

In: Chris Beardsley (Stevenage), Malvind Benning (Walsall), Adam Chapman (Newport County), Lee Collins (Northampton Town), Matt Green (Birmingham City), Mitch Rose (Rotherham United), Nathan Thomas (Motherwell), Adi Yussuf (Oxford City), Craig Westcarr (Portsmouth), Nicky Hunt (Accrington Stanley), Scott Shearer (Crewe Alexandra), Brian Jensen (Crawley Town)

Out: Lee Beevers (Lincoln City), Rakish Bingham (Hartlepool United), John Dempster (Retired), Alex Fisher (Released), Liam Hearn (Lincoln City), Simon Heslop (Released), Ricky Ravenhill (Released), Michael Raynes (Carlisle United), Matt Rhead (Lincoln City), Martin Riley (Tranmere Rovers), Sascha Studer (Released), Ritchie Sutton (Tranmere Rovers), Junior Brown (Shrewsbury Town), Ollie Palmer (Leyton Orient)

 

First Six: Carlisle United (H), Notts County (A), Accrington Stanley (A), Oxford United (H), York City (A), AFC Wimbledon (H)

Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) Jensen – Hunt, Collins, Tafazolli, Jones – Blair, Clements, Chapman, Lambe – Westcarr, Green

 

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A word from…Kevin Pilkington

On ending up at Mansfield I’d gone to Wigan and they wanted to loan me out to a non-league club, they asked me about going out on loan and I’d retain a small monthly fee from them but I thought it was a bit of an insult to be honest and I realised it wasn’t for me.

Fortunately, I knew Bill (Dearden) from my time at Port Vale and he offered me a contract to come down to Mansfield and that was that, I really enjoyed my time at the club.

On the difficulty of the football league It’s incredibly difficult, League Two itself is a really tough league, we had a great season when we got promoted, we had a good team with people like Liam Lawrence and Chris Greenacre, Lee Williamson, the list goes on.

We had a good team spirit and that helped us go up but unfortunately we found it a bit of a struggle in League One, it’s tougher mentally and physically and unfortunately we came back down. With the play-offs there’s a rollercoaster of emotions, it was a fantastic experience and to captain the team but sadly we missed out on penalties.

On trying to improve Team spirit is massive, I really think it is. To get a group together who are all pulling together, I know Adam, he’s a great lad and he’ll turn out to be a great manager.

He was part of that team that got promoted and he’s got a solid squad together but I don’t you can afford to rotate, you need a core group and you work from there.

On Adam Murray He’s the right man. I’ve got a lot of time for him, I spoke to him a lot over the summer but he’s his own man. I think he will have learned a lot from managers he’s worked with and he’s been through the good, the bad and the ugly of the football league.

He wants to play football in the right way, play on the deck, a bit different to what Mansfield may have been in the past but I do think he’ll do a great job, I really hope he does anyway.

On a lot of new signings It can be difficult when players don’t know each other and that people don’t gel but I think they’re away at the minute and that will help.

But I’m sure Adam will know what he wants and that he’s brought in the right people to try and strengthen the squad and push the team forward.

 

The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Plenty of new faces might make for a difficult start but there’s much more quality in the squad now. Under a young manager Mansfield should be ok.

Key Player: Matt Green – His form at Mansfield before leaving was bordering on sensational, if he can return to something like that form he’ll be the key man.

One to Watch: Mitch Rose – The midfielder has plenty to prove after dropping down from Rotherham, he’s got talent if he gets the chance to show it.

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