Big day ahead with fixtures release and live cup draw

Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray 
Picture by Dan Westwell

Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray Picture by Dan Westwell

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Excitement is building for Mansfield Town supporters with the League Two fixtures for 2016/17 released at 9am tomorrow (Wednesday).

Stags will also learn their EFL Cup first round opponents tomorrow with the draw broadcast live via Facebook Live.

However, boss Adam Murray said he wasn’t too worried who they played first or where and tipped the division to be even tougher than last season.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a big day tomorrow,” said Murray. “It just allows you to plan a little bit.

“When you are planning your pre-season and your games you want to get certain things out of your games and work on different things.

“Once you’ve got your first fixtures lined up for the season you can plan to go and watch the opposition and plan your first six games and how you need to go about it.

“It gives you a bit more insight into your planning more than anything but as regards to who you get first and where you play them, it doesn’t interest me.

“It’s home or away, it doesn’t really matter who you play.”

However, Murray warned: “With some of the business some of the teams are doing and some of the work I hear is going on, it was tight last year, but I think it’s going to be a really competitive league this year.

“There will be a lot of teams up there fighting for that top seven.

“Some of the teams that maybe under-achieved last year have re-grouped and look strong this year.

“And some of the teams that were not on it last year have recruited well and look strong.

“We are over the moon with the business we’ve done. We feel we are stronger than last year and now it’s just a case of putting it all together.”

Stags will have six new opponents this time around in relegated quartet Doncaster, Blackpool, Crewe, and Colchester and promoted Cheltenham and Grimsby.

“They are all dangerous in their own ways,” said Murray. “I think the two teams coming up have obviously got momentum. That helps and you go with that.

“Then, with the teams coming down, from the stuff I watched last year the gap between League Two and League One is quite big.

“The standard of League One is very high and there are some massive clubs in it. So I would imagine those teams coming down will be strong.

“They’ve recruited well – Blackpool have made some decent signings, Donnie have made some very good signings – so it’s going to be a very competitive league. But we are confident.”

Log onto ww.chad.co.uk at 9am tomorrow to see Stags’ 2016/17 fixtures in full.

This season’s EFL Cup first round draw will be broadcast on Facebook Live tomrorow.

In a first for British football, the EFL (English Football League) has joined forces with Sky Sports to live stream the EFL Cup Round One draw as a Facebook Live event.

Taking place at 1pm, fans eager to see where the road to Wembley begins for their club can watch the stream on the official EFL Cup Facebook page, as well as Sky Sports’ Facebook page, skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.

Round one of the re-named cup competition includes 70 of the 72 EFL clubs this season, with the draw being seeded as well as regionalised on a north/south basis.

Seedings are based on club finishing positions in the league last season.

The draw will be broadcast live from Sky Sports’ studios, with the event hosted by Tom White.

Former Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and England player Ray Wilkins will be tasked with making the draw.

This will mark the first time a major football cup draw has been streamed as a Facebook Live event.