Despite a strong mutual respect, Adam Murray and Shaun Derry will be enemies for 90 minutes when Mansfield Town try to prevent visiting bottom side Cambridge United conjuring up their first League win of the season.
The Stags sit fifth after the first month of the season and manager Murray is surprised where ex-Notts County boss Derry’s men are at the moment – but he doesn’t believe they will stay there for long.
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“They’ve probably not had the start they would have desired, but they are a very strong outfit, they made some very good signings in the summer, and I do believe they will be top seven at the end of the season,” said Murray.
“I think they’ve got good strength in depth.
“I think it will be a tough game, they are always tough games to go into when teams haven’t picked up that vital win.
“So we’re going to have to be on our mettle and the operation has already started.”
Murray continued: “They have got a very good manager and, more importantly, a top bloke.
“I am hoping it’s not going to be this weekend, but I backed them at the start of the season to be up there in the top seven.
“These things happen. We must make sure they don’t have a good day on Saturday and after that I wish them all the best.
“Saturday will be all about us again. We’ll make sure we focus on us and we want to continue our good form.”
Cambridge manager Derry said: “We know that they’re a tough opposition. They’re a very physical team that don’t shy away from the way that they play.
“Adam and his team are very forceful in the way that they approach the game, so we’ll have to match that and we have to hope the way we can take the game to the opposition will be a factor.”
He was full of admiration for the job Murray has done at Mansfield, adding: “Adam’s done really well, he really has.
“When he took over at the football club he tried to implement his own style.
“It’s took a while and he’s made gains every season he’s been there. You look at where they are in the league this year and they’re a very accomplished team.
“I look at people like Adam and I take great comfort from the fact he’s done it at the right time and staggered the improvement at the right time as well.
“It’s not just been a one-season wonder where he’s come in and sought an improvement. It’s been gradual and he manages the football club in the right way.”