Mansfield Town fans may get their first sighting of returning goal ace Matt Green in this Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Conference North club Tamworth (3pm)
Green, who returned to the Stags this summer after two injury-hit years with Birmingham City, was not involved in last weekend’s opening friendly at Rainworth MW.
But, after another full week’s training he now looks set to join the squad for a game in which boss Adam Murray will extend players’ time on the pitch, all having played 45 minutes last weekend.
On Green’s absence from Rainworth, Murray said: “Greeny missed the first two days of pre-season because he had a pre-booked holiday before he signed for us.
“The week before he came in and did all his fitness testing he needed to do. He did a large chunk of his fitness work last week with triple sessions.
“Now I want to get the right game time into him at the right times and we might see him Saturday. It’s all about building the minutes up.
“We might possibly stretch players’ game time a little bit at Tamworth. The games coming up against Leicester and MK Dons will be used more of a fitness work-out, more of a tactical workout, looking at our defensive shape and structure.
“In between that we can get a bit more game time into the boys and focus on us with the ball a little more.
“I am looking forward to the games we’ve got coming up and I want to try a few different styles and a couple more formations.”
After a week-long residential training camp at Melton Mowbray’s Brooksby College, Stags romped home 5-1 in the first game at Rainworth and Murray said: “It’s going really well. Obviously it’s only really just started, but it has been a good eight or nine days.
“It’s been intense and the last week at Brooksby College was superb and probably went a little bit better than I anticipated, which was good.
“We’ve got a good group together and it’s gelling well and we are now starting to up the tempo a bit.
“We’ve had certain specific fitness workouts we’ve done, but the ball work has been intense.
“The majority of the stuff has been working on us without the ball. I want to get the basics in for us to set off and play when we do get the ball.
“It’s still early days but the group is buying into everything we are doing and they are a pleasure to be around.
“We want look at a few different things, people playing in different areas, different people playing together. More importantly I want to bed into our team what we are about.”
Tamworth will be a much tougher proposition than Rainworth on Saturday but Murray said the result was not important as long as players are following instructions and moving forward with the way he wants them to play and gelling.
“I’ve got no interest in the results pre-season,” he said. “The lads are going into each game with different targets that they need to get within the game, based on what we’ve been working on in training.
“Results don’t matter. I think we’ve seen over the years that you can win every pre-season game and be awful in the season.
“It’s about getting the process right during games and I believe that will enable us to get results.”
Murray also has the issue of integrating 12 new faces signed this summer so far.
He said: “There is a little bit of a challenge there but what we’ve done with our recruitment is we have worked hard on doing the background work, so we knew we were bringing in excellent people which helps the gelling process and it’s like they’ve been together for months.
“With the experience we’ve got and because some of the lads we’ve brought in have played at the top level, it enables that kitting process to be quicker than it would if we’d just brought in a group of kids.
“The older pros are helping the younger players and at the moment there is a good feeling around the camp.
“Now we need to up the tempo and there will be some different work this week. The boys are off today, they are in tomorrow, then we go to Tamworth.”
The new faces have linked up with the small number of players that remained after Murray’s summer cull and on the players left from last season, Murray said: “They need to up their game.
“From the boys that did stay here, and there are probably less than a handful if you don’t count the group of kids, I believe they are good players and I believe in the right structure and the right team they can be effective.
“They need to step up, they need to improve and they need to buy into the new mentality of the group.
“We want to be successful this season – we are not just going through the motions. I don’t think any of us want to go through what we went through last season.
“From day one when the new players walked through the door, they knew there is a fresh focus and a fresh energy in the group. There is a real buzz about them and they are working hard. That will ultimately lead us to results.”
On his young players, he added: “The good thing for us we can still affect their growth, the way they look at the game and the way they play.
“The big think we lacked last year was consistency. It’s all right being brilliant for one game and then no one sees you for four. That’s not going to get you anywhere.
“So a big thing we need from all our boys this season is a level of consistency that, even when we are not playing well, and there will be periods through the season when we are not playing well, we have got to be able to grind results out.
“I want us to have an attacking and attractive way of playing, but you have to be able to do the rubbish stuff as well. We are not going to be able to be expansive and open every game. We are going to have to turn up at some places and be horrible and do the nasty stuff.
“It’s about getting that consistency and to that we have to have all the different types of ingredients and three or four different game plans.”