Mansfield Town assistant manager Adam Murray tonight admitted the 2-0 home defeat by Scunthorpe United highlighted exactly what the Stags need to find in the current transfer window.
The table-topping visitors have just brought striker Paul Hayes back to the club for a third spell and he made his mark with a sensational 25-yard opener before poaching the killer second after the break.
Murray said: “You could see today what we are up against. But the frustrating thing is we did have chances.
“At half-time we were only losing to a wonder strike while we could have had three goals. That’s the fine lines you are dealing with and that’s why they are where they are and why we are where we are.
“You will probably see that goal on Sky Sports News for a few days as he put it into the top corner. We had a couple of chances down the other end when we could have done that.
“That is the bit of X-factor we are missing right now. We know we need extra quality – the question is can we get it?
“We keep saying the same thing the last two months. We let ourselves down. If they had come here and dominated the whole game then fair enough, you hold your hands up.
“But our defending is sloppy at times and we make bad decisions.”
He added: “We have got to be realistic. Anyone can run round and give 110 per cent. No one can question these boys worked hard and ran around and gave 110 per cent. But we sometimes run without thinking about it. So is that just down to the standard of the players?
“Now’s the time for player to stand up and be counted. We are looking for characters.”
Once again a section of home fans, angry after a 10th home game without victory, booed the side as they went off and some individuals were subjected to a torrent of personal abuse.
Murray said: “The crowd were brilliant in spells. But we can’t expect them to be behind us the whole game when we are not winning here.
“I was a bit upset about individuals getting a bit of abuse coming off at the end.
“I know people are frustrated, but we are a team and we stick together.”
Scunthorpe have now won seven and drawn two of their last nine games and manager Russ Wilcox said: “We knew what Mansfield were all about and what we were going to get – they are very good at it and very hard to play against.
“They are very organised, very disciplined and we knew the ball was going to come into our box and we had to defend the second and third balls.
“We didn’t do that for the first 10 minutes and we perhaps scored against the run of play
“What a wonderful goal that was to score on your third debut for the club! To be fair to Paul that is what he can do. That’s how good he is technically.
“His second was more of a striker’s goal – more of a sniffer’s goal, being in the six yard box and picking up the bits.
“Mansfield created a couple of half chances. But I thought we dominated and created opportunities to go on and score more goals.
“We had to make sure we made it a football match when we had the ball. If we had tried to play back to front and mix it up with them we would probably have got beaten.
“It was just about being solid and resolute and then being creative when we had the ball.”