Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray won’t be distracted by the seasonal festivities and insists he and his side are very happy and not looking for sympathy as they make the long haul north to Morecambe tomorrow while most families eat Christmas dinner.
“Without sounding like Scrooge, I’ve got no interest in it,” he said.
“I spoke about this a couple of weeks ago and certain comments were getting back to me that I was making excuses about it and looking for a sob story. I definitely wasn’t.
“I was asked the question and stated the facts that for us this is a work time. I don’t expect anyone crying for us over that. This is work time and, in my eyes, it’s a big time.
“We have a big weekend and a big two or three weeks in which we’ve got games at home in which I feel we can do well in.
“We travel Christmas Day because we have to prepare right. That’s our job. It’s my job. If we don’t do that we get judged for that. So we are doing everything we can to prepare right and hopefully we’ll see the results of that.”
Although Morecambe have only won once in their last seven outings and have slipped to 17th, Murray warned: “Morecambe is always a tricky one.
“They are a bit expansive attacking-wise, a bit off the cuff.
“They are very good going forward, especially at home. So we are going to have to be on our guard. They are a team we know well. We’ve played them a few times and they always cause us problems.
“We will be aware of their strengths, but we are on a good run at the minute. We are feeling confident.
“We know our strengths and we we will go into the game as we always do, preparing for us and looking at how we can affect them. Like any team they will have weaknesses, so we’ll look to exploit that and at the same time look to minimise mistakes.”
Stags’ away form is certainly good, having only lost one of their last seven road trips, the latest being a superb 1-1 draw at Cambridge United last weekend.
Murray said: “First and foremost it was a good away point. To go away from home and not get beaten again is an excellent habit to have.
“I think we’ve seen after watching the last four or five Cambridge games we are starting to see the real Cambridge now. At the start of the season they were people’s favourites to be promoted and I think we caught them at their best. So to get a point out the game was pleasing for us.
“Analysing it, for the first 30-35 minutes we were very good and never looked in trouble. Then we had 10 minutes before half-time where we looked a bit shaky and, in all fairness to Cambridge, they could have scored another goal.
“So they are the little bits we have to improve to make the next step on our journey.”
He added: “We’ve done really well up to now. We have been exceptional. The game plan for the first half of the season has worked the way I wanted it to work. We are probably a bit ahead of schedule of where I wanted us to be or where I expected us to be at this time.
“That is credit to the boys. But we now need to minimise the mistakes and be more efficient at the other end if we are to take the next step in concreting ourselves in the top seven and moving up the top seven.
“Overall on Saturday I thought it was two good teams battling it out – and at times it was a battle. They are a strong team and we are a strong team. You look at a lot of their players, even players that were not involved, and they are League One players.
“Cambridge had a strong recruitment drive in the summer and credit to Shaun (Derry), I think he is getting the best out of them now.
“The pace of where we have got the club is the most pleasing thing for me. You can always do better. I am not saying we’ve been perfect or that I’ve been perfect or the players have been perfect – there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“For me that’s brilliant. We know we are not maxing out.”
Of the injured full backs, Nicky Hunt has a chance of playing this weekend, with Mal Benning a couple of weeks behind him.
But Murray said: “They are doing well. Mal’s brace is off and he’s champing at the bit. We are having to pull him back.
“He wants get running as quick as he can, but for the sake of a couple of weeks there is no point risking it.
“Hunty is doing really well too and we are hoping he might be in contention for the weekend. But again, if he’s not right we won’t risk it because we’ve still got half a season to play.”