Adam Murray admitted his side may have to mix up their passing style and add a little more direct football at home as they look to make it three wins on the bounce for only the second time this season when Morecambe visit on Saturday.
The Mansfield Town manager has utilised fit-again target man Chris Beardsley to perfection in the last two games and, with talisman goal ace Matt Green suspended on Saturday, may look to use quick players to feed off Beardsley’s flicks against a big, uncompromising Morecambe side.
“The big thing we’ve learned this season is we’ve got to get the balance right,” said Murray.
Click HERE to read Adam Murray’s plea to the fans for patience
“Through big parts of this season we’ve played some good football without really being as effective as we should be with it. We have had a lot of possession in games without being over-creative with our opportunities.
“So it’s about getting the balance. The league is sometimes a ‘bash down the door league’ which is not the greatest if I am being honest.
“I don’t like watching it. But you’ve got to do what wins games and the last two games we have gone a little bit more direct.
“But when you’ve got good players in the team, it’s not just a whack – it’s a long pass, so to speak.
“When you’ve got the energy and pace we’ve got up top, people like Reggie Lambe, Matty Blair, Matt Green, James Baxendale, Chris Clements when he joins in; then you’ve got a target man like Chris Beardsley, you do cause a lot of problems in the final third. We’ve found that over the last two games.”
He added: “At home we’d like to be a bit more in possession of the ball than out of possession. But we don’t really want to tweak too much.
“Away from home we sit off a lot more and allow teams to come on us and go from there. At home fans don’t want to see that. If we sat off teams at home there would be a reaction to that.
“There may be certain games against the better teams in which we have to do that at home and fans have got to understand what we’re doing if it’s the game plan.”
Mansfield’s home form has been indifferent this season with Murray saying that criticism from the stands by an over-expectant crowd has had an influence in players losing confidence on the ball.
However, Murray has again asked fans for patience on Saturday and feels a statement from chairman John Radford two weeks ago will help after Radford said he was happy with where the club was right now with the level of investment made.
“It is just another game though the home factor comes into it,” said Murray. “We are probably not expected to win on Saturday because we are at home which is a bit scary, but it’s up to us to prove people wrong.
“We are looking at the rest of the season game by game. We are not even looking at the league. We will finish up where we finish up. We know we are over-achieving.
“It’s good the boss has come out, put people straight and levelled everybody off where we are as a football club. That has made a difference as there is a drive to prove people wrong and there is a drive to keep over-achieving.
“You look back a couple of weeks and the expectation was outdoing the ambition. The balance wasn’t right.
“We’ve still got the ambition, but the expectation has come down now. I hope people see we are a million miles away from where we want to be when you look at the resources we’ve got.
“Obviously it’s a one-man ship here and we don’t get massive gates, we don’t get big crowds that can help fund the project. It’s a one-man band. So we are doing all we can.
“We will look at each game and ask – can we win it? If we don’t we’ll move on to the next one. We want to try to finish as high as we can. I think we are six points from safety – so let’s see how it goes.”
Stags, looking to complete a 12-day double over Morecambe after coming from behind to win 2-1 there on 26th January, will have to keep on eye on visiting keeper Barry Roche after he headed home from a corner in the last minute of Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth!
“I was watching it coming in on Sky and sometimes they are the best way to get points,” smiled Murray.
“To get your keeper on the end of a set piece is decent and I might try it! From what I am reading the conditions up there were horrendous and it’s played a part in the game.
“I think Portsmouth will feel that’s two points last and it was a big point for Morecambe and might give them a bit of a boost coming into Saturday.
With Green missing for one game, Murray has to decide which way to go.
Beardsley will be at centre forward and he could pair him with striker Adi Yussuf or Craig Westcarr or even throw a quick midfield player up with him like Reggie Lambe or Matty Blair. He may also go with a three.
“We are limited in what options we’ve got as, against Morecambe, I think you need certain ingredients to get the best out of the game,” he said.
“You need to match them physically as they’re a strong side, but at the same time if you can match them and then use a bit of your energy and pace to get about them, as we saw up there we can hurt them.
“So we’ve got some thinking to do. The shape may need to be tweaked a little because of that.”
New signing Daniel Alfei is likely to make his debut at right back after joining on loan from Swansea City on Monday.
The game is the final ‘Kids for a Quid offer with anyone aged seven to 17 admitted for a pound.