Stags boss Murray keeping cards close to his chest over trio’s fitness

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Adam Murray was keeping his cards close to his chest over the fitness of Krystian Pearce and Darius Henderson, as the Mansfield Town boss bids to keep his squad fresh for a busy start to the season.

Both players missed Saturday’s 3-2 win over Newport County, along with rising star Jack Thomas, but the Stags manager was giving little away before the EFL Cup clash against Blackburn Rovers at the One Call Stadium.

Experienced striker Henderson, who signed just last week, was said to be getting up to speed ahead of the season opener at Rodney Parade while it emerged defender Pearce had sustained a knee injury.

And Murray said he wouldn’t risk anyone who was carrying a slight knock for the arrival of Championship side Blackburn Rovers, who suffered a 4-1 defeat to Norwich City on opening day.

On Henderson, he said: “(Blackburn tie) is a chance, it’s an opportunity, whether we take it or not you’ll find out at quarter-to-eight tomorrow. He’s someone who if we don’t feel it’s right, we won’t risk it.

“He’s going to be a big player for us, if that’s in 24 hours or in two weeks we’ve got to be very sensitive about how we go about it.

“We’ve got a minimum of 52 games and we won’t risk anyone.”

On Pearce: “He is in contention. If he’s not 100 per cent we won’t risk him.”

While Murray will look at Thomas today.

Murray said: “They’re all very close. We’ll decide on Jack Thomas today (Monday) it could be a good opportunity to get him some minutes, it could be too much of a risk.”

Tuesday night’s first round tie is the second of six games in August and the first of three consecutive home matches for the Stags.

Murray added: “What we’re going to try and do is keep everybody fresh for the whole month without risking any stupid injuries.

“I believe we can keep the majority of the squad fresh for long periods of the season then we can stay competitive.

“You can see on Saturday if things weren’t going our way, or we need to up the tempo again, we’re allowed to make the changes that enable us to do that.”

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