Stags hoping their luck has finally turned ahead of Oxford trip

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Mansfield Town head into Saturday’s relegation six-pointer at Oxford quietly hopeful that their season of wretched luck has taken a turn for the better.

For once, everything didn’t seem to go against them in Tuesday night’s magnificent 1-0 home win against promotion-chasing Luton Town and Murray said: “I don’t want to tempt fate but you look at some of the little things that happened on Tuesday and you wonder if Lady Luck has finally stepped into our dressing room?

“It would be nice if she has. I think the work we’ve been doing has been right and our work rate has been huge. So it would be nice to start getting that bit of luck you need.”

Saturday’s game is a return to another of his former clubs for Murray and he said the situation at the Kassam Stadium and Stags this season was very similar.

“Oxford are going through a lot of changes, “ he said. “They have brought in a lot of players and continue to do so and have adopted a new style of play since the new manager has been in. They are still finding their feet like we are.

“But they are a huge club with huge backing and I am sure they will eventually get it right.

“I had some good times there. We got promotion and I captained them for a few years. There are some really good people down there.

“This is a huge club for where it’s at and they expect success down there. There is a lot of pressure to get success and the fans deserve it.

“But we are going there to win with a lot of confidence. We have been performing well over a number of weeks but not getting the results we should have.

“I feel Tuesday will kick us on and we can go there and put on a performance and a get a result.”

He added: “It is ridiculous this year. Especially at home against the top teams, we have competed with them and dominated the majority of the games. The ones we’ve lost have been down to ourselves rather than them beating us, usually from dead ball situations.

“It is a strange league and I know it will go to the wire at both ends this year.

“On Tuesday the overwhelming feeling was relief. The boys have seen reward for all their work. That needed to happen eventually as there is only so long you can keep banging doors down in life and see no reward. You become disheartened.”

Amazingly, apart from being a single goal worse off, Stags’ current record is exactly the same as it was this time last season – on half the budget!

Murray smiled: “It is a crazy statistic when you consider we haven’t had the beauty of the resources we had last year and we’ve had to work a bit more efficiently with what we’ve got. Maybe everything isn’t as bad as it seems.

“It is brilliant having a smaller squad. You do struggle a bit when you get a couple of injuries, but the bonus is the togetherness and unity you get.

“We have set targets and this year that is staying in the League.”

Thankfully Reggie Lambe’s tight hanstring may not keep him out long after he limped off on Tuesday.

“It’s not as bad as we first thought and he will have treatment today,” said Murray.

“Some of it is down to fatigue. Playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday takes it out of you, especially the dynamic lads doing a lot of sprint work within games.”

Murray is hoping to bring in another loan signing into his injury-hit squad before the game.

Oxford today completed the signing of midfielder Giorgio Rasulo from MK Dons on loan until the end of the season.

The 18-year-old England U17 international comes from Banbury and joined MK Dons as a 13-year-old, progressing through the ranks and making his full debut in the FA Cup earlier in the season.

Comfortable on the ball, Giorgio joins George Baldock on loan from the Dons and goes straight into the squad on Saturday.

Oxford have won just once in their eight games since the turn of the year and have lost the last two on the bounce without scoring.