Shirts up for grabs says new Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan after positive first training session

Graham Coughlan completed his first training session with his Mansfield Town squad today and said it had been very positive and shirts were up for grabs for Saturday's visit of Northampton.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 5:22 pm
Graham Coughlan - by Chris Holloway.
Graham Coughlan - by Chris Holloway.

Dubliner Coughlan took over the reins from John Dempster yesterday and after meeting his players for the first time, got out on the grass with them.

“It was very good, very positive,” he said.

“I was a little bit longer on the training ground than I planned, but it was good.

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“A couple of the lads had smiles on their faces which was nice.

“There was a lot of energy and hard work. The group was vibrant.

“They took on board the information they were given so fingers crossed they can take that into tomorrow and into Friday and on into Saturday.

“I enjoyed being back on the grass as it's been three or four days since I was last on there.”

Coughlan knows the quality he has, having tried to sign one or two of them while at Bristol Rovers.

“I have not worked with any of these players before though I think I have played against a couple of them,” he said.

“With my previous club I was quite keen on taking one or two of them, but I couldn't. They obviously stayed here. So I know plenty about them.

“I don't know the team yet for Saturday so my message to the players is just keep working the way you worked this morning, we have to crawl, walk and run in that order, we can't start off sprinting.

“Let's build something and not expect too much of this group too early.”

Coughlan believes he needs to pick up a squad possibly still struggling to shrug off last season's failure to gain promotion.

“I missed out on a Wembley play-off final in 2009 and it's very, very difficult to pick yourself up the next season if you fall short with expectation levels on the players as well,” he admitted.

“Obviously this club came up short last year so there may be a hangover from the disappointment.

“But they need to pick themselves up. There's plenty of quality and ability. They just need a little bit more confidence.

“It's easy to get into a rut. It can become a lonely and negative place.

“I think they will be fine. They need to grow and they need to get stronger. Confidence and self-belief needs to grow but, in the end, I think we'll see what their value is.

“It's a tough slog ahead and every game can become even tougher. So we will deal with it one game at a time.

“They need to get back to where they were, why they were brought to the football club and why did they do so well here last season?”

So what sort of manager will Coughlan be for Mansfield? He said: “Well I don't suffer fools gladly and there is no excuse for lack of discipline or not being on time.

“They are basics. They are a given. All fans want up and won the country, irrespective of which division, is honest, hard-working, committed players.”