Ritchie Sutton admits that Saturday’s eagerly-awaited ‘derby’ clash at fierce rivals Chesterfield will be one of the biggest of his career.
Sutton, 27, has become a commanding figure in our three-man defence in recent weeks, as our team have climbed up to fifth position in Sky Bet League Two.
However, The Spireites are currently perched at the top of the table, having won seven of their eight league matches so far this term.
The match at the Proact Stadium is already a sell-out and with both teams in scintillating form, Sutton admits the match could not have come at a better time
“It’s a great time for the game to have come. They’re doing well and are top of the league, but we’re in form and unbeaten in seven,” said Sutton.
Ritchie Sutton & Anthony Howell on Chesterfield clash. For more visit Stags Player
Mansfield 103.2 Jason Harrison is asking the questions
“We’ve seen the fans queuing for tickets, and when we’ve come off the training field, there has been people stopping us, wanting to talk about it.
“It’s obviously a massive game for the community and a game that everyone is looking forward to.”
He continued: “I haven’t played in too many [derbies] myself, so if I’m selected, this will definitely be the biggest one that I’ve played in.
“I was looking at the stats and they’ve only conceded three [goals]. We’ve only conceded six, so it’s going to be a really tight game.
“I was speaking to a few of the Chesterfield lads and they’re a really attacking team, so we’re going to have to be on top of our game.
“We’ve looked solid recently and it’s about keeping that base now. It’ll be great test for us, because they are probably the best attacking team in the league.
“If we can keep them at bay, then it’ll be a great achievement for us.”
The 27-year-old, who joined us from Port Vale in June 2011, also admitted that he feels very settled at One Call Stadium.
He continued: “I’ve been here for a while now. I’m settled at the club and I know what it’s all about.
“I think that playing in a three-man defence really suits me. It’s in-between that full-back and centre-half role, and I think I look strong there.”
Sutton also had praise for fellow centre-back Ryan Tafazolli, who made his Football League debut in our 3-0 victory over Northampton Town last Saturday.
“Ryan is a really good player,” continued Sutton. “It was a case of taking his chance when he got one, and I think he did that.
“He was in a similar situation to myself, when I came [into the team] for the match with Exeter.
“You’ve got to be solid in your first match in a League Two team, and Ryan certainly was. All the lads were pleased with his performance.”
Ritchie Sutton’s full interview will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.