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Dempster: Squad boosted by returning duo

7 February 2014

Defender John Dempster believes that the return of Sam Clucas and Ben Hutchinson from injury is a huge boost to our squad.

Clucas returned to action in our 2-2 draw with Wycombe Wanderers a fortnight ago, whilst Hutchinson was on target in a 2-0 reserve team victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

“They’re like two new signings for us,” said Dempster.

“Both are quality players and both bring a lot of positives to us in terms of going out and attacking teams. They’ll be massive for us along with every other player in the squad.

“We’ve got some massive games coming up and a tough month in February, during which we play three of the top six. So it’s massively important for us to pick up points this month and ‘kick on’ in March.”

Last Saturday, we registered an important point in a 1-1 draw from a gruelling trek to Plymouth Argyle, but would have taken all three points had it not been for Lewis Alessandra’s stoppage-time equaliser.

Reflecting on the draw at Home Park, Dempster said: “I think some of the performances infront of myself and the back three were fantastic and that makes it worse in a lot of ways.

“There have been games this season when we’ve been hanging on and managed to collect all three points or nick a draw, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday.

“I think to a certain degree Plymouth had maybe given up slightly, as they weren’t ‘throwing the kitchen sink’ at us like some teams have this season.

“It felt like we were keeping the ball well and we had the ball in their final third a lot of time during the last 15 minutes, so it was a blow to concede a goal late on.

“I don’t think many people saw it coming,” continued Dempster. 

“I spoke to one of Plymouth’s senior players after the game and he was really complimentary about how we performed and commented on how well-supported we were for such a long journey.

“So there were lots of positives to take from last Saturday, but there’s no hiding away from the fact that we disappointed to concede a goal so late on.”

Reviewing our form in Sky Bet League Two this season, the 30-year-old added: “The gaffer has made it apparent to us that we need to stop conceding late goals. 

“I think a lot of the time it’s a mental thing. Towards the end of the game you’re obviously more tired and your concentration can lapse. That’s probably been the case so far this season. 

“It’s something that we need to improve upon, because [this division] is so tight from outside the Play-Offs all the way down to the bottom.

“It’s those fine margins, which, if you can improve, it means you can quickly shoot up the table.”

You can listen to John Dempster’s full interview on Stags Player by clicking here.

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