Stags’ striker Chris Beardsley is raring to go for Friday’s local derby against Notts County after completing ninety minutes on Tuesday night against Sheffield Wednesday.The frontman returned for a third spell with the Stags in the summer, after last leaving the club in 2007 to join Rushden and Diamonds.
Beardsley made his full professional debut in a local derby against arch-rivals Chesterfield in January 2003, so he knows exactly what derby games mean to the fans ahead of Friday’s big match.
“It’s what you want to be in football for," said Beardsley, speaking at a news conference before Friday's contest.
"I think I made my debut in a local derby away at Chesterfield and it was immense; you were getting things thrown at you, all sorts were coming from the terraces at Saltergate but it’s what it’s all about, winning the local derbies, there’s no better feeling.
“We’re going to expect them (Notts County) to bring their A-game, as such, but it’s a local derby. They’re going to do their homework on us [and] we already know a bit about them.
"They played Stevenage [on] Saturday so I’ve already had conversations with people in their [Stevenage, his former club] camp and they’ve told me what they think, so we’ll be ready.
“You can’t say it’s like any other game, because it’s not. The place will be rocking and it’s down to the players to put in a good performance.”
Beardsley recognises that there will be a lot of new faces on show after the two sides made a combination of over 30 signings this summer, but says a local derby is no time for solo displays..
“These games aren’t for individuals; these games are to win as a team. Yeah, there’ll be a hero on the night but you’ve got to make sure you win it as an eleven, fourteen, however many of you get on the pitch. If we can get three points on the board then I’ll be happy.”
Speaking of his third debut for the Stags, Beardsley said: “It’s good to get minutes in the body. At times [during last night's game at Sheffield Wednesday], things weren’t natural to me and I think you could tell that I hadn’t had the minutes [previously], but as the game went on I felt okay and strong and it’s just something to build on now.
“It was nice to get back out there. I was disappointed not to get on the score-sheet. I had some decent chances; I hit the post, the keeper’s made a decent save and I've had one blocked but it’s nice to be playing against that level of opposition and still manage to find half a yard for an attempt, which is always good.”
Speaking more generally, Beardsley commended the club's re-structuring efforts following relegation to the conference seven years ago, and says it is now, again, in a transitional phase under the leadership of Adam Murray.
“We made a lot of signings in the summer and it will take time. I think we’ve got a good group of honest lads, we’re still trying to find ourselves as a team, but as long as we put the graft in, build and move forward we’ll be okay,” he added.