Stags’ manager Adam Murray has declared that there’s more to come from his players as they chase a Sky Bet League Two play-off position.
Mansfield’s 1-1 draw with York City at One Call Stadium was their 23rd game of the 2015-16 campaign, with half of the season now complete as the New Year approaches.
And Murray believes that his side are close to handing out a thrashing to one of their Sky Bet League Two opponents, while he was also keen to point out that he will stick to his principles to progress the club forward this season.
“[Our] performances aren’t bad, the lads are giving everything they’ve got at the minute. We feel as a team, like we did a few months ago, that someone’s close to being on the end of a drubbing.
“We’ve still got more in this tank. The good thing for me is we haven’t been at 100 percent yet for 23 games, so we know that percentage is in there. I’m going to stick to my game plan and stick to my beliefs because it’s got us to the position we are [in] and I’m not going to go away from that.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the campaign, Murray wants his team's standards to improve even further.
“At the minute, if we [do] what we did [in the first half of the season] then we’d end up on 70 points. That would be touch-and-go whether we made the play-offs. We’ve got to get the extra ten percent out of this group to get us on 75, 76, 77 points.
“I believe we can do that, I think the fans think we can as well and that’s why they get so frustrated when we don’t win, which is good. We’re in a good place, we need that final spark – when we get that, that takes us to the next level. No team in this league has beaten us, we’ve beaten ourselves.”
Mansfield’s next opponents in Sky Bet League Two will be eighth placed Accrington Stanley at One Call Stadium on Saturday – the game is a ‘kids for a quid’ fixture, and Murray believes his men will come up against one of the promotion contenders.
“I consider them to be one of the best football teams in this league. [They] play some great stuff. John (Coleman, Stanley manager) will know down there that at the minute they haven’t really had any injuries or suspensions.
“They’ve kept their front six together since they played us, [for] the majority of the time – they’re very organised, disciplined without the ball and they’re up there [in the table] on merit. We’re in for a real tough challenge on Saturday.”
With Nicky Hunt and Mal Benning both set to return to full training in the next month, Murray has praised Blair Adams who has deputised for the latter at left-back, whilst also announcing his ambitions for the club over the next couple of years.
“Hopefully over the next month, if everything goes to plan, we’re going to have two full-backs back which have been a loss for us. Blair’s (Adams) been out of this world, one of our best players. To have both of them (Adams and Benning), if we can sort something out with Blair, would be excellent.
“I want to keep him (Adams) – he’s always been a League One player; I think he’s somebody that allows us to get success in the longer term. The project for me, in my head, is that I want to be promoted within the next two years.”
You can watch Murray's news conference, in full, on Stags Player.