Stags’ boss Adam Murray says there’s enough quality in his injury-hit squad to keep winning points in Sky Bet League Two, despite having five players missing with various injuries.
Defender George Taft limped out of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Barnet at One Call Stadium with a hamstring injury to join fellow defender Kyle Howkins and centre-midfielders Jack Thomas, Chris Clements and Adam Chapman on the sidelines.
And after securing an impressive 11 points during the opening month of the season, the manager says his side need to ‘dig in’ to keep picking up points in Sky Bet League Two at a time when he has just 15 fit outfield players to choose from.
“It’s one of them things. We’re not doing anything on that side of things, or physically, different to what we were doing last season and we didn’t get anything [injury-wise], sometimes Lady Luck doesn’t like it does she and she likes kicking your face and pulling your hamstrings,” Murray said at his Monday morning news conference.
“At the minute, the injuries are starting to tot up now and they’re starting to have an effect on what we can do. If we’re being honest, we probably haven’t had our strongest team out this season so that is becoming a pain, we’re down to 15 outfield players.
“We were hoping this morning the checks would come back positives on the assessments on the players that we thought may be [available] but we’re looking at another two-three weeks before we see any more bodies back in.
“We’ve got to dig in now. Dig in and get through this tough time, get through the ups and downs that we’re having and I’m more than confident that we’ll come out of this and I felt it in the summer, I feel it now, we’ll be 'up there' at the end of the season.”
Stags currently sit in tenth position in Sky Bet League Two and Murray now wants to see his side improve their home form to build on their solid start to the season.
“It is [disappointing], but then you flip it on its head and you say ‘would people expect you to go to Leyton Orient and win? Would people expect you to go to Newport and win?’ – they are two really tough places in this league to go.
“I think we’re still in a very good place, we’ve had a good start and it’s one of them where we need to get the hoodoo of this home form off our back because ultimately that will decide whether we are going to be amongst the big teams at the end of the season.”
Looking ahead to the trip to the North East to face Hartlepool United on Saturday, Murray says the focus will be entirely on his own squad as they prepare to face the Monkey Hangers.
“They’ll try and play. I think last year they finished strong, they’ve got some good players, some good attacking threats, but we need to make sure that we try and, with the bodies we’ve got available, we put something in place [to make sure] we impose ourselves on them.
“We’ve got good players here so until we get that full squad back, it’s about making sure we’re as good as we can be and the focus being on us.”
Supporters will be able to watch Adam Murray’s news conference, in full, later today on Stags PlayerHD.