Stags’ midfielder Jamie McGuire says today’s battling 2-1 victory over Newport County are the games in which he thrives.
The tenacious central midfielder was handed a start by manager Steve Evans for the first time since the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Wycombe Wanderers last month, with skipper Lee Collins sliding over to right-back in the absence of Hayden White.
And McGuire, 33, says his hard work on the training ground and in the gym prepares him to be ready to step in whenever he’s called upon by the boss.
“I think Beno (Rhys Bennett) said to me ‘how do you do it?’ and I think it’s just mentality – I’m a strong minded person," McGuire said.
“I haven’t played for probably four or five weeks, that’s just how it is. I’ve been training hard and going to the gym, I’m working hard. I’ve got to keep my body right because when I do get called on, these are the games I like, these are the games I want to be in.
“I feel fit at the moment and I’ve gone in to the game today because of the training. The training’s been high intensity; what Raynes (Paul Raynor) and the gaffer do is make sure you’re right in training because when you get called on, like today, you’ve got to be right.”
The former Fleetwood Town midfielder was caught by a late challenge from Newport County frontman Jaanai Gordon this afternoon, and McGuire believes the Stags moved up a gear following the dismissal.
“He caught me on the side of my knee and I’m not going to go down for nothing because I’ve had that done before. Every time I’ve got someone, I’ve been sent off.
“He caught me on the side of my knee, the referee’s made his decision of the yellow card but it was [a couple] of minutes later that the lad’s caught [Joel Byrom].
“He’s caught Joz [Joel Byrom] on his nose and he’s ended up getting a bloody nose and he’s got sent off.
“I’m not saying it’s deserved because it’s not nice when players get sent off but he’s got sent off and we kicked on then.”
Boss Steve Evans revealed to the club's fans at Monday night’s Q&A evening that he would like to have McGuire involved in his backroom staff when the Liverpudlian finishes his playing career, but McGuire insists his immediate focus is his what happens on the pitch for the rest of the season.
“I think the main thing for Mansfield Town now is to stay in this play-off hunt, because it’s so tight at the moment, and get this club promoted. When it comes to the end of the season, we’ll sit down and talk about that.
“The main thing now is I’m enjoying being in the squad. I’m enjoying being involved in the play-offs and being involved with Mansfield Town.
“You see the fans today, nearly 4,000 again and it’s a club on the up. Everyone’s backing each other; the fans are backing us, the chairman’s backing the manager. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, as a club and as a town, and keep kicking on.”
Supporters can log in to Stags PlayerHD to view Jamie McGuire’s full post-match interview.