Centre-half George Taft says today's pre-season friendly at home to Sheffield Wednesday provided the Stags with a good test against strong opposition.
The former Burton Albion man scored Stags' first goal in the 3-2 defeat to the Owls after he stabbed home a loose ball from six yards out following Jordan Rhodes' early opener.
Fellow defender Rhys Bennett struck either side of second half strikes from Tom Lees and Lucas Joao as Stags enjoyed a competitive workout against a strong Wednesday side.
And Taft says playing against such a high-quality outfit was a good test for the Stags as they continue their pre-season schedule.
"To come up against a strong squad such as Sheffield Wednesday and to produce a performance [like that and] learn from their goals, it's going to benefit us all round," Taft said.
"As a new team it's about getting bonds and the communication ready for the season.
"It was 45 minutes in the tank [against] good opposition [and] they are right 'up there' and have a really good chance this year. To play against a squad of such strength and to come so close, it was a good test.
"It was nice to get a cheeky little goal – [I was in the] right place at the right time and bolted it in!"
The former Leicester City trainee partnered summer signing David Mirfin at centre-half during the first half, whilst Zander Diamond and Krystian Pearce played at the heart of defence in the second period.
And the competition for places makes Taft believe he's in for a tough but exciting season.
"There is strength in the squad with the new lads coming in. We were solid at the back last year [and had] a good defensive record. [The gaffer's] brought in more quality [so] it's definitely going to be a tough year.
"To come up against a strong squad such as Sheffield Wednesday and to produce a performance [like that and] learn from their goals, it's going to benefit us all round."
"It's hopefully going to be an exciting year, we have a strong squad which we can hopefully push for promotion.
"Everyone's gelled; it's good that we have so many new players because we all have a fresh start, everyone's really getting on.
"The quality that has come in is amazing. [The quality of] training has risen again and it's getting us all excited [for the new season]."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Taft's full post-match interview.