Defender Rhys Bennett says he is excited to play in Saturday’s big game against Exeter City in the race for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
The former Bolton Wanderers man has been an ever-present for the Stags this season since his move from Rochdale last summer and has formed a solid partnership with Krystian Pearce at the centre of the Stags’ defence in recent months.
And the 25-year-old says the prospect of playing in matches such as the one against the Grecians on Saturday is what you want to play in as a footballer.
“It’s one of those games of football where you wake up on Saturday morning and think ‘yeah, I’m excited to play in this game’," Bennett said.
“It should be a good game and this is what you want as a football player, these kind of games. [It’s] testament to the gaffer (Steve Evans) because he’s delivered these kind of games at this stage of the season so fair play to him and fair play to the boys for getting us in this position.
“I think every team in this league has got good players. If we match their good players and our good players come to the fore, I think we win the game."
Bennett has played every minute of all 47 games across all competitions for the Stags this season but he insists the most important thing is helping the Stags achieve their end goal.
“It’s good to obviously play games and get game time but we’re coming to the crunch time now and I feel that us as a club are coming into that period in good form and in good physical fitness.
“It’s obviously been nice to be selected but I’m just here to help the team. I don’t really think about personal accolades.
“My previous highest appearances [in a season] was 46 so I’ve actually beaten that now but hopefully as a team we can get promotion and I can think I’ve played a decent part in that.
“I just think that I’ve been physically fit, I had a good pre-season and I’ve managed to maintain a decent level of fitness and obviously you can’t play unless the gaffer picks you.”
With Stags being right in the mix for a spot in the end-of-season play-offs with seven games to go, Bennett believes Stags need to maintain their high performance levels.
“I think they’re all big games between now and the end of the season. I think Morecambe last Saturday was the biggest game of the season and now Exeter this Saturday is the biggest game of the season, so it’s important to leave it all on the football pitch and that’s all we can really do.
“It’s exciting to be involved [in]. Obviously we’re one point outside the play-offs so if we carry on our good form and our good performances, I’m sure no doubt we’ll finish inside the play-offs.”
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