Stags’ midfielder Neal Bishop says he feels ‘fit and strong,’ following an excellent start to his career as a Mansfield player.
The 37-year-old signed from Scunthorpe United in the summer, and has since made a good impression on the Stags' faithful with his consistent performances in midfield.
Bishop complimented manager David Flitcroft’s ‘scientific’ approach to training, and says that the data and analysis of performance provided has helped him stay on top of his game.
“I was delighted to be able to come here,” he said. “I trained every day in pre-season and I feel fit and strong. The gaffer told me he was resting me against Accrington and then the performance was unbelievable so I was disappointed to miss out.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, you want to play every minute of every game. I put pressure on myself to play in every game and perform every game. I haven’t come here to chill out and just to top up a few more league games, I’ve come here to achieve something.
“The way this club is set up, it is set up to do that. I’m as ambitious as ever and want to play every game and contribute to the season.
"It’s really good here because we have the data and the analysis of performance. As a tool to go off, it’s something that has come into the game and I embrace it. All of the data is helpful and the training is very scientific."
“As long as I feel fit and I feel strong, I’ll keep going. If I felt that physically I couldn’t meet the demands of what was being asked of me, I’d walk away. I’d hate to think I was letting anyone down. At the minute, I feel really strong. I’ve played 40 plus games for ten or 15 years now.
“It’s really good here because we have the data and the analysis of performance. As a tool to go off, it’s something that has come into the game and I embrace it. All of the data is helpful and the training is very scientific.
“I’ve trained every day I’ve been here and not missed a day so long may that continue. I’m really enjoying it.
The midfielder also described his stunning strike against West Brom on Tuesday evening, but says he was ‘gutted’ that his equaliser did not end up taking the game to penalties.
“There’s not a lot to say, it just fell and I hit it [goal against West Brom],” he added. “It’s going to sound boring but we didn’t win the game and goals mean more if they get you results.
“It’s nice to get on the scoresheet and hopefully I can contribute more this season. I’ll put it on my shoulders that I should be getting five plus this season.
“At the time [when I scored] I was delighted. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tap-in or is 25-yards out at that point because it got us back into the game. I’m disappointed with their winner. If I’m hard on myself and I’m back there maybe I can force him wide.
“We were good for the majority of the night. We have to take the positives into Saturday because we need to get a few more wins on the board in the league.
“We have to be harsh on ourselves and we have to start taking these chances. [On Tuesday] West Brom had a few, it could’ve been 5-5. It must’ve been a great game to watch.
“But we want to be harsh on ourselves. We don’t want to be sat here Christmas time saying ‘if we’d have scored that’ or ‘if we’d have done this,’ we need to take chances now and we’re all aware of that.
“We put pressure on ourselves every day and we’re out on the training ground pushing ourselves every day. Hopefully when the chances come Saturday, we’ll take them.
“I was gutted after the [West Brom] game. I thought the lads at least deserved the chance of a penalty shootout to see who won it. We’ll take the positives and move on.”
After two consecutive away followings of over 1,000 fans, Bishop paid respect to the outstanding support given to the players by the Stags’ faithful.
“I just get my head down and want to win every game. If that endears me to people, then that’s fair enough.
“I’m a footballer supporter and the thing that you look for on the pitch is that the team gives everything, that they come off absolutely shattered and can’t give any more.
“I’ve only played here for a few games but the supporters have been really, really good for the games we’ve played here. Even the Colchester game, they were fairly defensive and came here for a point, but they stayed with us and got right behind us.
“Carlisle have won three on the bounce so they might come out a bit more. That might suit us. There may be a bit more space for us.
“It’s massively appreciated and we do appreciate it. The support on Tuesday night was different level. It doesn’t go unnoticed by the lads in the dressing room. We can only thank them and hope it continues for the season.
“Successful clubs are clubs that come together from the top to the bottom. I’ve been involved in successful clubs and that’s what it’s like. It’s got a feeling of that here at the moment.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Neal Bishop’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.