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Defender previews festive period

20 December 2018

Stags’ defender Mal Benning says that the festive period brings an opportunity to generate more points and get back into playing consistently, following the recent postponement of the home match against Crawley, and the abandonment of the away clash against Forest Green.

The defender spoke of his performances this season, and the busy schedule of matches over Christmas and the New Year.

Speaking in a press conference this morning, he said: “I’d say over my four seasons here, I think that I’ve been consistent. Everyone goes through dips in form but it’s how you react to that.

“At the moment, it’s just about working hard and keeping going. Since the Crawley game was called off, we haven’t really had a consistent run of games.

“It’s about getting that run of games, and if the team’s doing well, it helps.

“This season they [Stevenage] are up there. They’ve had a decent start, so it’ll be a tough game.

"With the amount of games, if you win those games, you can get right up there [league table]. If you win a couple on the bounce, you can fly up the league."

Mal Benning, defender

“As I always say, if we’re on our game, I think we’ll win. With the amount of games, if you win those games, you can get right up there [league table]. If you win a couple on the bounce, you can fly up the league.”

Benning added that it was the ‘right decision’ to abandon last week’s match against Forest Green Rovers due to a waterlogged pitch.

“It was an experience [against Forest Green]. It was probably one of the first games I’ve been involved in where it’s been called off at half-time. It was the right decision [to abandon the match]. The pitch was in a state, to be honest, with the amount of puddles.

“It was just one of those that you just have to get through, and I think the right call was made.

“It was just a scrap. No-one could really get their foot on the ball. You’d play the ball over the top and the ball would just stop. It’s not really an even contest, it was just [depending on] luck whoever gets the ball.”

The defender also reflected on Stags’ last home fixture, the 2-0 victory over Notts County, in which he assisted the first goal.

“Every game against Notts has been good since I’ve been here, especially at home. It was a big game to keep us right up there, and it was a good win.

“[I played my part by] setting up CJ [Hamilton], but it was a good run by him and a good finish with his weaker foot.

“I’m delighted for him [CJ]. He’s worked hard throughout the season and with his pace, he’s just a problem. Now he’s adding goals, assists, and more thought to his game, and he’s unstoppable at the moment.”

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