Classy midfielder Joel Byrom is ready to fight for his place in a competitive Stags' midfield following his return from a two-month injury lay-off in the mid-week Emirates FA Cup third round replay against Cardiff City.
The former Northampton Town midfielder made his first appearance since the derby day draw with Chesterfield in mid-week after picking up a groin injury against the Spireites in November.
But Byrom is now fighting fit and ready to compete for his place among Stags' other central midfielders, who the 31-year-old has been impressed by during his absence.
"I felt good on Tuesday. I felt like I could carry on but it was probably more the gaffer didn't want to rush me back into 90 minutes with a lot of games coming up," Byrom said.
"I thought the lads have been doing brilliantly; especially going down to Cambridge and getting a result there. I was pleased to get myself back in there but it wasn't really expected.
"I was always [fighting] for my place before I got injured and the likes of Alex MacDonald's come into a central midfield role and he's been fantastic. He looks comfortable in there, probably a little bit more than he does out wide, which is brilliant for him.
"Jacob Mellis has been doing really well and there are quite a few more lads who can obviously play in that position who are fighting with me for the spot."
The former Accrington Stanley midfielder has admitted to feeling frustrated during his spell on the sidelines, but is looking ahead and hoping to help Stags attain a high position in Sky Bet League Two come the end of the season.
"I thought the lads have been doing brilliantly; especially going down to Cambridge and getting a result there. I was pleased to get myself back in there but it wasn't really expected."
"It's frustrating more than anything. You're not out on the pitch with the lads and you feel like you're missing out. You're always over at the gym when they go out to train and then you come back and you're staying [at the club] in the afternoons when everyone's going home.
"It's just a frustrating time. Especially matchdays as well because you want to be out there, not sat in the stand watching and you can't really do anything about it.
"I don't really look [at targets] until the end of the campaign. I think it's hard because you don't know what's around the corner.
"I'm just looking to Cheltenham at the weekend and I think it's a massive game for us. We've just got to start cementing that place where we are in the league and pushing forwards."
Byrom, who has three career promotions on his CV, is expecting a tough encounter against Cheltenham Town, who visit One Call Stadium on Saturday.
"I wasn't at the away game but the Cheltenham teams you're used to under Gary Johnson, they're hard-working teams who get the ball forward [quickly].
"They're quite direct and I'll be expecting more of the same. We've just got to match them physically and then hopefully stamp our mark on the game and start playing some football."
Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view Joel Byrom's full news conference later today.