Stags’ midfielder Neal Bishop says that Mansfield will look to use Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory over Morecambe as a ‘catalyst’ for a winning run in Sky Bet League Two.
Mansfield face perhaps the sternest test of the campaign so far on Saturday, as MK Dons, the only side to equal Stags’ defensive record of nine goals conceded in the league this season, visit One Call Stadium.
Bishop says that back-to-back wins are vital to any successful campaign, and that the Stags will rise to the occasion on Saturday.
“That [back-to-back wins] is massive,” he said. “If you look at any division, if you put together three or four wins on the bounce, you’re up there.
“You look at the league table a couple of weeks ago and MK Dons were sat in mid-table. They’ve got five on the bounce and are now second.
“Exeter were probably the best team we have come up against [this season]. I felt we dominated them for 20-25 minutes, and if we got our noses in front it could have been a completely different story.
"The win at Morecambe has to be a catalyst now to go on a good run and get ourselves to where we believe we should be."
“I expect MK Dons to be at a similar level, if not a little bit better. But it’s up to us as a club to raise ourselves to the occasion.
“It’s something we need to do as all successful teams do it throughout the season. We’re putting pressure on ourselves to do that. The win at Morecambe has to be a catalyst now to go on a good run and get ourselves to where we believe we should be.”
The 37-year-old midfielder looked ahead to Saturday’s clash at One Call Stadium, and says that despite MK Dons winning five of the last six in all competitions, Mansfield will not ‘fear’ Paul Tisdale’s side.
“In the past few seasons MK Dons have always wanted to get the ball down and play good football. That’s how we want to play the game [too],” added Bishop.
“It’s all about the result, that’s what industry we are in. However we try to get the points on Saturday, that’s what we’ll do.
“They had their troubles last season but they were a good football side when we [Scunthorpe, Bishop’s former club] played them both times.
“Their principles haven’t changed over the past six or seven years. The chairman has a vision of how he wants the club to play and he brings the managers in accordingly.
“They’ve had a bit of a setback but they were in the Championship not long ago, so they’re a good club with ambition. Like us, they’ll be looking to get out of this division this season.
“We’ll be looking to get on the front foot as a home team and get about them and make chances. But I’m sure they will come here with other ideas.
“Our clean sheets and the lads at the back have been fantastic. But I think we said on Tuesday, the lads up top started off defending from the front and made sure no-one had the chance to pick a pass. That takes the pressure off us near the back.
“Clean sheets aren’t just for the back three or four, it’s for the whole team. And if we can marry that with a few goals, then we can look forward to a positive last three quarters of the season.
“We’re at home and we don’t fear anyone, and that’s no disrespect to MK Dons or anyone in this league. When we are at home and getting on the front foot, we’re more than a match for anyone.”
Bishop fired home the winning goal in Stags’ 1-0 win over Morecambe on Tuesday evening, which the midfielder described as a ‘real solid away performance.’
“I got the goal but the win is always the most important thing. On the back of battling for a point with ten men [against Swindon], it makes it look an even better point now.
“It probably could have been more [against Morecambe], but we’ll take a clean sheet and a win.
“I can’t say it was the corner we worked on in training, but I saw it coming all the way through and I had a lot of time to pick my spot and concentrate on keeping it down and hitting the target.
“When we had to dig in, we did. On Tuesday the wind was terrible and it was a lottery where the ball was going to land when it was up in the air. We did really well in the conditions and put in a real solid away performance.”
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s big game, with the easiest way to purchase being via stagstickets.co.uk.