Stags’ boss John Dempster says he will feel ‘immense pride’ to take charge of his first home league game this weekend, against Morecambe at One Call Stadium.
The manager took charge of his first competitive fixture away to Newport on Saturday, a thrilling 2-2 draw which included a two-goal comeback from Mansfield, two penalties and a red card.
Looking forward to this weekend’s game, the boss says it will be a ‘very proud moment’ to stand in the home dugout at One Call Stadium for a league fixture.
“I knew it [first game] was going to be a rollercoaster,” he said. “I just didn’t expect there to be that many ups and downs!
“I enjoyed the ride, in particular the second-half, when I thought the boys were outstanding.
“Although it did end with a positive, picking up a point away from home, on reflection we can do better. If we can improve, I’m sure we can pick up plenty more points.
“Before and after the game [I went over to the supporters]. I think it’s important that you show your respect and your appreciation for supporters that have always supported me and the team loyally as well.
“I was absolutely delighted that they had something to sing about on Saturday. The support they showed throughout the game was vital and it will be for the remainder of the season.
“[I’ll feel] immense pride [on Saturday]. I’m looking forward to it, as it’ll be a real battle.
“It’s a massive achievement for any manager to manage his football club and I’m no different.
“It’ll be a very proud moment for me, but I know I have a job to do and the team have a job to do. We’ll be trying to get all three points on Saturday.
“We certainly want to be attacking at home and take the game to the opposition, but we’ll also be aware of opponents’ strengths as well.”
The boss says that he is expecting Morecambe to bring a ‘real challenge’ to his first home match.
“What they [Morecambe] do well is react to adversity,” he added. “When they don’t have a good performance, they show real character and react well.
“Jim [Bentley] has done an outstanding job at Morecambe and we know what’s coming.
“[Morecambe have] a good team spirit. He [Jim Bentley] knows this level well and he’s very good with set plays and tactics.
“It’s going to be a real challenge for our team, but I’m confident we can come out on top.”
One player John Dempster will be without on Saturday is midfielder Jacob Mellis, after the manager revealed that the Stags will not be appealing the red card he received in South Wales.
“It was a difficult one to decide. After consulting with the officials after the game on Saturday and having spoke to officials externally, we’re not going to be appealing [Mellis’ red card].
“Initially, the referee said Jacob had stamped on the Newport player, which I knew wasn’t the case.
“But after speaking to the officials and the assistants, they made it clear they thought Jacob had put his knees into the Newport player’s back.
“Looking at the video – it’s soft – but Jacob’s knees did go into his back. I don’t think an appeal would be successful.
“He’ll be taking that one on the chin. We’ve got games coming thick and fast, so he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
“[I’ll consider] current form and form in training [when deciding who will replace Mellis]. These are all factors we’ll take into consideration when picking the squad for Saturday’s game.”
The manager also gave an update on Stags’ injured list.
“CJ Hamilton got a real whack [against Newport], but it was just the impact. He’s had tests over the weekend and on Monday, which have been positive. He’ll be okay and will train this week.
“We also had good news on Hayden White, who has come through some running and will be training this week as well.
“We expect Will Tomlinson to be maybe training on Friday, if he comes through what’s ahead of him in the next couple of days.
“Craig Davies has just started running as well, which was a real positive. We have to be careful, but to have him out for the first time doing a really light run was really positive.
“He had a really light run, so it’s still the early stages [of recovery]. It’ll still be a slow process, but the fact that we can move onto the next stage is really positive.
“He [Bobby Olejnik] is doing well. He was out training yesterday and is actually diving now within his training.
“His attitude towards it [recovery] has been immaculate and I’m really pleased to see him bouncing around on the grass. He’s desperate to come back.
“It’s brilliant to see him out on the grass. We haven’t got an exact [return] date, but it’s a real positive.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
To buy tickets for this Saturday’s opening home match of the season against Morecambe (3pm) head to www.stagstickets.co.uk.