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Midfielder aims to provide victory for fans

12 February 2019

Stags’ midfielder Neal Bishop says that Mansfield are ‘completely focused’ on achieving three points against Notts County, a clash he summarised as a ‘massive game for the supporters.’

Bishop has been instrumental in Mansfield’s midfield this season, and explained that Saturday’s Nottinghamshire derby at Meadow Lane provides the perfect opportunity to bounce back from the recent defeat at Newport.

Although, the 37-year-old is expecting a different challenge to the one posed by the Magpies in the reverse fixture at One Call Stadium earlier this season, a game the Stags won 2-0.

“It [Notts game] is a three points that we need to bounce back from Saturday,” he said. “Good teams bounce back from disappointing results and that’s what we want to do.

“I’m just looking forward to playing again and getting back out there. When you lose a game, you always want to get out on the pitch to put it right.

“I think it will be a different game [to Newport]. It’s a big pitch with a good surface, so we have no excuses to go there and not put in a performance.

“You want to play in big games. As players you want to play in those with big crowds. It certainly will be on Saturday because they’ll have a fair few in as well.

“It’s a massive game for the supporters. For us as players, it’s just another step to where we eventually want to get.

“Three points away from home in the early kick-off will take us top for maybe an hour or two, but psychologically it’s a massive step for us.

“It’s not about where we are now, but if we keep putting pressure on the other teams they can start to crack. That has to be our mindset.

“They [Notts] have recruited very well. When they came here, there was a negativity around the club. It was all doom and gloom.

“With the signings that they have made in January, it’s completely turned the mood around. They’re on a bounce, but it doesn’t affect the way we’ll go about the game.

"You want to play in big games. As players you want to play in those with big crowds. It certainly will be on Saturday because they’ll have a fair few in as well."

Neal Bishop, midfielder

“What they’re doing is giving themselves a chance, especially in the last couple of weeks. We’re completely focused on how we’re going to go about winning this game on Saturday.”

Bishop spent four years at Notts County, making 168 league appearances from 2009 to 2013, yet Saturday will be the first time that he will run out at Meadow Lane as a visiting player.

The midfielder says his focus is set completely on achieving victory.

“I’ve not really thought about it [reception at Meadow Lane],” he added. “Boo, cheer, indifferent, it doesn’t really change what I’m trying to do Saturday.

“It’s not about me, it’s about this football club going ahead and trying to get three points. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do for every week now until the end of the season.

“It’ll feel strange [running out at Meadow Lane]. I’ve never been in the away dressing room.

“I’m experienced enough, and there is no sentiment. We’re rivals for 90 minutes. After that, I’ll wish them nothing but the best.”

Bishop touched on Saturday’s slender defeat against Newport, yet maintained that the positive mood in the Stags’ camp has not been swayed by what was just the fourth league loss of the season.

“The game [at Newport] as a whole never got going. It was stop-start from minute one and we probably played into their hands a bit too much.

“We never really got a sustained spell of possession where we could build up pressure. It was one of those afternoons where the first goal was probably going to win.

“We had that chance after 20 seconds, and if that goes in, I think we win that game 1-0. They got the first goal from a set piece and that was it.

“There’s no reason for anything to change. We’re still second in the league. We were back in yesterday [Monday] and had a good session.

“It’s our fourth defeat of the season – it’s been a fantastic season. It wasn’t a good game of football on Saturday, but you just write it off as one of those games where we didn’t really get going.

“We’ll move on – there’s certainly no moping around or feeling sorry for ourselves. The atmosphere is top notch as it has been all season, and we can’t wait for Saturday.”

Stags added to their ranks in January with a host of signings, and Bishop says the new faces have settled in well at One Call Stadium.

“It’s a very accommodating and friendly dressing room. It’s a welcoming dressing room and they’re all good characters who have come in.

“Apart from Ben [Turner] they’ve all come in and played and they’ve contributed. I don’t know how far he [Turner] is from full fitness, but the lads have come in and showed why the club has brought them in.

“The manager has strengthened us and we have cover in every position. There are no excuses for us going hereonin throughout the season.”

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