Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says there has been a positive ‘response’ from his players this week, as his charges prepare to take on fellow promotion contenders Forest Green Rovers at One Call Stadium this Saturday.
The manager says that he was ‘hurting’ after last Saturday’s disappointing loss against Notts County, but has been pleased with the reaction shown from his players.
The Mansfield boss shared his keenness to record a positive result against Forest Green in order to bounce back from the result at Meadow Lane.
“I was hurting and the town was hurting [after Notts],” he said. “I’ve felt that. Supporters have let me know how they feel, and they have that right.
“I’m a passionate guy, and it does hurt. It’s [about] how long you let hurt affect you, and how long you let that last.
“When you come off that [winning] path, [you need to] get back on it. People will veer off them, and it’s up to me as a manager to get people back on track. That’s what I’ve focused on this week.
“We’re all hurting and the players care. I’ve made sure that as the leader of our football plan, I remain supportive and give them the tough love that I’ve always given.
“There was a lot to play for on Saturday, and we lost out on three points as well. That hurts, but I won’t carry that hurt around.
“We’ve moved on. I’m expecting a huge response, and I’ve seen that response in the week. We’ve all held our hands up in what we got wrong, then we moved on to what we’re going to get right.
“The response has been good, and that’s what has driven me this week. I have good people around me, and that’s important.
“[I’ve seen] a focus. Out of embarrassment, people always tidy their act up. There’s not one day that you can come to any job and not bring your energy.
"The response has been good, and that’s what has driven me this week. I have good people around me, and that’s important."
“You can have bad days, but you can’t have lazy days. That’s something that as a player I really respected. There has been a real emphasis and a shift on getting this right. The game can’t come soon enough.”
The manager says he is looking forward to being back in front of a home crowd after two successive away matches, adding that the expected bumper crowd generated by our under-18s go free offer will help his players.
“There are a lot of points to play for. They’re all big games, and we’ve played big games since the start of the season.
“We’ve just lost that momentum at the minute, and that’s something that we’re in control of. We have to now find that mojo that we’ve had all season.
“I look at our home record, which is one of the best in the league, the lads love playing at home. They love playing in front of the supporters.
“We are coming up against the form teams away from home in Forest Green. It’s a clash of two really good football teams and two really well-run football teams.
“We have to make sure that we’re representing our town and bring that energy, quality and enthusiasm that we have done at home all season.
“It [under-18s go free offer] certainly helped [against Macclesfield]. The lads love playing here and you just want the supporters to keep coming in.
“If we can get more fans in [with repeat of under-18s go free offer], then brilliant. That’s what we’re hoping to do.”
The Stags’ boss reflected on Tuesday’s Central League clash against Doncaster Rovers’ reserves, a game that a selection of Mansfield’s senior players appeared in.
“I’m seeing a lot – the under-18s trained with us on Tuesday, and I watch the under-21s a lot. A young player, Jimmy Knowles, came on the pitch [against Doncaster reserves] for the last 20 minutes and could’ve had a hat-trick. He just made it difficult for the defenders.
“Conrad Logan performed brilliantly, Macca [Alex MacDonald] in the second-half was better, Will Atkinson’s attitude was phenomenal.
“You need to set an environment where they are passing it [attitude] down to the younger players. Ben Turner got 60 minutes under his belt playing more of a central role.
“Our experienced players got good game minutes, and it was important. But you blend that with the younger talent, and you want that environment to be right. You want to see everybody committed.
“There’s a possibility [of changes for Forest Green Rovers match]. We’re making sure that we concentrate and get back the identity that we’ve grown this season.”
David Flitcroft also took the time to provide an injury update on his currently sidelined players.
“The injuries that we’ve got are all mid-to-long term. Hayden [White] sort of had a complication with the surgery. He’s had that dealt with now, but it’s taken his recovery time back a bit.
“We’ve got Craig Davies who will be back next season now. Bobby [Olejnik] is again, on that side of long term. Jordan Graham was committed to a tackle in a reserve game, and that one [injury] is coming on, but again I don’t think we’ll have him this season.
“Danny [Rose] is in a place where we just have to make sure when he’s in the training programme, it’s non-contact, and he’s going to come back into contact training in four to six weeks.
“They are all working hard on their own injury problems, and the medical team are working round the clock. Every club gets them, and it’s a part of what a football club is.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.