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Stags 'firing' ahead of Yeovil clash - defender

8 January 2019

Stags’ defender Matt Preston says the Mansfield squad are ‘firing’ in training ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash at home to Yeovil Town.

The commanding centre-back says that playing at One Call Stadium is a ‘big bonus,’ as the Stags look to bounce back from Saturday’s narrow defeat away to Carlisle.

Despite the absence of midfielder Neal Bishop through suspension, Preston says that Mansfield have enough ‘firepower’ to get back to winning ways against the Glovers.

“There’s no-one that can replace Neal Bishop,” he said. “We have players that can do a good job and that’s exactly what we need. We have depth in the squad to stand in for key players like Bish.

“We have people that can fill in for him and I’m sure we’ll have enough firepower in our team to be able to hurt Yeovil.

“I said at the start of the season that we needed to turn it [One Call Stadium] into a fortress and I feel that we have done.

“The lads are all firing. You can tell that the weekend will be brushed over as we’re all ready to get back training.”

Matt Preston, defender

“The management and players all feel like that it’s a big bonus when we play at home. I don’t think there is a team in the league that can do much to us at home. It gives you an extra 10 percent playing in front of a home crowd.

“The lads are all firing. You can tell that the weekend will be brushed over as we’re all ready to get back training.”

The 23-year-old also spoke of the ‘outstanding’ defensive record that the Stags have maintained this season, the joint-best in Sky Bet League Two.

“From the [defensive] record that we’ve had, I wasn’t expecting to do as well as we have done,” he added. “I think we have an outstanding record.

“That’s the standard that you want to hold yourself to, but to actually achieve it is another thing.

“It’s been nice to have a high standard, and to have kept it. The weekend was a blip and something that we have to overlook and get back to keeping clean sheets and winning games.”

The defender also reflected on Saturday’s defeat to Carlisle, which ended Mansfield’s club record unbeaten away streak of 15 league matches.

Preston, who scored in the match, says that the Stags are determined to bounce back from the loss.

“As the game panned out [against Carlisle] I think we were unfortunate. We were down to 10-men second half and they played some good stuff.

“We killed ourselves in terms of being two-nil down, so the second half was always going to be a climb.

“When I got my goal, I thought we had a fighting chance. Unfortunately, it just didn’t pan out that way.

“It was an unusual body shape [when I scored]. We’ve been practising set pieces in training, and I’ve always said to them [team-mates] that if you get it in the right area, I will at least challenge for it.

“I don’t even know how to describe it because it happened quickly. I think it hit the side or back of my head and I flicked it towards the end of the goal I was hoping for and it went in.

“It was a big blow to us when we came off the pitch [at Carlisle]. We’re not used to conceding one at the minute, never mind three.

“We have to give them credit where it’s due as they scored good goals. It’s not what we’re about, and we need to bounce back from it.

“It [defeat] is something that you have to brush off your shoulder. We want to get that momentum back and get back to keeping clean sheets and [earning] more wins.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Matt Preston’s interview in full by logging into later today.

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