Stags’ defender Ryan Sweeney says that Mansfield will go into Saturday’s big match against Exeter City off the back of a ‘really positive week of training.’
The 21-year-old has been a key member of the Stags’ back-line that currently boasts the best defensive record in Sky Bet League Two.
Sweeney says that following the disappointing loss to Crewe, Saturday’s trip to Exeter provides a perfect opportunity to bounce back against a promotion rival.
“It [the mood] is really positive,” he said. “I think that’s the main thing, to go into these games [positively] no matter what form you’re in.
“It’s about who can stick the best run of results together. It’s been a real positive week of training to work upon now.
“Starting with Saturday, there’s not many games better to go into than against one of your promotion rivals. It’ll be a tough test, but we’re always ready on a Saturday.
“I think they’ve saved one of the longest trips until late on in the season! But we’ll get down there, do a bit of training, and we’ll be fully prepared for the game.
“This season, when we’ve had a little bit of a setback at the weekend, we’ve always responded in training.
“We’ve had a few meetings to try and sort a few things out. It’s been really positive and we’re looking forward to Saturday, which will be a really tough game down in Exeter.
“We’re always disappointed [when we lose]. There was definitely a disappointment with the way we started the [Crewe] game.
“You always have to start games at a high tempo, and we’ll try and put Exeter on the back foot. We’ll try and get a foothold in the game and go from there.
“Everyone is looking to improve, and we’ll take that into Saturday. You want to try and get a base in the game to work on.
"It’s about who can stick the best run of results together. It’s been a real positive week of training to work upon now."
“We’ve had a little bit of a blip. No-one wants them, but they come, because it’s a long season. We need to start kicking on now, as there’s only seven games left, starting from Saturday."
For the last two matches against Lincoln and Crewe respectively, Sweeney has lined up alongside fellow defenders Krystian Pearce and Matt Preston, in what has been a familiar back-line this season.
The defender says it has been ‘really good’ to be back alongside Pearce and Preston, with the trio not featuring together over a recent run of five successive matches, due to suspensions and injuries.
“Pearcey got into the team of the season the other day, so congratulations to him and the other boys. He’s been brilliant,” added Sweeney.
“As the captain, he leads us every game. Pressie [Matt Preston] is a big, strong centre-half and both are very capable on the ball.
“We felt settled in there [back-line]. When you have Turns [Ben Turner] as well, who is a brilliant player, you can see the hard work he puts in on the training ground.
“Players like me and Pressie are still young, so that’s a top pro to learn from. It’s been good to be back alongside them [Pearce and Preston].
“It’s probably been a bit unsettled the last few weeks via suspensions and a few injuries. But it’s really good to be back alongside them.”
Sweeney says that the Stags will need to be on their ‘A-game’ against fellow promotion candidates Exeter this weekend.
“Every opponent brings their different threats. We’ve had teams near the bottom of the league that have come here and given us a real game.
“We’re a good side, so I think teams know they have to be on it to cause us problems. Exeter got a good result last week and I’m sure they’ll come into the game really confident.
“It’s up to us to concentrate on ourselves. We have to bring our A-game on Saturday and I’m sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the defender’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.