Stags’ boss John Dempster has previewed Mansfield’s upcoming Emirates FA Cup Second Round clash away to Shrewsbury and has challenged his players to ‘cause an upset’ at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
The amber and blue made it to the next stage of the competition by way of a 1-0 win over Chorley at One Call Stadium, while the Shrews recorded a victory of the same scoreline in their First Round replay at Bradford City.
Ahead of Saturday’s fixture, John Dempster says he is ‘confident’ of attaining a good result, as long as his charges perform ‘to their potential.’
“I’d have liked a league fixture straight after we performed at Swindon and I think the players feel the same,” he told iFollow Stags.
“That said, we can’t control the fixture list and we’ll always look forward to an FA Cup fixture as it’s something that the club has always taken seriously.
“We have a tough challenge ahead of us as we’re going to a League One side. But it was only a week or so ago when we went to a League One side [Burton] in the other competition [Leasing.com Trophy] and progressed in that. We’ll be looking to do the same on Saturday.
“Our away form is good and Shrewsbury will be aware of that. They have some good players, which is why they’re competing in the league above us, but we’re confident that if we go there and perform to our potential, we could cause an upset.
“They’ve got some players that I’ve played against when I was a player and we have some players that I’ve watched over the last four or five seasons, having watched the first team.
“I know the level of League Two and above very well. And although we’re going to a team in the league above us, we’re confident of going there and getting a result.
“Looking at their squad and our squad, we don’t feel that we’re too far off. When we go to Shrewsbury, we’ll be aware of their strengths of course and we’ll respect them before the game, but come three o’clock, it’ll be man versus man.”
The boss then reflected on Saturday’s slender defeat to Swindon in Sky Bet League Two, and despite praising the performance, stated the necessity to generate points alongside positive displays.
“The mood was good on Monday although there will always be frustration hanging over you when you’ve lost a football match after performing well.
“We felt that we created quite a lot of good opportunities which we should have capitalised on.
“Although there were lots of positive remarks externally about how the team played, it doesn’t take away the disappointment and the frustration from not getting something out of the game.
“We went away to the league leaders and should’ve come away with at least a point. You’d always take a result [over a performance] but for longevity and consistency, performance is key.
“There were some encouraging signs and good individual performances – Alistair Smith (below) made his [full] debut and Jacob Mellis hadn’t played for a while and performed well.
“We need to turn those performances into points because that’s what we’re paid for.”
With December just around the corner, the manager spoke of how the ‘massive’ Christmas period can change a team’s season, while also adding that his side must improve on the ‘fine margins’ of their game.
“We’ve seen a number of sides already this season and I think there’s only twice where we’ve been outplayed, and one of them was for 60 minutes at Forest Green where we got a point.
“The other one would be Colchester – I thought they were the better side on the day and deserved all three points.
“Other than that, we’ve been in every game. Where we’ve fallen short is when we should have got at least a point out of the game and haven’t – Saturday is an example of that.
“Those are the fine margins that make the difference. If we can improve on those fine margins we can be in and around the play-offs.
“The promotions I’ve been involved in, the business time is around Christmas. Of course you want to give yourself a good run-up to that, but as we saw last season, it’s very important how you finish the season.
“It [December] is a big month. There aren’t any easy months in League Two. Consistency is key to us moving up the table.
“The Christmas period is a massive period in football – it’s one you need to embrace because if you have a positive month, there are loads of points to be picked up.”
There was also an update from the treatment room by the boss.
“Bish [Neal Bishop, below] will train today,” he said. “He’s had tonsillitis and a bit of a back issue, but he had a really physical session yesterday and came through that, so he’ll train today.
“Hayden White’s scan was positive – there’s no need to go back in there surgically and remove any of the rod or screws from when he broke his leg. We’ll be hoping he’s back with the group later on this week, which is a real positive.
“Danny Rose is coming on nicely with his treatment. He’s been outside jogging, but he’ll be [out for] at least three weeks.
“Davo [Craig Davies] will appear in more reserve games before featuring for the first team as he only played 25 minutes [against Rotherham reserves] after being out for such a long period.
“We have to break him back in gradually – he’s had a little bit of a reaction on one of his ankles but we treated him yesterday and expect him to train today.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the gaffer’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.