Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney hopes to conclude a perfect week with a third successive victory as the Stags travel to Macclesfield Town on Saturday.
Prior to this weekend’s meeting with the Silkmen, the amber and blue have won each of their last two matches, beating Chorley and Burton Albion in cup competitions, with Sweeney scoring his second of the season against the latter.
On adding to his tally at the Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday, the 23-year-old said: “It’s always nice to score; now I’ve got a couple of goals in the last few games. Before the first one [against Colchester United] I hadn’t scored in nearly a year so it’s funny to see two goals come in such quick concession.”
Then, analysing the two cup victories, he added: “We managed to get through the FA Cup game against Chorley which was really positive and then obviously Tuesday was one where we wanted to progress, we knew we had to go to Burton and win the game.
“The lads put in a really good, solid performance especially the young lads stepping in – I thought Clarkey [James Clarke] and Ali [Alistair Smith] in particular were brilliant. It was a really positive way to start the week and hopefully we can take that into Saturday.”
Despite the positives of two successive wins, central defender Sweeney believes there is still plenty of room for improvement for the Stags, especially at the back.
He said: “It’s been disappointing, especially when you look at last season – our defensive record was so good. We haven’t really had a proper, settled backline via suspensions, injuries and what not so I think once we get a solid defensive line and a solid unit there it’ll be something to build on for the rest of the season.
“We’ve played a four a bit more in recent weeks – it’s something you’ve got to be adaptable to because we’ve got the players and personnel to change formation from a three to a four.
“We’ve got good players and the club and it’s just about showing that on a matchday and then hopefully we can improve that defensive record and get some clean sheets,” added the former Republic of Ireland youth international.
Mansfield currently boast the fifth strongest away record in the league with Sweeney attributing this to some of the attacking talent and pace the Stags possess on the counter.
“We’re always a team that want to play on the front foot whether that’s home or away. I think we’ve got some great players to use if we choose to play on the counter attack – CJ [Hamilton] has got the pace to work people, Otis [Khan] as well.
“We have a game plan for each game and we try to implement that to the best of our ability. At the end of the day it’s a game of football whether it’s home or away. For some reason this season we seemed to have picked up a lot more points on the road than we have at home.”
The centre-half also believes that despite the Stags’ away form and Macclesfield’s off-field problems, Mansfield must not underestimate their upcoming opponents.
“Saturday’s going to be a tough game, obviously the problems down at Macclesfield have been quite well documented.
“It can be a difficult one – you’ve seen it with Bury last season, you can sort of galvanise a club and a squad when things like that happen. They fielded quite a young, inexperienced team last week against Kingstonian but we’re expecting a really difficult game down there and it’s one that we’re going to try and win.”
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