Boss Graham Coughlan says he expecting a ‘really good game’ between ‘two attack-minded teams’ when the Stags travel to Leyton Orient this weekend.
The clash – which is available to view live on iFollow Stags for just £10 – will be Mansfield’s first game away from home in the 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two season.
The manager has called for his players to add ‘a bit more finesse’ to the outstanding work rate displayed in Saturday’s draw with Tranmere Rovers, when they travel to London to face the O’s.
“Leyton Orient will have a different system to what Tranmere had so you’ll possibly see us adapting to that,” he began.
“We’re honest, hard-working, fit and energetic. That won’t change from our point of view – I just want us to show a bit more finesse and a bit more calmness on the ball.
“We should’ve scored on Saturday and we didn’t. But I do believe with that type of performance, you’ll win more games than not.
“I thought they [Leyton Orient] were very good [against Oldham at the weekend]. They are a technical team who will keep the pitch big and stretch the play.
“They’ll ask us questions and we’ll have to bring our A-game. But I want us to concentrate on ourselves for 80 per cent and 20 per cent on the opposition. I have every confidence and faith in the squad that we’ve assembled.
“They [Leyton Orient] have a game tonight [against Plymouth] and we’ll get eyes on that. They’re confident and are in decent form – they will attack us and that bodes for a really good game. We’re two open and attack-minded teams.”
The former Bristol Rovers chief also discussed how the high intensity of Stags’ training sessions prepares them well for in-game situations.
“The training sessions have been intense – we’ve had a lot of quality and they’ve been enjoyable. The sessions are designed to be hard and designed to be game-related.
“I’m a big believer in training as you play and playing as you train. That’s the way the lads are and they’ve been working their socks off.
“We’re a hungry, fit and energetic team. There were moments on Saturday where we’re pressing to get the ball back, but then we have to calm ourselves down and pick a pass.
“We just have to spend those extra couple of seconds on the ball and pick a pass, rather than forcing the play. I’d like to see us show a little more composure.”
The boss also spoke of his decision to award the club captaincy to midfielder Ollie Clarke for the 2020/21 campaign.
“He [Ollie Clarke] was my captain at Bristol Rovers and wears his heart on his sleeve,” he added. “He is a warrior, very good technically and all-round, his leadership qualities are exceptional.
“Ryan Sweeney was obviously skipper over the course of Ollie’s absence and he will continue to lead the changing room.
“I would throw Marek Stech and Farrend Rawson into the equation as well – between those four, they’ll lead the changing room and help with what needs to be done.
“I look at Nicky [Maynard] and Perchy [James Perch], the older lads, and they’ll encourage, teach and educate the youngsters.
“Overall, I’ve got some really good men in the changing room. I have some really good characters.
“Wearing an armband doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any bigger or better than the rest, each and every player will lead and give their all.
“It was a tough decision [captaincy] but I just felt I owed it to Ollie after what he’s given up to come and join us.
“He’s got a couple of promotions under his belt and I just thought it was a big coup – not only for myself, but for the football club – to sign him.”
There was also an injury update on striker Danny Rose (below), as well as a fitness update on fellow forward Nicky Maynard and winger Stephen McLaughlin.
“He [Rose] had a little bit of an issue [in training] and we sent him off to a specialist to have a conversation and have a scan.
“That [scan] has come back clear and he was out on the training ground this morning. I’m hoping he can get through the next couple of days without a reaction.
“Fingers crossed we can get him on the grass sooner rather than later. We’re lucky that there is no tears or significant damage – he’s not far off, he’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of the week.
“Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] has trained on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He’s had some good training sessions under his belt and is flying.
“Himself and Nicky Maynard have joined us late, so we’re playing catch up with them. We’re trying to build something long-term, so if you chuck them in and something goes wrong, you would kick yourself.
“I think another few days on the training ground and the two of them will come right into my thought process.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the boss’ interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
iFollow Stags match passes are now available for Saturday’s clash away at Leyton Orient. To purchase yours for just £10, click here.