Stags’ boss Nigel Clough says his side need to ‘look after’ achieving Sky Bet League Two safety themselves in their remaining five fixtures of the season.
If results go Mansfield’s way, the amber and blue could earn their Sky Bet League Two status for the 2021/22 campaign by the end of Tuesday’s fixture at home to Scunthorpe United.
Before then, the Stags will travel to Stevenage on Saturday, a side that have shown a resurgence after evading relegation last term.
The boss looked ahead to Saturday’s game, whilst also identifying what is required from his charges in this season’s remaining matches.
“I think they [Stevenage] have really taken the lifeline that was given to them last season – it was probably a wake-up call for them,” Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags.
“They’ve stayed in the league and gone on this 12-game unbeaten run, which in League Two is a brilliant run to go on.
“Alex Revell [Stevenage manager] will be looking forward to building for next season, as they’re safe. They’ve had this great run and they’re a very well-organised, solid League Two side now.
“I don’t see them making too many mistakes – we’ve made too many mistakes and that’s the reason we’re not safe.
“It’s good for the players to understand that as we know how close we are. Nobody goes onto the pitch to make mistakes, but cut those out, and we’d be halfway up the league this season.
“There’s a good mood [in the camp] despite not winning [recently], but we haven’t lost too many. Defeats are what really kills the atmosphere and confidence around a football club.
“The players realise that, without those mistakes, we’d be in a much healthier position.
“A couple of positive results [and we can be safe]. We don’t look at too many other results, but if they do go our way, we could be safe with three games to go.
“I don’t want to get down to the last two or three games and watching just in case someone comes up with a freak run of results. Let’s look after it ourselves in the next two games.”
The manager has been pleased to have an extended period on the training ground with his players, with an eight-day gap between the 1-1 draw with Newport last time out, and the upcoming clash with Stevenage.
“With the weather as well, we’ve had a good couple of days training,” he added. “To be able to practice some shooting and crossing, when you play Saturday-Tuesday, you get so little time.
“It’s a light session on the Monday, recovery on the Wednesday and Friday is another light session preparing for Saturday.
“You don’t get time to work on an awful lot, it’s just recovery and preparation. So having this eight days [without a match] has been good.
“Especially with the weather as well, as you can spend a little bit longer outside and the lads can do the preparation and warm-up outside, so we’re feeling good.
“We have everyone fit apart from Joe Riley, so there’s no one in the treatment room. Oli Sarkic is back at Blackpool doing his rehab, so Tom [Whittamore] the physio is having a pretty quiet time of it!
“Going into the last five games, to have a fully fit squad to choose from, is good news.”
The boss also discussed the recent inclusion of young forward Tyrese Sinclair, who was handed his full debut at Exeter City, and scored in Friday’s clash with Newport at One Call Stadium.
“It [Newport game] was [of] a similar fashion to how we’ve reflected on a lot of results this season,” explained the boss.
“We went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the league, went behind to an individual error, then came back into the game with a very good goal from Tyrese Sinclair.
“We thoroughly deserved the point and it was a game that on another night we could’ve won.
“[With] Oliver Sarkic getting injured, he [Sinclair] is up in the pecking order a little bit.
“It was important for him to back up his performance against Exeter. Sometimes, when you give a young player their debut, you put him in for one [game] then take him back out again.
“But we just felt as though he did so well at Exeter, then to make his home debut four or five days later, if we left him out it would’ve dented his confidence.
“He justified his inclusion again as he played well and he got his goal.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.