Stags’ boss Nigel Clough says Saturday’s clash with league leaders Cambridge United will be a ‘good measure’ of how far his side have progressed in Sky Bet League Two.
Mansfield will look to respond positively to Wednesday night’s defeat against Bolton, but face a stern test against a side at the summit of the league standings.
The boss says that, in order to be successful in the weekend’s fixture, his charges will need to deal with the ‘dangerous players’ Cambridge have within their ranks.
“I think it’s a brilliant game for us, off the back of the other night. It’s another good measure for us to see how far we’ve come,” he told iFollow Stags.
“The 1-0 away win [against Cambridge] was one of our best performances, and I think we caught Cambridge on a good day. They hadn’t played for a while and were perhaps a little bit rusty.
“I think they are a far better side than they showed that night, and they’ve shown that since.
“It’s about us getting back on track after the other night. It doesn’t feel very nice when you lose and aren’t used to it.
“We showed glimpses the other night and patches in the game, certainly at the start of the second-half where I thought we played very well indeed.
“[Cambridge will bring] a threat. I think they have very dangerous players and the result will largely depend on how we deal with them.
“[We’ll have a] very light [training session today], considering the effort that was put in on Wednesday.
“I think it’s more about mental preparation at this stage of the season than it is physical.”
Offering his final thoughts on Wednesday night’s loss to Bolton, the manager says that despite the disappointing conclusion to the match, there were plenty of positives to draw from the game.
“We have to take the many positives from the game and the performance. There were a lot of good things and a lot of good play.
“It was a good game, generally, and I thought we edged it and deserved to win. There was a blatant penalty [on Stephen Quinn] in the first-half which may have changed the game, you never know.
“But to be 2-0 up and be pegged back in the manner which we were, is unbelievably disappointing.”
There was also an injury update from the boss, who says that on-loan Blackpool forward Oli Sarkic has ‘an outside chance’ of making the bench for Saturday’s encounter.
“Stephen Quinn took a couple of knocks [against Bolton] and was taken off with ten minutes to go. He’s the only one that might be a concern [for Cambridge].
“Kellan Gordon and Oli Sarkic will continue their recovery – Oli maybe has an outside chance for the bench [on Saturday] but we’ll see how he is in training on Friday morning.
“Losing the three players [George Lapslie, Gordon and Sarkic] in a week was a blow. Laps will still be a few weeks, but the others aren’t far off.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.