Midfielder Stephen Quinn is relishing the Stags’ festive fixture schedule starting with Northampton Town at home on Boxing Day, the 36-year-old said in a news conference today.
The former Sheffield United man has made a total of 22 appearances for Nigel Clough’s side this season, who sit in fifth position in Sky Bet League Two.
Stags will face the Cobblers at One Call Stadium on 26 December followed by a trip to Hartlepool three days later before journeying to Walsall on New Year’s Day.
And Quinn is particularly excited for the home test of fellow promotion rivals Northampton and said: “Everyone looks forward to the Boxing Day games. It’s a tradition to go to.
“I’m glad we’re at home and I’m looking forward to seeing the Stags’ supporters bouncing around on Boxing Day. I’m really looking forward to the game against Northampton and we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Last weekend’s league fixture against Grimsby Town was postponed due to a frozen pitch because of sub-zero temperatures in Mansfield, and Quinn said: “It was a bit disappointing the game was called off last week but I think we’re in a good place and we’re looking forward to the second-half [of the season].
“We’re in a better position than last season and that’s for sure. We had to go on that unbelievable run [last season] to claw our way back.
“It’s tough, it’s gritty, especially this part of the season where you just have to hang in there in games.”
Assessing the campaign so far, the Irishman said: “We’re in a good position in the league to strike, we’re keeping up with the pack. Obviously we wish we were a little higher up the table but I think we’re happy enough and in a good position.
“It’s been difficult losing a couple of players, especially Oatesy [Rhys Oates] for that period [within the last few months].
“Some of the results weren’t going our way and were disappointing but we’ve hung in there.
“Oatesy [Rhys Oates] is a main threat for us to get us up the pitch [now he is back from injury]. He scares the life out of defenders so it is obviously great to get him back.
“We’ve got other players coming back as well. We haven’t got the biggest of squads so it’s [now] looking strong and we’re concentrating on that base of keeping it solid at the back and taking it from there.
“We have the likes of Oatesy [Rhys Oates] and Swanny [Will Swan] getting goals, Lucas [Akins] can also play up there [at striker] or on the wings as he does. He’s a huge player for us.”