John Dempster and the rest of the Mansfield Town squad were this morning bracing themselves for the gruelling coach journey down to the South Coast for an overnight stay ahead of Stags’ League two clash at Torquay United tomorrow.
“You have to have a bit of a chill-out journey. It is a long way and you have to get your feet up and relax,” said Dempster.
“It’s all part and parcel of the game. It’s a long trip but so far we have been half-decent on the road and we’d like to continue that.
“Torquay is a tough place to go and a point would be a good result there, though we’d like to collect all three if possible.
“For the majority of clubs going there, it’s a long journey or teams will have had a night in a hotel and Torquay will always want to take advantage of that.
“We are fortunate we have a chairman who puts us up in decent hotels and gives us a nice bus to travel down in. So there are no excuses.”
He added: “The journey down is not as exciting as you think. There is a little poker school that goes on and one or two tend to listen to music.
“Two or three of them that can read might read a book.
“I tend to stick my head in a book or have a chat with one or two of the players and it generally seems to go pretty quickly.
“I might borrow a book off Ritchie Sutton as there are one or two he rates at the moment. They are probably junior school books, though – Roger Red Hat!”
After a week in which they failed to win any of three home games, the Stags now have two games in four days away to sides at the wrong end of the table.
But just two defeats in the first 10 games and a place in the play-off positions have convinced Dempster Stags can make an impact this season if they keep their feet on the ground.
“It’s all been very positive so far,” he said. “But we have got to remember where we have come from.
“We were a Conference side last year and there a lot of ex-League clubs still down there trying to get out. It is a very hard goal to achieve. The club is back where it belongs in the League, no doubt about that.
“Now we are trying to establish ourselves in League Two and I think we’ve done well so far. Now we are looking to kick on again.
“We have had a couple of disappointing results at home. But we are a new team at this level and our performance levels will drop from time to time. It’s important to bounce back.
“This is an important little period for us over the next three, four, five games and, if we can collect a good number of points from this next batch of games we will be right in the mix where we want to be.
“It is great that some of our fans are making a weekend of it at Torquay. It’s a lovely part of the country but a long way down and to reward them with three points for their long journey would be fantastic.”