Jamie McGuire is enjoying his return to the hub of the Mansfield Town midfield after finding himself pitched back into the side as skipper at the 11th hour last weekend.
And the tenacious midfield general believes Stags can turn their season around if they can start to pick up points in back-to-back games, starting with tomorrow’s home clash with Northampton Town.
McGuire, who had spent 2015 on the bench up until 2.55pm last weekend, recalled how a pre-match warm-up injury to Ricky Ravenhill saw him suddenly thrown into the fray.
“It was about five minutes from kick-off we came back in and I was handed the armband and was told to get my shirt on and lead them out,” he said.
“I was thrown in at the deep end, but the boys were brilliant and and we got the result we deserved. We had been working on the set pieces and the most important thing for me against Stevenage was to know what we were doing.
“I have had to be patient as Chris Clements has been our best player and Ricky Ravenhill has come in and done really well. Those two have been brilliant so I’ve had to bide my time.
“The most important thing is winning games and watching the club move up the table.
“It was more of a battle on Saturday which is my kind of a game. It took me about 20 minutes to grow into it. The main thing was to get Chris Clements on the ball as he gets the team ticking.”
McGuire turned in one of his best displays of the season in the 1-0 win over Stevenage, but then saw the side flop 2-1 at Morecambe on Tuesday.
“We had the high of Saturday and then the low of Tuesday – but that’s football,” he said.
“Unfortunately we started the first half at Morecambe really sloppy and didn’t defend well.
“To be fair the gaffer changed things round for the second half and we looked much brighter and had enough chances to win the game.
“That’s been our downfall at the moment. We need to find a bit of consistency, even if it’s only a point.
“Not getting back to back wins – that’s the issue. That’s what we need, starting Saturday.
“We have two home games against two good teams chasing the play-offs this week.
“A win and a draw would help. It would help to just stay unbeaten, push us up the table and give us a platform to keep building on.
“There are a lot of good things in the camp. We are working hard on the training ground and we are looking forward to Saturday.
“Northampton were right down there with us a few weeks ago but have won four on the bounce and are now up there – it’s a strange league.
“There are 17 games to go and it is so tight from us up to 15th. They are 17 massive games and if we can just find some consistency we can kick on.
“We don’t want to go back down. Everyone knows what a tough league it is to get out of. But let’s not talk about the Conference. We want to stay in the League and we have the players for it.
“My only relegation was when I was part-time with Droylsden. In the League I have always been in successful teams and this can be a successful team.”
After boss Adam Murray tried to get his side playing more football and employed wingers, the Stevenage game saw a return to the more direct game of earlier in the season which was perfect for tough-tackling McGuire. But the former Fleetwood warhorse knows Murray wants his charges to eventually be known for a passing game.
“I have got to adapt,” he admitted. “If that’s the way it’s going to be then that’s the way it’s going to be. If the gaffer wants to play football we have to follow suit.”
If bought in advance, tickets for tomorrow’s Northampton game are just £7 per person with U7s admitted free of charge.
You can book tickets by visiting the ticket office, situated adjacent to the Quarry Lane, between 10am to 5pm (Monday to Friday), by calling 01623 482482, or by visiting www.stagstickets.co.uk.
To take advantage of this special £7 offer, you MUST buy tickets before 5pm on Friday. Normal matchday ticket prices will be in operation on the day of the game.