Adam Murray is hoping the One Call Stadium pitch will survive the winter weather over the next two days so Mansfield Town will be able to welcome League Two leaders Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday (3pm).
The frost covers have been on all week and, although they are covered in snow right now, the biggest worry is the thaw and tomorrow’s forecast rain, all of which could end up leaving the pitch waterlogged.
“The pitch is not looking the best, but I will leave it up to the groundstaff and we’ll just have to see how the next 48 hours go,” said manager Murray.
“We have had to train on a different surface as there’s no grass, which is not ideal. But we have been able to put the preparation into them that we wanted.”
Stags are desperate to get out there and wipe away the misery of last weekend’s late capitulation when Murray’s new-look side, still trying to gel as a team with six new players, allowed Exeter to leave with a 3-2 win after seeming to have the game in the bag.
“I am getting fed up with playing well and not winning. We have got to put that right,” he said.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope it will happen sooner than later. We are coming up to two weeks in this ‘process’ and now we’ve got Matty Blair, who is a new ingredient.
“A lot of business has been done early for a reason. We are only two games over the halfway stage so we have a ridiculous amount of football to play.
“Everyone can see what a good team we are putting together and the standard of our performances. I am confident in what the boys are about.
“The jigsaw is never complete, though. You are always looking for that extra part that can make it a better picture or a better product. We are currently putting glue into the jigsaw to bring it all together.
“We have had a super week and we can’t wait for the challenge of top of the league.”
Murray is impressed with the way Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth has turned things around, his side now top after only staying in the League thanks to Stags’ last day win at Bristol Rovers in May.
“They have a bit of everything,” he said. “They have a lot of pace, good experience, good enthusiasm of youth. They make good decisions and are effective with the decisions they make. They also only concede a small amount of goals, and that all adds up to a successful team.
“Gareth is further down the ‘process’ than us. This time last year they were in a relegation battle. Now things have swung round and they are top of the league.”
Murray is also delighted that Stags supporters seem to be coming on board with his vision for the future and knows, from first hand experience, just how important their vocal backing on a Saturday can be.
“After the game on Saturday it felt like everyone at the ground was on the same page,” he said. “They felt hurt we’d lost but also felt optimism for what they’d just witnessed. They were wondering how we’d not come away with three points.
“In a way it was brilliant to feel that atmosphere in the ground at the end. We were all feeling the same and I don’t think it’s been like that at the football club for a long time.
“The fans can play such a part here when they are behind us.
“It’s huge. People can sit here and say they need the fans behind them, but they can be empty words from managers. But I have been out there in battle and experienced that energy that it gives you.
“This club is in a relegation battle and from minute one we have got to stick together, go out and fight whoever is on our arena. This is our home and everyone who comes here must know what they are coming into.”
Stags have no new injuries and welcome striker Alex Fisher, back from a collarbone injury, and Ryan Tafazoli, back from illness, into the squad.
Murray said: “Both are available. They have done a lot of extra work and are both very fit lads and physical beasts.
“We do have a couple of reserve games next week in which they can top up. But both look in shape and I’d have no qualms about throwing them in. How long they would last is the only issue.”