After meeting manager Adam Murray’s initial challenge to get into the play-off places, Mansfield Town’s new-look side have now been challenged to break into the top three ahead of Saturday’s tough trip to Luton Town.
Stags’ 4-0 home win over Crawley Town on Saturday propelled them into the top seven for the first time this season and Murray had no doubt what he wanted next.
“Get in the top three,” he said. “We’ve got a focus in the group that we want to keep the foot down on the pedal.
“I said from day one let’s keep that optimism, but let’s keep it balanced with realism. Are we in a position where I can turn round to my chairman and fans at the club and say right, now I believe we are going to go on and win the league by 15 points? No we are not.
“We are in a position now where we are progressing. I believe we are on the right process, like I keep boring people with, and I will do that process in my time and make those steps in my time when I feel the group is ready to keep moving forwards.
“We are in a good place at the minute, but it’s all about the focus of where we have come from and where we want to get to and keeping the pace of that journey right.”
He added: “It’s a patient process. We changed from playing with a number four to a number 10 and an out and out winger on Saturday which was a step in the direction we want to go. Now we are making these steps we have still got to keep anchors to the stage we’ve come from. We can’t forget the work we have done.
“At times we are going to take steps backwards because that’s what happens in a development group. But our focus is forward and we are confident we’ve got a real aggression to win and that won’t change.”
Luton, a huge club with many expectations, have only won once this season and sit in 20th spot, beaten 3-2 by a late goal at Notts County last weekend.
So former Luton player Murray knows the Hatters could be like a wounded animal on Saturday.
“It’s a great place to go,” he said. “It’s a place you really have to really take it and appreciate the surroundings
“It’s a huge club, it will be a big crowd and we go there in good form. We will show them respect as they are a very good team, but at the same time we are not going there to make up the numbers.
“We all know what a tough place it is to go. They probably haven’t had the start a club like Luton expects, but they have got an exceptional manager down there and exceptional staff. Me and my staff have got a lot of time for them and we’ve had a few chats with them.
“They are excellent people who know the game inside out, so we know we are going into a lion’s den on Saturday, but are fully focussed and fully confident in our own ability.”