Byrom sees similarities between Cobblers' promotion side and Stags this season

Carlisle United v Mansfield Town - Joel Byrom of Mansfield Town - Pic By James WilliamsonCarlisle United v Mansfield Town - Joel Byrom of Mansfield Town - Pic By James Williamson
Carlisle United v Mansfield Town - Joel Byrom of Mansfield Town - Pic By James Williamson
Joel Byrom was a vital cog in the Northampton Town promotion side of 2015/16 that went an amazing 31 games without defeat.

And the midfield ace can see a lot of similarities with the current Mansfield Town side that are now nine unbeaten and chasing a top three finish.

“We picked up a defeat by Portsmouth late December and that was the last League defeat until, I think, October the next season,” he said.

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“Once you get on those sort of runs, I think people already have that in their minds.

“When they come here they are already thinking you’re hard to beat and, as soon as you get the first goal against them, it really puts them on the back foot and sometimes you can just see teams fold

“The team didn’t change much. We had a solid foundation and match winners.

“You would go into each game thinking you were the better team and, if you did what you were expected to do and stuck to the game plan that was set, then you would win most weeks.

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“I think scoring the first goal is vital. That can really put teams on the back foot.”

Byrom feels Stags are starting to shape up very similar to that Cobblers glory team.

“Here we also have a really strong foundation through the spine of the team and players chipping in with goals. They are very similar squads,” he said.

“It took us a bit of time to gel but I think we are now starting to see us at our best over the last month or two.

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“You’re seeing some good performances and results are starting to show that as well.

“We are up there right in the mix now. There was a lot of expectation and we are starting to live up to that now.

“It has been a good run and it’s good to now see those draws we were picking up earlier in the run have started to turn to victories.

“That’s a massive thing as we were playing well but not really getting the results we deserved. You can see now - even when we are not at our best like against Cheltenham and Morecambe - we are still winning games.”

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However, he added: “As you can see now, no one is struggling for form at the top of the table.

“Everyone is picking up wins when we are. So we can’t afford to slip up and hopefully when we win someone will slip up.

“I still think there is more to come. We are an improving team”

Byrom hopes Stags can settle a score on Saturday when they travel to face promotion rivals Swindon, who won 3-1 at Mansfield back in October.

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“It’s always a difficult place to go and when they came here they showed what a good team they are,” he said.

“We weren’t at our best that day and Swindon made us look average. So we sort of owe them one really. We need to go down there and take the confidence from the last few games to put on a performance.

People talk about relegation six-pointers but it’s looking like that at the top now too.

“If you can beat a team around you, you’re taking points off them and gaining them for yourself. So they are massive games.”