Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox is calling on supporters to stay calm and stick by them to help end a miserable run of 10 home games without victory when the Stags face fellow strugglers Wycombe Wanderers at One Call Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
Despite some excellent away results, you have to go back to Saturday, 21st September, when they beat Northampton 3-0, to find the last time Mansfield Town triumphed on home soil.
Increasingly the team have felt the wrath of a section of home supporters with some ugly scenes down near the tunnel.
Now Stags have two crucial home games in four days and Cox said: “We have only had one defeat in five games which is a good stat. We have come through a little blip and now our main focus has to be our home form.
“The fans who travelled to Portsmouth last weekend were absolutely out of this world. In a crowd of 14,000+, their voices and their reassurance to the boys was immense.
“Players have got to understand supporters and supporters have got to understand players, especially at home. Both have got to get back to doing what they are good at and we can make this place a fortress again.
“We need players to stand up and be counted and get rid of the anxiety and we need our true supporters to stand up and be counted. We have a high percentage of good people following this football club.
“When things are going wrong we will always have one or two who will have a moan. The game is all about opinions and I understand that.
“But we are in a great position at the moment. We have just been promoted back into the League and we have been to some tough places recently and got some good results. If we can improve our home form as well there is nothing we can’t achieve this season.
“We have more home games left than away games and a lot of points to play for. We are only 12 points off the play-offs but everyone from ninth/10th downwards is in a relegation battle.”
He added: “For some the glass is half empty and some half full. But I am looking upwards and I hope the club, the players and the supporters are all looking up. Let’s hope we can go on a run now like the last two seasons.
“I understand people getting anxious – it is a human trait. But we won’t achieve anything by being split.
“People might say we have had a lot of luck in the last two and a half years. We had had a lot of bad luck in the last two and a half months. But it will even itself out and we will finish where we deserve to finish. There is still a long way to go.
“We have kids coming through into the reserves and it excites me. We are putting down some great foundations, but we won’t have overnight success.
“We will make mistakes on Saturday and passes will go astray, but people have to look beyond that.”
Once the home fans start to boo, Cox said it only served to help the opposition and explained: “I have spoken to opposition managers after games and their philosophy when they come here is to create that atmosphere. We have got to be big enough to get on with it and stand up and be counted.”
A massive boost for Mansfield today was the return to training of both Sam Clucas and Ben Hutchinson ahead of schedule.
The injured pair were not expected back until at least next week so, if things go well with them, Cox is looking to organise a behind-closed-doors game for them next week with the possibility they could rejoin the squad for the long trip to Plymouth a week on Saturday.