Mansfield Town manager John Dempster and his squad are preparing for a massive December with unrest growing among fans over the promotion-targeting club’s current 15th position in League Two.
Already nine points adrift of the top seven, Stags face five huge games next month against play-off chasing sides in the top nine with many fans already taking to social media to hammer Dempster and his players.
“It’s a big month, there’s no getting away from that,” said Dempster ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup trip to League One Shrewsbury Town.
“But you can look back on the fixtures we’ve had and look forward to the fixtures in the future and you’ll see there are no easy months in League Two.
“Whether you’re playing bottom of the league or top of the league, it’s a challenge and a lot of the time it’s about who turns up on the day.
“That is what has been the frustrating thing at times this season, we’ve not turned up. That consistency will be the key to us moving up the table.
“The Christmas period is a massive period in football.
“It’s one you really need to embrace because if you have a positive month there are loads of points to be picked up, and that’s certainly what we’ll be looking to do.”
Dempster said he was aware of the vitriol on social media but chose not to read it.
“I am not on social media. That said, I am not deaf. I do hear things,” he said.
“I’ve got a wide group of friends who kindly send me the odd screen shot of things that are written on social media – generally the more humorous things.
“Someone mentioned I dress as a wine taster for home games, which I thought was a good one.
“But we’d be here for hours talking about my views on social media.
“I think it’s brilliant for spreading awareness and charity work, but there’s some really dark things on social media in terms of why people post.
“Some people haven’t got a lot to do in their lives.”
He added: “It was something that was very important to me while I was managing the academy – educating the young players on the trials and tribulations of social media.
“I think it’s important we educate our young players on the pros and cons of it because it can run people’s lives, especially young people.
“They live their lives in the hope of getting some likes or of people commenting on a status.
“I think you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t portray a life of pure happiness on things like Facebook as that’s not reality.
“Nobody has got a perfect life and I think people could sometimes do more beneficial things with their time.”
Dempster said the more experienced Stags players were able to handle being under fire on social media.
“Our first team players are more experienced than our younger players, so they have experience in dealing with criticism,” he said.
“The more senior ones have got to this position because they can handle the pressure. They can deal with the negativity that comes with being a professional footballer.
“But, of course, if at any point my staff and I can help or aid the players with anything - be it on or off the pitch – we’re always there to support them.”