Mansfield Town skipper Lee Collins said the Stags need to come out all guns blazing when in-form Yeovil Town visit One Call Stadium on Saturday.
Although still only six points above the drop zone, under new boss Darren Way the Glovers have been much improved, only losing once in eight League matches.
Collins said: “When we played them down there I thought they were a good team and they played well. We pinched the points in the last minute.
“They are in a good run of form and have only lost three games in 15.
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“I have a friend who plays there. I speak to him every other week and he says they are playing really good football but just not getting the rub of the green.
“They had two good draws back-to-back with Plymouth and Portsmouth, so they are a good team.
“Most games at this level are close anyway. We can’t just turn up and expect to win half-heartedly. We’ve got to come out all guns blazing on Saturday.”
The Stags are 10th, two points outside a play-off battle they were never expected to be involved in.
“We are there for the hard work we’ve put in and we deserve it for what we’ve done,” said Collins.
“We’ve been up there for the majority of the season. And we’re there on merit.
“At the start of the season we were favourites to go down, so for us to be there still with teams around us that were expected to be there, there is more pressure them to hold onto those spots rather than us making it into them.
“I kept an eye on the results on Tuesday night and Northampton did us a little bit of a favour, though we could have done with them winning for us.
“It’s still really tight and there’s so much competition for those four spots in the play-offs, but I think we’re well equipped to give it a good go.
“We had a bit of negativity aimed as us as teams had a few games in hand on us, but we said at least we’d got the points on the board and they’ve got to win them. At the moment the teams around us haven’t gone and won those points.
“So it’s levelling out now and it’s going to make for a great last home straight of 10 games.”
With Nicky Hunt’s departure for Leyton Orient, the captain’s armband has been handed back to Collins, who said he takes that in his stride.
“It doesn’t change me,” he said. “I’ve been captain before here and captain at another club.
“I like to think I live my day-to-day lifestyle, in and out of training and on the pitch, as a captain anyway.
“To be given the armband is an extra bit of credit. But I don’t change anything I do. I am still vocal and I still try to organise. I still demand more from players. So it’s not much of a change.
“As a senior pro I put a lot of pressure on myself every game to be someone that sets us off or influences other people, that’s a captain’s job anyway.
“We have a team full of captains here really, especially with the senior lads.”
Collins is delighted to see the club already confound bookies’ summer predictions of relegation.
“With the squad the gaffer has put together I knew we wouldn’t struggle,” he said. “I felt insulted we were favourites to go down, but obviously we’ve proved a lot of people wrong.
“We have a lot of quality in there and a lot of strength in depth. All our bench could equally start every game.
“There’s a lot of lads that have played a lot of games, then you have the young, fresher lads who have a lot of potential to do well in their career. So we have got the balance right and we bounce off each other quite well.
“We are an aspirational club. We want to do well. This year is a bonus as we are a brand new squad and we’ve been in the top 10 all season, pushing for top seven.
“If promotion doesn’t work out this year, it’s firmly on our mind for next year.
“The foundation is there, so there will be no excuses. But that’s not to say we aren’t going for it this year.”