Mansfield Town centre half David Mirfin wants to shut out some of his former team mates with a clean sheet against free-scoring neighbours Notts County in Saturday’s derby.
“There are a few lads there I have played with before – Jonathan Forte, Jon Stead, Terry Hawkridge – so you know the ability they’ve got,” said Mirfin.
“But, as a defender, you do enjoy going up against people that might be a bit more prolific in scoring goals as you want to be the one that stops them. If no one is talking about them after the game you know you’ve done a good job.”
Mirfin is impressed by County’s six-game winning streak and said: “Obviously they are laying down their marker and probably every other team in the league has looked up and thought ‘we weren’t expecting that’.
“Coming up against a team in form, you want to be the ones who beat them. Added to that they are local rivals, it’s all adding up to be a game that every player will want to play in.
“I’ve played in a few derbies and the build-up from the media and fans is probably more than what is inside the camp. Staff always want to prepare the same and not make it more than what it is.
“But then as soon as you come out for the game you can just tell it’s a bit more electrifying and fans are louder than normal.
“You want to give fans those bragging rights on the Monday morning. It’s a great feeling to have as a footballer when you walk off and see how happy they are. That’s a big part of wanting to get a result on Saturday as well.”
Mirfin said the game also represented the perfect chance to quickly put Tuesday’s 3-0 capitulation at Cheltenham Town behind them.
“As a group of players we were massively disappointed, not only with the result but how it happened,” he said.
“In games previously where we’ve not performed as we’d have wanted, we at least stayed solid and ground results out.
“We have to hold out hands up and say we were miles off it. Luckily we’ve got a great chance to put it right on Saturday.
“We are full of confidence and it has all the ingredients for a great game.
“It’s probably a blank canvas for Saturday who starts and the lads have looked bright in training. The gaffer will be seeing who wants it the most.”