Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray eased the tension surrounding Saturday’s pressure-cooker showdown at relegation rivals Carlisle United by dismissing suggestions it was a must-win match.
After Saturday’s promising 0-0 home draw with Wycombe, Stags are two points from the drop zone in 20th with former Stags boss Keith Curle’s Carlisle just two places and one point below them.
But Murray insisted “This game is not win or bust. There are still 20 games to go and you won’t get a gold medal for winning on Saturday.
“We will just go there and give 2000 per cent commitment for this football club.
“After that there will still be 19 games to go and three points up for grabs in each.
“They are a team in transition just like we are. I have worked under Keith Curle and know he is a top manager and a good guy.
“Every game is going to be a battle from now to the end of the season. We have 20 cup finals and we are very positive within the group.
“We are aware where we sit in the league at the minute. But our thought process is that we are looking up and seeing how far we can push up the table. We have no one with a negative mindset here. I am not having any of that.
“We are up against a hard challenge up there with the surroundings and all that goes with a game at Carlisle.
“We will travel up on Friday and we will be prepared. We are in a positive frame of mind.”
There is a big worry about the weather with snow forecast. But Murray said: “It is an uncontrollable. If it snows it snows. We will prepare accordingly.
“We didn’t get to train on grass last week apart from going though our set pieces on Friday. At the moment we are just planning to go up there and manage the game.”
The game sees a return to one of his former clubs for Murray and he added: “I had some good times up there.
“We got two promotions from the Conference to League One. We had a great squad and a great team spirit. I enjoyed my time there, but it makes no difference to Saturday.”
Stags have only won once in their last 10 games while Carlisle have lost four of their last five, though showed their spirit when the sides clashed at One Call Stadium in September as they fought back from a 3-0 interval deficit to net twice and push Stags all the way to a nervy win.
The January transfer window closes on Monday and Murray said there could be further movement.
“There are a couple of things simmering about so we will have to wait and see what the next few days hold. It is possible there could be ins and outs,” he said.