Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray today issued a stirring rally call ahead of this weekend’s tough Easter fixtures and insisted his side still believe they can make the League Two play-offs.
Despite a fine draw with Portsmouth, a fourth game on the trot without a win last weekend saw Stags slide down to 13th, seven points short of the play-offs with nine games to go.
However, ahead of a Good Friday trip to rivals Wycombe Wanderers and an Easter Monday home clash with table-topping Northampton Town, Murray defiantly said: “I was a little bit disappointed after Saturday as it’s like some people’s heads have given up.
“You don’t want to be in my camp if you’re like that. We are still in this mix.
“The weak-minded always go under easily and don’t want to fight. We are seven points off it. We are fully in the fight for the play-offs and the point on Saturday kept us alive.
“So we are going into these two games knowing they are big games – we can’t away from that – but they are two great games. We will prepare this week to go to Wycombe and try to beat them and we are looking forward to it.
“That performance and result on Saturday gave us a boost in the right direction and if we come out of this weekend with some points on the board we will be in a great position.
“There are still 27 points to play for – that’s a hell of a lot of points in this game, and we are going out to get every single one of them.
“We have hope and, as long as you’ve got hope, you’ve always got a chance.
“We have an awful lot of belief in the changing room. With 27 points to play for, let’s go and get 27.
“There is a lot of fight in the camp and a lot of spirit in the camp and we want to build on the good season we’ve had so far.
“There is a feeling of excitement. We like the fact that we are on the chase and we believe we should be higher, which is tough to take. We feel we should be higher than our standing shows at the minute.”
If Stags are to get back into the top seven, Murray knows his side are going to have to end their season-long inability to beat teams in the top half of the table.
“The majority of the teams we still have to play are above us,” he said.
“Yes, we know we haven’t managed to pick up points against them this season but what a great opportunity and a great chance if we beat those teams.
“It is a bit of a monkey on our backs and a pattern we need to break and we want to start as soon as possible as time is running out and games are running out.
“There won’t be a better place to do it than at Wycombe – a team, that is doing very well this season.”
Stags will head south to Buckinghamshire on Thursday night for the 3pm Good Friday kick-off against a side that are 8th, just two points off the pace.
“The manager is doing an excellent job there,” said Murray. “People say they are a little club but their average gate is just under 4,000.
“We average just under 3,000, so if they are a little club we are a minute club. It’s a big challenge for us.
“You have to take your hat off to Gareth (manager Ainsworth). He has put a squad together there that works tirelessly for him, very hard for each other, and are effective.
“It will be a tough game for us but we go into it knowing our strengths and knowing their weaknesses and we’ll look to exploit them.
“We’ve come through a lot of learning curves so we know the bigger picture is bright.
“There is a real energy in the group at the minute as we’ve had a really good couple of weeks training-wise and Saturday’s performance was full of spirit and energy. I think we got the balance right on Saturday. We played some good football but went direct when we had to.
“We looked offensive and we looked very structured defensively. Things are clicking nicely.
“It was a good point and a very good performance. It was a tough environment to go into on the back of three defeats. Against one of the top teams in the league it made it even tougher.
“But the boys were superb and put in a really good fighting performance with some good play at time. We showed some real spirit to take the game to them and on the day could have won it.
“It has given them a bit of confidence. After the three defeats you can’t just walk out on a Saturday afternoon and say I am confident now. It doesn’t work like that.
“Confidence is the biggest thing in life, especially in sport. So it would have helped to build that confidence back up again.
“But we need to put another good performance in on Friday and Monday and kick on again.
“I do believe that would be a springboard for us to go again.
“These are two big games against two of the teams that are up there, but against teams we believe we can get points from.”