Mansfield Town assistant boss Paul Raynor has told the players to prove the bookies right and get promoted
The Stags are pre-season favourites to go up and Raynor said: “We enjoy the pressure.
“People are making us favourites and we’ve said to the boys - respond to that.
“If people think we are that good let’s show them we are.
“Let’s prove it, let’s play with that arrogance and show the potential that people obviously think we’ve got.”
Raynor and boss Steve Evans have nine promotions already and no one would bet against a 10th come next May.
“The track record speaks for itself – that’s why we came here,” said Raynor.
“That’s why the chairman brought us in – certainly not to sit in mid-table and go nowhere.
“He has brought us in to try to get promotion and we have assembled a squad that we think is competitive to try to achieve that. There is a real buzz about us and the town.
“I am ready now for Crewe. It’s been a long pre-season, but a really enjoyable one.
“The boys are gelling together nicely, the team bonding has gone very well and they are a real unit now already. That will be absolutely vital going into the season.
“There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, and it’s about sticking together in the bad times, enjoying the good times, and keeping it on a level playing field.
“We’re getting excited now and I’m sure the fans are getting excited now. We’re nearly there and we’re all looking forward to it.
“The chairman has done his bit. He has enabled us to put together a very competitive squad.”
Raynor said the side picked for Saturday at Crewe would not necessarily be the one for the next game.
“We have to bear in mind the shape and style that Crewe are going to play. We’ve also got to take into account the boys that deserve to be picked on merit and the formation we are going to use,” he said.
“There are loads of factors. Obviously we’ve started to have a good look at Crewe.
“We do have a fair idea in our mind now who will play, but it’s nice that people are giving us a few headaches. Pre-season there have been lots of good individual performances and lots of good team performances.”
Former Stags defender Dave Artell is boss at Crewe this season and Raynor said: “He’s got a nice little mixture.
“Crewe have always been renowned for bringing through young players with a very attractive, possession-based game.
“That will be no different in the way they want to play. We’ve had them watched already and we’ve looked at their games on video.
“He’s added a little bit of experience in there with Jordan Bowery, who we know very well from Rotherham, who is a good striker – a big, strong boy and very talented.
“He’s brought Chris Porter in, he’s got Chris Dagnell in, so he has a nice blend there and added experience to those good, young players.
“I think they will have a very good season and it’s a tough start, but one we are really looking forward to.”