After two successive cup games, Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney says the Stags can’t wait to return to the League Two promotion chase when Port Vale provide the opposition in Stags’ fourth successive home game tomorrow (3pm).
Mansfield are on a run of 13 games unbeaten and defender Sweeney said: “We are itching to get back into League action and we are all looking forward to it.
“We are more where we want to be now in terms of the league table. But I still think we have another few gears to go through.
“If I am being honest, in terms of performances we should be higher.
“But we’ve still not hit that really good run where we put consecutive wins together. Hopefully, starting Saturday, we can pick up back-to-back League wins which will really push us in the right direction.
“We are starting to be more clinical in our performances now. There were a lot of games earlier in the season when we dominated but didn’t get the result we wanted.”
Sweeney is enjoying the passing game from the back being implemented by boss David Flitcroft.
“When we are on the ball we are not a team that just wants to chuck it forward or play percentage football,” he said.
“We want to try to pass it out the back and make good angles for each other.
“When we are out of possession we are very no-nonsense and we like to be an aggressive back three off the ball.”
As a youngster from Stoke City, Sweeney said he’d had no problem being pitched into football at this level.
“It’s not been about adapting to League Two football for me, just more about adapting to what the manager wants in terms of playing style,” he said.
“That was always going to take a couple of weeks. He has put his trust in me and that can only help me when the manager has confidence in you.
“We all pride ourselves on putting in a good performance individually, once you do that it all comes together in a collective team performance.
“But you can’t take anything for granted. Once you take your foot off the gas and get a little bit comfortable, that’s when things start to go go wrong.
“I know that would never happen here in terms of the way we train and the way the gaffer has the environment set up.
“We all set high standards of each other in the changing room and you can see that out on the pitch.”
Sweeney will come up against experienced Vale top scorer Tom Pope on Saturday.
“Tom Pope has scored goals wherever he’s been in his career, so he’s always going to be a handful,” he said.
“I think it’s important we focus on ourselves, but you always need to be aware of opposition strengths and what certain players can bring to the table on the day.
“It’s important that once we nullify their threats ton the day then we stick to what we have been doing as it’s been pretty successful this season.
“We back ourselves to give anyone a test in this division.”