Paul Cox paid tribute to his table-toppers as they finally took pole position in the race for automatic promotion tonight with a crucial 2-1 win at rivals Forest Green Rovers.
And he has told them to stay away and rest up for the next couple of days before they travel to Wrexham for the big title showdown on Tuesday.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games tonight, played in torrential rain, but Stags were in control throughout until Rovers grabbed a late goal and threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Mansfield goal.
“Tuesday’s game against Grimsby took a lot out of us and there were some tired legs near the end out there tonight,” said Cox.
“Now they have a couple of days off. I want them back in with fresh minds and fresh bodies as we go into the last nine games.
“I want the lads to rest up at the weekend and see their families. It will do them good not to have to see my ugly mug for a couple of days. They will all come in as fresh as daisies.
“I was chuffed for them tonight and very proud. The attitude and desire in the pouring rain was magnificent. They really worked hard.
“I don’t know where the referee got five minutes from at the end, but we defended ever so well and the lads put their head in where it hurts.
“It was a fabulous result tonight. We played a very good side tonight. We have played better but it’s results that matter now.
“We started the press the self-destruct button with 20 minutes to go and got a bit sloppy, but we got away with it.
“It’s nice to be top, though we know it could be just overnight if results go for other teams tomorrow.”