Adam Murray sent out a rally call to his players and Mansfield Town’s supporters today as the club prepare for one of their biggest games of recent years at home to Tranmere Rovers tonight (7.45pm).
Despite some good performances, the Stags have just lost five on the bounce and sit nervously six points off the bottom two drop zone with four games to play.
I expect from the fans what they expect from us as a group tomorrow
Struggling Tranmere, who have never been relegated from the League since they were founder members in 1921, are currently in that bottom two and simply have to win tomorrow while a win for Mansfield should be enough to ensure survival for Murray’s men.
“It is a great time to unite,” said manager Murray. “I have asked for it in recent weeks and tomorrow we need everyone pulling in the same direction.
“I expect from the fans what they expect from us as a group tomorrow – 110 per cent commitment, passion and pride and a battle mentality.
“We have to stick together and, if everything goes to plan, we will come out of the victors. It will be a hostile game with a lot of tension and anxiety between both sets of players. We are looking forward to it.”
He added: “These are always sterner tests because of what is at stake. It won’t be about football. It will be a war, a battle.
“It is all about focus. It’s a game that you can get mentally drawn into. We are going to have to stay focused and relaxed at the same time.
“We need to go and play our game. We have shown that when we perform at home we put teams on the back foot. We have some good players in this group and we have shown recently that we can dictate games against top of the table teams.
“Micky Adams is a superb manager with a lot of experience. He will know what he has to do tomorrow like we know what we have to do.”
Stags should have Leicester full back Callum Elder’s loan extension sorted to enable him to complete the season with Mansfield after his current deal expired today.
“The paperwork is with the FA and we are just waiting on clearance, which should be done today,” said Murray.
Although there are a couple of injury worries, Murray had better news on Terry Hawkridge and Simon Heslop, who missed the weekend defeat at Plymouth with illness, and keeper Lenny Pidgeley, who was out injured.
Ritchie Sutton, injured in the warm-up on Saturday, is still having treatment as are a couple of other unnamed players.
“Terry and Simon were back in training yesterday (Sunday) and should be back with the group for the game tomorrow,” he said.
“Ritchie had a check-up and is having treatment, but it feels a lot better and we are hopeful on that one.
“Lenny is also back. He had a slight tear to his hamstring and needed a scan. It is a grade one or two tear and, although he is feeling it, it’s not a muscle he put too much effort on so it won’t keep him out.
“We do have a couple of knocks from the weekend and they are having treatment. They will need the extra 24 hours and they will be assessed in the morning.”
Another big boost for Murray tomorrow is the return, after a four game ban, of exciting winger Junior Brown.
“He is a good option to have,” said Murray. “In games and certain parts of games we have missed his ability to create something out of nothing.
“Junior gives us an attacking threat and we have missed him. With Terry back as well we have good attacking options.
“It’s all really positive here at the moment. We have a really positive feeling in the camp.
“It’s a big game for everyone. Tranmere have got to come here and win. But we want the three points so we are done and dusted.
“There is an incredible focus in the group at the minute, even though we haven’t picked up the results we’ve deserved.
“I would be more worried going into the last four games if we’d not been performing well. Our performances have been outstanding, but we’ve not had the rub of the green we’ve deserved or been ruthless enough in both boxes.
“But the focus and positive energy in the group is superb and I couldn’t ask for more.”