Mansfield Town head to losing play-off finalists Plymouth Argyle this weekend on a real high.
After the battling 1-0 win over Yeovil with 10 men on Tuesday, the Stags sit third in the table, joint top on points, while Argyle’s win at Notts County in midweek was their first points from the first three games and left them in 19th.
“It always looks nice to be up there, but it’s very early days. We have go to get consistency,” said boss Adam Murray.
“When we are not at our best we’ve got to grind results out – we’ve got to nick points here and there.
“When we are at our best we will get results against a lot of teams.
“Our feet have to come back down to earth very quickly after the Yeovil win.
“We have two very tough away games now and we know what this game is like – it has a habit of punching you in the face.
“Plymouth are a very strong team who had a great season last season and they have a very good manager.”
The longest trip of the season on Saturday is part of an amazing seven games in 25 days start to the campaign for Mansfield, but is always the most gruelling on the body, especially just three days after Tuesday night’s gruelling home 1-0 win against Yeovil.
“This month has all been about preparation,” said Murray.
“We said before the season started, not just for us but for every club, this month is a pain.
“There are a lot of games and preparation time and not much time on the training ground to work.
“There is a lot of travelling coming up for us, but everyone is in the same boat.
“The good thing about the month is that you find your feet quickly because you’ve got no choice.
“I think every manager wants this first month out the way.”
He added: “The sides that have got through in the cup have got another game to feed into that.
“It really is a tough month and it’s all about keeping people fresh and to be able to play at a tempo in every game.
“With the cup game and Tuesday games thrown in you do have to be wary of the intensity of what you are doing and recovery is key.”
An away trip to Plymouth certainly eats deep into your schedule.
“It’s not just a whole day. You have to plan two or three whole days around Plymouth away,” said Murray, who is delighted the club have again sanctioned for them to travel down on Friday and stay over.
“Even travelling back, it’s tough when you are playing games in midweek.
“It does take up time and the good thing for us is that the chairman and the board and Paul and Tina (Broughton) have all been fantastic with us in terms of enabling us to get the best out of our preparation.
“We prepared right for Newport and I think it showed in the last minutes we were still going strong down there.
“That’s the benefit of being able to get somewhere, possibly train somewhere, but then plan and recover and have your meetings and make sure you’re getting the right fuel in.
“More importantly it’s getting to bed at the right time and not arriving at hotels at 11pm. The boys can get their feet up and relax at night and prepare how they would at home, it makes a massive difference.”
There have been rumblings about regionalising the lower divisions, but Murray is not a fan of the idea.
“I think it’s part of the game – all the obstacles we have to jump through or over or go round,” he said.
“It’s part of the game and I think it would ruin it if they started saying we were only going to play people within four miles of yourself. It would be rubbish.
“I enjoy the different environments you have to go to and the different obstacles you come across.”
Stags will be without striker Danny Rose, suspended for three games for his red card on Tuesday.
Striker Pat Hoban and centre half Krystian Pearce have returned to training but may not yet be fit enough to start a game after their pre-season lay-offs.
Midfielder Jack Thomas will again miss out with his groin strain as he has not yet resumed training.
It is also likely Brian Jensen will have to continue in goal as Scott Shearer suffered concussion last Saturday, missed the visit of Yeovil, and FA rules state: “The player should not be allowed to return to play for at least six days after the injury (it often takes longer than this) and in strict accordance with the return to play guideline.
“This will include a return to baseline of the SCAT 3, or web-based, neuro-psychological criteria.”