Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes Saturday’s derby with Notts County will be a typical ‘blood and thunder’ encounter as the Stags aim to build on last week’s win at Carlisle.
Murray’s men still harbour slim hopes of securing a play-off spot and a win in Saturday’s 1pm kick-off will continue to put pressure on those above them.
And despite County’s current lowly league position, he is expecting a tough challenge from a side now managed by Mark Cooper and aiming for a third straight win.
He said: “With the money they spent and the resources they’ve got, they should be a top five team in this league; everybody would agree with that.
“They’ve obviously had some ups and downs this season but it’s a big club and, as much as we hate saying it because they’re our local rivals, it is a club steeped in history.
“It’s got a massive fan base and they probably haven’t had the season they planned this year.
“I know Coops, he was a very good footballer as a player. He did a great job at Swindon, I’m shocked to be honest that it took him so long to get back in the game after what he did there because I know he was working on limited resources.
“He’ll get them playing the right way and get them working for him. Fair play to him, I think they’re unbeaten in four now.
“Everything goes out of the window in terms of form and what kind of season you’ve had. It’s a local derby, it’ll be ‘blood and thunder’ and we’re up for it.”
The two sides haven’t met since two quickfire encounters in the league (August 14) and then the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (September 1) earlier in the season, with Stags winning 2-0 in the first game then being beaten 3-1.
Murray said: “The league game seems a long time ago now but we were on it that night and it’s important that come one o’clock on Saturday we’ve got the same focus and drive.
“Our build up all week has been about the importance of what a local derby means. I can guarantee, we’ve seen all season, that our lads play with a lot of fighting spirit every game.
“The energy will be cranked up for this one.
“We need to make sure we do our job as Mansfield people in the stadium on Saturday from supporters, to catering staff, to my staff, to the playing staff and to the directors.
“We’ve all got to make sure we beat Notts County on Saturday and we do that by giving it everything we’ve got.
“It’ll be a tough game. They are obviously playing with a bit of confidence at the minute. They’ve got a little bit of momentum but we’re confident in ourselves.
“We’ve probably not got the results we deserved over the last few games.
“If we’d have got the rub of the green, we’d have been in the play-offs now, so we are very confident in our ability.
“A lot goes out the window on Saturday. It’s a war zone and we’re ready.”