VIDEO: Can Mansfield Town get clean sheet and make it fourth time lucky on tough Carlisle United trip?

Stags boss John Dempster
Stags boss John Dempster

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster would like nothing better than a 1-0 win at Carlisle United on Saturday.

Still seeking his first win as manager after three games, Dempster believes if they can achieve a first clean sheet, the Stags have enough going forward to win all three points.

But, after three 2-2 draws in a row, losing the last of them on penalties, he has also ordered his players to do the basics and win the right to display their quality by battling harder earlier in the game.

“We will have a good talk before training today. But talk is cheap,” he said.

“We have to put things into action and that's what we will be looking to do at Carlisle on Saturday.

“It was eventful again on Tuesday night which seems to be the case with us at the minute. I'd be quite happy if we picked up a few 1-0 wins on the way and have less eventful games.

“You don't need to be a rocket scientist to say that if we can improve our goals against column, whether that be from open play or set plays, we will be okay.

“We have players who can score goals and we have players who can create goals in our squad.

“We do look a threat going forward this season and, if we can tighten up against them, I am sure we can leave Carlisle with a positive result.”

He added: “On current form you'd say there are going to be goals, but I'd be quite happy with a 1-0 win there. It's always proved to be a tough place to go over the years we've been back in the Football League.”

Despite twice coming from behind against Morecambe on Tuesday, Dempster said his side were failing to do the basics needed.

He said: “ We felt we could have done better on Tuesday. The effort was there, but when you've got that amount of time to break down 10 men, you want to be more efficient with that.

“We were also disappointed to concede two goals again.

“It's purely the very basics where we've fallen short which, as you can imagine, for a manager or coach is frustrating.

“It's about tightening up defensively in open play, being better at set plays for and against, and also emphasising some of the good play we've had – the positives.

“We've scored two goals in every game so far. So, without stating the obvious, if we can tighten up the defensive side of the game for the XI that start on the pitch, we will be okay.”

Dempster continued: “We need to start picking up clean sheets, there's no point in dancing around it. We know that is within the squad we've got – whatever XI we pick they are capable of getting clean sheets.

“It's important to look forward now. This squad of players need to prove themselves. They have achieved nothing.

“We need to come together and really scrap and fight firstly for those inches and those points. If we don't do that, when you come up against the likes of Newport and Morecambe that's the very least they do.

“I keep hearing about how talented this squad are. But we need to fight for every inch first and foremost. Then that talent will come through.

“When you're coming up against the likes of Newport, Morecambe – and the next challenge is Carlisle – you've got to match them physically. It's a tough league. It is a physical league and set plays and restarts are important.

“If you get those basics right and you've got a talented squad, nine times out of 10 you'll come through on top.”

Carlisle opened with a 2-1 home win over Crawley and a 3-2 defeat at Swindon before chalking up a stunning 3-0 win at Championship club Barnsley in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

“Carlisle are in good form and had an excellent result against Barnsley during the week,” said Dempster.

“Steven Pressley has changed quite a lot there. He was a player I admired and he is now on his journey in management.

“He has changed the way Carlisle play and personnel from last season.

“So we know that going there will be a very tough challenge – it always is when you go to Carlisle. But, in the form they are in, we need to be at our very best to go there and get anything.”

Dempster made five changes for the midweek cup game and was delighted with some of his squad member's displays, forcing themselves into the frame for Carlisle.

“A number of players performed well on Tuesday so they are at the front of my thoughts currently,” he said.

“We will get a really good training session into the players today and that will also be taken into consideration.

“Shirts are still up for grabs – they always are. We want a competitive environment on a day to day basis and payers want to see that light at the end of the tunnel that, if they are performing, there is an opportunity there for them.

“The players have come back in today in good spirits and I expect every player to be champing at the bit and fighting for every inch.”