Jamie McGuire enjoyed every minute of his first start of the season in Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Stevenage.
But, with Mitch Rose available again after suspension, he could find himself out the side again for tomorrow’s game at Dagenham & Redbridge.
The abrasive midfielder knew his games may be limited this season with the influx of new signings, but the 31-year-old knows his motivational role behind-the-scenes with such a young squad is as vital as his performances on the park.
And the Birkenhead-born battler said he now feels a part of Mansfield in his third season with the club and loves the town and its people.
“It was a rare start and I enjoyed every single minute of it,” he said. “I’ve had to be patient as the lads in midfield have done really well. We’ve had a good start to the season and I’ve just had to bide my time.
“That’s why the gaffer put me in. It was a perfect game for me to come in to let the front lads do what they’ve go to do, which they’ve done, and let Chappie (Adam Chapman) get on the ball, which he’s done, and the back four and myself done have done our job with a nice clean sheet.
I didn’t even think about any other club. As soon as the gaffer wanted me to stay and said let’s get it sorted, that was all that mattered.
“It was probably the perfect away performance to be honest with you. We played some really good stuff in the first half and had a couple of chances. At half-time the gaffer had one or two little things to tweak, which we’ve done, we got the two early goals then it was shut up shop.
“It was ‘you come on at us now because we will hit you on the counter attack and try to get another goal’ which Greeny (Matt Green) almost did.
“We had a game plan all week and we stuck to it. The lads were nice and solid. Taffers (Ryan Tafazolli) got his goal, which I was made up for, then Jack Thomas scored his goal. You could see the big smile on his face when he was celebrating it with his granddad and I was made up for him as well.
“But it was a whole team performance from the staff to the lads on the bench and the lads who started. The all-round package was good.”
However, McGuire who won a Conference Championship medal with Fleetwood in 2012, knows his fine display at Stevenage is no guarantee he will start at Dagenham tomorrow.
He said: “The gaffer will have a plan for Saturday. That’s the way he is. He knows what he’s got for Saturday.
“If I am in that starting XI I am in it. If I’m not then that’s the way it goes. It’s a team game. The whole squad if focused and if one goes in, everyone knows their job.
“Hopefully I will play, but we will wait until Saturday and see what happens.”
But McGuire’s lack of match action hasn’t diminished his enjoyment of being an experienced and motivational head behind the scenes.
“I love it,” he said. “I haven’t been playing, but behind the scenes I make sure the lads are up for games. There are a lot of young lads in the team as you know.
“So it’s getting them up for games. League Two is a tough league. I am bolting round. I am a character and I like to gets the lads going and get the fans going. Long may it continue.
“You can see on matchdays - we are all together and we want to learn what the gaffer wants us to do.
“The players need to believe in themselves. You saw on Saturday that it was just – come on boys, let yourselves loose because we can win this game, but we settled for the draw.
“But at Stevenage the lads let themselves go.
“It comes from the experienced boys. We’ve got to help them out. They can be our match winners at the end of the day. It’s a massive thing.”
McGuire has certainly enjoyed the Murray revolution as he looks to stamp his mark on the club in his first full season as manager.
He said: “He is a legend here isn’t he? It’s good to come into the changing room in the mornings as it’s bouncing. We look forward going out to train. We look forward to what the gaffer has got for us.
“Everyone is focused on what he wants and hopefully you can see that on a Saturday.
“I just take every day as it comes. That’s me. I love training and I love being around the boys and around the club. That’s the kind of guy I am.
“The main thing is coming to matchday on a Saturday or on a Tuesday. You can’t beat it.
“Our main focus this year is to get promoted. That’s what we all want to do.”
There was speculation McGuire may move on during the summer. But he said all he ever wanted was to stay with the Stags.
He said: “I didn’t even think about any other club. As soon as the gaffer wanted me to stay and said let’s get it sorted, that was all that mattered.
“I’d spoken to him briefly about what was going on anyway, so I just said let’s get a contract sorted. I wanted to stay here. That’s all that mattered to me.
McGuire would love to stay in football once he hangs his boots up, but for now he is enjoying his job and his time in Mansfield.
He said: “Who doesn’t want to stay in the game?
“Coaching is a big thing. But I like a bit of scouting and a bit of analysing as well. That’s a major thing I like to look at – I like to look at the opposition.
“But I am not thinking about that at the moment. At the end of the day if the gaffer is happy for me to keep on playing I am happy. I am his player. I am involved with Mansfield Town Football Club.
“I love it. You can’t beat it. It’s grown each year with the town, the club, the people. I have met some great people and some good friends so I am loving every moment and long may it continue.”
He added: “I think we have big prospects. We are all focused. We need to keep training hard and taking into games.
“We have a big game Saturday at Dagenham now and it’s important we don’t look beyond it. We’ll get to Dagenham, concentrate on that and hopefully get three points.”
Boss Adam Murray said: “Over the last seven or eight months I’ve been in charge I’ve seen a change in Jamie.
“He has added a lot of discipline to his game. He’s taken responsibility of the group and he is a leader. That shows. To put him in on Tuesday, we knew what he’d give us. We knew what he’d do. I think he complemented Chappie really well.
“He allowed the attacking boys to get on with their roles. There was a good fluidity about us at Stevenage. We flowed at times and did the ugly stuff when we had to. It was a really good performance.”
McGuire is a player few opponents relish going up against and many have ended the day nursing cuts and bruises.
“That’s the way he plays,” said Murray. “He plays on the edge. If you take that away from him, you lose Jamie.
“Sometimes he looks like he’s not in control and people sit on the edge of their seats. But he’s always in control with what he does. He’s not stupid. It was an excellent performance from him at Stevenage and I think he summed up the game.”
He added: “It’s those kind of roles that sometimes go unnoticed.
“The kind of performance Jack Thomas, Craig Westcarr and Reggie Lambe put in at Stevenage was superb. And that was all down to Jamie McGuire doing his bit first.
“When you’ve got that base right it allows people like Chappie to express themselves a little bit more instead of worrying about discipline and it worked well.”