Mansfield Town not thinking of last day winner-takes-all scenario

Mansfield's Neal Bishop in action
Mansfield's Neal Bishop in action

Mansfield Town midfield ace Neal Bishop said it was important the players concentrate on the next game and not the possibility of a dramatic winner-takes-all finale to the season at MK Dons.

With eight games left and the sides level on points, Stags could face the biggest of games at Stadium MK on the last day of the season.

But Bishop said it was vital all focus was solely on Saturday’s home clash with Crewe Alexandra.

“We are aware that is the last game but it is dangerous to look that far ahead,” he said.

“If we look that far ahead we will be disrespecting our next opponents, who are Crewe on Saturday.

“I assume people have looked that far ahead but if it comes to that, so what? It is what it is.

“These are the season you want to be involved in as a player. There is nothing to fear.

“It’s all there in front of us. Spirit in the dressing room is fantastic and it’s something we are embracing as a group.

“What a great opportunity to achieve something really special.

“It’s in our own hands. If we win enough games we will get promoted.”

He added: “It means everything. I think we are well aware of what it means to the club and our supporters who have backed us all season.

“There are so many people we want to do this for, not least ourselves.

“I said in January when we went out and got the reinforcements we did, there’s no excuses for us not to go out and deliver.”

Stags lost two home points when held by leaders Lincoln on Monday, but Bishop said a point against City has to be respected.

“We wanted all three, but you can never dismiss a point,” he said.

“Lincoln haven’t lost a lot of games and are sat top of the league so they are the best in the division over the 30-odd games played. “So we’ll take a point. It moves us back into third place.

“We have eight games left and we are sat in the promotion places so I don’t see any reason to be negative. What a time.

“It’s fantastic for us as players to be involved in such a run-in and once we have to grasp with both hands and enjoy.”

Saturday’s opponents look set for a mid-table finish and appear to have little to play for, which Bishop said made them a potentially dangerous animal.

“I think Crewe will probably come and have a go on Saturday,” he said.

“They are not going to get relegated and they are not going to go up. It’s a free game for them and teams in that position can be dangerous.

“We respect them as a good footballing team as they are and showed last weekend, scoring six. They will be on a high and will fancy their chances coming here.

“It should be a good open game of football and hopefully we can capitalise on that.

“There will be another good crowd here on Saturday and Crewe will want to showcase themselves. They have a lot of very good players.

“You have seen this season they are more than capable of going to the better teams and taking them on. We will certainly be respectful of the threat they are going to cause on Saturday.

“It’s going to be just as tough a game as Lincoln probably, in a different way, and we could get turned over. So we have to be fully at it.”

Bishop enjoyed every minute of Monday’s blood and thunder derby with Lincoln.

“It was a proper game of football and a proper derby,” he said.

“You could tell it mattered to both teams and, being on Sky, it was a good advert for the league.

“It was 100mph from minute one and I thought we acquitted ourselves really well.

“Everyone I know who watched it it at home said how good it was, better than they expected with their limited knowledge of League two football.

“Fitness levels were ridiculously high, so credit to both sets of players.”