Clean sheet the key to Stags’ success chances against Portsmouth says skipper Pearce

Mansfield Town's Krystian Pearce
Mansfield Town's Krystian Pearce

Skipper Krystian Pearce believes keeping a clean sheet will be key to Mansfield Town’s chances of beating League Two title-chasers Portsmouth at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.

Stags go into the game just one point and one place outside the play-off spots with two games to go and centre half Pearce said: “I believe we are going to win both games so, hopefully, if we do that we’ll be in there.

“I think we need to keep a clean sheet as we know we are capable of scoring goals. If we can keep a clean sheet I think we’ll get all three points.

“Someone told me we are second in the most clean sheets league behind Portsmouth, so it will be a tight game and hopefully we can come out on top.”

He added: “I am just buzzing to be in contention. Obviously at the start of the season that was always the aim – to get promoted. And we are still in with a chance of doing that so, personally, I am very excited.

“Obviously I’ve been at clubs where we were pushing for promotion and when I was at Scunthorpe we managed to win the play-offs. Hopefully this can be second time around for me.

“With so many teams on the same points it could come down to goal difference. So we’ll be trying to score as many goals as possible.”

Should Stags go up, Pearce admitted: “It will be my biggest achievement so far.

“Obviously it’s taken me a while to get back in the League. I went down with Torquay, but I managed to sign here, established myself in the team, and hopefully can get back into League One and then kick on again.

“I have played in League One before and I know what it’s about.

“I think this squad we’ve got now will do very well in League One if we got there.

“I am happy with my performances so far this season. I think I’ve been quite solid and I have managed to stay on the pitch more than last season which has been helpful!

“I probably am in the best form of my career so far but I still feel there’s more to come.”

Pearce believes the home fans can make the difference on Saturday if they can win the war of noise in the stands against Pompey’s 1,500 army.

“We are going to need everyone behind us and hopefully there will be a big crowd behind us to cheer us on,” he said.

“Portsmouth have got a good following themselves, so if we can out-do them I think that will help.”