Mansfield Town face a make or break March, starting with tomorrow’s visit of much-improved relegation battlers Yeovil Town.
With Stags down to 10th and two points off the play-offs, Adam Murray’s men then face four tough clashes with promotion rivals Portsmouth and Northampton at home and Bristol Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers away.
Stags are yet to beat a side in the top half of the table all season.
Click HERE to read Murray’s thoughts on the Yeovil game
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“The next five or six weeks are make or break as we’re playing everyone around us,” admitted boss Adam Murray.
“We have to take it game by game, but I am a sucker for patterns and trends and at some point there has to be a swing in the motion.
“If we can swing at this point in the season and start taking points off the teams around us we have a chance of being in the mix.
“The teams up there I expected to be there. Wimbledon expected to be up there as they’ve had a little go at it. Those teams have a pressure on them to stay there.
“We are the underdogs and we’re enjoying it as everyone is saying: ‘what’s this lot doing here? They shouldn’t be here.’
“We want to stay there and now we want to get back in the top seven and go out with a massive bang, whether we are successful or not.
“We have gatecrashed the league so far this season which is a credit to the players and, when we’ve needed them, the supporters have come to the party. “The football club has been brilliant and it’s been a good season so far.”
Whatever happens, Murray is happy with his squad, most of whom will stay in the summer, and believes the future is exciting.
“It’s a bright future with the squad of players we’ve got right now,” he said.
“We are going to be competitive every season. I am quite excited about the next few years with everything that’s in place.
“We are in a great position. I want the boys to enjoy this run-in and give it everything we’ve got. As fans, as coaches and as players – let’s go out with a bang.
“We have nothing to lose. We are happy with what we’ve achieved so far this season, but we’re not content. We’ve been in the top 10 virtually all season so we want to finish up there now.
“Wherever we finish we want to finish with a massive building block, a massive step for next season.
“Whatever division we are in next season I honestly feel we are going to be better than this season. We want to finish on a high and go out with everything we’ve got.
“If we don’t quite make it, we’ll be disappointed, but we go again. We build and we come into next season a hell of a lot wiser and a hell of a lot better with a know-how how to win which is priceless.”
Murray continued: “We don’t want to go out and finish 14th – even though that would be a good season from where we were. Everything we’ve got as a football club now we’ve got to chuck at 12 games and see where it goes.
“Last game of the season, if we fall over the line either way I want my players virtually dead on that last game of the season as they’ve given everything. I know I would have given everything I had mentally and physically and they have to do the same.
He added: “If we’re not ruthless in this last 12 games we won’t achieve. If we can do what I believe we can do I honestly believe we’ll be up there.
“If we take care of our business we will be in there. That’s the bottom line.
“We know we’re doing above what was expected. But we are that close and I really believe we can do this.
“We’ve just got to keep going and the boys have go to keep believing how good they can be.”