Adam Murray has challenged his Mansfield Town players to end Saturday in the League Two play-off spots as they take on visiting AFC Wimbledon looking for a first home win of the season.
After last Saturday’s fine 2-1 win at York City, the Stags were left sitting in eighth place, just one point and one place outside the play-off places.
“Our whole focus is now on Wimbledon and I have told the boys I want to come out of Saturday in the play-offs - that’s the focus,” said manager Murray,
“It will be a tough one. They have got a strike force that’s a handful. But we’ve obviously done our homework on them already.
“We’ve watched all their game’s apart from Tuesday’s so we know their strengths and weaknesses. But we are at home and we have already laid down the marker in the dressing room that we want our first home League win of the season on Saturday. We want to put three points on the board.
“Saturday will be about us. We will go out there and play on the front foot, we’ll set our style of play and our tempo onto them and we want to win.”
Murray is expected to welcome back the six players he rested for Tuesday night’s disappointing 3-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit at Notts County, which Murray used to give ring-rusty players a much-needed outing and try out one or two different formation options.
“The game was used as a day to get a bit of individual strength and conditioning work and a little bit of specific fitness work into certain players away from the game that will benefit them and it will benefit us in the long run,” he said.
“We got the lads that haven’t been playing some valuable game time, so the squad will be better for the work-out.
“I am always disappointed to lose a game of football and we were disappointed for our fans that travelled as I thought they were superb again, great backing. Even when we were losing at the end they stayed and supported us and backed us and we’ll repay them this season.
“We owe them for last season. I owe them for putting up with what they went through. Now they’ll get the repayment.”
The Dons are currently four places and a single point adrift of Mansfield and have done well in their two away League games to date, winning 2-1 at Crawley Town and drawing 1-1 at Carlisle United.
It is at home where they have struggled, losing 2-0 to Plymouth and 2-1 to Cambridge before beating Exeter 2-1.
Midweek saw a home rematch with Plymouth in the JPT, the Dons making five changes to rest players for the Stags game, and they roared into a 2-0 lead only to see the Pilgrims hit back to win it 3-2.
Mansfield know all about the dangers posed by Adebayo Azeez and the giant Adebayo Akinfenwa, who like Stags’ keeper Brian Jensen is nicknamed ‘The Beast’.
When the sides met at One Call Stadium in mid-March a crucial late Rakish Bingham goal earned Stags a much-needed 2-1 win to edge them towards League safety.