Ritchie Sutton thinks playing four of the top seven sides in League Two this month will bring the best out of Mansfield Town.
Despite last week’s big FA Cup win, the Stags are without a win in six League games or a goal in five League games.
But, as he prepared for tomorrow’s visit of second-placed Oxford United, Sutton said: “It’s going to be a good challenge for us, especially after Saturday. It’s a great game to show what we can do.
“We usually do well against the better teams so we are really looking forward to it.
“These teams have been up there a while now and they are the teams that will probably be up there at the end of the season. So, if we have any aspirations to be up there ourselves this season, we have to compete against teams like this and pick up points.
“It was good to start scoring again last weekend. With the quality we’ve got in attacking areas it was only a matter of time before we started putting them away. You can say it was lesser opposition, but you’ve still got to put them away.”
With John Dempster and Lee Beevers back from suspension, manager Paul Cox suddenly has defensive options, though ‘forgotten’ pair John McCombe and George Pilkington will be hoping they have done enough to keep their shirt after long periods out in the cold with the club.
Sutton added: “They’ve both done well, the pair of them. It’s my position as well so there is a lot of competition there which keeps us all on our toes.
“We have a good team spirit, probably the best since I came here three years ago. The lads are on the same wavelength and want each other to do well.”