Rookie Stags manager Adam Murray is looking forward to pitting his wits against his former Mansfield boss Keith Curle for the first time this weekend in the big six-pointer at fellow strugglers Carlisle United this weekend.
Stags will make the long trip north tomorrow with one eye on the weather, which has seen a large amount of snow in Cumbria over the past two days.
But if the game goes ahead as planned, former Carlisle star Murray is under no illusions about the quality of his opposite number at Brunton Park.
He said: “Keith Curle is a quality manager. I have worked under him and he is a good bloke. He will have them organised and up for the battle. He was a success here and is one of the good guys.
“He has a lot of football intelligence and does things the right way. It will be nice to come up against one of his teams and I hope we can get the result we want as a club.
“It is a game we go into with a lot of confidence after our recent performances, even though we’ve not quite got the results we have deserved.
“There is no hiding away that this is a big game for all kinds of reasons. We will set up to win it. But we know it will be a real battle and a real scrap.
“It is frustrating at 3pm that I can’t get out there and get involved in the nitty-gritty of the battlefield as well. But I have brought people in that can represent that for me.
“Because of the situation we are in, there is a bit more emphasis on this game. But, whatever the result, after that there are still 57 points to play for, which is a lot of points.”
He added: “We have made loads of progress with our performance levels. But I am not naïve or stupid enough to think that’s good enough. We need to get better and quickly.
“In the last three games I think we’ve had 48 shots and 11 cleared off the line. If we continue that kind of form, you’d like to think a few goals will start going in.”
The weather remains the major worry for the game, let along the journey and Murray said: “Apparently it is snowing up there and it’s snowing a bit here. But we just have to prepare to go up there and handle the game.
“Everyone is aware it is a long trip. It is part of the factors you have to deal with in that fixture. The boys will be prepared and we can’t wait to get cracking.”
When the sides clashed at One Call Stadium in Curle’s first game in charge, Stags almost let a half-time 3-0 interval lead slip as they clung on at 3-2 for the win.
“They were going through a strange period at that time and we got off to a great start,” said Murray. “Then they showed the players they’ve got to come back second half and put us under real pressure.
“But there has been a lot of changes on both sides since so I don’t think that game will have any relevance on Saturday.”