With the play-off dream over, boss Adam Murray believes personal pride will motivate his players to try to finish the season on a high in the last two games, starting at Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The Stags manager has challenged his side to try to finish eighth.
“Leyton Orient will probably be the first to admit they’ve not had the season that they were wanting – not expecting as I don’t think people in the game expect anything,” said Murray.
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“It’s not been the season they would have liked as they are a huge club with some good resources behind them.
“I can remember it was horrendous conditions when we played them at home.
“I can’t remember the last time I went there so I am looking forward to it. I know it’s a big pitch. It will be good to see Hunty (former Stags skipper Nicky Hunt).
“It’s another team in and around us, but these last two games are about us. We want to go and beat them. That will be tough but we want to do it.
“The boys have kicked in some real form and we are looking forward to the game.”
He added: “We’ve finished high in a good place and the tough thing now is that, as much as you ask players to be professional and on it, you have to keep motivating them. Now we can’t get in the play-offs it’s about personal pride.
“For some of them it’s about jobs and for some of them it’s about putting themselves in the shop window to have a shirt next season.
“It’s all preconceptions isn’t it? If you are a player and you finish the season and you’ve had two nightmares you are going into the pre-season with everyone saying he didn’t have the best of finishes.
“So players have to perform and come out like they have for the last five or six games in my eyes, so they come into pre-season giving themselves the best chance of starting the season.
“But they are a good group and I don’t have to threaten them.
“With the big characters we’ve got, if anyone wanted to take their foot off the gas, I am sure the group would pull them into line and if I did sense someone had stepped over the line they wouldn’t be in the squad.”
On last week’s 1-1 home draw with Barnet, he said: “We should have won and it was probably a good summary of our season and the games we need to put to bed to move to the next step.
“We had clear cut chances to win the game and one error has cost us a goal. We only gave them one sniff and it cost us.
“Now let’s try to finish eighth. Why not? We’ve got two good games to finish off with now – two tough games but ones we can challenge ourselves in. Let’s finish as high as we can.
“There’s nothing stopping us. The boys are performing remarkably well at the minute and playing with a lot of confidence and energy.
“The players have had a great season individually and as a group and I think they will have learned a lot from the situations they have been in as a team for the first time. That will make us stronger.”
Murray said he didn’t see the need to play fringe players to give them a last chance to impress.
“No one is going to prove anything to me in two games,” he said.
“I’ve had them for a long time. There’s been 44 games and every single day in training I’ve seen them so there’s nothing I don’t know about these lads.”
Stags head to Orient with an almost clean bill of health, though Junior Daniel took a knock in training and is a doubt while Dan Alfei has had further treatment on his hamstring.
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