Boosted by ending their winless league streak at 13 games with Sunday’s fine 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town, Mansfield Town face another stern test today when they welcome high-flying Burton Albion to One Call Stadium (3pm).
And manager Paul Cox is hoping Sunday’s hard-earned victory has got his players over a mental barrier that had seen them throw so many points away late in recent games.
Cox was delighted to see the miserable run finally end and said: “It has been fine lines in a number of those games.
“But at Cheltenham I thought we were back to doing what we are good at against a very good side, who are one of the form teams in the division.
“It was nerve-racking at the end. But that was always going to happen. Cheltenham threw the kitchen sink at us hoping we would cave in at the end like we have done in recent games.
“There was a bit of anxiety, which was only to be expected after our recent run. But we we held on and I am hoping that was a big, psychological barrier we have got over, winning the game, despite being under heavy pressure.
“After Rochdale I had a look at myself and the players had a look at themselves and we had some honest conversations between us. I think a culmination of a few things has hopefully got us back on track and winning football matches.”
However, Cox knows his side face a huge task today to try to prevent Burton completing a double over the Stags. The Brewers, who are joint top on points but third on goal difference, have not lost in nine games, though goals are at premium with Burton winning six of them 1-0 and drawing the other three 1-1.
“Burton are where they are because they are a good side and they will be a good test for us,” said Cox.
“But it doesn’t matter who we play right now, I just want us to start showing some consistency. The players need to continue with the mindset they showed at Cheltenham and hopefully we can get another result.”
A busy week for Stags ends with a trip down to the West Country on Friday to prepare for Saturday’s game at Exeter City (3pm).
Today also sees the opening of the January transfer window with Cox saying: “We are working hard and we have plenty of irons in the fire.
“I have spoken to a lot of players, agents and clubs recently, but I am not sure how much business we will be able to do yet.
“Obviously we want to improve the squad, but I also know we are a bit top heavy now. So to be able to generate the money we would need to bring players in, we would have to see players moving on, too. We have got to be patient.”
Matt Rhead should be fit for the Burton visit after hurting an ankle on Sunday. But Jamie McGuire, who pulled a groin muscle, is awaiting the results of a scan and unlikely to figure in either game.