A few weeks ago when Mansfield Town were in the midst of a relegation battle, defender Ryan Tafazolli boldly stated that the squad was still good enough to race up the table into the play-offs equation.
Many might have raised their eyebrows at his confidence at that time, but the youngster has been proved right as Mansfield tomorrow head to Accrington Stanley, six points off the play-offs with four games to go.
“I said weeks ago the play-offs were still manageable, and if results now go our way then anything is possible,” he said.
“I did actually believe that if we could pick up a few results we could climb the table rapidly and that’s what we have done.
“I think we are really starting to get things together now. That’s three clean sheets in a row and we will go into the last four games hoping to keep a few more, which will give us a good chance of finishing as high as possible.
“A lot of credit must go to the coaching staff and a lot of credit to ourselves as well. We are making sure we concentrate for the full 90 minutes in games and we are delighted with that.”
Out of favour early in the season, Tafazolli has found himself become a vital part of a settled back three with Martin Riley and Ritchie Sutton and hopes his form is impressing enough to stay there.
“We are good mates off the pitch as well and I think that relationship is being taken onto the pitch,” he said.
“This season we have all found ourselves in and out of the team. But we are now showing what we are capable of and people can see we are worthy of our places with all the clean sheets we are keeping.
“Before this season I had not played much first team football, but since I got in I think I have done all right and I hope the gaffer sees that and the fans too.
“We can’t wait for games to come at the moment with the form we are in. We just want to keep winning and finish as high as possible.
“Last weekend we knew Rochdale were going to be a very good side who try to pass the ball around. But I think our physical presence was a bit too much for them to deal with and, in the end, we got a very good result.”
Tafazolli’s confidence is not wavering, with two tough Easter fixtures ahead, and he said: “I don’t see why we should look at anything less than six points as the form we are in is very, very good. They should fear us. We will go there with good morale.”