Stags wary of strugglers

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AFTER seeing Southport roar back for a 2-2 draw from two goals down on Tuesday, Stags are now preparing to face three of Southport’s relegation rivals inside six days, starting with Saturday’s trip to Hayes and Yeading.

“A lot of people will say you are playing teams near the bottom and it should be easy but you don’t want to be facing these teams at this time of year,”said manager Duncan Russell.

“You want to play struggling sides early or mid season as by now they are fighting hard to stay in this division and it’s going to be tough.

“We have to overcome that and put games to bed like we should have done on Tuesday.

“I didn’t need to have a go at the players at the end as I could tell by their body language that they knew they had let slip a game they should have won comfortably.

“In the first half we played some of the best football I’ve seen us play at Field Mill and, at 2-0 up, if we’d scored the penalty the game would have been dead and buried.”

Apart from Marriott and Rhys Day, who is out for the season, Stags’ only other injury problem is Ashley Cain (thigh).

That will give Russell plenty to choose from in a crazy week in which, after the Hayes trip, Stags face three home games in five days.

He added: “I know fans want to see you put out your strongest team every time but it would be asking too much of some off those players, mentally and physically, to play all three games in such a short space of time. So we are just going to have to box clever a bit with it.”

Russell also confirmed he intends to speak to chairman John Radford this week about next season.

“If I manage to procure the manager’s job for next season then I need to bring in new players,” he said. “I would want two for every position but they have to be the right players and not players whose chin is on their chest if they are not selected.

“You have to do it the way Crawley have done it or you will not get out of this league.”