Stags will go ‘1,000mph’ in crucial game at Crawely promises Bennett

Mansfield Town v Blackburn Rovers.
Rhys Bennett dances round the Blackburn's Stephen Hendrie.
Mansfield Town v Blackburn Rovers. Rhys Bennett dances round the Blackburn's Stephen Hendrie.
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Mansfield Town defender Rhys Bennett assured supporters the players would go ‘1,000mph’ at Crawley for a win this Saturday in a last ditch bid to make the play-offs.

Last weekend’s unfortunate 1-0 home defeat by Portsmouth means even a win may not be enough for the Stags if other results go against them.

Stags were beaten by a deflected goal last weekend and Bennett admitted: “It was hard to take, especially the way the game played out. I thought we created enough chances to win the game and I thought we were resolute a defence.

“Their goal took a nick off me and obviously diverted over Jake (Kean), so that’s that.

“It was unfortunate, but we played well, could have won the game and probably should have won the game.”

That leaves Mansfield having to make sure they win and hope four of five other games get the result needed.

“Now we’ve got to go to Crawley and we’ve got to win – that’s all we can do,” he said.

“There will be people keeping an eye on the other results but as players we just need to go there and win. There’s no sitting back.

“As professionals you want to finish the season well. You want to go on your holidays reflecting back on a good performance.

“It’s nice to still be involved in the play-off scenario going into the last game. We will go there and give it our all.”

Whether they go up or not, Mansfield have enjoyed a tremendous second half to the season since Steve Evans was installed as manager in November.

“I feel since the gaffer’s come in we’ve done well as a team and shown top end of the play-offs form if not automatic promotion form so we’ve just got to carry that on,” said Bennett.

“It shows the transformation we’ve had as a team and as a group of players. That’s great going forward.

“Confidence is a big thing in football. The gaffer has come in and instilled confidence in the players and also we have more confidence as a team. Winning games breeds confidence so that’s pretty explanatory.”

Bennett began the season as right back and was then moved to centre half, but said: “I am a football player so I like playing football. I really love the game no matter what position I am in on the pitch.”

Bennett, who this week was named Chad Readers’ Stags Player of the Year, will also reach a landmark of he pays the full game at Crawley, becoming the only Stags player this season to play every minute of every game.

“It’s nice,” he smiled. “ I like to be there to help the team so it’s nice to be able to play every game personally, but I don’t really think about it to be honest.”

The last Stags player to achieve that was keeper Alan Marriott in 2009/10 and the last outfield player was Alex John-Baptiste in 2006/07.

Bennett’s contract is up this summer and he and the rest of the players will meet boss Evans next week to see if they are being retained.

“I would love to stay,” said Bennett. “The club have an option on me for next year, so when I speak to the gaffer he will obviously reveal his plans for me.

“I am like any other player, I am just waiting to hear what his plans are for me.

“I don’t really like this time of year. Obviously you create friendships with other players. As footballers we spend quite a lot of time with each other every day so obviously you create friendships and bonds.

“To be worrying about your future and to see your team mates possible leave I don’t think it’s a nice time of year. “But it’s part of the profession so we just have to get on with it. You do keep in touch with each other. It’s a good group of lads and we enjoy each other’s company.”

Bennett’s message to supporters ahead of the Crawley trip was: “Every game we are going to give 100 per cent. You saw it last Saturday and you’re going to see it again this Saturday.

“We will go 1,00mph for this win on Saturday, so if you can get down and help the boys it could be a great end to the season.”