Stags defender Ritchie Sutton believes the play-offs are a minimum requirement for next season after a successful first season back in League football for the club.
Sutton has had a fine season in a defence high up in the clean sheets table this season and said: “I think it is a minimum of the play-offs next year. We just need to learn to be consistent.
“We have some good, young players like Ollie Palmer coming through, Sam Clucas as well.
“I have played nearly 40 games at League level this year which has been good for me personally, knowing I can do it at this level.
“I was in and out the side when I was at Port Vale.
“I think it has done me a favour playing three at the back as I am halfway between an out and out centre half and a full back. I am happy on the right of a three – it’s perfect for me, but whether we stay with the a three remains to be seen.”
Sutton hopes he can iron out a new deal when Cox sorts his retained list this week.
He said: “I have a one-year option and I want to get something sorted as soon as possible. The gaffer knows I am happy here and want to play my football.”
Sutton is hoping the side have learned from successive home defeats last week to Cheltenham and Torquay ahead of tomorrow’s final game at relegation-haunted Bristol Rovers.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. “Obviously we lost to Cheltenham and hoped we had learned a lesson from that. But it wasn’t to be.
“There are no excuses. But with Junior Daniel going off injured early against Torquay, an own goal and then Matt Rhead sent-off you couldn’t help but start thinking it’s not your day.
“Torquay are not a bad side at all and you know that anyone can beat anyone in this league. We know that a team that has gone down that came and gave us a lesson.
“It is going to be a very tough game for us tomorrow. The main thing is we need to finish our season on a high. We don’t want to go into the close season feeling disappointed.
“We know we have a good chance of the play-offs and promotion next season and we want to get a good result on Saturday for our fans. Whether we send Rovers down or not, we are looking to win the game.”
A win could leave Stags in the top 10 and Sutton added: “Most people would have taken this at the start of the season. But we set our standards so high in the beginning, then we had that big dip without a win and, if we could have picked up a couple more points in that time, we could still be fighting for the play-offs.”
Sutton was disappointed that he couldn’t help teenage defender Liam Marsden make a winning debut in last weekend’ 3-1 home loss to Torquay.
“I was supposed to be looking after him the most down that right hand side and so I was disappointed we couldn’t give him the result he wanted,” said Sutton.
“Even though a couple of the crosses came from that side, I think he’d been left out to dry a bit sometimes and you can’t really blame him.”