CARETAKER boss Peter Shirtliff said he looking for a reaction from his players to manager Carlton Palmer's resignation when they take on Southampton in the Carling Cup of the second round at Field Mill tomorrow night (7.45pm).
Shirtliff has quickly thrown his hat into the ring for the permanent job and immediately has three games in eight days to stake a real claim, starting with tomorrow's visit of Harry Redknapp's Championship outfit.
Saints have had an indifferent start since relegation, winning only three but losing just one of their eight games so far to sit seventh on 13 points.
Stags knocked out a Stoke City side that sit fifth - two places above the Saints - in the last round.
But Shirtliff said; "Being realistic, I expect Southampton to be a different proposition to Stoke.
"They were a Premiership club last season and they have a good squad of players who will be coming here looking to progress.
"I do not know what sort of side they will bring and they may make a few changes.
"But it is down to our players to show me a reaction to what happened on Saturday. I am looking for a competitive attitude and a performance.
"It is no good feeling sorry for ourselves. We have got to move on - that's life. You just can't stand still.
"I want the players I select to go out there and express themselves and play with no fear. They have to put a good performance on."
Central defender Jon Olav Hjelde begins a three game ban for his red card at Rochdale while midfielder Stephen Dawson again misses out with a groin strain.
Admission prices to the game are reduced to 12 adults and 6 concession, though there is no student discount.