Experienced heads can see Stags through says Byrom
Mansfield Town midfielder Joel Byrom believes current Stags players' experience of gaining past promotions can play a big part in keeping the club's play-off hopes alive this weekend.
Mansfield take on play-off rivals Wycombe Wanderers and Luton Town over Easter knowing they may need to win both to close in on the top seven.
But Byrom, who helped Northampton up last season, assured: “It can definitely still be done. You look at any sort of league table towards the end of a season and so many results come up that you think are a bit dodgy.
“You have teams down the bottom fighting for their lives who are going to pick up points from the teams up at the top.
Big Match Preview - all you need to know“We play a lot of the teams around us so we’ll be looking to pick up points of them and we’ll be looking to take three points in every game.
“You’ve got a lot of experience in our dressing room. You’ve got a lot of promotions in there and there are a lot of lads who’ve played a lot of games in this league and the league above.
“We’ve just to take what we’ve learned in the past and take all our good experiences from promotions and winning sides and put that into practice in the games. That will hopefully stand us in good stead until the end of the season.
“You’re always helping out the younger boys in the squad – the likes of Ben Whiteman, who has come in and been brilliant. He probably hasn’t been in a situation like this before, so whenever he wants to ask a question we’re always happy to help.”
Stags have lost their last two games but Byrom believes the defeats were undeserved and that the side are playing as well as ever.
“I think for the last month or so performances have been very good,” he said.
“We’ve matched every team we’ve played against and probably been the better side for most of those games.
“But just for the last couple of weeks maybe a couple of decisions haven’t gone our way and we’ve ended up being on the end of bad results.”
Stags were beaten 1-0 by a late goal at Doncaster Rovers last weekend which saw Rovers promoted.
“I think you’ve probably seen the champions there at Doncaster. I thought they were the strongest team we’ve faced since I’ve been here,” he said.
“But I thought we more than matched them for the majority of the game and we’ve had chances. We could have had a penalty near the end and we’ve had a couple cleared off the line. But we came away the wrong side of a 1-0.”
Despite the two defeats in a row, Byrom said the dressing room atmosphere was still excellent.
“It’s been lively for the last month to six weeks now - the lads have been bubbling,” he said.
“There are lads champing at the bit trying to get into the team and there are lads who have had the shirt for the majority of the time who’ve done well to keep the shirt.
“I think that has got to be the case to the end of the season now. “We’ve still got a lot to play for with five games to go and a lot of points to play for against a lot of the teams around us in the league.”
He added: “It’s just a case of one game at a time now. We’ve got to look to Wycombe on Friday, take the three points then get ourselves back and ready for Monday.
“It’s a massive weekend for the football club and we’ve got to go into it full of confidence. I know the last two results haven’t been great but the performances have been up there again.
“We just have to take the confidence from the performances and turn them into results really.
“We’ve got to come away with two results no matter what.”
On tomorrow’s opponents Wycombe, Byrom said: “I have always thought they’ve been a good, solid team.
“Gareth Ainsworth has them working for him and they are always a 100 per cent team.
“They will go back to front quite quickly and they will use the big men they have up top. They make it hard work for you as they work so hard.”
Byrom feels he has settled well with the Stags since his arrival in January and that the fans have still to see the best of him.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed it. Obviously with not playing a lot of games before I came here, the first few games were all right but then it took a bit of a while to get properly going.
“I feel comfortable now in the midfield of this team and I feel like I’ve probably got more to come still.”