Mansfield Town still finding that sharpness ahead of Exeter City visit, says Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney
Ryan Sweeney

Defender Ryan Sweeney believes Mansfield Town are very close to clicking into top gear after a quiet start to the new season.

Stags head for table-topping Exeter City tomorrow having drawing three and winning one of their first five games.

“It's still really early days and we're trying to find that sharpness and find our feet,” said the big centre half.

“Hopefully on Saturday we can produce another good away performance and build on the Carlisle one.

“It's not doom and gloom – we're five games in and we have played some good stuff in parts of games.

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“Last season we drew seven or eight of the first 10 or 11 games, only winning two or three, but then we beat Northampton 4-0 and that was where it sort of clicked into place for us.

“I am sure it will happen again this season. Not much has changed.

“We still have the same squad of players with a few very good additions. Get back-to-back wins and I am sure we can kick on.

“There have been patches in games where we've played well. It's just about putting that into a 90-minute performance.”

Stags won 2-0 at Carlisle United in their last away game and Sweeney said: “At Carlisle it was a bit of different performance where we were dogged in our play and very clinical at the other end.

“If we can put in a 90-minute performance I am sure we'll be a problem for anyone in his league and end up where we want to be at the end of the season.

“I don't actually think we've played too bad. It's just small things.

“Against Orient we were comfortable for perhaps an hour of the game, then we just didn't defend the box well enough in certain situations.

“If you want to be successful in this league you've got to do the basics right. You have to defend your box, defend as a unit and defend from the front.

“Once we get that right everyone has seen what we've got at the other end of the pitch. We will score goals.”

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Sweeney and his team mates are bracing themselves for the long drive down to Devon, following away games at Carlisle and Newport.

“Exeter is always a tough place to go,” he said.

“Last season they were very good at our place and beat us and then we went there at the back end of the season and put on one of our best performances of the season.

“They've started the season well and we'll have to bring our 'A game' if we want to take three points.”

Stags will stay overnight in a hotel on Friday night to help prepare.

“The schedule has probably chucked up the longest trip so the season early doors,” he smiled.

“It's just about grinding them out with the travel. We've got all the right things in place so we are fresh for the game on Saturday and we're looking forward to it.”