Mansfield Town head to bitter rivals Chesterfield on Saturday (1pm) for a monumental local derby that could all but decide the destiny of both clubs’ seasons.
Despite poor recent results, the Stags remain in with a chance of sealing a place in the play-offs while the Spireites could end a second miserable season in a row by losing their place in the Football League.
“It’s definitely the biggest game of the season for both clubs,” said Stags striker Kane Hemmings.
“It will be us trying to get back into the play-offs where we want to be and Chesterfield are fighting for their lives.
“It’s a local derby, which are always massive, and it’s two teams that at the back end of the season still have a lot to fight for. Both teams will want to win it.”
Before last night’s 1-1 draw at Stevenage, Mansfield had lost four in a row following Saturday’s 4-3 home defeat to Crewe and are without a win in nine.
But, apart from the first half on Saturday, their form has been good and Hemmings said: “We need to stay positive.
“Obviously we’ve not picked up the points we’ve wanted to, but second half against Crewe we were the dominant team and in the games against Accrington and Luton we were very good and just didn’t pick up the points.”
Hemmings relishes the red hot atmosphere of a local derby.
“It’s excitement,” he said. “You just want to get out there. You know it’s going to be a good atmosphere.
“The game can be won and lost just by who wants it more on the day.
“Sometimes the quality of the game and the technical side go out the window and it’s more about who puts in the most effort.
“Sometimes that can just push you over the line on days like that.
“It’s a local derby and we will go there and put 110 per cent in and hopefully our quality comes through on the day.
“Hopefully in the moments we do get on top we can show a bit of composure to get the ball down and play, create chances and, hopefully, score goals.”
Stags have sold out their 2,740 ticket allocation for Saturday and Hemmings said: “The fans can play a massive part.
“Look at Notts County away – they got behind us for the whole of the game and never gave up and we managed to get that equaliser in the last minute of the game.”
Stags had to twice come back from behind to earn a 2-2 home draw with Chesterfield back in November.
“Chesterfield were really good on the day and we were maybe a little bit fortunate to come away from the game with a draw,” admitted Hemmings.
“But that was a long, long time ago and now it’s two different teams.”
Despite Stags’ results, Oxford loanee Hemmings remains in good form, his goal last weekend being his 13th of the season and his fifth in eight games.
He said: “It’s great to be scoring goals but I’d much rather be winning games to be honest. I do feel in good form. But I want to turn the goals into results.”
Stags will welcome left back Mal Benning into the squad on Saturday after a three game ban.