Mansfield Town midfielder Anthony Howell believes the Stags have now overcome the culture shock of stepping back up to the Football League and can use their fitness to finish their season strongly.
Ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to championship-chasing Oxford United, Howell said: “At the start of the season we obviously knew we were up against it. But we had nothing to lose.
“We passed the ball and got a few wins. Then the pressure caught up with us and we saw the top teams passed the ball better than we did which knocked us back.
“But we have come through that now and got used to the league now and we are pushing on to get more wins.
“It’s the last third of the season and a time when fitness shows. And we have got a fit bunch here who I think will pick up points. I think we’ve got fitter by chasing other teams!”
He added: “I am trying to get stuck in and keep my place in the side. I have good players around me who can move the ball and create things. I help them out by doing my job and they can then go and flourish and hopefully get some goals.
“The gaffer gives us a green light to play and the lads are taking it on board and trying to move the ball and not worry about making mistakes in areas.”
Stags have not lost any of their last four games on the road and Howell said: “We are looking forward to it tomorrow as we are doing well away.
“We know Oxford will be a real test and they have got Dave Kitson, who we will need to keep under wraps. We will go there with a game plan and try to put some points on the board.
“When conditions are bad we have players here who will roll up their sleeves and we are going to do that again on Saturday and show Oxford we are in a position we don’t deserve to be.
“Last weekend against Southend the lads showed their spirit and the fans were great. They made all that noise yet they must have been freezing in the stands. I was freezing and I was running round.”