Heslop’s Stags spying mission fails!

New Mansfield Town midfielder Simon Heslop will make his home debut for the Stags against his old club Oxford United on Saturday, but admits his attempts at finding out anything about the U’s from his former team mates this week have failed.

Simon Heslop -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Simon Heslop -Pic by: Richard Parkes

“I spent three years at Oxford and still know one or two of the players there,” he smiled. “I have been ringing them up trying to get some information but they are being quite tight-lipped about it.

“It is going to be a tough game. They have had new owners in recently and they are usually up there or thereabouts in the top third fighting for the play-offs or higher.

“But we just need to worry about ourselves. If we are right we will beat anyone in this league.

“I think I have settled well and the lads have been great. I feel I am getting to the peak of my fitness and I am feeling good.”

Despite losing the opening two games, Heslop has been impressed by his new team mates.

“I thought the lads did really well, though no one likes to lose a game,” he said. “There were positives we can take out of the game and take them into the weekend.

“There is a lot we can build on. We can’t get into the routine of being an unlucky team. We are not going down the route of people telling us we were unlucky to lose. We want to be winners.

“Now we have two home matches with which we can really kickstart our season.

“It’s not an excuse to say we are all new and needing to gel. We can’t be five games in and not won a game and say we are learning and gelling. It starts on Saturday for us. It’s not do or die but we do need to start picking up points

“Recovery is going to be really important. We have knocks and niggles and we’ll have to see who is available.

“You are always going to get injuries. We are a tight-knit squad with quality players so there is no reason why anyone can’t step in for anyone else.”

Heslop was also impressed by Stags’ away support in the opening games with 900 travelling to Northampton and 1,250 at Sheffield United.

He said: “The supporters have been brilliant and I hope that will continue in the up and coming home games. They gave us a standing ovation at Sheffield which was nice as we’d given a good performance, albeit we’d lost the game. It was humbling.”