STAGS defender Ritchie Sutton believes they can use their solid defensive foundations to kick-start their push back into the play-off places.
Mansfield looked rock-solid for large chunks of the 1-1 draw against Gateshead and reduced the visitor’s to pot-shots from distance before they were finally undone by a Jon Shaw header.
And Sutton believes that the Stags rearguard, which has conceded 25 goals from their 21 BSP outings, will help spearhead the side back up the table if they can also find their shooting boots at the other end.
“For the vast majority of the Gateshead game we did not look like conceding,”said Sutton.
“In general our defence was excellent but, as Tuesday night showed, it just takes one lapse in concentration to concede a goal. It is very frustrating to be pegged back in games like we have been.”
“We will take confidence from Gateshead into Saturday’s game that we can get the three points.
“We are still not far off the play-off places, which is perhaps suprising with all our draws at the moment.”
Sutton added: “We are playing well and creating lots of chances and we have got to stay confident and keep the momentum we gained against Gateshead going.”
The commanding defender also believes the recent signings of Verma, Rodney, Kelly and Dempster will help give Stags vital squad strength during the second half of the season.
“We all have to be on our toes now and play well to keep our places,”he said.
“We have got a good squad here and it is important we stay in touch with the pack going into the New Year. We are playing well and are always confident that we can win every game we play”.
Mansfield are currently six points adfrift of a Cambridge United in the last play-off spot and with a game in hand against Tamworth.
Stags are likely to welcome back Joe Kendrick into contention for a place against Braintree, but loan signing Aman Verma could be set to miss out after tweaking a leg muscle in the Gateshead draw.
Marcus Kelly is also touch and go and could feature if he comes through training unscathed.