Mansfield Town ‘have unbelievable character and fight,’ says Ben Futcher

Stags manager, David Flitcroft with assistant Ben Futcher.
Stags manager, David Flitcroft with assistant Ben Futcher.

As Mansfield Town take on two promotion rivals in four days, assistant boss Ben Futcher said big games tend to bring out the best of the Stags.

Tranmere Rovers visit on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Forest Green and Futcher said: “Tranmere is a fantastic game.

“We want to play these top teams as these big games always seem to bring the best out of us. We are looking forward to it.”

On Rovers’ season so far, he said: “They are a fantastic team. They came up last year from the Conference.

“Micky Mellon has done a great job since he took over there. He got his promotion and they are now fighting for a play-off place in League Two.

“I think they will be expected to push on for those but it’s going to be tough.

“But they are a massive football club in this division. They have a fantastic training ground and a lot of experienced players.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”

Stags will have to keep 20-goal James Norwood quiet, Futcher saying: “They have the top scorer in the division – we are aware of that. But we will just worry about ourselves.

“If we can produce the form we are capable of then we are a match for anyone as we’ve proven all season.

“We have seen all season, the players have got unbelievable character and fight.”

Last weekend typified that spirit as Stags came from 2-0 down at promotion rivals Colchester United to win 3-2.

Futcher said: “They were disappointed first half. There wasn’t loads in the game but we gave away two soft goals, which is unlike us.

“But we always believe the players we have in the squad can score goals and we knew the next goal at 2-0 down was massive.

“Once we’d got it, everyone in the stadium felt a second was going to come. Our fans were fantastic. When it did the belief in the players was unbelievable.

“With the pride and desire they showed they deserved the win. They’ve only lost three games all season and they take a lot of pride in that record and their defensive record.”