Match-winner Bishop says respect amongst players is key to Mansfield Town form

Neal Bishop celebrates his goal.
Neal Bishop celebrates his goal.

Neal Bishop says respect and work ethic have been two of the main factors behind Mansfield Town's superb run of form.

Bishop netted the winner at Grimsby on New Year's Day to make it 17 games unbeaten for Stags and keep them in the automatic promotion places.

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And he firmly believes the values instilled at the club from top to bottom are aiding the promotion bid.

He said: "The respect the gaffer instilled in pre-season for each other has been a key factor, namely to respect and work for your team-mates which I think showed at Grimsby. The lads are willing to break their necks to help out their team-mates.

“For the chairman, the chief executive and those who pay our wages, we want to make the town proud. I’ve been part of both successful teams and not so successful teams, but at the moment, from the chairman right through to the players and staff, we’re all pulling in the same direction. There are some great characters in the dressing room and we are a team of winners and that’s instilled from the top right through the club. Celebrating with the fans at the end is what it’s all about.

"It’s a working class town and I think the fans can relate to the team when they see everything put into it on the pitch. I’m a football supporter and all I ask from my team is that win, lose or draw, if you can walk off that pitch knowing you couldn’t have given any more then that’s all you want and that’s how I play the game as if you do that you’ll win more than you lose.”

The win at Grimsby saw Bishop score the only goal as he turned in Jacob Mellis's corner midway through the first-half.

He said: "It was a great corner from Jacob Mellis who put all the pace on the ball and it was just about me being able to hit the target, and fortunately enough it went in.

“So I’m obviously pleased to get on the scoresheet but it was a massive win for the club and a great start to the year.

“It’s a difficult place to come with them having won the last five home games and it showed at the end what a big win it was.

“We have been solid throughout and got a clean sheet which was the basis to go on and win the game.

“If you look at all the wins we’ve come from behind to win games, led and controlled some, and it’s shown we have different attributes to the squad when it comes to how to win games.

“It might not have been one for the purists but that’s football in this division for you. The pitch wasn’t great today but we dug in and you could see the desire not to get beaten or to conceded, and to give the fans a win.”

“There’s still a long way to go and these runs mean nothing for now as it’s where you are at the end of the season that matters, but this was a huge result."

On his own form at the age of 37, Bishop says discipline off the pitch is crucial to the part he can still play on it.

He said: "I try and do things right off the pitch, which you have to do at my age rather than doing the things you can do at 22 or 23. So I have to look after myself and give myself the best chance of performing on the pitch because that’s what it’s all about. I’ve come to a club run by good people and with a manager I’ve never worked with before but who is top notch and knows what he’s talking about and who the lads are all behind."