Scott Shearer has revealed the thought of missing out on the play-offs and watching the drama unfold on television is driving Mansfield Town players on to claim a top-seven spot in League Two.
The experienced stopper, 36, is yet to concede in the 230 minutes of football he has donned the gloves following Jake Kean’s injury shortly before half-time home to Newport County on February 25.
Goalless draws away to Yeovil Town and Cheltenham Town have seen Stags pick up two points which Shearer said might prove “massive” in their pursuit of the play-offs come the end of the season.
And, after shrugging off the disappointment of not winning against ten-man Cheltenham, the ‘keeper said there is an excitement around the squad ahead of the visit of Plymouth Argyle to the One Call Stadium.
Saturday’s clash sees second-placed Pilgrims take on eighth-placed Stags.
“As a player you want to be in this position,” said Shearer. “The management staff have put that carrot in front of us and saying you don’t want to be on your holiday middle of May, watching teams in the play-offs and playing at Wembley in the final.
“You just don’t want to be in that position when you could have been there. You want to give yourself every chance and when you’re a professional footballer you want to play in the biggest stages. To play in the play-offs is a great experience.”
Stags are two points behind Exeter City, currently in possession of the last play-off place, and seven points behind Portsmouth in third. Shearer added: “I don’t think third place is beyond our grasp either.”
Plymouth lost ground on table-toppers Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night when they went down to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of play-off chasers Blackpool.
“I’m looking forward to the game because you always want to test yourself against the teams at the top,” said Shearer. “I think this month is going to be very big for us. We’ve got some really big games now. Taking on Saturday first, I can’t wait.
“When I was with the gaffer at Rotherham in League Two we were in a similar scenario and we just went on an incredible run to get there. I know what it takes to get there. A lot of the lads in our team know what it takes to get there and I just hope we can perform.
“I actually said the first day the gaffer came in, I spoke to one of my best friends and I said to him ‘I wonder what the odds are for us to go up now?’. Back then I honestly believed that we would be in this position.”