Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney said the response to four games without a win had been good in training and everyone was in a positive frame of mind ahead of Saturday’s long trip to promotion rivals Exeter City.
A 2-1 home defeat by Crewe last weekend bumped Stags out of the top three, but, with seven games to go, Sweeney said: “The mood is really positive. That’s the main thing.
“We have had a little bit of a blip. No one wants blips, but they come as it’s a long season.
“We need to start kicking on now. There are only seven games left and so that’s got to start from Saturday.
“No matter what sort of form you enter these last games in, it’s now about who can stick the best run of results together now.
“It’s been good on the training ground this week.
“I always think this season, when we’ve had a bit of a setback at the weekend we’ve always responded in training.
“We have had a few meetings to try to sort a few things out, so it’s all been really positive and we are all looking forward to Saturday, which will be a really tough game.”
Sweeney felt a poor start was a big factor in last Saturday’s setback.
“Every game brings different threats. We have had teams that are nearer the bottom of the league that have come here and given us a real game,” he said.
“We are a good side so I think teams know they need to be on it to cause us problems.
“We were disappointed how we started the game on Saturday.
“It’s one of those things. You have always got to start games at a high tempo.
“So on Saturday we need to try to put Exeter onto the back foot early on and get a foothold in the game, then we can go from there.
“Everyone is looking to improve and we’ll take it into Saturday.
“We have players in the side that, if we can start getting them into better areas, I am sure we will pick up more.
“Exeter had a good result last week and I am sure they will go into the game really confident.
“It’s up to us to concentrate on ourselves and bring our A game on Saturday. If we do I am sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”
Sweeney is happy to be back from concussion as part of the division’s meanest defence with Krystian Pearce and Matt Preston.
“It’s really good to be back with them,” he said. “Pearcey has got into the League two Team of the Season – so congratulations to him and the other boys.
“He has been brilliant – he’s the captain and he leads us every game. And Pressie is a big, strong centre half and both of them are very capable on the ball.
“We feel settled in there and when Turns (Ben Turner) is there as well, he brings fantastic experience. He is a brilliant player. You can see every day the hard work he puts in on the training ground. “For players like Pressie and me, who are pretty young, he is a top pro to learn off.
“It’s good to be back alongside them. It’s been a bit unsettled the last few weeks with injuries and suspensions.”
Now Sweeney and his team mates prepare themselves for the season’s longest away haul tomorrow.
“There is no better game to go to for us on Saturday than promotion rivals away from home,” he said.
“It will be a tough test but we are always ready on a Saturday to go and put in a performance.
“I am not too keen on these bus journeys – especially that far, but it’s part and parcel. We will get down there on Friday, get a bit of training in and be fully prepared.”