As his side hover precariously one point above the drop zone, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray held up this Saturday’s table-topping visitors Wycombe Wanderers (3pm) as the perfect example to follow.
Defensive lapses saw Stags throw away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 at home to Exeter City last weekend while teams below them won to close the gap.
While angry with the defending, Murray was delighted with his side’s attacking prowess and pointed out that visitors Wycombe only survived due to Stags’ result on the final day of last season, yet have gone to to turn their fortunes around in style.
“Wycombe are a prime example of the situation we are in,” he said.
“Look at last year, Gareth (manager Ainsworth) took over and did what he could and on the last day of the season he kept them in the League.
“Then he came out and said judge me on the team I put together and now they are top. It’s amazing what this game can do. For us it’s a great example of where we can go to be successful.
“We have looked at them closely over the last couple of days and you can see why they are top. It is another challenge for us.
“We just need to cut out the individual errors. It is fine lines at the moment and they are huge.
“But there is a lot of positivity in that changing room Everyone is lively and buoyant and we want Saturday now.”
Wycombe are nine League games unbeaten, their last defeat coming back on 17th November.
Murray added: “We looked at the Exeter game yesterday at a team meeting. We went through the game and the stats, every nook and cranny of it, and we came out of it pretty positive. There were some harsh words, it was productive and it was a great session.
“It was absolutely gutting for me and the boys on Saturday, it was the biggest loss to take so far with the way we played, which at times was tremendous. To lose that one has been the longest to get over.
“Being one point from the bottom, there is pressure on us. We need points on the board. The one good thing is that overall performance levels are good. We need players to believe in this process.
“If they concentrate on that, the result will come.
“This team is used to being a back five and we have had to take a bit of security out of it and they’ve been caught out with it.
“Individuals are making errors, but they are good players with a lot in their locker so it doesn’t worry me. I know I will get a reaction from these boys.”
Striker Vadaine Oliver has a slight back injury but should be okay for Saturday.
Alex Fisher (dislocated collarbone) and Ryan Tafazolli (illness) are both back in full training but short on fitness.
As we approach the final week of the January transfer window, Murray added: “We will be looking at options while the window is open. There are things that might happen, things which are not in our control.
“We also have the option coming up of recalling Rakish Bingham and Ollie Palmer from their loans which we need to look at.”