Having missed the win at Chesterfield through suspension, Mansfield Town defender Martin Riley is desperate to see his name on the Stags team sheet for tomorrow’s big return game at One Call Stadium (1pm).
“There is big excitement around the place with me more than anyone looking forward to it,” he said.
“I was a bit gutted not being involved at Chesterfield, but what a day out for all involved. The players know exactly how much this means to the fans and the town, especially me living in the town. We know what it’s all about and I hope we can do the same again.
“We have nine games left and the main target is to stay in the League, so we want the three points on Saturday.
“It means so much to everyone, not just playing Chesterfield, but gaining three more points. Everyone here is up for it, it is a local derby.”
He added: “After Chesterfield lost on Tuesday night I am sure they will be even more up for it. There is a lot at stake for both teams and it should be an exciting game.
“I spoke to a few supporters when I was out injured and they told me to make sure I was fit for the Chesterfield game. I have tried to get back as quickly as I could and now I just hope I am in the team on Saturday.”
Riley is also hoping Stags get a fair deal from the match referee after falling foul of some crucial decisions in the last two games, particularly from Darren Drysdale in the home defeat by York.
“No one is stupid,” said Riley. “Everyone could see what was going on. It wasn’t just the manager and players moaning about the referee.
“Even opposition players I know from York were both astounded how bad he was. But we just have to get on with it and I hope we get a decent referee on Saturday.
“It will be a tasty affair and we need a strong referee and, most importantly, a good referee.”
Riley was a reluctant spectator at the Proact Stadium for September’s 1-0 smash and grab victory and said: “The boys gave absolutely everything that day. It was a bit of an Alamo, but credit to the boys. That’s football and it doesn’t matter how you get the points at times.
“It should be a sell-out on Saturday and the atmosphere will be great. I hope the fans get behind the boys as it really can make a difference and we appreciate it.”