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CRAWLEY PREVIEWS AND INJURY NEWS
16th September 2019 23:04


We have ‘team spirit’ to achieve success - boss
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 10 Sept 2019

Stags’ boss John Dempster says that there are ‘similarities’ between the back-to-back promotion-winning Crawley Town side he was a part of and the current Mansfield Town squad, ahead of Saturday’s clash between the Red Devils and the amber and blue.

The former defender featured in both of Crawley’s promotion-winning campaigns, from the Conference in 2010/11 and League Two in 2011/12.

He says the ‘ingredients’ and ‘team spirit’ of the Red Devils’ squads for their two highly successful campaigns can be seen in the current Mansfield ranks.

“I wasn’t there [Crawley] for a great length of time, but the time I had there I really enjoyed. They were really happy times,” he said in Tuesday morning’s news conference.

“We had an incredible team spirit and some brilliant characters. I look at this current [Mansfield] campaign and there are some similarities and ingredients that we have in our squad.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/september/gaffer-pre-crawley/

“I look back [on Crawley] with fond memories but also recognise that there are some similarities to this campaign.

“We had good centre forwards and I think we’ve got that in our [Stags’] squad. We had a team of good footballers that could mix it as well.

“That team spirit is key and you get that from being together on a daily basis. We’re all together trying to achieve a common goal and those are the similarities that I recognise.

“Crawley are [now] a very mobile team and the loan signings that they’ve made have improved them no end. We’ll have to be on our mettle there to bring the points home.

“If we can train this week with the intensity that we had last week, that will only make the game easier. We’ll be looking for another positive performance.”

John Dempster provided an update on the Stags’ current injury list, while also speaking in detail about Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors reserve game against West Brom, in which goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik and striker Andy Cook will feature.

“We’re expecting Hayden White to join in the training session today [Tuesday] and we’re expecting Dapo [Afolayan] to play a part in the session also,” he added. “They’ll both become more heavily involved as the week develops.

“Davo [Craig Davies] is still with the medical team along with Jordan Graham. Bobby [Olejnik] will play 45 minutes for the reserves [against West Brom in a behind-closed-doors game] today and we’ll see how Cooky [Andy Cook] gets on in that game as well.

“It will be excellent to see and it’s excellent news for the football club. Cooky and Omari [Sterling-James] will be playing up top together [in the game]. We had Otis [Khan] down to play in the game as well but he has some sickness.

“Alistair Smith and Will Tomlinson will play in midfield and we have a young back three of Jamie Chisholm, Lewis Gibbens and Aiden Walker.

“We want to get minutes into the legs of the more senior boys who have been out for a period of time and further develop younger players against decent opposition.

“The reserve games will be used to top up minutes throughout the season. They will act as valuable game time for all players, whether we’re going to get further development into them or game time.”

The manager added that the return of injured players will increase ‘healthy competition,’ something he believes is vital to a successful season.

“We want healthy competition. When I pick the 18 I expect every individual to be fighting for their place and fighting for points. We got that on Saturday.

“I don’t think we’ve moaned too much about our injury crisis. One of the positives of that is that we’ve had more debuts from young players this season than in recent years.

“We want to have a successful campaign and if we want that then we need strength in depth. With the boys coming back [from injury] we certainly have that.

“When you have the likes of Neal Bishop coming back into training, it lifts the whole group. It makes a real difference to the intensity of the session when you have those characters in and around it.

“Any win brings confidence and it’s good to score two goals [against Scunthorpe]. I was really pleased for Matt Preston to get on the scoresheet, it’s important that the defenders chip in with goals.

“It was also great to see Danny Rose score an opportunist goal - some of his goals this season has been outstanding and that one was more about playing on a mistake.

“The goals he’s scored this season have all been of a different type and impressive in their own right. He deserves all the credit as he’s been on it since the first day of pre-season.”

After Conor Shaughnessy was voted as the supporters’ man of the match after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe, the boss commended the on-loan midfielder’s display and the qualities that he brings to the squad.

“Conor [Shaughnessy] brings flexibility because he can sit in front of the back-three or four. He can play at centre-half as well and is good on the ball.

“He’s also a physical presence - you look at our second goal on Saturday, because of his size and height, he was able to head the ball back into a good area.

“Conor brings strength and depth and good defensive cover, but he’s also good on the ball. He brings a lot to the table.”

The manager also spoke of former Bury midfielder Stephen Dawson, revealing that the current free agent recently trained with the Stags. The boss says that Mansfield will not be pursuing a deal for the 33-year-old.

“Daws [Stephen Dawson] came in last week. He has a really infectious personality and you can see why he’s been in the game for the length that he has.

“We won’t be following the deal any further - he’ll be training with a different football club from today.

“He is an excellent character and someone who really impressed us. But with the injuries that we’ve got coming back [in midfield], we feel that we have strength in depth there in that position.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Mansfield Town goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik makes his return from injury today after nine months sidelined
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 10 September 2019

Mansfield Town goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik finally makes his long-awaited playing comeback in this afternoon’s Central League Cup reserves game away to West Bromwich Albion (2pm).

The 32-year-old Austrian has been sidelined with a serious ACL knee injury sustained in training last December but will take part in today’s game, which is a big boost for club and player.

Summer signing, striker Andy Cook, will also play his first game since injury today while two other injured players, defender Hayden White and striker Dapo Afolayan, are not ready to play today but could still be fit for Saturday’s trip to Crawley Town.

“Bobby will play 45 minutes for the reserves at West Brom today, which is brilliant news for the club, and we’ll see how Cooky goes in the game as well,” said boss John Dempster

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-goalkeeper-bobby-olejnik-makes-his-return-from-injury-today-after-nine-months-sidelined-1-9986618

“Cooky and Omari (Sterling-James) will be playing up top together.

“We did have Otis Khan down to be playing as an attacking midfielder but he’s gone down with sickness. So Tyrese Sinclair will step in for him which is brilliant for him to play alongside some of the more senior pros.

“Alistair Smith and Will Tomlinson will play in midfield with Jason Law on the left and Jamie Clark in the right. And we’ve got a young back three of Jamie Chisholm, Lewis Gibbens and Aiden Walker.”

This is Stags’ first reserve game of the season and Dempster said they would be taken seriously and made full use of.

“One of the first things I said to the senior pros here was that the reserve games would be used to top up minutes throughout the season,” he said.

“If they come thick and fast we will use them accordingly, but we won’t have a situation where the reserve games are looked down upon. It is valuable game time for all players.

“We will get minutes into the legs of the senior boys who have been out for a period and further development for the younger players, playing against decent opposition alongside more experienced players.”

On other returns from injury, he added: “We are expecting Hayden White and Dapo Afolayan to take part in a session today and they will both become more heavily involved as the week develops. We hope to have them available for the weekend.”

The game at West Brom is being played behind-closed-doors at the Baggies’ request this afternoon.

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Mansfield Town star Danny Rose wins psychological battle to top the goalscoring charts
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 10 September 2019

Mansfield Town striker Danny Rose tops the scoring charts after a superb start to the new season.

Here, see all six goals so far as Stags boss John Dempster analyses his in-form forward and concludes it’s more about the psychological side of the game than the physical that has seen Rose hit the heights so quickly.

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster believes Danny Rose's fantastic start to the new season is more down to psychological reasons than physical ones.

Rose had a nightmare season last time around, forced to go back on his request to go on the transfer list for a move that never happened, and also had his jaw broken in two places in a challenge as he ended the campaign with just five goals four in the league.

But he has started this season on fire and already netted six in just over a month.

Dempster said: “It's a very good start and he deserves all the credit.

“He's been like that since the first day of pre-season. Speaking to him, I think it's been a massive learning curve for him.

“Football is massively psychological. There are loads of different factors that go into a player producing the goods and performing, but a big factor is the psychological side of it.

“Danny has learned from the down sides of last season and used his intelligence to motivate himself and become a better player from it. That's what all footballers should try to do.”

Rose currently tops the League Two scorers chart but Dempster said he had not set him any targets or suggested he could end up top scorer come May.

“I speak to him every day, but I would not cloud his brain,” he said.

“He's doing what he is doing and doing it well. He is producing the goods in terms of goals.

“But you only have to look at his work rate up and down the pitch and across the pitch.

“He's really putting in a shift for the team as well. The goals are a bonus.”

Rose has scored varied sorts of goals this season - and Saturday's against Scunthorpe was a real poacher's effort.

“It was great to see Danny score an opportunist goal, preying on a mistake from a Scunthorpe defender on Saturday,” said Dempster.

“Some of his goals this season have been outstanding. That was more playing on a mistake on Saturday.

“I mentioned last week that a lot of goals in League Two are from set plays or a mistake and it was great to see Danny as the sly old fox, sneaking in and sticking it in the back of the net.

“The goals he's scored this season have been of all different types, all very impressive in their own right.

“The headers he wins take centre backs by surprise as he's not a massive centre forward compared to some in our league. But he wins more headers than some of them.”

Indeed, Dempster admitted his side had used a route one ball to Rose for a flick-on too often this season.

“Being honest, at times we've probably played a little bit to direct to him,” he said.

“It's definitely a strength of his, the aerial duels he wins. But he's also shown glimpses that, when we get the ball into his chest or feet, he can link play up.

“When we do that we can get our more attacking players into the game further up the pitch and hopefully create more chances.”

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No fairytale return to Mansfield Town for ex-Stag Stephen Dawson
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 10 September 2019

Former Mansfield Town midfield star Stephen Dawson will not be making a fairytale return to his old club.

The 33-year-old Dubliner is a free agent after the collapse of Bury and spent last week training with the Stags.

But manager John Dempster said today: “We won’t be following that up any further and he’s going to be training at a different football club from today.

“His agent contacted our head of recruitment and, with the injury situation we found ourselves in, we thought it would suit both parties for Stephen to come in and keep his fitness up and also look at him as a potential midfielder for the squad.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/no-fairytale-return-to-mansfield-town-for-ex-stag-stephen-dawson-1-9986492

“As it’s panned out with the injuries coming back and Conor (Shaughnessy) signing on loan, we felt it was probably fairer to let him venture into other opportunities he has.

“But I can only sing his praises really. I only met Daws for a short period of time, but he has a really bubbly personality and was someone who will be an asset to a club if they take a chance with him.

“He is a really infectious personality. You can see why he’s been in the game for the length of time he has.

“He is an excellent character and someone who impressed us.”

Dempster continued: “On the bench on Saturday we had Neal Bishop, Will Tomlinson and Alistair Smith. So we feel we’ve got strength in depth there in that position with the injuries returning.

“Also, our new signing Conor Shaughnessy was excellent on Saturday.

“So I felt to be fair to Stephen, it was probably best for him to move on to a new challenge and try to earn a new contract elsewhere.”

Ball-winner Dawson made 115 starts for Mansfield between August 2005 and July 2008, with 13 sub appearances and scored four goals for the club.

After wages were unpaid before the collapse of Bury, a cash-strapped Dawson was forced to put his house up for sale.

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New Mansfield Town signing Conor Shaughnessy showed his class on debut
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

New Mansfield Town loan signing Conor Shaughnessy immediately showed his qualities with a man of the match award on his debut on Saturday to show whay the Stags were tailing him.

The Leeds United man played a holding role in midfield and delighted boss John Dempster said: “I was chuffed with Conor’s debut and I thought he was outstanding.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/new-mansfield-town-signing-conor-shaughnessy-showed-his-class-on-debut-1-9990687

“We have got some good central midfield players at the football club, but it was an area we felt we had to strengthen.

“We targeted it quite early, but we had to bide our time and wait for the right player to become available as well as make sure the deal was right for the football club.”

With Shaughnessy just as at home in defence, Dempster said: “He does bring flexibility. He can sit in front of the back three or four and can play at centre half as well. He is good on the ball but he is also a physical presence.

“We have had a look at him in a number of positions in training and he’s looked comfortable in all of them.

“He is not a player to be assigned or pigeon-holed into a particular position. He just loves playing football and getting on the ball, whether that’s in the middle or the pitch or towards the back.”

He added: “For our second goal against Scunthorpe, Conor got on the ball early in the passage. Then it was a game of head tennis.

“And because of his size and height he was able to head the ball back into a good area and Danny Rose scored a real opportunist goal.

“When he gets the chance to get the ball down and pass he has that in his locker, which is great to see.”

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Mansfield Town boss John Dempster can see parallels with Stags and his successful Crawley Town days
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster returns to his old club Crawley Town side on Saturday saying he can see a lot of similarities between the successful side he played in there and his current charges.

Crawley are only outside the play-offs on goal difference at the moment, but when Dempster was there enjoyed two promotions.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/video-mansfield-town-boss-john-dempster-can-see-parallels-with-stags-and-his-successful-crawley-town-days-1-9990966

“I wasn’t there for a great length of time, but the time I had there I really enjoyed,” he said.

“It was a successful time under Steve Evans. We had back-to-back promotions from the Conference and then automatic promotion on the last day in League Two.

“They were happy times. We had an incredible team spirit with some brilliant characters - it was almost ‘Crazy Gang-like’ at times.

“I look at this current campaign and there are some similarities in terms of the ingredients we’ve got in our squad and the backing we’ve had from the owners.

“We had good centre forwards - and I think we’ve got those within our squad. We had a team of good footballers that could mix it as well.

“At League Two level if you can’t mix it when the going gets tough when it comes to a physical battle then you will struggle. You need that in your armoury as well.

“We also kept a lot of clean sheets so you need good defenders.

“But the team spirit is key. You get that from being together on a daily basis and working hard together trying to achieve a common goal. Those are the similarities I recognise.”

He added: “I look back with fond memories but also realise the similarities to us.

“There have been loads of changes on and off the pitch since I was there, so there won’t be too many familiar faces. But I am not going there for a ‘mothers’ meeting’ and to shake peoples’ hands. We are going there to hopefully bring three points back to Mansfield.

“We don’t fear anyone in this league and we will be going there to try to get the maximum return. If we are at our very best I am sure we can do that.

“Their form at home is good, so it’s a massive challenge, but we’re going there hoping to upset that.

“I have had them watched several times and they are a very mobile team.

“The loan signings that they have injected into the squad have improved them no end

“So we’re going to have to be on our mettle to go there and bring the points home as the reports we’ve had have been very positive.

“If we can train like we did last week with that intensity and tempo, then that will only make the game easier.”

Last season there were a few Crawley supporters who wanted manager Gabriele Cioffi out.

But after the summer of bringing in his own squad and playing some attractive football he is winning them over and the 1-0 victory over Premier League side Norwich City in the Carabao Cup will live long in the memories of the Reds’ fans.

There seems to be more belief in the players and more cohesion to their play this time around.

Crawley seem determined to never give and in the last three games they have come from behind together get a point or a win.

They are playing some lovely football and they are scoring goals - something which has eluded them in the last couple of seasons. They have 11 so far and the fans are loving it.

Publicly they are looking to improve on last season’s 19th finish but secretly they are hoping for a play-off push - so the early signs are good.

There have been a few signings over the summer - Bez Lubala, Nathan Ferguson, Ashley Nadesan, Mason Bloomfield, Jordan Tunnicliffe, Jack Powell, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Jamie Sendles-White, Michael Luyambula, and the latest two Denzeil Boadu and Gyliano van Velzen.

Dominic Poleon, keeper Yusuf Mersin, Bondz N’Gala and Filipe Morais have left.

Lubala has caught the eye with five league goals so far, including his brilliant free kick against Macclesfield on Saturday.

He is on loan from Birmingham and has quickly become a fans favourite.

Former Stags striker Ollie Palmer continues to be a handful up front.

Reds captain Jimmy Smith is still out after a long term injury picked up last October and Ashley Nadesan could be a doubt after missing last week’s match against Macclesfield, but otherwise Reds are fully fit and raring to go.

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Boss John Dempster hoping Mansfield Town can now take their season up to the next level
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster hopes the confidence of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe and the increased competition for places as the injury crisis subsides will give everyone a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s game at Crawley Town.

With all but three of the 10 players unavailable last month now back and with a home win and a clean sheet under their belts, Dempster believes they can now take their season up a level.

“I was pleased with the result and the performance on Saturday and we will look to build on it when we move forward to Crawley on Saturday,” he said.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/boss-john-dempster-hoping-mansfield-town-can-now-take-their-season-up-to-the-next-level-1-9991716

“Any win brings confidence - and it was great to score two goals. Looking back on the footage I think we should have had a third with CJ. I think the linesman was probably fooled by CJ’s pace. If you’ve not seen him play you don’t realise how quick he is. That would have been the icing on the cake to win 3-0.

“It was a good day at the office. It’s always pleasing to get a clean sheet. I think we were comfortable at times and the back three and keeper were outstanding on Saturday.

“When you win it is a relief. You work all week to achieve that goal so when you accomplish it it is a relief. But I felt more happiness than relief. I was pleased for the supporters to get the first home win this year.

“With the owners at the game as well the board room was jam-packed and a lot of happy faces. That’s what we’re here to do.”

With injured players coming back, new boss Dempster can finally start to feel what a selection headache feels like.

“We are starting to have excellent competition for places,” said Dempster.

“It does make a difference when you look over your shoulder and there is someone with great experience in your position, wanting to play in the team. It’s very healthy.

“I don’t think we’ve moaned too much about our injury crisis.

“We’ve had a lot of unfortunate things happen so far this season, but one of the massive positives to that has been we’ve had more debuts from our young players this season than we’ve had in recent years - and we’re only eight games in.

“We want to have a successful campaign and if we’re going to do that we need strength in depth. With the boys coming back we certainly have that.”

He added: “Having players like Neal Bishop coming back and joining in training actually lifts the whole group.

“He is someone with a wealth of experience and a good communicator. So it makes a real difference to the intensity of the session.”

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Defence looking to assist with goal haul - centre-back
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 10 Sept 2019

Defender Matt Preston has revealed a ‘competition’ between himself and fellow centre-backs Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney, to see who can add the most goals throughout the season.

Preston notched his first goal of the season on Saturday as he opened the scoring in Stags’ 2-0 home victory over Scunthorpe United.

He says that he wants to score ‘as many goals’ as possible, while adding that skipper Pearce has joked about catching top scorer Danny Rose’s total, with the former Bury striker currently leading the Sky Bet League Two scoring charts with six goals.

“It was a good feeling to get the win [on Saturday],” he said. “There are a lot of positives to take from winning but I feel like we can get better as a team.

“It’s just a matter of converting what we do in training and putting it on the pitch. Saying that, I think a lot of games aren’t going to be pretty, so it’s good to see that we can play the ugly side as well.

“[For my goal] originally I thought ‘I have to get back’ but I thought I’d take a risk and stay up. CJ [Hamilton] has put in a good ball for me and I’ve managed to stretch out a leg and put it to the opposite side of the ‘keeper.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/september/preston-pre-crawley/

“As much as a defender can, I tried to time my run - so I’ll take it! There’s a little bit of a [goalscoring] competition between me, the Chief [Krystian Pearce] and Sweens [Ryan Sweeney].

“Chief is leading the way at the minute. He’s coming for Danny Rose, he keeps saying but I’m trying to stay with the pack with as many goals as I can.

“It’s banter, but Chief will take it as seriously as he can until Rosey is out of sight. It’s good to have that little bit of competition within the squad.

“Defensively it was maybe my best game of the season. Everyone can do better, but defensively I was solid, which is obviously what you want from a centre-back.”

The centre-back has revealed that the strong off-the-field relationships between the Mansfield players has a positive influence when it comes to matchdays.

“We want to get back to how we were last season, which is solid,” he told added. “We want clean sheets every week and we’re building our base on that.

“It’s about knowing people’s strengths and weaknesses. You know what a certain player wants and you know what you have to do to cover a certain player.

“It’s about having that familiarity and knowing what they want. Hopefully Saturday gives us a confidence boost and we can kick on now.

“We need to put a string of games together and a few wins - I think that will settle everyone down.

“I feel like we all gel off-the-field and that helps us when we come on it. Me and Chief [Krystian Pearce] travel in together so we have that extra two hours together.

“We do bounce off each other and that helps us on the pitch. Me, Chief, Mal [Benning] and Omari [Sterling-James] all travel in together and we do talk about the [football] problems that we might be having and how to counter them.

“I think that helps us because, with Chief being the captain, if he can get other people’s perspectives on problems or things that are going well, he can reiterate it to the manager [John Dempster].”

Preston says that the Stags must keep their standards high, as they look to build momentum from the weekend’s victory at One Call Stadium when they face Crawley Town at the People’s Pension Stadium on Saturday.

“A lot of League Two games are going to be tough games. We have to approach each game with the right mental attitude and get the win.

“I feel that if you concentrate too much on the opposition it can be a bad thing, they should be concentrating on stopping us - I think that’s the sort of mentality you want to have going into games.

“All the games are going to be tight so it’s about whether we can keep the high levels that we’ve got and get a win.

“From Saturday, we’ve got the win, so now we have to keep our high standards in training and put that into the game, keeping the momentum that way.

“There’s a lot of competition. If you know that you’re not on it, then someone can potentially come in and do better than you, which is obviously going to push you to strive for better.

“It’s a good thing having someone breathing down your neck.”

The 24-year-old also outlined his aims for the remainder of the campaign.

“I want to play as many games as I can and getting as much experience as I can. Hopefully I can add some goals to that.

“It’s also the same as last year as me and the Chief [Krystian Pearce] want to try and beat that clean sheet record.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Matt’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Mansfield Town can kick on now with regular back three reunited believes Matt Preston
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town defender Matt Preston believes with having last season’s rock solid back three back together again and the confidence from a first home win, Stags can now kick on at last as they head for Crawley Town on Saturday.

The opening month of the season saw a variety of defensive combinations as injuries and suspensions forced changes.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-can-kick-on-now-with-regular-back-three-reunited-believes-matt-preston-1-9991587

But Preston, Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney, last season’s meanest League Two defence, produced a clean sheet last weekend to show what the side had been missing.

“It’s definitely been a factor,” said Preston. “It’s not just injuries. You’ve had me and (Jacob) Mellis getting sent off which has not helped the gaffer at all.

“With the injuries as well it’s been a bit of a mix and match at times.

“Familiarity is key. It puts your mind at ease. It’s good to have a solid base to play from.

“It’s nice to come into training knowing what will be playing. We want to get back to how we were last season, which is solid.”

The 24-year-old added: “We want clean sheets every week and we’re building our base on that. If, from that, we can start playing how we used to, it can only be a winning formula.

“It’s about knowing people’s strengths and weaknesses. You know what a certain player wants and you know what you need to do to cover a certain player.

“It’s having that familiarity of knowing what they want, how you can help their game and how they can help you.

“I feel like we all gel off the field and that helps us when we come on it. Me and Chief (Krystian Pearce) travel in together so we have that extra two hours together.

“We bounce off each other and that helps us on the pitch.”

However, Preston knows none of them can take their places for granted.

“There’s a lot of competition,” he said. “If you know that you’re not on it, then someone can potentially come in and do better than you, which is obviously going to push you to strive for better.

“It’s definitely a good thing having someone breathing down your neck.

“Defensively Saturday was maybe my best game of the season. Everyone can do better, but defensively I was solid, which is obviously what you want from a centre-back.

“I want to play as many games as I can and getting as much experience as I can. Hopefully I can add some goals to that.”

Stags beat Scunthorpe 2-0 last weekend to register an overdue first home win of the season.

“Hopefully Saturday gives us a confidence boost and we can kick on now,” said Preston.

“We need to put a string of games together and a few wins - I think that will settle everyone down.

“Then we can start playing the way we need to, especially at home. Last year we made it a fortress here and we need to get back to those sorts of ways.”

He continued: “It was a good feeling to get the win on Saturday.

“But I still get the feeling we’re not playing exactly how we’d want to be playing right now.

“Having said that it’s good to be saying that after a 2-0 win. There are a lot of positives to take from winning but I feel like we can get better as a team and me as an individual.

“It’s just a matter of converting what we do in training and putting it on the pitch. “Saying that, I think a lot of games aren’t going to be pretty, so it’s good to see that we can play the ugly side as well. We were very robust on Saturday and showed a resilience. We need to do that in all our games.

“We’ve got the win, so now we have to keep our high standards in training and take that into the game, keeping the momentum.”

Preston notched his first goal of the season against Scunthorpe and revealed the three centre backs are enjoying a race to see who can score the most.

“For my goal, originally I thought ‘I have to get back’ but I thought I’d take a risk and stay up,” he said.

“CJ (Hamilton) has put in a good ball for me and I’ve managed to stretch out a leg and put it to the opposite way to the keeper was going. As much as a defender can, I tried to time my run at the back stick - so I’ll take it!”

He added: “There’s a little bit of a goalscoring competition between me, the Chief and Sweens (Ryan Sweeney).

“Chief is leading the way at the minute. He’s coming for Danny Rose, he keeps saying but I’m trying to stay with the pack and I want to get as many as I can.

“It’s banter, but Chief will take it as seriously as he can until Rosey is out of sight. It’s good to have that little bit of competition within the squad.”

Ahead of Saturday’s game at Crawley, Preston said he wanted opposition teams to fear Stags rather than having to worry about them.

“I don’t know too much about Crawley and their signings this season,” he said.

“But a lot of League Two games are going to be tough games. We have to approach each game with the right mental attitude and get the win.

“I feel that if you concentrate too much on the opposition it can be a bad thing, they should be concentrating on stopping us - I think that’s the sort of mentality you’ve got to have going into games.

“All the games are going to be tight so it’s about whether we can keep the high levels that we’ve got and get a win.”

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