As the Stags prepare for a busy October, especially on the road, one word springs to mind as Steve Evans men prepare to face Colchester United tomorrow – Organisation.
Prior to September I wanted the club to go through the month unbeaten, an atrocious night at Cheltenham put pay to that, but having got back on track against Notts County last weekend, I still feel that if the Stags can be organised and disciplined through October – it’ll give them the momentum to put a real charge together.
With only two home games this month, the Stags are going to be spending a lot of time on the road – which includes one of the fixture computers hardest Tuesday-Saturday combinations… Barnet, followed by Newport.
It’s also the time of year where, as the weather and climate changes, players start to pick up niggles and colds – meaning the depth of the squad will be tested. Already we’ve had players miss games through fitness and illness, and with the clubs new policy of traveling the day before a match over a certain distance coupled with limited coach space – it’s going to be even further tested and players are going to need to step up, seize their individual opportunity to complete the collective goal.
Tomorrow in Colchester the Stags face a side they haven’t beaten since 2002 – so there’s a bit of the old ‘bogey team’ headlines being touted, and if you look at Mansfield famously doing well against higher placed teams than those below them – the October misery starts to creep in.
This Mansfield Town side however is very capable of bringing back all three points tomorrow, providing they are organised. The hosts have a big ground which they moved into in 2008 and a big pitch, Colchester under John McGreal like to push their full backs forward which leaves them open to direct counter attacks – something, despite it being ugly, the Stags are good at.
Colchester are also vulnerable from set-plays, so if the Stags can organise themselves and stay tight, the likes of Mirfin and Pearce can have a little fun! After all, Lee Angol (who for me should start over Hemmings) will win you free-kick after free-kick, we have to exploit the opportunities which are presented to us.
Performance wise, Notts County a-side, we haven’t been too great of late – this is a prime time to pull ourselves together and show a bit of consistency with our performances and in return, results. There are no excuses, there is no room for second chances any more – in August we we’re the side who dropped points, In September we we’re the side who began to gel but couldn’t handle the odd change – in October, we must become the side who are organised, together, hungry and above all – the side who will win points (or coal depending on ones preference!) by exploitation.
We face some tough opponents and will have some tough questions of us, but a champion faces that head on. The question is not ‘Are we good enough to be champions?’ nor is it ‘Have we got the ability to be champions?’ – it is simply ‘do we WANT to be champions, do we have the desire?’
The answer my friends, is there for Mansfield Town FC to show.
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