After the expected blood and thunder start to Saturday’s local derby, Mansfield Town’s Neal Bishop believes Stags’ quality will ultimately see them to success at Notts County.
Bottom club Notts are on the rise with eight new signings while Stags, despite a defeat at Newport last week, are second in the table and raring to go.
“It will be a completely different game to last week,” said Bishop as he prepared to face his former club.
“It’s a big, old pitch, it’s nice and flat – a good surface. So there is no excuse for us to not go there and put on a performance on Saturday. We will be able to play a bit more than we did at Newport.
“It will be blood and thunder for the first however long.
“But if we can surpass them with our work rate, games at this level ultimately seem to open up more second half as people can’t keep up that tempo and momentum for 90 minutes.
“We are confident if we get the ball down and play our normal game, which we have done for the majority of this season, then we can come away with a positive result.
“You have to keep your head. They will want to come out and make a statement.”
He continued: “They will want to put us under pressure, not just because it’s a local derby. We will have to be on it from minute one.
“Once the game has settled down there is a reason why we are second in the league. It’s because we have got good footballers and we play good football.
“We have the best defensive record in the league and we know usually if we can get our noses in front we are not going to lose many games as that’s when the game opens up and we have so much pace when we are attacking it’s hard for other teams to live with us.”
Bishop is relishing the atmosphere with over 4,000 away fans heading for Meadow Lane.
“If you can’t get up for Saturday with a 4,000 away following then you’re probably in the wrong game,” he said.
“As players you want to play in the big games with big crowds.
“Notts will have a fair few down and the away end will be full so it should be a fantastic atmosphere.
“It’s a massive game for the supporters. For the players it’s just another step for us to get to the place we eventually want to get.”
He added: “Three points away from home and an early kick-off could take us top for an hour or two. But psychologically it’s a massive step for us.
“If you keep winning games and keep putting pressure on other teams around you, eventually some teams start to crack.
“That has to be the mindset. You want to win every game whoever you play.
“The three points would see us bounce back from Saturday.
“Good teams bounce back quickly from disappointing results, and that’s what we want to do. We can’t wait to get back out there and put it right.”