John Coleman says his side need to take something from today’s trip to promotion rivals Mansfield Town.
The Stanley boss said the two games over the Christmas and new year period – against Northampton and the Stags – were ‘pivotal’ if the Reds were to be genuine promotion contenders.
Despite playing well, Stanley lost 1-0 at the second placed Cobblers and so Coleman knows the pressure is on at Field Mill.
“I regard Mansfield as one of the better teams in the league,” said Coleman, with Adam Murray’s side 11th in the league, one point behind eighth placed Stanley.
“They have some good players and a manager who has got them going again.
“We earmarked Northampton and Mansfield as probably the trickiest ones and they will be important to us as to where we are going to be this season so we need to take some points from today.
“After Mansfield, we have five out of our next six games at home and we need to transfer our good away performances into our home form.
“But we are only looking at Mansfield at the moment. We beat them 1-0 earlier in the season and there was not much in the game.
“I think we are better equipped and have grown into this league since then. Mansfield are a good side, they did not have their main player (Matt Green) playing and today will be a different game for both sides. I am looking forward to it and it should be a good battle.”
Ex-Red Nicky Hunt left to join Mansfield in the summer but has been injured recently while top scorer Green, with 11 goals, is back in the fold.
Dean Winnard is still not 100 per cent for the Reds while there were one or two niggles which Coleman was confident would clear up in time for today’s clash.