Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says he is not surprised by Mansfield Town recent form as he had predicted that the Stags would be challenging for promotion before the season began.
Steve Evans side head to St James Park on Saturday having lost just three of their last 22 matches in all competitions. That has seen Mansfield rise to fifth in the table, three points off the automatic promotion places.
“I am not surprised,” said Tis. “I had them as one of my three to challenge for the top in my prediction at the start of the year.
“They are a strong side and they are consistent. Their manager knows exactly what he is doing. They have got a team that is competitive every game and hard to play against.
“I’d imagine it will be the same on Saturday and we will have that to deal with and then we have got to try and play our best as well. The manager certainly knows what he is doing with his team and they have been very consistent. So, we are going to have to be on our toes.”
City go into the match eighth in the table. However, they are only four points behind Mansfield with two games in hand over Steve Evans’ team and many of the other sides above them in the table.
So, could that work in City’s favour with 11 weeks of the season to go?
“It can do, but it might not,” said Tis. “You would rather have points in the bag, but we have got it in our own hands and the challenge will be to not look too far ahead.
“You can only look at it one game at time. You shouldn’t look at the league table and think ‘we’ve slipped down because we have missed out on games’. We have just got to look at it one game at a time and then, 10 games from now, have another look at it.
“We wanted to play (against Port Vale on Tuesday night) and it was a frustration for us. Hindsight is great because we don’t know whether we would have won it, lost it or drawn it.
“At least we keep our powder dry but the challenge will be dealing with all the backlog of games. We are already behind all the other teams really, but it is what it is and we have got to crack on and make the best of it.”
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is a fiery character in the opposition dugout. However, there is a lot of respect between him and Tis and the two manager get on well.
So, is Tis looking forward to facing his adversary this weekend?
“I look forward to every Saturday and every game is different,” he said. “However, I do admire and respect any manager that gets results consistently – a manager that has different teams, with a turnover of players, but continues to get results and wins more than they lose – because it is not an easy job.
“So, if you are able to do that then there is a certain amount of admiration that anybody in the know would have for someone who can do that. We have played against Steve’s teamS probably for the last 10 years, if you go back to the Crawley days. And his teams have never disappointed when it comes to being competitive and being a really hard team to play against.”