Neil Bishop believes Tuesday night’s 2-1 home Checkatrade Trophy defeat by Bury may turn out to be a good thing in the long run.
Stags had just had a 10-day lay-off from action and, without the Bury game, would have gone into Saturday’s derby with Notts County even longer without playing.
“Tuesday night was probably what we needed, without being disrespectful to the Checkatrade Trophy. It sharpened everyone’s minds,” he said.
“We got the rustiness out of our legs and probably gave everyone a kick up the backside in that if we are not on it then we can come a cropper to anyone. It was the wake up call we needed.
“It’s probably helped us. It was good to get 90 minutes into the legs and everyone is now match fit and desperate to get going on Saturday.
“The first half was very surreal with the attendance.
“But, again without dismissing it, our season won’t be judged on our results in the Checkatrade Trophy. It’s as simple as that.
“We will be judged where we finish in the league over 46 league games. Now we are out of the cups we have no excuse. “We have a lot of games coming up and we are fully focused on what we want to achieve.
“We are disappointed not to have a cup run, though we played really well at West Brom and here against Charlton.”
Bishop is relishing the big derby atmosphere on Saturday but keen not to build up its importance too large.
“Fans have been telling me how important this game is. But for me it’s not just about Notts County, it’s about getting three points and getting to where we want to be,” he said.
“Our season won’t be defined by two league games. We have come that far that we are more than that.
“I have played in derbies and the atmosphere is always great. “Our supporters have been great and got behind me and the team all season and I thank them for that. On derby day they can push the team on to the next level.”
He added: “If you can’t enjoy Saturday you shouldn’t be in football. There will be a big crowd in and the pitch is immaculate – a great footballing surface.
“We need to remember what we are good at and get the ball down and play our football. If we do that to 100 per cent of our ability we should win the match.
“If we get the three points our fans go home with the bragging rights and the feelgood factor.
“For me, I want the bragging rights at the end of the season and Saturday is just another stepping stone on the way to that.
“I am buzzing for it and I can’t wait.”