Mansfield Town: John Radford upbeat on promotion hopes

Stags set sights on Championship

Mansfield Town chairman John Radford is bullish about reaching at least the play-offs in the club's first season back in the Football League.

The Stags have surprised many onlookers following promotion and sit fourth in the table with 18 points.

"We have high expectations and I think we can exceed the expectations of non-Mansfield fans," Radford told BBC East Midlands Today.

"I can't see us not being in the play-offs or coming first or second."

Insurance businessman Radford's money helped Mansfield to the Conference Premier title last campaign after a five-year exile from English football's top four divisions.

They pipped Kidderminster Harriers to the title on the final day of last season with a 1-0 win over Wrexham, sealing a glorious end to only a second full season in charge for manager Paul Cox.

The feel-good factor from that triumph has carried over into the 2013-14 campaign, much to the delight of Radford.

He added: "I'm a really happy chairman and it's so much easier to run a club back in the Football League.

"The fans have been fantastic and I'm really happy with the manager and the squad. Everything is going right at the moment."

The Stags went eight games unbeaten prior to Saturday's unexpected 4-1 home defeat to Hartlepool United.

After another loss, going down 1-0 to local rivals Chesterfield in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday, Radford's immediate concern is to see the Stags return to winning ways against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

However, he has reaffirmed the much loftier long-term ambitions held since he first took over the club in September 2010.

"We are a Championship club," he said. "I want to get us so we are season after season in the Championship, fighting for the Premier League one day, you never know.

"I'm starting to get to grips with it and it's starting to run more and more like a business. It's not hitting me quite as much in the pocket as it was two years ago.

Mansfield keeping it simple - Cox

"Everything is improving, on and off the field, and it's becoming a nice place to be."

Manager Cox says there has been no magic formula in maintaining Mansfield's momentum from last season to this, but pointed out there is still more than three quarters of the season still to contest.

He said: "The main thing has been to keep our feet firmly on the floor. The boys have responded really well.

"To have been defeated just twice in 10 games and be four points off the top is amazing - but it's only a start.

"The goals and pitches don't get any different, it's just the quality of footballer (that increases). We have a number of young players who I believe in and are only going to get better."