Mansfield Town: Kick up the backside is helping Meikle
LINDON Meikle believes he was given the kick up the backside he needed for his hunger to return in a Mansfield Town shirt.
And now the lively winger is ready to torment the Stags' promotion rivals and help the club seal the Blue Square Bet Premier title and with it promotion.
The 24-year-old followed manager Paul Cox from Eastwood Town to the One Call Stadium in the summer of 2011 and was a star turn as he helped his new club to third only to suffer play-off heartache.
He has featured heavily this season but at the start of the year his form dipped and by his own admission, he was suffering a confidence crisis.
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Since being substituted at half-time in the 5-0 win over Dartford at the start of February, he had to settle for the bench in the next eight games and impressed when coming on, scoring a last-minute winner at Luton.
But an injury to Louis Briscoe led to a recall to the starting line-up on Saturday and Meikle looked like his old self as he played a hand in three goals as Stags won 4-1 against Stockport to move joint top.
Now they face a massive game against promotion rivals Grimsby Town tomorrow night at home, before a trip to sixth-placed Forest Green on Friday and then leaders Wrexham next Tuesday night.
And Meikle hopes to play a major part in cementing their place at the top.
He said: "My confidence levels are creeping back up. Being out of the team has given me the hunger back because I suppose I lost that.
"It just happened and maybe I got complacent playing week in and week out and thought I was not going to get dropped. Maybe that is what I needed – a good kick up the backside. I have been working hard and hopefully now there is a lot more to come.
"I have to build my confidence but I want to play a massive part in these next three games and play a big part in helping us go up.
"I just wanted to work as hard as I could and an opportunity opened up, I just had to take it.
"Louis has had problems with his glute which is unfortunate for him but gave me a chance. Hopefully I have taken that."
Victory at the weekend was a seventh successive win for the Stags, who have won 11 of their last 12 league matches to climb the table.
But the run of form is no surprise to Meikle, whose side sit third only on goal difference to leaders Wrexham and second-placed Kidderminster, both of whom they have games in hand on.
Meikle added: "Earlier in the season there was something not clicking but that happened last season. We kicked on then and we have kicked on now and a few weeks ago we were ninth, now we are right up there.
"I always said stick by the gaffer and he is proving himself again, we are proving ourselves again and we have to keep going right until the end and you never know, we might win it. But we have to win all our games, Grimsby first.
"Every game is make or break I suppose, that's how we have to approach it. I think it will go down to the last game of the season but all I have is my eye on the next game – Grimsby. We have to beat them and see where that takes us."