Craig Priest and Emily Sykes write...
Fourteen games to go and Stags are certainly in form with 11 wins from their last 15 games, netting eight goals from their last four outings. Regardless of results tonight Mansfield will still be five points from the top with games in hand plus Grimsby, Forest Green and Wrexham still to play – the chase is definitely on!
Tomorrow they face a side down on confidence and a team who look destined for the drop, without a win in 21 league outings now we should be licking on our lips at facing AFC Telford tomorrow, however we lingering vision of our performance at Lincoln midweek somehow prevents us from feeling fully confident.
AFC Telford were dealt another blow today as interim boss Mark Cooper opted to take up the assistant manager’s post at Swindon a move which offers him a bit more security after working for expenses only during his five game stint at the helm of the Bucks. The rock bottom club have moved quickly to appoint another interim manager as Cooper’s and former boss Andy Stinton’s right hand man Graham Hyde takes the post for the remainder of the season.
Away from Telford’s woe’s Stags need to ensure they focus and, as terrible as it sounds, ensure the Bucks barren run continues. The big question is about whether or not legs should be rested tomorrow – we believe that part of the shoddy performance at Lincoln was due to tiredness, with a trip to play-off chasing Woking on Wednesday plus games with Grimsby and Forest Green in the coming weeks tomorrow may well be the ideal time to re-shake the pack.
Without being disrespectful to AFC Telford realistically we should be able to make four to five changes and still win the game. Naturally this goes down to our strength in depth and confidence within the squad, game time for the likes of Ritchie Sutton, Ben Hutchinson, Nick Wright, Jamie Tolley, Matt Rhead and maybe Shane Redmond will not only provide healthy competition for places but also ensure that we are well equipped for the run in. We believe that everyone who has played their part in our fantastic run deserves to keep their place in the side but on the flip side if you want to be successful you have to make brave decisions and rest those who clearly need a rest, for example the likes of brave heart himself Lee Beevers, Adam Murray, Matt Green and Louis Briscoe.
Whatever Paul Cox decides to do tomorrow let’s hope it’s the right decision and the one which gets us all three points.
LAST TIME WE MET
These two sides have only met three times before and remarkably have never been able to beat each other as three draws have been played out. The Blue Square Bet North play-off winners of 2010-2011 AFC Telford first faced Stags on the 20th September 2011 where the sides played out a one all draw, before Stags first trip to the New Bucks Head ended goalless on November 19th.
Earlier this term Lee Beevers fluke cross and a Jake Speight penalty grabbed Stags a point prior to Telford’s abysmal run of form – the meeting taking place exactly a year and two days after the first. There was also a reserve team friendly between the pair at the New Bucks Head last February; the less said about that the better as Stags got thumped 5-0.
Paul Cox will again be without Anthony Howell despite scan results showing he will play again this season earlier today. The Stags boss is also without Jake Speight who is set to return to training next week and Ross Dyer who is said to be around a month away.
AFC Telford interim boss Graham Hyde takes charge of his first game of the Bucks, it looks likely he’ll have a clean bill of health as he desperately tries to avoid odds on relegation.
If you can’t get to The One Call Stadium then join Craig from 2pm on 106.9FM or via our MM-LIVE page for regular updates – the problems suffered at Lincoln midweek should hopefully be fixed now after extended testing yesterday.
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