Craig Priest and Emily Sykes look ahead to Mansfield’s Final two pre-season fixtures...
As the opening show approaches Paul Cox and his squad are set for two matinee performances as they face Boston United and Rotherham United respectively over the coming days. Things have looked fine so far in rehearsals, with little sign of on stage slip-ups during the senior side’s eight outings, with seven victories and a draw so far.
As proved last season it matters little how you start, with the importance being how you finish, that said everybody loves a good start and for the first time in our five years in the Conference wilderness, we have an opening game against stronger opposition- no disrespect to the previous four. In my opinion both Boston and Rotherham play similar football to the style Justin Edinburgh is developing at Newport.
The fact that both games are in quick succession shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for the Stags, in fact it may help solve the selection headaches Paul Cox may face in the coming weeks. As mentioned the two sides are similar to Newport and having them so close will only help with our momentum heading into the season’s curtain raiser.
First up it’s to Boston, a side in the league below us and a team that are defensively tough to breakdown. The Pilgrims finished 11th last term keeping things tight on home soil, with only seven home defeats, whilst as an attacking unit they relied heavily on the goals of Marc Newsham who netted fifteen last season. Now under the sole management of former Stags striker Jason Lee, the former football league outfit will be looking for a promotion push themselves, enjoying a fairly successful pre-season with only one defeat so far.
Cox’s side will have no time to take in sea air, as they immediately return to the hallowed One Call Stadium turf to face former Crawley boss Steve Evans’ Rotherham United. A league above us The Millers, also finished mid table last term having changed mangers towards the back end of last season, a move which left us Stags fans fearful we may lose Paul Cox, with his name one of the favourites for the vacant managers chair.
Former Crawley boss Evans has begun the task of strengthening The Millers ahead of the forthcoming season adding thirteen new faces to his dressing room, letting twelve players move onto pastures new as he attempts to repair what was a sloppy defence last term which at times featured similar comedy capers as infamous duo The Chuckle Brothers who are big supporters of the side. The Scottish manager held Crawley together during their times of finical struggle before leading them to back to back promotions once those troubles we’re solved, the Millers board will be hoping he has the same effect now things are finally looking settled with a new permanent home sorted following the clubs move from Millmoor.
Both games will be tough and a good indication of what’s to come, the only down side is that the great Mansfield starting line-up mystery will seemingly continue as all fit players will undoubtubely be given a run at either of the two games. With the United duo being close to the style of Newport I genuinely have no idea at which game Paul Cox will field what he sees to be his strongest eleven.
As ever you can catch all the action with Mansfield Matters, join me tomorrow night from 7pm via our mm-live page for full match commentary of the Boston game. Then join myself and Wayne Briggs the following afternoon for regular updates on the Rotherham match, build-up starts at 2pm on 106.9FM and via our mm-live page.
Please be aware that due to the closeness of the fixtures, match report, highlights etc will not be available until Sunday at the earliest.
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