It’s strange how much can change in seven days, this time last week we sat at our desk at home writing about how we must stop the usual October rot with it being statistically one of our poor months for form under Paul Cox along with November. Here we are a week later, looking out to the Devonshire sea having been on holiday, wondering if the Stags too have been on their jolleys from their recent form, having lost twice since last writing.
Many will argue that the 1-0 loss in the JPT midweek was worse than last Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Hartlepool United due to the fact it was Chesterfield. We wrote on Monday about how it would be nice to remain in the competition so to be knocked out is disappointing, it leaves an extra bitter taste with it being to Chesterfield however hopefully, we can spin the negative into a positive and use is as the clear kick up the backside we need to focus on our league form for the foreseeable future as we aim to add our name to the list of conference champions who have gone onto gain back to back promotions.
Bristol Rovers provide the opposition tomorrow and sit in a similar league position that Hartlepool did last week, let’s not make the mistake again and think the result will be a foregone conclusion – nothing is set in stone at this time of the campaign and one result, if you let it, can change everything.
Cox opted for 4-4-1-1 midweek with Stevenson behind Andrew, we wont comment too much as being away meant we had to rely on the eyes of others, however we’ve seen Stevenson play in this formation before and know that, if he gets the right partner, he will thrive. A flat four gives us a solid base at the back and something to build on going forward – fingers crossed tomorrow that we dig our heels in and go onto gain three points!
LAST TIME WE MET
The two sides tomorrow lock horns for the first time since 2006-07 when Rovers did the double over Stags winning 1-0 at Field Mill in 2007 thanks to Steve Elliott and again by the same score-line in the reverse fixture earlier in the season as former Stag Craig Disley netted the only goal of the match.
The Stags last win over Bristol Rovers came in the 2003-04 campaign when on a September’s night in Bristol, Craig Disley struck twice to add to an opening Junior Mendes goal before half-time, the hosts grabbed a consolation in the final minute from the penalty spot.
In total there have been 47 meetings, one in the cup, Stags have 15 wins but have suffered 20 defeats and also trial the goals 61-74 however on Mansfield turf, the Stags have 13 wins to Rovers’ five and lead the goals 38-17.
Paul Cox will be without midfielder Jamie McGuire who picked up his 5th yellow card of the season in midweek however will be boosted by the news that defender Ritchie Sutton appears to be fine after his worrying injury during the build up to Chesterfield’s goal.
Midfielder Chris Clements is also on the sidelines which leaves Anthony Howell and Godfrey Poku as the only other central midfielders available to partner Keiran Murtagh tomorrow although given the situation with the latter (Poku) it’s likely Howell to be given the nod after being dropped midweek.
Written by Craig Priest & Emily Sykes
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