It’s like Christmas Eve for Stags fans today as tomorrow our beloved side lock horns with our arch rivals Chesterfield in a league fixture once again. Ever since Matt Green popped up in the 90th minute against Hereford and then again mid-way through the first half against Wrexham to seal promotion as Champions, we’ve been picturing the day the two old enemy’s meet again – watching over and over as an amber shirted hero pops up to recreate Liam Lawrence’s 2003 winner.
Games like this are really more than just a game, the sentence “well the performances we’re excellent” just won’t wash, nor will “that was a good point for us” – it’s all about winning and about personal pride.
The rivalry stretches back a long time, longer than we can all remember probably. Some will understand it some wont but whatever, the fact is winning is everything – we both hate the fact of the other “having one over on us” – the feeling that creates can be extremely strong, you can just me on that!
I’m sure you’ll all be aware of what happened with me in the summer and a certain radio station, I’ve said all I will say on the matter so believe me when I say, writing this preview is from the heart of a true Stags fan and all I want is a win for my team tomorrow afternoon.
No player from either side has played in this derby before however Paul Cox has dragged this club from the car crash it was post Wembley and turned it into a group of Champions. He knows the passion and pride of us in the stands, he knows how much winning this one game will mean and, as a competitive man himself, he’ll want to win and have his players fired up accordingly.
Chesterfield boss Paul Cook will argue the same and perhaps state that on paper, his side are statistically stronger. He’d be correct too, but not by much – the current league leaders are unbeaten with seven wins from their opening eight league matches and have the best defence and third best attack – our Stags, unbeaten in seven with three wins from the last four, have the second best defence and sixth best attack. I tell you what though; you can take your statistics and shove them into the abyss.
It’s not even about who has the most of the ball or most shots on goal, to an extent it’s not even about who scores the best goal – the winner will be the side that runs that extra step quicker, the defence that is sharp at the opponents heals, the midfield that stands firm to fight, the strike force that has the confidence to create and the players that stays focussed to pull the strings. Tomorrow see’s two in form teams go to battle, it also sees two old enemy’s go to war – let it happen on the pitch! Remember the feeling of winners at Lincoln, Luton and Hereford, remember the emotion of Wrexham and take all of that into the stands tomorrow, sing your heart out and guide Mansfield Town to victory.
LAST TIME WE MET
Paul Cox is without Martin Riley who serves the second of a three match suspension whilst Chris Clements is also out following his injury at York – other than that, the Stags boss who takes charge of his 101st game on the weekend of Chairman John Radford’s third year at the club, appears to have no fresh injury’s within his squad as the Stags go to war.
Written by Craig Priest
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