Craig Priest writes…
Tick-tock goes the clock, the league two season keeps on approaching – Paul Cox has just three more friendly matches before the serious business gets underway on August 3rd at Scunthorpe, with this weekend providing another double header with two games in the space of 24 hours.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that it will be two different sides, for once I’m pleased with this double header to be honest – everyone will get a chance to impress and make the grade for Tuesday’s trip to Gainsborough which, if I were Paul Cox at least, would be the side which takes on Scunthorpe.
Coventry City of course are a crisis club in a sense, a recent rent dispute with the owners of the Ricoh Arena has seen the club move home, ground sharing with Northampton Town. Around 5,000 fans recently protested about the move, so will the off field issues affect what goes off on the pitch, after a disappointing 15th place finish in league one last term the Sky Blues will be eager to get supporters back onside, especially considering the fact that due to their ground issues, all of the pre-season preparations have been on the road.
Bottom half and league one is pretty much the same standard as top eight league two which is where our beloved Stags are aiming to be so Friday evening’s match should give us all an indication of either how close we are, or how far away we are.
The striker search is still on going and whilst Richard Cooper took charge of the Stags for their Tuesday night Green Energy Challenge Trophy win, boss Paul Cox and assistant Adam Murray went off casting their eyes over a number of potential targets – I doubt now we’ll see any movement before the weekend but we’ll see. I felt against Rainworth that Calvin Andrew and Jordan Ball did well and deserve another look, 45 minutes apiece in both this weekends friendly’s wouldn’t do much harm, although in honesty, it’s against Boston we’re I’d expect them to be trialled, hopefully along with Amari Morgan-Smith but his absence at Rainworth perhaps suggest that, that particular ship has sailed.
Boston United will be the match where those Cox is unsure on will get another run out, can George Pilkington push his way into the side at left back after a handful of impressive displays depending on how long Jennings will be absent for? Can Godfrey Poku avoid being cast out again, his professional attitude is a real credit to him and perhaps should make Paul Cox have one final serious think about his future.
The Pilgrims will prove a tough test for Cox’s men as they continue their quest to climb out of the conference north, finishing 16th last term following numerous managerial changes – Dennis Greene is now at the helm and will no doubt push his Pilgrims side to attempt to defeat the conference national champions.
Hopefully on Sunday after both encounters we’ll know a little more about the striker situation and have a much clearer idea on whose going to kick start Mansfield’s football league campaign – is anyone else counting the sleeps like Christmas now?!
Peterborough: Regular Updates via MM-LIVE from 7pm
Boston: Full Match Commentary, exclusively on StagsPlayer from 2.55pm
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