Craig Priest & Emily Sykes write...
3pm tomorrow will be somewhat of a glorious time for us as we watch Stags finely back in action, in mid-week postponement of Hereford means Paul Cox’s men have been without a competitive game since January 19th – they say 24 hours is a long time in football, two weeks is an absolute eternity.
The question is can Stags pick up from where they left off, as we negotiated our way back to the car post Southport, we agreed that if Stags could start brighter and show the same fight and desire for the rest of the season then another play-off gamble maybe on the cards. What will be a 14 day rest between games could again provide an unwanted distraction, fingers crossed the training has been at a high level and the discounted price offer made by the club can entice additional supporters to the ground, which in-turn spurs the lads on and hopefully keep our good form ticking over.
In some ways it’s a shame that were not on the road again given our upturn in away form however we guess it’s a perfect platform to put an end to three consecutive home defeats and re-find that early season ‘best in the division’ home form.
It’s not been all training ground exercises as midweek the reserves comfortably saw off Grimsby 3-0 at Blundell Park, however in terms of ‘regular starters’ only John Dempster got a run out although Clements, Briscoe, Howell and the returning from injury Geohaghon also featured. Paul Cox then has some big decisions to make ahead of tomorrow’s match with Dartford, for instance does he bring back Geohaghon for Jones who in our opinion has been excellent against Stockport and Southport respectively – also what will happen with Cox’s transfer deadline day acquisition James Jennings, who joins on an 18 month deal from Cambridge.
The well rated left-back gives, what for us is, a huge dilemma for Paul Cox – what piece of the Jenga tower does the Stags chief remove and replace. We say Jenga tower rather than puzzle because at times this season the defence has been un-stable rather like a game of giant Jenga. The options are simple, hand debut to Jennings at the expense of Beevers or at the expense of Sutton – everybody we have their own opinions with the majority saying Sutton should be the one dropped, for us Lee Beevers has been assured at left-back after a shaky start at right-back when the season first got underway. It’s not for us to decide or say what your opinions are, looking at the stats it’s so impossible to call!
So far this term Beevers has started 15 games at left-back and has a win percentage of 46.6%, a draw percentage of 33.3% and a defeat percentage of just 20% (3 games) – Ritchie Sutton who again has played in every position across the back four, has similar stats but has started nine more games than Beevers whose stats above and in this comparison are collected from the games he’s played at left-back. With 11 wins (45.83%), eight draws (33.33%), and five defeats (20.83%) the side has conceded 29 goals with Sutton in the side whilst Lee Beevers' time in the side has seen the former Walsall man be part of a defence to concede 17. Whilst the two have naturally played in the same back four the duo are both excellent players and can do a job at either full-back or in the middle if needed. The arrival of Jennings, who arrives with a (36.36%) win percentage during his time at Cambridge, certainly doesn’t mean the end of the road for Sutton or Beevers – what it does do however is provide more competition for places and additional quality to the squad, let’s hope it can be used in the right way.
Dartford will be a tough test despite five away trips without a win and only two wins from their last ten league fixtures, the Darts are currently a place above Stags having played three more games with the same amount of points – despite the departure of Harry Crawford to Barnet and injury to Elliott Bradbrook (the duo netting 23 between them) the Darts still have fire power and tough natured players. There are no easy games in football, but hey if games were easy then being a football supporter wouldn’t be as much fun!
LAST TIME WE MET
Tomorrow’s fixture will be only the second meeting ever between the two sides following the debut meeting earlier in the season. It was a night to forget for Stags as two minutes of madness cost them dearly in front of the TV cameras, Dartford netting twice in as many minutes in first half stoppage time thanks to Elliott Bradbrook and the impressive Ryan Hayes.
Paul Cox could had a debut to deadline day arrival James Jennings, a move which could see Lee Beevers move back across to right back after a prolonged spell at left back a position as eluded to above that he’s made his own.
There could also be a recall for Exodus Geohaghon who completed a full 90 minutes for Andy Todd’s Reserve team on Wednesday as goals from Ben Hutchinson and Louis Briscoe plus an own goal saw a strong Grimsby side comfortably beaten at Blundell Park. Ryan Tafazolli looks set to miss out along with Jake Speight and Ross Dyer despite returning to training.
Dartford, who were last in action midweek in the FA Trophy, will continue life without hit man Harry Crawford who sealed a transfer window move to Barnet – the Darts also look set to be without their other leading starlet Elliott Bradbrook who has nine goals this term, he last featured in the 3-2 defeat at Alfreton on January 5th.
If you can’t get to the One Call Stadium tomorrow then join Craig from 2pm for regular updates throughout the afternoon on 106.9FM and via our MM-LIVE page. Get involved with the show as we’re asking your thoughts on the signing of James Jennings, will he aid Stags back line? Also we’re asking has Paul Cox done enough business to mount a promotion push during the transfer window. Tweet us @mtfcmatters or Text us on 07804 15 66 37 (Texts cost your standard network rate, if your under 16 please get the bill payers permission)
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