The 8-1 victory over St Albans Town reignited hope that Paul Cox’s Stags could re-climb the table after a slump in form, however down to ten men last weekend against then second placed Oxford United the result was a forgone conclusion.
Once again, Stags must pick themselves up in the hope of putting together a solid run of form, tomorrow they face Fleetwood Town, a fellow conference Champion looking to spread their wings into the wider world of the Football League.
Fleetwood too have an ambitious chairman at the helm with a young manager who shares said ambitious, the comparison between the two clubs couldn’t be more similar.
Mansfield need to regain their focus, stay tight at the back against an attack which now includes former Nottingham Forest front man Nathan Tyson and boasts the best record in the division.
Defeat against bottom club Northampton last time out may have shaken growing Fleetwood whilst Stags are becoming increasingly desperate to get back to winning ways, without a win in eight league outings – It’s certainly shaping up to be not only a tough physical test, but a test of character as the cold temperature increases to drop and the seasons mould continues to set.
LAST TIME WE MET
The last meeting between these two came in the season when Fleetwood took the conference Champions crown in 2011-12. Stags were on a fantastic run to the play-off’s and a third placed finished but were stopped briefly by Fleetwood who ran out 2-0 winners at Highbury.
Earlier in the season, the Stags were just starting out on their epic romp to third with Fleetwood running away with the top spot. The energy at the One Call was electric and it was the first sign that Mansfield had thrown away the notion of ‘they’ll never achieve anything’. Despite Fleetwood taking the lead midway through the second half, the Stags faithful still kept belief and were rewarded in the final minute as Exodus Geohaghon popped up in front of the Quarry Lane End to thump home a header and earn Paul Cox’s men a deserved point.
One disappointing fact is that, in three meetings at Fleetwood, the Stags have failed to pick up even a draw loosing on all three visits to Highbury. In addition to the 2-0 defeat two seasons ago, earlier that season an illness and injury hit Stags were hammered 5-0 in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay, adding to the previous trips 3-0 defeat in 2010-11.
Paul Cox will be boosted by the return of Martin Riley, Ryan Tafazolli and Chris Clements who all came through 90 minutes in a behind closed doors friendly with Huddersfield which ended in a 4-0 defeat.
Striker Ross Dyer is now back from his loan at Hereford, its yet unknown if Ben Hutchinson or Ollie Palmer will be ok to face Fleetwood after recent injuries, midfielder Louis Briscoe is also out.
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