Craig Priest & Emily Sykes write...
With ten games between now and the end of the season by now the conference title is usually one or two win away from being sealed – this term it’s entirely different with at least three sides in with a realistic chance of taking the crown. Following Tuesday’s crunch victory over Grimsby at The One Call Stadium we moved joint top and tomorrow have a real chance of reaching the top against Forest Green Rovers.
It’ll be a tough trip for Paul Cox’s Stags especially in front of the TV cameras against a side who not so long ago were fighting for the title themselves, whilst it’s not mathematically impossible for Forest Green, their sights are set on competing for a play-off place after a recent slump in results.
Dave Hockaday’s side have got some quality players but maybe not a big enough squad to compete with ourselves Wrexham and Kidderminster, despite this opinion the growing in stature club will be eager to take three points off us, a team they consider to be rivals.
Against Grimsby on Tuesday we showed that we can battle when it matters, Paul Cox said afterwards that the performance wasn’t to standard it’s refreshing to see that the manager, the person that realistically has all our expectations on his shoulders, is remaining grounded and pushing us to do better. We’ve had some good results of late hence why we’re leading every statistical table you can imagine, however we have to remain focused once again and ensure this advantage of sitting back and watching on Saturday is used to full effect.
Since the turn of the year we’ve been the ones doing the chasing but tomorrow have a prime opportunity to flip the coin entirely and, should we get the result we are looking for aka our ninth straight win, we’ll make others step up their efforts to chase us.
It won’t be easy for the others either, leaders Wrexham are at home to Luton who despite being in lumber this term still have the ability to cause problems when they want to. Third place Kidderminster are also at home as they take on Tamworth whilst fourth place Newport host play-off chasing Macclesfield.
They’ll be twists and they’ll be turns, whatever happens it’s still Mansfield who hold the most control over their destiny let’s hope tomorrow they just keep doing what they have been doing – Winning!
LAST TIME WE MET
The two promotion rivals last locked horns in mid-October at the One Call Stadium, a place where Stags hold a 100% league win record over there Nailsworth based counterparts. It wasn’t a classic to watch as Forest Green, then second in the division, spurned numerous chances and were made to pay in the last minute as Matt Rhead thumped home a header following another Exodus Geohaghon throw.
Last term’s visit ended level at the New Lawn, Ross Dyer’s 15th second opener cancelled out midway through the first half before Anthony Howell was sent off on the stroke of half time on a scorching November’s afternoon.
The New Lawn hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Stags in recent years, they’ve only ever record one win – a brace from Luke Jones, plus goals from Jake Speight and Rob Duffy overturned a 1-0 half time score line as the Stags ran out 4-1 winners in January 2010.
In total Stags lead the wins 6-3 and the goals 17-9, whilst at the New Lawn, Forest Green have two wins to one but trail narrowly on the goals 6-5.
Paul Cox could name an unchanged side once more following Tuesday’s huge win over Grimsby, however despite defeat for the reserves in Hull last night, Ben Hutchinson will have put himself in line for a start behind Matt Green in attack as he again grabbed a goal.
Forest Green boss Dave Hockaday could hand a full debut to loanee Wes Burns after striker came from the bench to net the winner at Southport on Tuesday night in the 92 minute.
Get the best of both worlds tomorrow, and stick the telly on Premier Sports but hit the mute button! Joining Craig in the commentary box is guest Scott Rogers, the boys will bring you build-up, followed by full match commentary from 7pm via our MM-LIVE page and Takeover Radio 106.9FM.
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