Craig Priest looks ahead to tomorrow afternoons trip to Grimsby...
Bank Holiday weekends, an extra day off work, a trip to the seaside and an extra game of football – it’s not often Stags fans get all three, however tomorrow’s trip to Grimsby could round off the perfect hat-trick.
Grimsby’s ground sits roughly a mile from Cleethorpes and whilst supporters may opt for a pre-match stroll on the beach, Paul Cox and his players’ minds will be far from feeling the sand underneath their toes and focussed on the green grass of Blundell Park, as they search for a third consecutive victory and another bank holiday double.
After a frustrating start things are turning a corner with two back to back wins, the latter seeing us keep our first clean sheet of the season. Grimsby is always a tough place to go and if the Stags are to keep up their momentum they will have to ensure they are again at their best from start to finish, building on the wider foundations laid at the One Call Stadium yesterday, including the back four which looked a lot more assured throughout.
Grimsby are yet to get off the winning mark but have achieved strong, acceptable draws away to Southport and Wrexham, as well as holding newly promoted Nuneaton to a goalless draw on home soil. Rob Scott and Paul Hurst’s Mariners endured a very poor start last term but a midseason surge saw them an inch away from reaching the play-offs, a phenomenal 15 game unbeaten run saw them rise from 16th to 6th before defeat to champions Fleetwood rocked the boat a little too much and results go sour.
Despite losing a few keys faces in the summer Hurst and Scott have signed a wealth of players with football league experience as they look to drive Grimsby forward. Results so far have seen two clean sheets against strong attacking sides; Cox will need to see a little more bite from his front line after numerous chances went to pass against Hyde yesterday.
LAST TIME WE MET
Last term it was the Stags who took four out of six points against Grimsby, a 2-1 win at the One Call Stadium and a hard fought goalless draw at Blundell Park, a ground which hasn’t been too kind to the Stags down the years – their last victory being in 1987!
Out of the two clubs it’s been Grimsby who have enjoyed the more success against Stags at Blundell Park, notching up 11 victories to our 5 – the other five fixtures all ending level. In total the sides have met 44 times down the years with Mansfield grabbing 18 wins to Grimsby’s 15, a further 11 fixtures have ended all square. Goals have always been a plenty too, 125 have been netted so far with Mansfield netting 64 to the Mariners 61.
Paul Cox has pretty much everyone to choose from with the exception of long term absentees Ross Dyer and player boss Murray. One thing he may want to take into consideration is that Gary Roberts is two yellow cards away from suspension after picking up his third yellow of the season yesterday – a little side note here, after four games the Stags are technically the dirtiest team in the league with 11 bookings and one red.
If you’re not heading to Blundell Park tomorrow join myself and Scott Rogers for full match commentary – build up gets underway from 2pm via our mm-live page.
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