It was a relieving feeling on Saturday when Lee Stevenson finally broke the Stags goal curse, what followed too was a surprising burst of energy infront of goal as Cox’s men went onto grab a total of eight goals to romp through to the FA Cup second round, tomorrow though will be a much sterner test as second place Oxford United come to town.
League form has been frustratingly negative of late and tomorrow, hopefully reignited by the eight goal burst and victory, Cox’s men hope to put it right. Oxford are a good footballing side and stretch teams, the commitment and togetherness has to return if we hope to turn a corner.
Naturally there are still problems and errors with injuries, Ollie Palmer and Ben Hutchinson are both injured and with loanee James Alabi still suspended, the strike forced becomes even more stretched. Sam Clucas will be boosted by his four goals last week but can he bare the weight of expectancy? He’ll have back up presumably from Calvin Andrew or Matt Rhead with Lee Stevenson too however it’s almost critical that the partnership is right to break down what is statistically the best defence in the division.
One positive for Stags is the fact both captain John Dempster and right back Lee Beevers are back from suspension, no doubt this will relieve some tension after a few make-shift back lines in recent weeks.
LAST TIME WE MET
In total Stags and Oxford have met 30 times with the last meeting coming in the conference at the end of the 2009-10 season. David Holdsworth’s Stags lost 2-0 to an Oxford side who went onto gain promotion, whilst the reverse fixture at the One Call Stadium saw Stags edge the game 2-1 with Ryan Williams and Jake Speight (who scored again for Alfreton at the weekend mr Cox!) getting the goals.
At the One Call Stags have eight wins and have slipped to just three defeats.
Striker Ollie Palmer joins Ben Hutchinson on the sidelines whilst James Alabi is suspended and coming to the end of his months loan spell. Chris Clements is close to fitness but is unlikely to feature this weekend.
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