Having battled gamely before ultimately going down to an 89th minute defeat against an expensively-assembled Northampton side, Paul Tisdale turns his attentions to a match that could already be billed as something of a 6-pointer. Tisdale’s plans hinge on youngsters Christy Pym and Matt Grimes returning from international duty with the England Under 20s on Friday night to play two games in successive days – otherwise James Hamon stands by to make his competitive debut. Someone definitely slated to make his debut is Alex Nicholls, the striker having signed on loan from Northampton on Monday having been on the bench against City last weekend. He’ll hope to start alongside Graham Cummins with Matt Jay likely to drop back to the bench, while injured trio Jordan Moore-Taylor, Christian Ribeiro and Tom Nichols continue their rehabilitation and Jamie Reid will be recovering from Thursday’s operation.
Mansfield have endured an up and down start to the season. Having lost to Northampton and in the Capital One Cup to Sheffield United, they bounced back with wins against Oxford and Newport, but have lost their last three including a 2-0 defeat to near neighbours Notts County in the JPT on Tuesday night. Like City their matches have tended to be close affairs but they have only one clean sheet so far and haven’t scored more than two in any match to date. Matters have been made worse as arguably their creative force, Sam Clucas, moved over the Notts/Derbyshire border to deadly rivals Chesterfield on deadline day. Probably their main summer signing was Liam Hearn, but he suffered an injury after just two appearances and will be out until Christmas. There will be a new face on Saturday however, with Rakish Bingham having signed for the club this week after being released by Wigan in the summer.
Last season it was the Stags who had the upper hand, taking four points from City in their first season back in the Football League. Back in August the teams played out a 0-0 draw in Nottinghamshire, before Lee Stevenson on the stroke of half time completed something of a smash and grab in a match City otherwise dominated. City haven’t beaten Mansfield at the Park since August 1999, but still hold a slight edge in league head-to-heads with 19 wins to Mansfield’s 18 (17 draws).
Match Officials – http://www.exeweb.com/2014/09/02/match-officials-mansfield-town-at-home-2/
YouTube highlights from last season’s 1-0 defeat –