BIG MATCH PREVIEW
After just one point from their last two games, which has seen then drop out the play-off places, Mansfield Town will be looking for an immediate return to form against bottom club Newport County at One Call Stadium this Saturday.
However, the Exiles have picked up of late under Graham Westley and have only lost one of their last eight games, a controversial late 3-2 defeat at Cambridge last weekend.
Ex-Stag Mitch Rose conceded a last minute penalty and was red-carded.
That was subsequently rescinded on appeal though his action of knocking the card from the referee’s hand may yet still earn him a ban.
Stags boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor have both been sent to the stand in the last two games and are hoping neither of them earn FA touchline bans for Saturday.
Worryingly, after only conceding one League goal since the turn of the year, Stags have now shipped seven in two games.
Click HERE to see video of Mitch Rose knock the red card out the referee’s hand last week
Click HERE to read Steve Evans’ thoughts on the game
STAGS TEAM NEWS
Right back Hayden White misses the game through a one match ban from last weekend’s red card in the 3-0 defeat at Grimsby.
Hopes of having loanee centre half Kyle Howkins back after injury disappeared when he limped out of a midweek U23s game for parent club West Brom on Monday.
Stags could move Rhys Bennett across to right back, where he started the season, move Lee Collins into central defence and bring back Jamie McGuire as holding midfielder.
Joel Byrom could return in central midfield after being rested for a game.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI
Kean; Bennett, Collins, Pearce, Benning; McGuire; Whiteman, Byrom, Hamilton; Rose, Coulthirst.
NEWPORT TEAM NEWS
There are problems in defence with centre backs Sid Nelson and Scot Bennett doubtful due to injury, and in midfield Joss Labadie and Sean Rigg are also unlikely to be fit.
However, ex-Stags midfielder Mitch Rose has had his red card from last weekend rescinded and looks set to play.
POSSIBLE NEWPORT STARTING XI
Joe Day, David Pipe, Darren Jones, Mark O’Brien, Mickey Demetriou, Dan Butler, Mitch Rose, Michael Flynn, Josh Sheehan, Ryan Bird, Aaron Williams
KEY BATTLE: JOSH SHEEHAN v JOEL BYROM
Central midfielder Josh Sheehan is the club’s top scorer this season with seven goals and when he’s fit and firing he is the team’s main creative spark and a real goal threat.
The Swansea City loan star is also more effective away from home on better pitches than the poor playing surface at Rodney Parade.
NEWPORT ONE TO WATCH: RYAN BIRD
Striker Ryan Bird, signed from Eastleigh last month, is the team’s other big goal threat.
He is an effective target man who holds the ball up well and his two goals at Cambridge United last Saturday showed that he can be clinical when chances come his way.
OPPOSITION MANAGER: GRAHAM WESTLEY
After two defeats, Westley inspired a seven-match unbeaten run at the start of his reign to briefly take the team out of the bottom two in November and was being hailed as a saviour.
But eight successive defeats led some fans to turn against him.
He’s signed 13 players since January 1st and a recent six-match unbeaten run helped boost belief that the Great Escape is possible, but some fans have written this season off already.
NEWPORT SEASON SO FAR
Having just survived relegation last season the main aim was to avoid another battle to beat the drop.
And with a new team, if they could get off to a good start the ambition was to build towards mid-table and a possible play-off push.
Unfortunately it was not a good start and Warren Feeney was sacked at the end of September.
Graham Westley sparked a brief revival but eight successive losses between late November and mid-January have left them facing an uphill task to survive.
LAST MEETING: Newport County 1, Mansfield Town 0
Saturday, 10th October 2016
Patience – not just by the players, but also from the fans – was the key to Mansfield Town’s eventual 3-0 success against bottom club Newport County at One Call Stadium last season.
Anxiety and panic were kept at bay by players and supporters and the reward came within five minutes of the restart as Stags bagged one of three memorable goals.
Most people left the ground talking about Mal Benning’s stunning 20 yard volley, his second in as many games.
The killer second goal came 20 minutes after Craig Westcarr’s superb opener when Jack Thomas had again been the architect as he cushioned Benning’s cross over a defender for Westcarr to smash home from seven yards.
Brian Jensen had saves to make before Adi Yussuf scored the third in stoppage time.
Click HERE to read the full report
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