BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Notts County return to One Call Stadium on Saturday on a revenge mission for last season’s 5-0 humiliation there.
That completed a double for Adam Murray’s men, having won 2-0 at Meadow Lane early in the season.
Murray knows his side need to drastically improve at home as their excellent away form will not be enough to keep them in play-off contention.
Stags have not won at home for four games, losing three of them and failing to score a single goal in them. It is now 386 minutes since Mansfield scored at the OCS.
However, Stags do have a decent record against their city rivals as in 15 years they have only lost to them once in the league and that was 11 years and seven games ago, a home 3-2 defeat in August 2005.
The midweek win at Port Vale was a much-needed first victory since the end of August for Stags, their first in eight games, and a fifth away game unbeaten.
At the same time Notts were going down 2-1 at Rochdale, also in the Checkatrade Trophy, after seeing their home game with Morecambe last weekend abandoned after just 10 minutes as a thunderstorm left the pitch waterlogged.
Both clubs will hope the fixture is not marred by crowd trouble as was the 5-0 win last April.
STAGS TEAM NEWS
Boss Adam Murray admitted he had some interesting team selection headaches for Saturday after resting five players and then seeing his new-look side pulled off a first win in eight games at Port Vale in midweek.
Perhaps his biggest decision is who to play up front.
After suffering a 482-minute goal drought he caused a stir by dropping star striker Matt Green and bringing in summer signing Pat Hoban.
Hoban impressed and scored on his full debut at Accrington and turned in another solid showing at Crewe last weekend.
But Green came on as a substitute at Port Vale on Tuesday and within three minutes had grabbed the game’s only goal.
Midfielder Jack Thomas and centre half Kyle Howkins both returned to training this week after injury and, despite their lay-offs, Murray said both were very fit and refused to rule out throwing either back into the first team fray.
Forest loanee defender Alex Iacovitti again misses out while away on Scotland U21 duty.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI
Shearer, Benning, Pearce, Collins (C), Bennett, McGuire, Clements, M. Rose, Hurst, D. Rose, Green.
NOTTS TEAM NEWS
Having lost at Rochdale in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night, the Magpies are likely to revert to the starting line-up for last weekend’s abandoned home clash with Morecambe, providing keeper Adam Collin has recovered from the illness that forced a late withdrawal from the side at Spotland.
It is hoped skipper Michael O’Connor will have recovered from a a slight groin injury in time to face Mansfield.
But Curtis Thompson is likely be missing because he is still recovering from an ankle injury and is considered to be a week or two away from fitness.
POSSIBLE NOTTS STARTING XI (3-5-2)
Collin, Hollis, Duffy, Laing, Dickinson, Tootle, Rodman, O’Connor, Milsom, Forte, Stead.
KEY BATTLE: SCOTT SHEARER v JON STEAD
Striker Jon Stead is joint top scorer in League Two with Grimsby’s Oman Bogle and his five goals for Notts County in September have put him in contention for the League Two player of the month award.
Stead scored five goals in as many games during September with a double in the 3-2 win at Cheltenham that showcased the former Huddersfield hitman’s finishing prowess.
A wonderful long range effort against Leyton Orient showed the more spectacular side of his game before a double against Exeter, which sealed a 2-0 win, showed his predatory instincts.
The competition’s organisers said: “The 33-year-old shows no sign of slowing down. Five goals in as many games took his season’s tally to nine.”
Click HERE to see Jon Stead’s five September goals
NOTTS ONE TO WATCH: JONATHAN FORTE
Big striker Jonathan Forte is back at Notts for a fourth time and currently enjoying working alongside Jon Stead for a deadly partnership at this level.
Barbadian international Forte, 30, has scored four times already this season.
Forte was signed from Oldham Athletic in the summer after his contract had expired.
He had already spent three loan spells at Meadow Lane, scoring 13 goals in 28 appearances.
Forte was on loan at Meadow Lane in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
He played under boss John Sheridan during the Notts manager’s time as Oldham boss and his previous clubs also include Sheffield United and Scunthorpe.
OPPOSITION MANAGER: JOHN SHERIDAN
John Sheridan, a former Republic of Ireland international, joined the Magpies from Oldham Athletic last May, where he steered the club to 17th place in League One having taken over in January with the team in 22nd position and five points from safety.
The 51-year-old, who has signed a three-year contract, has a proven track record in the Football League, winning the League Two title and Football League Trophy with Chesterfield, whilst guiding both Oldham and Plymouth Argyle to the play-offs.
A midfielder, he began his playing career with Manchester City and then moved to Leeds United, where he scored 47 League goals in 230 appearances.
He played for Nottingham Forest briefly, under the management of Brian Clough, and then joined Sheffield Wednesday, for whom he scored the winning goal in the 1991 Football League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
Near the end of his time with the club, he played for Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers on loan before joining the latter permanently.
Sheridan made 199 League appearances for Wednesday and scored 25 goals. He won the Football League with Bolton in 1997.
Sheridan played for Doncaster Rovers after leaving Bolton and then joined Oldham Athletic, where he spent the last six years of his playing career, scoring 14 league goals in 144 appearances.
He played international football for the Republic of Ireland, for whom he won 34 caps and scored five goals over a seven-year period.
Having been included in the Republic’s squad for UEFA Euro 1988, Sheridan went on to play one game at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and four in the 1994 tournament.
Click HERE to watch a summer video interview with Sheridan about joining Notts
NOTTS SEASON SO FAR
After a slow start to the season, the Magpies have clicked into top gear and won five of their last seven in the division, which has taken them into the play-off spots.
Having brought in a lot of experienced League One and League Two players over the summer, boss John Sheridan and assistant Mark Crossley are delighted to see them gelling together quicker than originally envisioned and, after a couple of dismal seasons, the Magpies are hoping they are finally back on the rise once more.
Saturday, 16th April 2016: Mansfield Town 5, Notts County 0
Back in April, Mansfield Town kept their play-off dream alive with a pulsating home 5-0 derby win over Notts County.
Stags ripped County apart in the second half as they built on a fragile 1-0 half-time lead to do the double over their neighbours.
Mansfield faded after a bright opening and had dined out with Lady Luck with County, and Izale McLeod in particular, guilty of some very wasteful finishing.
But after the break Stags showed their visitors no charity as they clinically ripped the Notts rearguard to shreds.
Matt Green got the rout underway with his 15th goal of the season after six minutes to put Stags ahead.
County should have levelled during a dominant first half with Izale McLeod, Thierry Audel, Liam Noble and Jon Stead all wasting chances.
They proved costly misses as Mansfield doubled their lead on 57 minutes when Adam Chapman hit home a scorching free-kick from the edge of the box.
It got even better for the home side three minutes later when Matt Green bagged a brace after getting goalside and slotting coolly past Scott Loach.
Reggie Lambe made it 4-0 on 67 minutes after a super run and cross from Matty Blair down the right flank gave him a simple tap-in.
Mansfield rubbed further salt in the wounds with seven minutes to go when Mitchell Rose tapped home after Scott Loach spilled a shot into his path.
Click HERE to read a match report
Click HERE to see Adam Chapman’s superb free kick from the 5-0 win
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