Crucial run of home games could boost Stags’ hopes

Paul Cox  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Paul Cox -Pic by:Richard Parkes
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Mansfield Town begin a crucial spell of four home games in the next five tomorrow when they take on title-chasing Fleetwood Town at the One Call Stadium.

The Stags know that if they can gain some measure of consistency at home, they could end their relegation fears over a frantic spell of games which will see them play nine times before the end of March.

Fans will remember the heartache of Fleetwood’s stoppage time winner in that amazing game at Highbury Stadium back in November, which Stags lost 5-4.

Mansfield had no problems putting their chances away that day, but were guilty of being wasteful in last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat Fleetwood’s title rivals Oxford.

The Cod Army arrive with five wins and two draws in their last eight League games, and Mansfield manager Paul Cox said: “We need to put our chances away. It’s not rocket science.

“We are not playing badly and we have only lost two of our last nine games. For the next 15 games I would take results over performance.

“There are a lot of big clubs in this league, who have been around a lot longer than us and have a bit of extra know-how, who are in the same boat as us.

“While everyone is losing their heads, I have to keep mine. We are only seven points off ninth spot and to finish mid-table in our first season in this league would be an excellent achievement.

“My players have a spring in their step. We played well at Oxford last week though the result was poor. If we can play like that again on Saturday and get get a positive result, all bodes well.

“I am not one for sitting down and feeling sorry for myself. We have 15 cup finals left and we are working really hard to maintain our Football League status.”

He added: “We came up against some wily players last Saturday like Kitson, Constable and Connolly who are all goalscorers at this level and above. We need to take a look at what we need and plan accordingly to make sure the next step we take is the right step.

“Being successful is not just about 11 good players. It is about making sure the infrastructure throughout the club is good. We are learning and need to stabilise this club in League Two and then push on.

“We are working hard with the youth set-up and hoping to get the training ground done. There are plenty of things we are catching up on. That’s not an excuse.

“Sometimes you just have to take stock of where you are before you start to progress to the next level.”

Stags face making two enforced changes with defenders Martin Riley and James Jennings getting injured at Oxford.

Fleetwood midfielder Steven Schumacher missed out on their midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi-final exit against Chesterfield with five stitches in his ankle after a bad tackle against Northampton last weekend, but is desperate to return tomorrow.

Striker Jamille Matt should also be fit, despite taking an almighty challenge on the same ankle that had kept him out injured in recent weeks.

Strike partner Jon Parkin is currently hitting top form with two goals in his last three games.