Mansfield Town v Notts County blog: Ideal chance for Stags to send out a message

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Stags fans were treated to a glimpse of a brighter future at the One Call Stadium on Saturday, and although the result didn’t provide three points, there were several areas in which things look positive for the upcoming season.

So how will the Stags fare against one of their biggest rivals this Friday?

Hotly tipped for promotion, Notts County will be looking to take all three points at home against a side tipped by many in the national press to be stuck in a relegation fight.

County have a strong core of players carried over from their last campaign at a higher level and will be looking to establish the solid defensive record upon which promoted sides often rely.

In their first game of the season, Notts travelled to a veteran Stevenage side and came away with three points and a clean sheet in their 2-0 victory.

That will give their fans hope that new manager Ricardo Moniz’s raft of summer signings are being forged into a strong defensive unit.

Moniz has recruited Scot Bennett from Exeter, Wes Atkinson from Premier League West Bromwich Albion and foreign signings Mawouna Amevor, Thierry Audel and Civard Sprockel to bolster the back line.

Matt Green will give them all they can handle, but accurate service will be required to unlock County’s athletic defence.

The Magpies will look to build play from the back following Dutchman Moniz’s version of total football.

This may present an opportunity for the Stags’ new defensive shape and pressing to win the ball back and use the pace of Green, Reggie Lambe and Nathan Thomas on the counter attack.

Mansfield must be solid at the back, however.

County have reloaded their attacking weapons over the summer and will look to use the aerial ability of Jon Stead to finish off their patient play.

The tight control, passing and movement of Kyle De Silva, Julian Jenners and Genaro Snijders will also provide a stern test for the Stags’ defence.

Mansfield manager Adam Murray planned around Tuesday’s Capital One cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday so that he has the strongest and freshest team available for the game under the Friday night lights in Nottingham.

In what will be a great test for Mansfield, Friday’s game is an opportunity for the Stags to send a message to the rest of the League that they are here to be more than relegation fodder this year.

Score prediction: Notts County 1-1 Mansfield Town.