BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mansfield Town will look to end a decent season on a high note with victory over Cambridge United at One Call Stadium this Saturday.
The Stags’ play-off bid petered out two weeks ago while United saw their play-off hopes ended last Saturday when they conceded an agonising last minute equaliser to visiting rivals Plymouth Argyle.
At the same time Mansfield were losing 1-0 at Leyton Orient to a goal by former Stag Ollie Palmer.
This Saturday should start on a high for Stags with the youth team no doubt parading their league trophy and the annual player of the year awards for the first team, including the Chad Readers’ Stags Player of the Year award.
Adam Murray may fancy blooding a youngster or two so we may get a glimpse of the future, and the Stags will try to better their 11th place finish of two seasons ago.
They can finish as high as ninth and anything better than 11th would be a best League finish in 12 years.
Boss Adam Murray’s biggest problem will be motivating a side who are all in contract talks or know they are leaving after sitting them all down and revealing their futures this week.
Young midfield ace Jack Thomas is the latest to agree to stay, signing a new contract last night
Click HERE to see Chad sports editor John Lomas’ weekly Stags video blog
Click HERE to see video highlights of Stags’ 1-0 defeat at Leyton Orient last weekend
Click HERE to read Chad’s report from Orient
Click HERE to see video highlights of Cambridge’s home 2-2 draw with Plymouth last weekend
STAGS TEAM NEWS
Junior Daniel (ankle) and Jack Thomas (groin) missed last week’s trip to Leyton Orient and remain doubts for this weekend along with Swansea loanee right back Dan Alfei, who has been missing with a hamstring strain. This morning Adam Chapman and Chris Beardsley were also reported to be ‘struggling’, though no detail was given on their problems.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI (4-1-3-2): Shearer; Collins, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning; Chapman; Lambe, Clements, Blair; Dieseruvwe, Green.
CAMBRIDGE TEAM NEWS
The U’s have some long-term absentees in Barry Corr (knee), Greg Taylor (ankle) and Conor Newton (back/hamstring), while Ryan Haynes (knee) is also likely to be out.
POSSIBLE CAMBRIDGE STARTING XI
Will Norris, Darnell Furlong, Josh Coulson, Leon Legge, Max Clark, James Dunne, Ryan Ledson, Zeli Ismail, Luke Berry, Harrison Dunk, Ben Williamson.
KEY BATTLE: MATT GREEN v LEON LEGGE
Centre-back Leon Legge has consistently produced strong performances and very rarely, if ever, has a bad day at the office.
He will try to stop Matt Green adding to his 16-goals haul in this final match.
Another star man for Cambridge has been Ryan Ledson, who is an exciting young midfielder on loan from Everton and has caught the eye with his tenacity and eye for a long-range pass. Stags will need to close him dowm quickly before he can pick out a pass.
CAMBRIDGE ONE TO WATCH: BEN WILLIAMSON
Striker Ben Williamson leads the line well and is always full of running.
The 27-year-old has also bagged 12 goals, helping the team cope with the absence of Corr in attack.
He signed for Cambridge from Gillingham in January.
Click HERE to see a video of Williamson inadvertently scoring against Notts County in November with his backside!
OPPOSITION MANAGER: SHAUN DERRY
Former Notts County boss Shaun Derry quickly looked to make his mark on the squad after replacing Richard Money before Christmas, with a number of loan signings coming into the building.
The players certainly seem to have a great deal of respect for him, and have responded well to his training regimes and desire for more purposeful attacking play.
He is always vocal in his technical area and has injected extra determination and enthusiasm into the squad.
CAMBRIDGE SEASON SO FAR
Overall it has been a successful season for Cambridge United.
Although they have missed out on a play-off place, challenging for as long as they did for seventh place was a good achievement considering they had been as low as 18th in the table at one point.
A long-term injury to star striker Barry Corr has not helped, but they recovered well from that setback and have produced several excellent performances, which have given the supporters real optimism for next term.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19th 2015: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1, MANSFIELD TOWN 1
Mansfield Town extended their unbeaten run to three matches after earning a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United just before Christmas.
Adam Chapman’s first goal since returning to the club in May was cancelled out by a heavily-deflected Ryan Donaldson effort in the first half.
To read a full report click HERE
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