BIG MATCH PREVIEW
Mansfield Town will want to make an instant impression on home fans and build on their fine opening day win at Newport County when they begin their home League Two programme with the visit of Conference champions Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
In the 3-1 midweek EFL Cup defeat by Championship side Blackburn Rovers, boss Adam Murray protected a few players and went for an experimental line-up
But it’s hard to see him not restoring impressive opening day quartet Matt Green, Danny Rose, Kevan Hurst and George Taft to the starting line-up.
The Robins will be full of confidence after a successful season in the Conference, have added some good new players and will be buzzing after a midweek EFL Cup win over Charlton earned them a tie at Newcastle United.
Their side is likely to include ex-Stags defender James Jennings.
Click HERE to see video of Mitch Rose scoring Stags’ goal against Blackburn in midweek.
Click HERE to read a report of Stags’ opening day 3-2 win at Newport
STAGS TEAM NEWS
Mansfield still have injury doubts over defender Krystian Pearce and striker Pat Hoban while Jack Thomas and Darius Henderson are playing catch-up on fitness.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI (4-1-3-2): Shearer; Bennett, Taft, Collins, Benning; Chapman; Hemmings, Clements, Hurst; Danny Rose, Green.
CHELTENHAM TEAM NEWS
Injured trio Jack Munns, Asa Hall and James Dayton are all unlikely to return while Aaron Downes, who is out long term, and the suspended Kyle Storer both also miss the trip.
POSSIBLE CHELTENHAM STARTING XI
Russell Griffiths, James Jennings, Daniel Parslow, Harry Pell, Danny Wright, Amari Morgan-Smith, James Rowe, Danny Whitehead, Daniel O’Shaughnessy, Easah Suliman, Dan Holman.
KEY BATTLE: Matt Green v Russell Griffiths
If he is to add to his goal tally on Saturday, Stags striker Matt Green will find himself needing to beat highly promising Everton and England U20 goalkeeper Russell Griffiths, who is on loan with Cheltenham until January 2.
Griffiths, 20, spent 2015-16 on loan at National League side Halifax before signing an extended deal at Everton, who have high hopes for him.
Click HERE to see a video interview with Griffiths about signing for Cheltenham
CHELTENHAM ONE TO WATCH:
Finland international centre-back Daniel O’Shaughnessy is hoping this could be his season to shine in England at last after signing for Cheltenham, following a promising two-week trial.
Although he has dual nationality with the Republic of Ireland, the 21-year-old has won two full caps for Finland, having played for their U17s, U20s and U21s.
O’Shaughnessy spent the last two seasons with Championship club Brentford, having joined them from French club Metz, but did not make a first-team appearance for the Bees, going on loan to National League club Braintree and in Denmark with Midtylland.
He is a polished defender and also in possession of a long throw.
Click HERE to see a video interview of O’Shaunhnessy as he signed for Cheltenham
OPPOSITION MANAGER: Gary Johnson
Yeovil Town legend Gary Johnson was appointed manager of Cheltenham Town on March 30 2015.
He has been involved in six promotions during his coaching career and has also managed at national team level.
Johnson began his managerial career at Cambridge United in 1993 after assisting manager John Beck to two promotions as well the quarter-finals of The FA Cup on two separate occasions.
He went onto have an extremely successful first spell in charge at Yeovil, winning the FA Trophy in 2002 as well as securing Football League status for the first time in the club’s history.
Johnson then went one further by leading Yeovil to another promotion, securing the League Two title in 2004/05.
After managing Yeovil, Johnson became manager of Bristol City in September 2005.
In his first season in charge, Johnson led City away from relegation zone before achieving automatic promotion the following season with a second place finish in 2006/07.
After promotion, Bristol City enjoyed a great season under Johnson’s leadership. The team went all the way to the Championship play-off final, narrowly missing out to Hull City at Wembley.
Johnson and Bristol City parted company in March 2010 - at the time he was the ninth longest serving manager in English football.
Johnson was then appointed the new manager of Peterborough United in April 2010. He remained with the club until January 2011 with the Posh firmly in contention for promotion from npower League One - a goal in which they ultimately achieved.
Gary was then confirmed as the new manager of Northampton Town in March 2011, helping the Cobblers to a positive finish in the 2010/11 campaign. He remained with the club until November 2011.
He remarkably guided Yeovil to the Championship for the very first time in 2012/13 by winning the play-off final, also being named the npower League One Manager of the Year.
In recognition of his successes with Yeovil, Johnson was presented with the Outstanding Managerial Achievement Award at The Football League Awards 2014.
Gary has also served as Academy Director at Watford, under manager Graham Taylor, and his international experience was with Latvia, being their national coach in 1999.
CHELTENHAM SEASON SO FAR
After just one year in the Conference, the Robins stormed back at the first time of asking by winning the title and marked their return with a 1-1 home draw with Leyton Orient on Saturday.
Orient took the lead as early as the third minute through debut-making Gavin Massey.
But Cheltenham winger Billy Waters came off the bench to equalise with just 14 minutes to go.
Boss Gary Johnson then watched his side progress to the second round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening with a 1-0 win over League One side Charlton Athletic thanks to midfielder Harry Pell’s goal.
The Robins’ reward is a trip to Championship side Newcastle United in the second round.
LAST MEETING – SATURDAY, MARCH 7th 2015
CHELTENHAM TOWN 1, MANSFIELD TOWN 1
Substitute Billy Kee earned Mansfield Town a point with the crucial equaliser in a 1-1 draw at relegation rivals Cheltenham Town in their last meeting in March last year.
The Robins had drawn first blood two minutes after the break as the Mansfield defence switched off to allow Wes Burns to turn and slot home.
But Scunthorpe loanee Kee came on after 52 minutes and 16 minutes later coolly levelled the game from Reggie Lambe’s pass – his second goal for the Stags.
Overall this was a poor game on what was an awful Whaddon Road surface. The Stags did rattle the woodwork twice in succession in one first half attack through Junior Brown and Chris Clements.
But there were few chances, Lenny Pidgeley having one real save to make to deny Troy Brown, though he almost put through his own goal when slicing an ill-advised bobbling backpass from Ryan Tafazolli.
The second half was a little more open with chances at both ends.
The 1-1 draw was the second stalemate of the season between the sides, after previously playing out a 1-1 in the reverse fixture in December 2014.
To read a full report click HERE
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