BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Swindon Town v Mansfield Town - Saturday 10th February

Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.
Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.
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Mansfield Town head to promotion rivals Swindon Town with things looking decidedly tight at the top in the race for the top three automatic promotion spots.

Three wins in a row, unbeaten in nine and only one loss in 18 League games has Stags believing they can make the top three place they crave.

Hayden White of Mansfield Town

Hayden White of Mansfield Town

But fifth-placed Mansfield know Swindon, two points and two places behind them, can leapfrog them with a win and also know a Stags win could push them into the top three.

A first trip there in 11 years, Swindon is not a happy hunting ground for the Stags.

Mansfield have lost their last five games at Swindon and eight of nine, their last victory there being back in April 1977 when Colin Foster scored the only goal.

Stags have only won three and drawn three in 21 visits to the Robins’ nest.

Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football; FA Cup;3rd Round;'Mansfield Town v Cardiff City'16/1/2018 KO 7.450pm; ;Field Mill'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229''Mansfield's  Joel Byrom takes the free kick

Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football; FA Cup;3rd Round;'Mansfield Town v Cardiff City'16/1/2018 KO 7.450pm; ;Field Mill'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229''Mansfield's Joel Byrom takes the free kick

STAGS TEAM NEWS

Hayden White completes his three game suspension and David Mirfin remains out injured.

But Stags were boosted this week when midfield ace Jacob Mellis

returned to training and, if there are no bad reactions, he will be on

the coach to Swindon.

Skipper Zander Diamond is back in the camp after last weekend’s game due to his wife giving birth.

Steve Evans said he’d take a look at Diamond and see how he was but Saturday may come too soon for him to be fully sharpened up again.

Striker Lee Angol has shaken off a slight strain and played in the

reserves in midweek when all three new signings played.

New striker Ricky Miller was declared the best player on the pitch, scoring in a midweek friendly against a strong League One side in Peterborough and is hot in contention for a start.

SWINDON TEAM NEWS

Kellan Gordon was sent off was sent off against Accrington in midweek.

Swindon are appealing, but he is likely to be banned for Saturday.

Matt Preston’s sending-off last Saturday was a one-match suspension so he should be back in contention against Mansfield.

Keshi Anderson missed the Accrington game due to a ‘physical’ issue but is back in training and should be available.

SWINDON SEASON SO FAR

Town have never made any bones about the ambition for the season being to make an immediate return to League One.

After a disastrous last season, chairman Lee Power ditched his previous practice of him making the signings and a coach/manager managing them to one where David Flitcroft was given full control over incomings and outgoings.

Their away form has been superb, with 10 wins, yet they have lost seven times at home.

A lot of supporters don’t really know what to make of them because many haven’t actually seen them play well at the County Ground!

SWINDON MANAGER: DAVID FLITCROFT

Flitcroft was something of a surprise appointment when made but has overseen a radical overhaul of the squad.

In all 20 new players have arrived permanently or on loan since the summer and only one of the current team that plays regularly – Luke Norris – was here last season.

He has brought in a lot of experience sprinkled with a few younger players.

It’s probably fair to say the supporters like a lot of what he’s done, even if they are perplexed by the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the team’s performances.

KEY BATTLE: TIMI ELSNIK v JOEL BYROM

Midfielder Timi Elsnik arrived on loan from Derby’s U23s earlier in the season and has impressed a great deal since his arrival.

He was out injured for two months from the middle of November and Town missed him.

A skilful player, Town always look a lot more creative with him in the team.

SWINDON ONE TO WATCH: OLLIE BANKS

Ex-Spireite Ollie Banks arrived on loan in the January window from Oldham, having been out on loan at Tranmere before that.

He too has slotted in well in the centre of the park and has scored three times since his arrival.

LAST MEETING: SATURDAY, 21st APRIL 2007

SWINDON TOWN 2 MANSFIELD TOWN 0

It was back in April 2007 when Stags last travelled to Swindon and lost 2-0 to a Robins side chasing promotion.

The Stags were behind after just four minutes when Corr scored after Lee Peacock had hit a post.

The home side hit the post twice again before Jon-Olav Hjelde headed into his own net on 37 minutes to make it 2-0.

The second half was very even, but the Stags couldn’t find a way back and were relieved that results elsewhere assured them of safety.

TRAVEL AND TICKETS

To get to the County Ground (SN1 2ED), A419 from Cricklade/Cirencester/M5 continue on the A419 until reaching the top of the new three lane stretch of dual-carriageway, which runs uphill.

Take the exit at the top of the hill (Lady Lane Junction). At the lights go right, then almost immediately at the next set of lights go left.

Follow this road through the next set of traffic lights (passing the Motorola building to the right), then branch left onto the A4311.

From here follow this road, following signs for Town Centre.

At Transfer Bridges roundabouts turn left at the first and then straight over the second. The County Ground is on the left after the mini-roundabout - look out for the floodlights.

Stags have been allocated 600 tickets in the Arkells Stand and they can be bought in person from the ticket office on Quarry Lane, via telephone (01623 482 482) or online from www.stagstickets.co.uk.

Tickets will be on sale from the ticket office until 3pm on Friday while internet sales have ceased yesterday.

It is advised to purchase tickets in advance, however Stags’ fans can also pay-on-the-day at the County Ground with no price increase at the away ticket booth, payments are accepted using cash or card.