Can home double kickstart Stags’ season

Mansfield Town Assistant Manager Paul Raynor and Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson
Mansfield Town Assistant Manager Paul Raynor and Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson

With Mansfield Town still to hit top gear, two home games in four days this week offers a chance to really kickstart their season.

A busy September, which includes seven League Two games, kicked off with a decent 1-1 draw away at Carlisle United last weekend though leaves Stags with just one win from their opening five League games.

Grimsby Town are the visitors for Saturday’s 1pm kick-off with Wycombe Wanderers at One Call Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm) and assistant manager Paul Raynor said: “I know the boys are looking forward to getting back home.

“It was a really good performance here against Luton last time out and we are certainly looking forward to getting back on home turf.

“Grimsby had a good win on Saturday. They made a few changes and added one or two to their squad on deadline day. So it will be a tough game but one we’re looking forward to.

“We have two home games, which is positive, and if we can start winning those home games and still accumulate the points as we have been away from home then we’ll certainly be in the mix come the end of the season.”

He added: “After 10-12 games the league starts to take shape. It pans out and you get a pretty good idea of where you are going to be and which end of the table you’re going to be competing.

“Hopefully by the end of September we’ll be up there in and around the upper echelons of the table – that’s certainly where we believe we will be and hope we will be.”

On Stags’ home opponents this week, he added: “We know what Wycombe are all about – very direct, very aggressive. You know what to expect.

“I think Grimsby will play a bit more football – a bit more of a possession-based game.

“They have different styles. We’ll obviously be concentrating on Grimsby initially, though we have already started to have a little look at formations and shapes and which players Wycombe have integrated into their squad.”

Although Stags have only the one win from five, assistant boss Paul Raynor said: “We have also only lost one game so there are two ways of looking at everything. I think but for the penalty miss last week against Luton, it was a fantastic performance for 85 minutes.

“It was a good second half performance at Carlisle and, but a very poor goal at Accrington, we’d still be unbeaten.

“It is all ifs and buts but there is a long, long way to go and we are still very positive. It is going to take time. We have integrated about 22/23 players since we arrived last November. It takes time to gel but we are still very confident of a positive outcome.

“We probably need to be a bit more ruthless in both boxes. We need to pick the bones out of our defending and when we do get these opportunities and be a more ruthless.”

He added: “We’ll only find out how good the draw at Carlisle was at the end of the season when we’ve accumulated all the points.

“I don’t think there will be many teams going up to Carlisle and getting three points – it is a difficult place to go.

“I think they will be in and around the mix at the end of the season.

“We had a slow start to the game and had to change shape a little bit. But we thought we were coming on strong towards the later stages of the game and maybe could have nicked it.

“If we could score a penalty it might be different. It’s all ifs and buts though.”