LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Derby day the perfect stage for Stags to bounce back from afternoon to forget

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Newport County v Mansfield Town; 9/2/2019  KO 15.00; Rodney Parade; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield's Tyler Walker shoots but can't find enough power to beat County keeper Joe Day
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Newport County v Mansfield Town; 9/2/2019 KO 15.00; Rodney Parade; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield's Tyler Walker shoots but can't find enough power to beat County keeper Joe Day

Derby day at Meadow Lane on Saturday will be the perfect place for Mansfield Town to bounce back and wipe away the misery from last weekend’s defeat in Newport.

Stags are aware that an unexpected win at Forest Green will have lifted a Notts County side scrapping for their lives.

But if the pitch surface is decent and Stags play to their capabilities they should still have too much for the Magpies.

Newport is never a nice place to go.

The pitch is dreadful, the locals hostile and the home side direct.

The surface there certainly did not help a Stags side who were well below recent standards.

But so many things just went against Mansfield on a day that was never destined to be theirs.

Had Nicky Ajose turned his golden first minute chance into the net we might have had a very different afternoon.

Instead the rest of the game turned out to be a string of disappointments.

Stags boss David Flitcroft made his views on match referee Graham Salisbury very clear at the end after seeing a potential leg-breaking tackle on Tyler Walker not even punished and then what looked a clear penalty kick given as a free kick the other way.

Added to that the worry about seeing Danny Rose going off with a smashed face and having Ryan Sweeney booked to ensure a two-game ban put the icing on a rather rancid cake for Mansfield.

At least the game was decided by a goal worthy of securing the points as Newport executed an excellent corner routine straight off the training ground for Robbie Wilmott to smash home a superb rising finish.

With Lincoln dropping points, it was even more frustrating to know that victory for Stags in South Wales would have put them on top of League Two.

Supporters are now on tenterhooks waiting to hear how bad the damage is to Danny Rose’s face and how long he could be out for.

We are hoping a likely press conference in the morning will give us that information.

If Rose is out for a while, on top of losing Jordan Graham for the season and Craig Davies out long term, it will severely limit Stags’ striker options, though CJ Hamilton can always be employed up there with Gethin Jones now available to play wing back.

Also, after four games unchanged, Stags will sadly have to make a change in that usually reliable defensive trio with Sweeney suspended for the Notts trip.

With new signing Ben Turner reportedly struggling for fitness, it is unlikely he would be pitched into such a huge game for his debut unless we see him prove otherwise in the reserves tomorrow.

Youngster Lewis Gibbens is ruled out with a dislocated shoulder while out on loan.

Mal Benning would be the more likely replacement at centre half with Jones at right wing back and Hamilton switching to the left if Turner is ruled out.

One huge factor in Mansfield’s favour on Saturday is having over 4,000 travelling fans that will transform Meadow Lane into the One Call Stadium for an afternoon.

The noise they will generate will ensure Stags can hit a higher gear than at Newport at a ground where they have not lost a Football League game in eight visits stretching back over 21 years.