Mansfield Town stay fresh and sharp on hectic run of games

Mansfield Town Manager David Flitcroft: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Sky Bet League Two match Tranmere Rovers -V- Mansfield Town at Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229
Mansfield Town Manager David Flitcroft: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Sky Bet League Two match Tranmere Rovers -V- Mansfield Town at Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft has spent the rest of this week ensuring his squad are all fit and sharp but also fully refreshed as their hectic early season schedule takes them to EFL new boys Macclesfield Town on Saturday (3pm).

In the midst of a gruelling run of four weeks with midweek fixtures, Flitcroft said it was important to rest some of the players this week while making sure the fringe players were fit and sharp through a behind-closed-doors friendly Doncaster Rovers.

Despite three draws in a row, Mansfield remain unbeaten while National League champions Macclesfield have begun life back in the EFL with three defeats and a draw.

“My players need recovery as we are playing Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday, so we have to be mindful of that,” said Flitcroft after a hard-earned 0-0 draw at Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday.

“Hopefully everyone will be refreshed and ready for another massive shift on Saturday.

“There could potentially be changes to the starting line-up but we’ll plan that today.”

On Macclesfield Town, he added: “It is one of those grounds. It’s tight up there – the supporters are on top of you.

“They have the momentum from last season, but I am going there with an excitement.

“The lads will be fresh and ready to show they are a good team and show our philosophy and the way we want to play at its best.

“When it is we are a very good team. We showed that at times at Tranmere on Tuesday without having that ruthless edge.”

This season’s return to life in the Football League has seen a tough start for Macclesfield.

Ahead of last night’s first EFL point in a 1-1 home draw with Cheltenham Town, the Silkmen had lost all three of their opening League Two games.

It was always going to be a difficult season back in the EFL after manager John Askey left for Shrewsbury following the team’s promotion, and a couple of their key players also departed.

They did manage to keep the majority of the squad, and brought in a few other good players, but Macclesfield’s objective this season is simply to avoid relegation.

The club are under no illusions on how tough that will be, but if all the players are performing at their best then they are capable of avoiding the drop.

New boss Mark Yates has only been at the club for a few months, joining from Solihull Moors, so the fans are rightfully giving him the time to see how the club perform during the opening months of the season.

He has recognised that and has praised the fans for their efforts in the first few weeks of the season. Despite the winless start in the league, Macclesfield did manage to beat Bradford City in the Carabao Cup, which was a fantastic result for them.

There were no fresh injury concerns for Macc before last night with goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara hoping to play following his loan switch from Manchester United last week.

Danny Whitaker may now be 37 and, along with his playing duties is also the joint-assistant manager, but he remains the heartbeat of the Macclesfield side.

Most of the team’s play goes through him and central midfield and he’ll prove to be a threat against a lot of teams this season.

Alongside Whitaker in midfield, Koby Arthur has shown he has a goalscoring ability already this season by netting two goals against Swindon, and at just 22 he has plenty of pace to run at opposition defenders.

He can either play in the middle of the park or out left, and he’ll be one for the defenders to keep an eye out on.