Players return as Stags look to bounce back against Newport

Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town is sandwiched between Mark O'Brien and David Pipe of Newport County during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Newport County and Mansfield Town at Rodney Parade, Newport, Wales on 21 October 2017. Photo by Mark  Hawkins / PRiME Media Images.
Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town is sandwiched between Mark O'Brien and David Pipe of Newport County during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Newport County and Mansfield Town at Rodney Parade, Newport, Wales on 21 October 2017. Photo by Mark Hawkins / PRiME Media Images.

Mansfield Town have a wealth of team selection options as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment when Newport County visit tomorrow (7.45pm).

Midfielder Jacob Mellis and centre half Zander Diamond both proved their fitness during an impressive Sunday training session yesterday while right back Hayden White is also available again after completing his three match ban.

Assistant manager Paul Raynor said: “The medical department have done a fantastic job.

“We’re only missing David Mirfin. We have lots of fantastic options.

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CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF STAGS SUPPORTERS AT SWINDON

“Hayden, Zander and Jacob all trained yesterday along with the new boys – they’re all champing at the bit for an opportunity, so it’s a good place to be.

“It’s exciting to be able to add them to a team that’s been playing well recently.

“We will see how we train today. We’ll see who looks bright and bubbly, we’ll look at Newport, then we’ll sit down and put together a team we think will give us three points.”

The Stags saw their nine game unbeaten run ended in a 1-0 defeat at Swindon on Saturday. But Raynor believes they deserved something out the game and the result was a ‘blip’.

“We looked back at the game yesterday and feel we were very unfortunate not to come away with something,” he said.

“It was a game of very few chances. The wind didn’t help and made it a game of two halves, and unfortunately we conceded a sloppy goal that cost us in the end.

“But I thought the least we deserved was probably a draw.”

With 15 games to go, Mansfield now return to the One Call Stadium to take on a Newport side whose League form has faded a little recently, leaving them six points adrift of the play-offs.

“We are always happy to play at home with the home support behind us,” said Raynor.

“We’re in a good vein of form. Saturday was a bit of a blip. But that’s gone now.

“The boys were in training yesterday and were very bubbly. We’ve lost six League games all season – that’s not a bad place to be in.”

Raynor felt Newport had been distracted by taking Spurs to an FA Cup replay, taking only a single League Two point out of the last nine available.

“You have to say that Michael Flynn has done an incredible job since he came in last year,” he said.

“They looked to be dead and buried. Graham Westley had brought some players in and tried to turn things round, but it hadn’t quite happened.

“They went back to someone who had been around and knew the club, and had been successful at the club as a player.

“What he has done for that football club in recent weeks and recent months is fantastic. You have to take your hat off to Michael – they are a tough side.

“Michael said the FA Cup hasn’t been a distraction. “But hand on heart you can’t not be distracted by playing Tottenham twice and playing at Wembley.”

He added: “It is very, very difficult to keep people focused, particularly with the size of those games and the opportunity to play at the national stadium.

“I think it has taken away a little bit from their league performances.

“But that’s out the way now and they are very dangerous. They didn’t play at the weekend so they’ll be ready. They still think they’ve got a chance of a play-off spot.

“We know the problems they caused us down there. They are a big, strong, powerful side.

“But they also have a lot of quality in the side as well. They can play if you allow them.”

Stags drew 1-1 at Newport back in October when Danny Rose was on the scoresheet.