Victory over Mansfield Town would put Stevenage firmly back in the play-off hunt

Mansfield's Mal Benning battles with Stevenage top scorer Ben Kennedy
Mansfield's Mal Benning battles with Stevenage top scorer Ben Kennedy

On Saturday Mansfield Town head for a revitalised Stevenage, who are pushing hard to join the League Two play-off hunt.

And Stags, unbeaten away from home all season, know a home win would draw Stevenage level with them on points.

After a 16th place finish last season, Boro are now 11th and Albanian boss Dino Maamria said: “We are in a great position.

“Nearly half-way through the season and we are in the hunt.

“We are in the top 10 and if we are still like that in January we have a great chance.

“If we want to compete at the top of the table we need to do better away from home.

“It is important to stay in the mix. I do not think anyone is going to run away with it.

“It is a long season and a critical period at the moment but, as long as we keep our squad fit, we have got a good chance.

“We have got to keep overachieving and that is the job.”

Top scorer Ben Kennedy earned them a point in a 1-1 draw at Northampton Town last weekend and he said: “I want to get double figures this year.

“Nine is the most I have had, so seven before Christmas is all right and hopefully I can push on.

“I just want to keep playing and stay injury free.

“I want to score, create goals and, on my day, I know what I can do.”

Although the draw saw Stevenage drop to 11th, having tasted victory once in their last five league matches, the play-offs remain in touching distance, with only two points separating seventh-placed Exeter from Boro.

However, the draw at Northampton came at a cost with an injury to influential midfielder Michael Timlin (pictured inset).

The 33-year-old former Southend player is expected to miss the busy Christmas schedule.

“That was the biggest disappointment of the day,” said Maamria.

“Timmy is a big player for us and a fantastic lad as well. “He has got a gash in his leg, I think he might be out two to three weeks.

“He will probably need 20 stitches, he has gone to hospital and hopefully he will be okay.”

But Stevenage have been boosted by the return of other key players.

Maamria said: “Kurtis Guthrie is back – it’s good to have him back. It is also good to have Danny Newton back as well.

“He played his part in the second half last week and was very good when he came on.”

Stevenage away would have been new manager David Flitcroft’s first game in charge of Stags last year had it not been frozen off in the end.

But when Stags finally made the trip down there, the 1-1 draw was the first time the two clubs had ever shared the points.

On Saturday Mansfield Town head for a revitalised Stevenage, who are pushing hard to join the League Two play-off hunt.

And Stags, unbeaten away from home all season, know a home win would draw Stevenage level with them on points.

After a 16th place finish last season, Boro are now 11th and Albanian boss Dino Maamria said: “We are in a great position.

“Nearly half-way through the season and we are in the hunt.

“We are in the top 10 and if we are still like that in January we have a great chance.

“If we want to compete at the top of the table we need to do better away from home.

“It is important to stay in the mix. I do not think anyone is going to run away with it.

“It is a long season and a critical period at the moment but, as long as we keep our squad fit, we have got a good chance.

“We have got to keep overachieving and that is the job.”

Top scorer Ben Kennedy earned them a point in a 1-1 draw at Northampton Town last weekend and said: “I want to get double figures this year.

“Nine is the most I have had, so seven before Christmas is all right and hopefully I can push on.

“I just want to keep playing and stay injury free. I want to score, create goals and, on my day, I know what I can do.”

Although the draw saw Stevenage drop to 11th, having tasted victory once in their last five league matches, the play-offs remain in touching distance, with only two points separating seventh-placed Exeter from Boro.

However, the draw at Northampton came at a cost with an injury to influential midfielder Michael Timlin.

The 33-year-old former Southend player is expected to miss the busy Christmas schedule.

“That was the biggest disappointment of the day,” said Maamria.

“Timmy is a big player for us and a fantastic lad as well. “He has got a gash in his leg, I think he might be out two to three weeks.

“He will probably need 20 stitches, he has gone to hospital and hopefully he will be okay.”

But Stevenage have been boosted by the return of other key players.

Maamria said: “Kurtis Guthrie is back – it’s good to have him back. It is also good to have Danny Newton back as well.

“He played his part in the second half last week and was very good when he came on.”