It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for Mansfield Town this season, starting the campaign with plenty of optimism they fell to the brinks of the two relegation slots in the division before going on a remarkable record run that would have the fans not just thinking of playoffs, but automatic promotion from the third tier of English football, that has recently seen them fall back and outside the playoff zone.
Just four games remain for the Stags, who do have one in hand on a number of sides in the same aspiring race, but Mansfield now eighth in League Two after back-to-back Easter weekend defeats, realistically are drawn to their fate, which won’t likely be a top three finish, but instead at best would see them taking one of the four places that would at least give them a chance, via the knock-out and Wembley final route.
The Stags face mid-table Crawley Town at the One Call Stadium tomorrow before another home match against Stevenage on Tuesday night ahead of next weekend’s away match at Salford, who are in a similar position (a place below the Stags) in the league, before ending the ‘regular’ season with champions elect Forest Green at Field Mill on the final day.
With pressure mounting at the business end, nothing less than a win would do Nigel Clough’s men this weekend as they look to pick up from defeats at home to Sutton United on Good Friday and away at Carlisle United on Monday gone.
Clough saying “I know we’ve had some ups and downs at this club. I think this has been an unbelievable, rollercoaster season. To be in there challenging is unbelievable for everybody.
“Stick with us and we’ll do everything we can to get in that top seven.”
Mansfield striker Rhys Oates is 50/50 to return from injury and he’s been hugely missed of late. Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris have covid but could still feature, whilst George Lapslie, playing well until his red card at Forest Green, returns to the squad for selection.
For Crawley who have won five of their last six matches, Manager Clough is not expected to take them likely, John Yem’s team are twelfth in the division but Clough acknowledges “They’re one of the most underrated teams in the league.
Clough saying “They play in a certain way where they’ve got some good technical footballers for League Two. They play into feet, their movement is good, they rotate their players. With the run that they’re having, if the season had gone on for another few weeks; they would’ve been serious challengers for the play-offs.”
Mansfield will be hoping to end that particular run and kick-start their own, the final four matches of the season pivotal to whether the Stags will make the playoff cut, Clough understanding of the situation he and his side faces, stating “All we’ve got is four games left, we’ve got six hours of football to get those seven, eight, nine points whatever it might be.”
Let’s hope it’s the result that all at Field Mill want, the game kicks off at 3pm Saturday and adult tickets are from £23.
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc the Stags were beaten 1-0 at Carlisle last time out.