Mansfield will look to build on their strong form as they visit Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium on Saturday.
Monday’s FA Cup draw has had Stags fans dreaming of a home tie against Premier League giants Manchester City. Before that they have to beat Cardiff in a reply at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday. But even before that Mansfield have to contest a tricky league game away to Cambridge United tomorrow.
Manager Steve Evans is keen to ensure that his players focus solely on the next game ahead:
“We need to be really focussed when we go to Cambridge because those who don't perform at Cambridge have got 'Bob's hope chance' of playing against Cardiff. From that point of view, we need to be focussed on our next game.”
If the Stags do not perform against Cambridge then they will have ‘Bob’s hope chance’ of getting a result. ‘The U’s’ sit in 12th place is the Sky Bet League Two table – just six points behind Mansfield.
Cambridge United are in good form since Christmas having beaten both Barnet and Crewe at home, as well as drawing away to Notts County and Colchester. Something Steve Evans’ side will need to be wary of is Cambridge’s formidable defensive record. They have kept clean sheets in 12 games this season – the joint highest figure in the league.
Coming into this weekend, Mansfield find themselves just inside the play-off positions in 7th place, and one point behind the automatic promotion places.
Mansfield are in good form themselves. They’re unbeaten in their last five, having won three of their last four games including an impressive 3-1 victory at home to Carlisle United in their last league game.
The previous meeting between the two sides ended 2-1 to Mansfield at the One Call Stadium after a late winner from Danny Rose.
Despite the good form, Evans has made no secret of his desire to add to Mansfield’s squad in this window, but conceded any new additions won’t play a part in the next couple of fixtures:
“If they're not in the building to train on Thursday, then no. We're not going to let them train on Friday and be starting them in a game on Saturday, that's not going to happen
“My understanding of the FA rules is that if you're not registered for the first game then you can't play in the replay. I don't know how true that is; if it's not true then let's sign Messi and get through!
"I think that's the rules so it's a case of if we don't get it done for tomorrow to get them in on Thursday to train with the group, then it will probably be the following week.
"We've got a fantastic squad of players here; we want to improve, we want to bring in players who can help us but we don't want to bring in any player. Any player doesn't make us better.”
Mansfield are still without a full-deck with Kane Hemmings being a doubt for the Stags after being forced off in the 0-0 draw against Cardiff with injury. Tough-tackling defender David Mirfin will also miss out after recently undergoing surgery.
Fans will be delighted to welcome back top-scorer Danny Rose from injury, as well as captain Zander Diamond and Joel Byrom who are all in contention to start against Cambridge.
For Cambridge, David Amoo (hamstring) and Paul Lewis (knee) have returned to training, but Piero Mingoia (groin) is likely to miss out.
Jason Harrison will keep you right up to date throughout tomorrow afternoon from 1.
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