David Flitcroft was within minutes of starting off his Mansfield Town tenure with a win in the week but a former player came back to bite The Stags, tomorrow they host Colchester United.
It’s the second home game in four days for the club who are still within touching distance of the automatic promotion spots in League 2, being just one point away.
Flitcroft only made one change last time out, but with Joel Byrom scoring moments after coming off the bench against Lincoln he will be pushing for a start.
Colchester are managed by former Ipswich defender John McGreal and have been since May 2016. He has won over a third of the games he has taken charge of at the Essex based club.
The U’s sit smack bang in the middle of the division but will still be harbouring ambitions of the playoffs as they are seven points away.
It’s THE game Nottingham Forest and Derby County fans look for when the fixtures are released and it’s happening this Sunday. The Rams who are without a win in six travel to a resurgent Forest who haven’t tasted defeat in five.
Both sides played out draws in the week which consolidated Forest’s mid-table position but did nothing for Derby’s promotion hopes.
The Reds haven’t won the fixture since 2015 with Derby shutting them out in three of the last four. Earlier this season Matej Vydra scored after just 24 seconds for The Rams as they went on to win 2-0, but as I said Forest have had an upturn in form recently as Aitor Karanka’s philosophy seems to be bedding in.
Whatever the recent stats are and who is managing either side this time round, it’s going to be as usual a feisty affair, that could make or break Derby’s automatic promotion hopes and Forest will be more than willing to do that.
Notts County were another side who drew in mid-week but jumped up into third in League 2 in doing so. Tomorrow they play Forest Green Rovers at Meadow Lane looking to stay in that top three as there are plenty of sides breathing down their necks, Mansfield Town included.
Back to normal in the non-league scene across our region after the good old Beast from the East wiped out everything last week.
AFC Mansfield are still top of the NCEL Premier Division but they no longer have a double digit cushion and should Pontefract Collieries win their six! games in hand then The Bulls will be second.
Tomorrow though Rudy Funk’s men play at Albion Sports, a side with pretty much nothing to play for, they are 14th, some 14 points above the drop and in no danger of making a late surge for promotion.
AFC have the most clean sheets in the league whilst Albion have failed to score in the second most amount of games this campaign.
The side who has failed to score in the most is Clipstone, who in the week shipped 10 against Maltby Main. I was in for Jason on the mid-week Sportsbeat, so naturally well on top of all the latest scores and at one point Clippo were winning and it looked like their long long wait was going to end but the flood gates opened towards the end of the second half.
They may not have a better opportunity for that first win though than tomorrow because they play the side directly above them in the table, Hall Road Rangers, who granted have had a 12 point deduction and would be fairly clear of the relegation zone with them.
There’s another manager at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium as well now, Jamie Hardwick stepped down to take a role at Scunthorpe United so Alan Widdowson is now in charge.
Same man at the helm at Kirklington Road though as Craig Denton is doing a bang up job at Rainworth Miners Welfare and currently has them 6th in the table. This weekend they go to 11th placed Worksop Town with the chance to get themselves into a positive goal difference, as they are the only side in the league who have scored the same amount as they have let in across the 33 games since last August.
In Division One Ollerton Town picked up a good three points on Wednesday to move themselves a little closer to the sides in the middle of the table and away from those fearing the drop, they’re a comfortable 19 away from the red zone though so no danger there.
They will be banking on Gavin King and Kyle Ludlow carrying on their mid-week for though which saw them both grab braces as they host a Glasshoughton Welfare side who are two points off the playoff zone.
A side inside that zone are Shirebrook Town, only by two points however so they will be fighting tooth and nail to stay there until the end of the season. They can consolidate their position on Saturday with victory against AFC Emley, who they lost to earlier this campaign. They will be confident of better this time as they have the league’s top scorer Kieran Watson leading the line.
For FC Bolsover the threat of relegation still looms over them, they have a five point gap from themselves to Brigg Town and it may well be cut this weekend as table toppers Knaresborough come to town.
Four points still Teversal’s lead at the top of the East Midlands Counties Premier and Selston failed to make their game in hand pay as they were beaten in the week.
Tomorrow Tevie play 10th placed Radford and Selston host struggling Ashby Ivanhoe. Anstey Nomads are back in contention to go top though due to their games in hand, they’re four points back with two games on Teversal and do not have a game again this weekend.
David Flitcroft has never in the history of football lost a game whilst being Mansfield Town manager, will that continue tomorrow?
Forest and Derby are sure to throw up another cracker with the side higher in the league in bad form, whilst the side lower in the league in good form.
There’s still plenty to play for for all our non-league sides too as we edge closer and closer to British Summer Time and therefore the end of another season.
At least it’s a World Cup year!
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