Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has hinted at a change of system ahead of Saturday's eagerly-anticipated top six clash at Sixfields, Northampton.
The Stags travel to Sixfields to face a Northampton side who sit one place above the Stags in the Sky Bet League Two table after 16 games of the campaign.
Murray now has defender Kyristian Pearce available for selection after the centre-half missed the last four games through suspension and he admits that it gives the Stags an opportunity to ‘do something different’.
“It’s the first time we’ve had our three centre-halves fully fit, so with Pearcey (Krystian Pearce) back it gives us an opportunity to get two targets ‘up there’ and pin them back a little bit."
He continued: “We defend from the front and Lee’s (Collins) come in and done what we expected him to do. He’s a top player, probably one of the best centre-halves at this level, so he’s come in and carried the mantle.
“With the three there it might give us an option to try something different.
"Building into Oldham, I feel it’s something that might affect them so we’ll have a look at it this week.
“Pearcey had a bit of bad luck missing the four games but it’s a good opportunity for him to get his legs going again.”
Murray’s side, who have recorded five wins on the road so far this season, face in-form Northampton Town who defeated Coventry City of League One in the first round of The Emirates FA Cup last weekend and the gaffer recognises that it'll be a tough test for the Stags.
“They’re flying at the minute, I think they’re a team in form. They were exceptional at Coventry, [it was] a real disciplined performance. They deserve to be where they are and they’re a very attacking team who create a lot of chances. It’s going to be a tough test for us,” Murray said.
“I know their manager (Chris Wilder) very well, I speak to him quite regularly and he’s a good guy. I enjoyed playing under him so his teams are always organised and play in an exciting way.
“I’m looking forward to the game, I think it’ll be a good game and we’re going to have to go there and be disciplined. Our away performances and results have been good so we go there in confidence, we’ll have to be on our mettle.
“It’s a top six clash and we’re up there [in the league table] on merit.”
Away from first team matters, Stags’ youth team host Dereham Town in the second round of the FA Youth Cup at One Call Stadium on Friday night.
“With us not having a home game on Saturday, it’ll be a good opportunity to get people through the doors and support the boys on Friday," said Murray.
"It’s a chance for them [the fans] to see the next batch of players we’ve got coming through. We’ve got some really exciting boys in that group, so it’ll be nice for fans to come and back them.
“Over the next three or four years, we believe we can be successful with the first team and move the club forward and progress like we keep saying. A part of that progression is bringing these kids through, we want to eventually have a large number of our own in the first team.”
Murray included 16-year-old midfielder Cain Smith in his matchday squad for last weekend’s cup tie with Oldham Athletic and the boss wants to continue the process of introducing young players into first team reckoning.
“There’s a couple more that are doing well and they’ll get their opportunity. What it does to the young boys that we’ve already got into the squad is that it gives them a kick up the backside, because if they’re not improving, daily, then they’ll lose a spot.
“It’s good for the older boys in the squad, too. It means they can’t sit on their laurels because if they do want to rest and think that they’ve achieved something then they’ll get their backsides bitten.”
You can watch Adam Murray's news conference, in full, on Stags Player.