Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has expressed his belief that Monday evening’s top-of-the-table clash between Mansfield and Lincoln will live up to its high expectations, with the game set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
The Stags welcome table-toppers Lincoln to One Call Stadium for a 7.45pm kick-off, for what is set to be a big fixture in the ever-intensifying race for promotion.
The Mansfield boss says Monday night’s clash has ‘all of the ingredients’ of a big game.
“It [game] is Monday night on Sky,” he said. “Sky want to cover the game as Lincoln are flying and we’re trying to catch them. And it’s a local derby, so it has all of the ingredients.
“The only trouble with those sorts of ingredients is that sometimes you get a damp squib and sometimes it doesn’t live up to the build-up, but I think this game will.
“Lincoln are flying. They’ve been phenomenal all season. They’ve built a really competitive squad with a lot of talented players who have hunger, desire and commitment.
“When you have players working hard for each other, you get success. They rightly sit at the top of the league for the consistency they’ve had.
“Lincoln come here flying against a Mansfield Town [team] at home that have only been beaten twice.
“We have a real affinity with the supporters here, which is vital. The lads love playing here, and the added stimulus is the Sky cameras.
“The football we play here [One Call Stadium] is good and it’s forward-thinking. We put teams on the back foot, and that will hopefully be no different when we turn out on Monday night.
"Sky want to cover the game as Lincoln are flying and we’re trying to catch them. And it’s a local derby, so it has all of the ingredients."
“Over the next three days we’ll be planning and preparing for the task in hand, and that’s what we have to get the squad focusing on.”
David Flitcroft referred to Mansfield’s good record against teams placed higher in Sky Bet League Two, with the Stags currently unbeaten against sides residing in the division’s top seven positions.
“The disappointing aspect of our season is a defeat to Yeovil, to Port Vale and a defeat to Notts County, who are all languishing at the bottom of the table,” he added.
“It’s deeply hurt me, and I’ve come out the other side knowing what that takes to feel that hurt and move on from it.
“Against all the top teams, we’ve done well. The [Jacob Mellis] late equaliser against Lincoln, the lads dug in for that. Lincoln almost celebrated the win when they scored the first one.
“There should be no need for motivation. We’re up near the top of the table and we have a chance of automatic promotion.
“Adding to the points total and where you’re sat in the league is always the motivation. That’s where you get pride from.
“Continual improvement is something that should happen day-in, day-out, and it has been with this group of players.”
The manager also provided injury updates on the trio of Matt Preston, Ryan Sweeney and Danny Rose.
“I did expect to have Matty Preston back now. He’s been working around the clock. He’s having round the clock medical attention.
“There’s something that’s just not feeling right and we’ll probably have to take him for a scan to get to the bottom of it.
“He’s missed too many games and he’s influential for us. When we’ve had that backbone of the back-three or back-five, we’ve been really solid.
“Sweens [Ryan Sweeney] is in the middle of his [concussion] protocol. He’ll get through a light training session tomorrow and we’ll see where he is Sunday.
“If there are any signs of nausea or headaches, we start the process again, which is the difficulty with concussion now.
“We have a duty of care as a football club [to care for players]. I think it’s right that it [concussion] gets all of the attention that it deserves.
“[With Danny Rose] he’s probably not healed as well as we’d hoped after four weeks. He’s probably going to be out for another three or four weeks.
“It’s a killer really for Dan as we thought he’d be around non-contact training this week. We have to make sure than Danny comes back fully fit and flying.
“We might have him for the last few weeks of the season. There’s no one more gutted than Danny to hear the [injury] news.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Tickets for Monday night’s big match against Lincoln can be purchased by clicking HERE.