BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Plymouth Argyle v Mansfield Town – Saturday, 13th February 2016

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BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Who could have predicted last summer that by mid-February, Mansfield Town would be heading for second-placed Plymouth in fourth place for what is a promotion clash?

A superb 2-2 draw at third-placed Oxford United on Tuesday night on top of three wins on the trot has left Stags right in the thick of it.

Argyle have not played since their stormy 1-0 home defeat by Wycombe Wanderers on 30th January, which saw players clash in the tunnel afterwards and Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth refuse to shake hands with Plymouth manager Derek Adams at the end.

Argyle’s trip to Yeovil last weekend was rained off.

After winning three of their four December games, January saw Plymouth lose some ground, winning only two out of five, and losing 2-1 at home to table-topping Northampton was a real blow.

Stags drew 0-0 at home to Plymouth back in September.

Argyle’s home record so far is eight wins, two draws and five defeats.

Click HERE to read a report from Oxford v Stags on Tuesday night

STAGS TEAM NEWS

Boss Adam Murray has no injury worries at all right now so his only concern will be fatigue as his players recover from two games in five days ahead of a game against a Plymouth side yet to play this month.

Murray changed his front men at Oxford specifically as part of a game plan to attack United with pace and energy.

But all three subs - Chris Beardsley, Jack Thomas and debut-making Swansea loanee Daniel Alfei – made excellent contributions on the night and will have forced themselves into Murray’s thinking for the long haul to Devon.

POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI (4-1-3-2)

Shearer

Collins

Pearce

Tafazolli

Benning

McGuire

Clements

Baxendale

Blair

Green

Beardsley

POSS SUBS

Jensen

Chapman

Westcarr

Yussuf

Lambe

Thomas

Alfei

PLYMOUTH TEAM NEWS

Argyle’s only absentees for Saturday are central midfielder Josh Simpson (leg) and youngster Tyler Harvey (ankle).

Graham Carey is likely to start, especially with an extra week to build up fitness after last weekend’s fixture at Yeovil was postponed.

Adams will have to decide between Jervis and Reading loanee Craig Tanner for the right wing berth, as Wylde’s fine form has seen him make the left-sided position his own.

Simpson’s injury should also mean Bolton loanee Oskar Threlkeld will continue to partner the versatile Carl McHugh in central midfield, who is one booking away from a two-match ban.

Last season’s top scorer Reuben Reid will be looking to get back on the scoresheet after injury and should be given the nod over target man Ryan Brunt.

POSSIBLE PLYMOUTH STARTING XI (4-2-3-1)

McCormick

Mellor

Nelson

Hartley

Sawyer

McHugh

Threlkeld

Jervis

Carey

Wylde

Reid

KEY BATTLE: MATT GREEN v CURTIS NELSON

Imposing centre half Curtis Nelson is part of a tried and trusted Pilgrims back line that has only conceded 17 goals all season and will be looking to shut out 10-goal Stags star Matt Green on Saturday.

The calm and collected Nelson was made captain at the tender age of 19 and has led the Pilgrims rearguard ever since, racking up over 200 league appearances, a statistic made all the more impressive by the fact he’s still only 22.

Click HERE to see Nelson rescue a point for Plymouth at home to Leyton Orient two months ago.

PLYMOUTH ONE TO WATCH:

Summer signing Graham Carey has been a revelation at Home Park with his wide range of passing and powerful long shots making him a firm fan favourite.

Much of the Pilgrims play goes through the Irishman and his wicked left foot can cross, pass or shoot with unerring accuracy.

The free scoring Irishman notched seven League goals, several of them spectacular, but a mid-November knee injury derailed his progress.

Carey should be welcomed back for his first start since November this weekend and will be looking to carry on from where he left off.

Click HERE to see Graham Carey’s wonder goal for Plymouth against Millwall.

OPPOSITION MANAGER: DEREK ADAMS

Argyle boss Derek Adams has been a hit since his summer appointment with the success of the team, and particularly his own additions to it, making him very popular with the fans.

The former Ross County manager has coaxed excellent seasons out of Graham Carey, utility forward Jake Jervis and winger Gregg Wylde, all of who were signed on free transfers from his native Scotland.

That Adams has guided the Greens to second at this stage is all the more impressive considering it is his inaugural season in English football and many expected a mid-table finish after last season’s play-off disappointment.

Although the 40-year-old has steered the Greens to a position they haven’t been in for quite some time, the pressure is now on to complete the job and seal promotion.

Adams returned to football at Plymouth last summer, having previously taken Ross County from the Scottish Second Division to the Premier League, as well as a Scottish Cup final in 2010.

The Highland club finished fifth and seventh in the SPL in 2012/13 and 2013/14 respectively, before Adams and County parted company in August 2014.

Glasgow-born, Adams played for six different clubs, most notably Ross County and Motherwell, where he made over 100 league appearances for both sides.

Click HERE to see a video of last summer’s press conference to welcome Adams to Home Park.

PLYMOUTH SEASON SO FAR

Plymouth Argyle have defied pre season expectations and come into Saturday riding high in second place in League Two.

Manager Derek Adams’ Scottish summer imports Jake Jervis, Graham Carey and Gregg Wylde have added quality to the spine of a team that reached last year’s play-off semi-final to create an impressive outfit that has spent virtually the entire term in the automatic promotion places.

Such is their squad depth that, despite three-month absences from last season’s top scorer Reuben Reid and influential playmaker Graham Carey, the Pilgrims continued their excellent early season form throughout the busy festive period.

A slight drop off in form in January was punctuated by their last game, that scrappy 1-0 reverse to play-off hopefuls Wycombe Wanderers two weeks ago.

It was their second home loss in three games and they will look to arrest this mini slide against the Stags.

In the January window Adams made two additions to his squad during the month, recruiting centre-back Jordon Forster (Hibernian) and striker Daniel Nardiello (Bury) on loan deals until the end of the season.

But attempts to re-sign Crystal Palace midfielder Hiram Boateng were unsuccessful before the deadline. Boateng spent the first three months of the campaign on loan to Argyle before his stay was cut short by injury.

LAST MEETING

Saturday, 26th September 2015: Mansfield Town 0, Plymouth Argyle 0

Mansfield Town survived some worrying moments to preserve an unbeaten home record against a highly impressive Plymouth Argyle in a 0-0 draw.

The Pilgrims had won three of their four away League games and sat third so were always going to provide a stiff test.

They created most of the best chances with Brain Jensen winning a personal duel with Graham Carey, denying him three times.

In front of Jensen, Krystian Pearce and Ryan Tafazolli were simply outstanding.

Mitch Rose did force a good save from Luke McCormick after the break, but Stags were happy to come out of this one with a clean sheet and undefeated.

The Stags started well enough but were rattled after Reuben Reid smashed a brilliant volley against the bar on five minutes after which the Pilgrims dominated the game and missed a couple of other golden chances, Ryan Brunt heading wide and Graham Carey denied by Brian Jensen from close range.

However, Stags survived and twice went close themselves late in the half after playing their way back into the contest.

After the break Jensen twice denied Carey from free kicks while McCormick had to make a good stop to keep out Mitch Rose when he was put in on goal. But no one was able to make the breakthrough.

Click HERE to read a full match report

Click HERE to see video highlights of the game

GROUND AND TICKETS

Home Park stadium is based in the Milehouse area of the city, next to Central Park.

With green fields and park lands on three sides of the ground, it really has to rank as one of the best placed grounds in the Football League.

Getting to Home Park by car is relatively easy and there is a large, free car park in use on match-days.

Travel on the A38 Devon Expressway until the junction with the A386, signposted Home Park, City Centre, Ferry Port, and Tavistock.

At the roundabout as you come off the A38 take the second exit A386, signposted Plymouth Argyle Home Park, Ferry Port. Stay on this road for approximately a mile; the stadium is on your left.

Stags fans wanting to avoid the £2 ticket price increase on the day of the game need to pre-purchase their tickets from One Call Stadium by 4pm on Friday.

Seat prices in the Barn Park End for Stags fans in advance are adult £20, senior/student £15, U18 £7 and Family (One adult & one U18) £25

Argyle are also offering tickets in the family stand, which will be available to both Plymouth and Mansfield supporters. This area is for families and adults accompanying children only.

Supporters paying on the day will see a £2 increase in all categories. Supporters wishing to purchase advance tickets should visit the One Call Stadium or call 01623 482482 before the 4pm Friday deadline.

Tickets for supporters who use a wheelchair can be purchased through Plymouth Argyle by calling 08458 723 335.

Click HERE to see a video of Home Park

Match report and reaction at www.chad.co.uk after the game.

Keep in touch with all things Mansfield Town 24/7 via our new Mansfield Town Live Scribble feed.

The button link is located on the menu just below the main Chad masthead at the top of our home web page – www.chad.co.uk.

From there you can reach our scrolling Stags news, including live tweets throughout the matches and pre and post-match stories plus features, Stags blogs, videos, slideshows and Stags Retro items.

It is a treasure trove of everything any Mansfield Town fan could want to read and from there you can also trawl back through older material you may have missed.

You can also join in on the feed at any time yourself too, using #ChadStags.

You can also have your say on all things Mansfield Town by emailing sport@chad.co.uk.