JOHN LOMAS’ STAGS PROGRAMME NOTES v Hartlepool United

John Lomas. Mansfield chad.
John Lomas. Mansfield chad.

Two home games in the space of four days offers Mansfield Town a fantastic chance to get their promotion challenge back into top gear and end a run of indifferent results at One Call Stadium.

But first and foremost, Adam Murray’s men need a goal.

It is now four matches without finding the net for a side that continue to create chances without finding the finish to them.

It has proved costly in the last three outings, but not as costly as it could have been as Stags still hang on in that top six, though the sides are now tightly grouped together with just a three point difference down as far as Tuesday’s visitors Exeter City in 14th.

While both today’s opponents Hartlepool United and Exeter deserve total respect, the Stags also know they are both winnable fixtures if they can apply a finishing touch to the approach play that has never been in question.

At the moment Murray is sticking with what he has got striker-wise, and it is true the quartet currently under the roof possess more than enough talent to get the club back on the scoresheet on a regular basis.

But he cannot allow the goal drought to go on indefinitely and sometimes a loan signing, even for a month, can be the spark needed to get the fire blazing again.

It has certainly worked for today’s opponents Hartlepool, whose four new faces helped them see off a talented Leyton Orient side 3-1 last weekend.

On the bench for them last weekend and no doubt gagging to get onto the field today was Rakish Bingham, a young striker who showed such rich promise in short bursts in a Stags shirt last season.

Murray will be hoping he doesn’t come on to bite his former employers on the backside today.

One or two fans have been quick to get upset over recent results and goals scored, but others are delighted to see their side in a top six position and playing attractive football by mid-November – a season after only just staying in the Football League.

This is the promised land compared with what was happening 12 months ago.

There is little wrong with this squad right now and a nice, early goal today could see those early winter blues quickly banished.

Keeping football and everything else in firm perspective last weekend were the atrocities committed by ISIS in Paris.

That’s twice in a year the French people have been shocked by the outrageous and totally unjustifiable actions of these medieval murderers and our hearts go out to everyone affected.

Supporters at the France v Germany game were visibly terrified as the bombs and guns rang out outside the stadium, but it is a strong message to those responsible that the England v France game went ahead as planned on Tuesday.

We can only be on our guard as best we can against this sort of fear and insanity. But we can never ever let these people rule our lives and stop us carrying on with our way of life as they try to impose theirs on us.