Medley back for Crawley challenge

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MANSFIELD Town welcome back striker Luke Medley from his loan spell at Aldershot ahead of the daunting challenge of a trip to champions-elect Crawley Town tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Bookies have already paid out on Steve Evans’ men winning the title.

Their only defeat in 2011 was a single goal FA Cup loss at Manchester United and you have to go back to 16th October for their last BSBP defeat, a 3-2 home reversal to Newport County.

AFC Wimbledon and Grimsby Town are the only other two sides to beat them in BSBP action this season and the Red Devils now sit 10 points clear with three games in hand.

Depleted Stags, in contrast, gave a dire first half showing in a 2-1 home defeat by Kidderminster Harriers which left them 14th and 16 points off the play-offs and just 10 from the drop zone.

With Danny Mitchley, Adam Smith, Dan Spence and Niall O’Rafferty all on the physio’s table, the return of Medley is a welcome shot in the arm. The striker was sent out on loan amid anger over his attitude.

Assistant boss Paul Hall said: “It is like signing a new player.

“He came back all fresh today and the lads welcomed him back. There was a jovial atmosphere with lots of teasing.

“Luke will have been working with better players at Aldershot, which is a League club, and now it’s up to him.

“He wasn’t helping himself before and if there is one person you have got to help it is yourself as it’s not very often people give you a helping hand.

“If Luke is honest he wasn’t doing that. He could go on to be a very good player if the penny has dropped.

“Here Luke has always come on as substitute and made an impact. He is the last person you want to see coming on as he is quick and strong and can score goals. But, with the squad so short on numbers right now, he will probably get his chance to start again.”

He added: “We know it will be uphill tomorrow. We have got to see if we can catch them on the hop.

“One one ever goes through a season without an upset, a result they were not expecting. Crawley are a very good team – far and above everyone else.

“We have to make sure we do what we do. On our day we can beat anybody.”