Big week continues for in-form Mansfield Town with visit of strugglers Carlisle United
With two crucial home league games to follow Saturday's sparkling FA Cup win at Doncaster Rovers, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough emphasised what an important week this is in their season ahead of Tuesday night's visit of struggling Carlisle United.
But Clough said if his side reproduced Saturday's sparkling second half showing at the Keepmoat Stadium, few sides in League Two would be able to live with them as they chalked up their seventh win in eight outings.
“It's a big week with us with the FA Cup and then two home games in the league,” he said.
“It's got off to a good start with the win at Doncaster. But Carlisle will be a whole different prospect on Tuesday night.
“They are fighting for their lives – as we are still and have been for the last few weeks.
“But if we do what we did in the second half at Doncaster, you saw a League One side struggling to cope with it and a League Two side will be the same. We mustn't step off it.
“I just hope the confidence of Saturday can be carried over into Tuesday night.”
Mansfield will definitely be without the injured Kellan Gordon and suspended Oli Hawkins.
“We will see what we're like injury-wise and get a team on the pitch,” he said.
“Kellan's knee is a bit sore at the moment so we're not quite sure how long he will be.
“He is having a bit of rest time and we will see how it settles down in the next few weeks.
“We will hopefully have Faz Rawson back from illness.”
He continued: “Oli Hawkins will be suspended, unfortunately, because of his daft booking at Crawley last week.
“With us having defenders out he covers us back there as well so we were stretched at Doncaster on Saturday.
“We do miss him. Last week at Crawley he scored one and made one and he's been a bit of a talisman for us so far this season.
“But it gives opportunities to other players and that's the main thing.”
After three successive away games and four of the last five away from home, Clough is looking forward to getting back to the One Call Stadium.
“It seems like we've spent an awfully long time on the road over the last few weeks,” he said.
“It seems a long time since we last played at the One Call, so it will be nice to be back there for a couple of games and we will do everything we can to get three points and get us up towards that top half.”
If Rawson is available again, then Stoke loan defender Will Forrester will be hoping he did enough on Saturday to keep his place tomorrow, having netted the equaliser.
“Will was one we signed in the last part of the transfer window, but to compete, not just as cover,” said Clough.
“Unfortunately he has been injured for six to eight weeks, so it's only in the last few weeks we've really seen him.
“He's now started two or three games and looks competent and I think he's getting better.
“It's a big step up from U23 football to league football. But that's why he's here on loan – to get that experience.”