BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Sixth-placed Mansfield Town head to Newport County on Saturday in fine form but wary of the Exiles’ recent improvement in form as the struggling Welsh club try to head off relegation back to the Conference under new boss Warren Feeney.
Appointed a month ago, results have picked up since Feeney came in and they are now 20th, five points above the drop zone.
Mansfield await news on their appeal over last weekend’s red card for centre half Krystian Pearce.
He is due to start a two-game ban on Saturday and, if they lose the appeal, are almost certain to start with a back four as they are short on genuine centre halves to use in a three-man rearguard.
It will be interesting to see if Junior Daniel, who returned to the club on loan from Port Vale, this week has to be content with a place on the bench.
His natural left-sided position is almost certain to be occupied by Matty Blair, who had his best game back in a Stag shirt since his injury in January 2015, but Daniel is very versatile.
Boss Adam Murray is unlikely to ring too many changes to a side that won 3-2 in a thriller over bottom club Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend to make it only one defeat in six games
Click HERE to see video highlights of Stags’ thrilling 3-2 win over Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend.
Click HERE to read a match report from the game
Click HERE to read Adam Murray’s thoughts on the signing of Junior Daniel
STAGS TEAM NEWS
If Krystian Pearce fails to win his red card appeal, Stags will be without their consistently excellent centre half, which will be a big blow.
If he is out, Swansea loanee Dan Alfei will play at right back in a straight back four.
There are no major injury worries, though midfielder Jamie McGuire is soldiering on with a knee problem that will require some summer surgery.
Boss Adam Murray will have returning utility player Junior Daniel available after he came back to the club this week on loan from Port Vale for the rest of the season.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI
NEWPORT TEAM NEWS
Striker Lenell John-Lewis and centre-back Janoi Donacien (on loan from Aston Villa) are definitely out with a ruptured hamstring and thigh problem respectively.
Forward Deane Smalley also misses out with a knee injury, which has meant he’s returned to his parent club Plymouth Argyle to be assessed.
Central defender Matt Partridge could be fit to return after several weeks on the sidelines and left-back Scott Barrow should also be available again after recovering from concussion.
Barring any other injuries one change expected from last week is Andrew Hughes to replace Donacien in central defence.
POSSIBLE NEWPORT STARTING XI (4-4-2)
KEY BATTLE: MAL BENNING v ALEX RODMAN
The main creative force in midfield at the moment is Alex Rodman who usually starts on the right but often swaps flanks with John-Christophe Ayina and also likes to run inside.
So Stags left back Mal Benning’s forward runs may need to be curtailed for a while to keep Rodman in check.
His passing and intelligent movement cause problems, his crossing is usually deadly accurate and he also has an eye for goal and a willingness to shoot from all angles.
NEWPORT ONE TO WATCH: SCOTT BODEN
Top scorer Scott Boden has netted four times in his last three games – a brace in a 2-1 win at Morecambe, the only goal against Carlisle and last week’s leveller at Exeter in a 1-1 draw.
He is benefiting from playing with Conor Wilkinson, on loan from Bolton Wanderers, who is a constant menace for defenders and links up play very well.
Click HERE to see Scott Boden score against Wolves.
OPPOSITION MANAGER: WARREN FEENEY
Former Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney quit his role as manager of Linfield in his native Belfast to become John Sheridan’s assistant in October last year.
Having played for Cardiff City and Swansea City on loan, his family had settled in South Wales and he was reunited with them after his move to Newport.
Sheridan made it clear that he wanted to work closer to his family home in the North West and Feeney was seen as a potential successor in the summer.
But when Sheridan was tempted away to Oldham that succession plan was brought forward and Feeney has started superbly.
He has been backed by the board in terms of loan signings and the coffers were also boosted by the sale of Aaron Collins to Wolves and a windfall from a sell-on clause when former striker Conor Washington joined QPR from Peterborough.
Click HERE to see a video on Feeney’s appointment a month ago
NEWPORT SEASON SO FAR
Turmoil is the one word that sums up County’s season so far. The club has been in a downward spiral since Justin Edinburgh left for Gillingham 12 months ago and they blew their play-off chances under Jimmy Dack.
Then 15 players left in the summer and new manager Terry Butcher was asked to rebuild the squad on a drastically reduced budget.
Injuries led to an over-reliance on teenagers and results were poor, leading to Butcher getting the chop after just 10 League games and only one win.
At the same time the club was taken over by the Supporters Trust, whose first decision was to fire Butcher.
John Sheridan came in and steadied the ship thanks to some astute loan signings and the team went 10 games unbeaten and made it to the FA Cup third round for the first time since 1986.
Then, after a loss of form. he jumped ship to Oldham and assistant Warren Feeney took charge last month.
Since then things have improved with Feeney recording three wins, two draws and a defeat from his first six league games at the helm.
Click HERE to see video of Exeter City 1 Newport County 1 last weekend.
Saturday, 10th October 2015: Mansfield Town 3, Newport County 0
Patience – not just by the players, but also from the fans – was the key to Mansfield Town’s eventual 3-0 success against bottom club Newport County at One Call Stadium on Saturday.
With two away wins in succession under their belt, it would have been easy for people to believe the struggling Welsh club would be easy pickings for the Stags.
But, with new manager John Sheridan at the helm, even Stags boss Adam Murray admitted he had no idea what they would be up against, personnel or formation-wise.
So to see the Stags persist in their measured approach at finding a hole in the Newport defence and to see fans stay behind them and clap them off at half-time, despite the game remaining goalless, was exactly the positive foundation Mansfield needed for a highly successful second half.
Anxiety and panic were kept at bay by players and supporters and the reward came within five minutes of the restart as Stags bagged one of three memorable goals to make it an ultimately miserable return to the area for the former Spireites manager.
Most people left the ground talking about Mal Benning’s stunning 20 yard volley, his second in as many games.
Perhaps as magnificent as the finish was the accuracy and vision of Jack Thomas who, with other options in the box, chose to pull back a floated pinpoint pass to Benning from the right that set up one of the best goals ever seen at the ground.
That killer second goal came 20 minutes after Craig Westcarr’s superb opener when Jack Thomas had again been the architect as he cushioned Benning’s cross over a defender for Westcarr to smash home from seven yards.
But two minutes before Benning’s crucial second, Brian Jensen had once more earned his corn with a crucial save as he spread himself to deny Alex Rodman after he had been sent clear by fellow sub Scott Boden.
Jensen is not having much to do in games, but his concentration levels are magnificent.
He also pulled off two more saves to prevent Charlton loanee Zak Ansah finding a Newport lifeline before Adi Yussuf scored the third in stoppage time.
Again it was two subs combining as he turned well on a Mitch Rose pass before stroking home a low finish inside the right post for his second goal in as many games.
Janoi Donacien may have done better with his header from a 16th minute corner for the Exiles.
But Joe Day was by far the busiest keeper as he kept out efforts from Reggie Lambe and Benning, also denying Matt Green at the far post with his legs from a close range header.
After the break he again thwarted Green with a tip-over from a shot on the turn and kept out a Ryan Tafazolli header from a corner.
Briefly during the game, the BBC web site showed Stags sat proudly in second position.
They ended the day in fourth, one place outside automatic promotion with a quarter of an impressive season already gone?
Click HERE to read a full match report
Click HERE to see video highlights of the game
GROUND AND TICKETS
Known at the Exiles, Newport have had several home grounds, the latest being a groundshare with landlords Newport Rugby Football Club at Rodney Parade on the east bank of the River Usk in Newport city centre.
The club moved there at the beginning of the 2012/13 season after spending 18 years at Newport Stadium.
The ground is on Rodney Road, a short walk from the city’s central bus and railway stations via Newport Bridge or Newport City footbridge.
There is no spectator car park at the ground but a number of multi-storey car parks are nearby and there is some on-street parking outside, though beware of some ‘Residents Only’ sections.
Rodney Parade is also the home ground of Newport Gwent Dragons and is the second-oldest sports venue in the Football League, after Deepdale.
To get there, leave the M4 at Junction 24 (or from the A449 from Monmouth/Midlands) and take the B4237, signposted Newport (E).
After approximately 2.5 five miles turn left at a set of traffic lights, signposted B4237 (there is also the George pub on a right hand corner).
Go under a bridge and at the next set of traffic lights turn right into Corporation Road.
After passing an ATS garage on your right, you will see the away supporters’ entrance on your left. For the stadium main entrance take the next left into Grafton Road.
Stags’ fans will be housed in the away section of the Bisley Stand and advance tickets remain on sale until 4pm on Friday.
Tickets can also be purchased on matchday directly from Newport County, subject to a £2 increase for adult, senior and young adult categories only.
Stags have been provided with 400 tickets to sell in advance at adults £19, seniors £15, young adults £15, U16s £9, U12s £7, and U6s free with a full paying adult
Supporters wishing to purchase tickets on the day of the game can do so either from the main ticket office or the mobile ticket unit adjacent to the away turnstiles at Newport County AFC.
Ambulant disabled supporters pay according to their relevant price category and a ticket is provided to their carer free of charge. Tickets for wheelchair users and their carers can be purchased directly through the Newport County AFC ticket office on 01633 679 963.
Please note - Mansfield Town ticket office will stop selling the cheaper advance tickets at 4pm on Friday.
Click HERE to see video of Rodney Parade from the air
Match report and reaction at www.chad.co.uk after the game.
Keep in touch with the match and 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.
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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.
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