Connor relishing hostile atmosphere at Luton

STAGS goal ace Paul Connor is relishing playing in the hostile atmosphere at Kenilworth Road as Stags attempt to defend their 1-0 FA Trophy semi-final first leg lead on Saturday (3pm).

“It is up there with places like Millwall the way the fans are really ‘anti’ the opposition,” he said. “When you come out of the tunnel you don’t half get some stick. It is a horrible place. But I don’t mind that personally, I quite enjoy it as it gets me going and I hope I can use that.

“It is still tight and it will be a tight game down there. But we have to go there positive.

“We played there earlier this season and it was a hard game with their crowd behind them.

“We have to go and believe we can get something. I spoke to a couple of their lads after the first leg and they fancy their chances now. We are still the underdogs.

“But the pressure is on them to come and attack us and hopefully that will leave us gaps we can exploit.”

Connor is under no illusions how important the game is to the club and his own career.

He added: “We know what it means to the club and fans and we will be giving it our all. And it means a lot to me personally as it could be my last chance to get to play at Wembley.

“I went there at 19 as part of a squad and went up to collect a medal but never got to play. I haven’t even played at the Millennium Stadium in the meantime. I might never get this close again.

“As a kid you dream of playing at Wembley so we have come this close it would be a real shame not to go on now and win it.

“The league table doesn’t lie, though there are a lot of games left. But this is a real chance to achieve something this sesaon. There is no hiding this is a massive game.”

Assistant manager Paul Hall added: “It is an advantage, but it’s a slender one so we have just got to approach the game as if it’s still 0-0.

We can’t go there to protect it or they will be knocking at our door for 90 minutes.”

Stags look set to take a four-figure following to Luton in contrast to the surprising 422 the Hatters brought to Field Mill last week, returning most of their 1,800 allocation

Hall said: “With respect to Luton I don’t think that was the best thing for them as it showed little interest in the FA Trophy. It suggested they were not taking it that seriously. You should respect the competition.”

With the initial alloaction of 1,000 looking likely to be sold out today after going on general sale, Mansfield have been allocated an additional 500 tickets.

The club are opening their ticket office until 6.30pm tonight (Thursday), and fans have until 5pm tomorrow night to buy their ticket. The club would like to remind all fans that Luton Town Football Club will not be operating cash turnstiles on the day of the match. Tickets are priced £10 Adults, £7 Seniors (65-74) & Young Adults (17-21), £5 Golden Seniors (75+) & Youths (10-16), and £5 Juniors (under 10) or free if accompanied by a full paying adult.

After ‘resting’ six of the side that started against Luton in the midweek 2-1 defeat at York, Mansfield are likely to start with the same 11 from the first leg with on-loan Stoke striker Louis Moult highly unlikely to be fit.