Mansfield Town host Wycombe Wanderers in the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final tonight.
Here are five reasons why the Stags should be fearful of their opponents.
1. Wycombe’s Excellent Form
Wycombe have been in terrific form over the last couple of months. The Chairboys are unbeaten since their 4-2 defeat to Coventry City in this competition on the 9th November. Their most recent result was a 1-1 draw with Luton Town; they showed great character to come from behind to rescue a point. Wycombe’s brilliant form has seen them rise from 21st in League Two at the end of October, to 5th which is where they sit now.
2. Stags Record against Blues
Mansfield have a very poor record against Wycombe. The Stags have gone six games without a win against the Buckinghamshire club; a run which spans back to August 2015. The last match at the One Call Stadium finished 1-1 in October 2016. Matt Bloomfield put the visitors in front in the first half. Substitute Matt Green pulled the home side level in the 53rd minute. Neither side managed to find a winner though in what turned out to be one of Adam Murray’s last games as Mansfield manager.
3. Wycombe’s January Signings
Gareth Ainsworth has made some brilliant business so far in the January transfer window. The Wycombe boss has snapped up permanent deals for midfielders Dominic Gape and Sam Saunders. Gape impressed Ainsworth after a successful loan deal from Southampton at the start of the season before signing a permanent deal this month. Experienced playmaker Saunders signed for the Blues from Brentford. Chelsea goalkeeper Jamal Blackman has extended his loan with Wycombe until the end of the season. All three signings are eligible to play tonight so Mansfield will have to be wary of the threats they possess.
4. Scott Kashket
Wycombe boast one of the country’s most in form forwards in Scott Kashket. The 20-year-old has been in prolific form scoring 13 goals in his last 16 games including a hat-trick against League One side Chesterfield. Kashket signed for the Chairboys after being released by Leyton Orient in summer 2016. The skilful forward used to play futsal for England after being labelled ‘too small’ to play football. Kashket has set himself a personal target of scoring 25 goals this season; he is over halfway there and will be hoping to add another should he play tonight against Mansfield.
5. Jamal Blackman’s Penalty Record
If the game is level after 90 minutes tonight then it will go straight to penalties – no extra-time. Wycombe’s goalkeeper Blackman has saved four penalties this season including two in the last round of the Checkatrade Trophy against Blackpool. If it does go all the way to penalties tonight then the Blues will be very confident having the towering figure of Blackman in goal. The six-foot-six ‘keeper has an excellent record when facing spot-kicks so will be hoping to continue that tonight if he gets the chance.