LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Last day promotion decider at MK Dons gets ever closer

Mansfield Town v Lincoln City.'David Flitcroft has words with referee Graham Scott.
Mansfield Town v Lincoln City.'David Flitcroft has words with referee Graham Scott.

The closer that final game at MK Dons gets the more my blood pressure begins to shoot up.

With Mansfield Town only above the Dons on goal difference with just eight games to go - the final one of which is at Stadium MK of course - the stakes are getting higher by the week.

Mansfield do currently occupy that third and final automatic promotion place by virtue of a plus two better goal difference right now so, technically, their fate is in their own hands.

All they have to do is match the Dons’ last eight results – but that will be easier said than done and we all expect some nasty twists and turns over the last six weeks of action.

Also, we can’t pretend we haven’t seen Tranmere Rovers creeping higher and higher from a mid-table position and suddenly there waiting to take advantage of any slip-ups from Stags or Dons.

Against Lincoln on Monday Stags showed that, when unable to play their flowing football, they do possess the ability to dig in and fight which will be crucial in this run-in when only results matter and not displays.

For me veteran Neal Bishop typified that on Monday with his hunger and desire.

It was also assuring to see the division’s meanest back three together again after injury and, if they can stay fit, Mansfield won’t ship too many more goals this season.

Stags fans seem suddenly divided over the recent form of Forest loanee Jorge Grant.

He is a clever, often cheeky, footballer who is very much at the flair end of the footballing spectrum.

Some fans are wondering if that will cut it over the next crucial eight games when points must be fought hard for.

It is true he won’t be flashing into the sort of tackles that Bishop can make.

But he and Jacob Mellis do both have that priceless ability to unpick a defence.

Grant showed in a string of early man of the match displays that he can sparkle and it would be a huge decision to drop him now.

The most interesting decision for me this Saturday will be who to play in goal against Crewe.

I don’t think Jordan Smith did that badly, but he was suddenly replaced by Conrad Logan.

On Monday Logan gave away the penalty and twice failed to hold onto crosses, very lucky to get away with one of them.

Both will be sweating on Saturday’s team sheet.

Home support is rising as the promotion push gathers pace and the noise on Monday was fantastic.

Once again there were huge cheers and chants during the game for owner John Radford and rightly so.

But, is it me or is there still a bit of a hangover among fans from last season over boss David Flitcroft and the club’s promotion flop?

Apart from Carlton Palmer I can’t really remember any manager who didn’t get at last a ‘So and So’s Yellow and Blue Army’ chant at all.

I mentioned this a while back and still haven’t heard anyone acknowledge the manager at all during games.

Flitcroft must feel like he is one of those relationships where he did something wrong and is made to pay for it over a period of time!

Hopefully that payback will be promotion - and chants of ‘David Flitcroft’ combined with ‘We are up’ at Milton Keynes would be a lovely way to end a thrilling season.