LOMAS ON STAGS: Time for ‘floating fans’ to return to Stags for thrilling run-in

The One Call Stadium, home of Mansfield Town FC.
The One Call Stadium, home of Mansfield Town FC.

It will be fascinating to see how many ‘floating fans’ are finally starting to believe in the ‘Steve Evans Revolution’ and turn out to support Mansfield Town this weekend.

Stags know when they have a big game or when things are going well, they are able to attract back many of the stay-aways.

After years of poor seasons at Field Mill and the lure of Premier League football in a warm pub or on your own sofa, it’s easy to see how many Stags regulars may have become disillusioned down the years and wary of false new dawns.

But ears must be starting to prick up now as Mansfield start to hit top gear and keep a top three automatic promotion spot firmly in their sights with March just around the corner.

The 5-0 demolition of Newport County was followed up by an absolutely priceless 1-0 win away to promotion rivals Exeter City last Saturday.

That left the Stags in fourth place, just three points off the top three places and already eight points clear of dropping out of the play-offs.

There are now just 13 games left to play - seven of them at home where Stags are gunning for a sixth straight win this weekend.

Only Luton Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Accrington Stanley sit above Mansfield – and the Stags still have them all to play.

So Mansfield are relying on no one but themselves for glory.

Don’t forget they don’t need to win every game as all the sides in the mix around them are guaranteed to drop points as they all still have to play each other.

Evans’ side seem to have clicked into top gear at exactly the right time. They have won five of the last six and only lost once in 12 League Two outings.

Lady Luck continues to smile down with only one player on the treatment table still and no suspensions.

And Evans is still convinced that, if things even out over a season as they should, Mansfield are due some big decision their way from referees before May.

Massive local derbies at Notts County and at home to Lincoln City are also on the horizon next month which will help attract non-regulars and, hopefully, keep them on board to the end of the season if they like what they see.

Saturday’s visit of another promotion rival, Coventry City, is another huge game which should see a full away end.

So it’s down to the people of Mansfield and its surrounds to pack the other two stands and produce the sort of roar they managed away at Coventry in Stags’ 1-0 victory back in November.

Thanks to Alex MacDonald’s screaming finish that day, Mansfield are gunning for a double over their more illustrious visitors on Saturday.

Down the years Stags games with Coventry are almost as rare as Chesterfield League One points this season.

It’s amazing to think the last time the Sky Blues played a League game at the Mill, the Stags won 3-2 back in February 1964.

What is even more amazing is the very realistic thought that next season Mansfield Town could be in a higher division than Coventry City. This match could be crucial in ultimately deciding that.

The current weather forecast for Saturday is decent, the opposition famous and the match a real six-pointer.

Stags have twice topped the 7,000 mark at home this season for local derbies and will hope they can now do it again and lure back the crucial extra backing to help them over the line. Over to you folks . . .