Mansfield Town delight as first choice back three are back for the final promotion push

Mansfield Town v Lincoln City.'Ryan Sweeney keeps his eye on the ball in the first half.
Mansfield Town v Lincoln City.'Ryan Sweeney keeps his eye on the ball in the first half.

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was delighted to see his first choice defensive trio back together against Lincoln City as Stags prepare for the final eight-game promotion push.

With Matt Preston struggling with a knee problem and Ryan Sweeney out with concussion on top of losing Hayden White long term, Flitcroft said he had had to ‘fudge’ his defence which had seen some recent wobbles in results.

However, the Krystian Preston/Pearce/Sweeney trio, who have largely been the three that have kept the division’s best goals against record all season, looked solid against Lincoln in Monday’s 1-1 draw after Preston and Sweeney passed late fitness tests.

“I have not really gone on about injuries too much this season. It’s a part of football and I am used to it now,” said Flitcroft.

“I have been in the game a long time now and you’ve just got to get on with it.

“We’ve lost some big players this season and I am gutted about Danny Rose being out another four weeks because we do miss him.”

But the return of his favoured back three could be a massive factor as Stags go for automatic promotion.

“It’s important,” he said. “We have one of the best defensive records and when those three play they are a rock – absolutely solid. They have been colossal.

“We have had to fudge it recently and it’s not felt right, especially in the away games. We have cobbled it and thrown it together.

“But when those three are together they are brilliant. “They are aggressors down the sides of Pearcey who is calm within that.

“Hayden White has been a big miss as a right-sided centre half and a right full back.

“But I thought that was also Gethin Jones’ best performance on Monday. He wanted it and he was on the front foot which was good to see.”