Roll call as Mansfield Town hope for better news on players’ fitness

Crawley manager Gabriele Cioffe.
Crawley manager Gabriele Cioffe.

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft will take a roll call of his walking wounded before tomorrow night’s visit of Crawley Town (7.45pm).

As they prepare for an eighth and final game of a crazy November, it’s no surprise it’s taken its strain on the club, though they are 12 League Two games unbeaten and only out of the top three on goal difference.

On Saturday they had three key stars playing on with illness - Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton and Matt Preston – Neal Bishop just back in the side from illness, Jacob Mellis at 60 per cent fitness with a strain and Hayden White forced to pull out in the pre-match warm-up after his hamstring tightened.

Mansfield will give them all as long as they can to report fit for duty tomorrow.

“We will hopefully have Whitey if he can come through his niggle,” said Flitcroft.

“We might have to freshen things up. But players like CJ and Ryan Sweeney will have had three days to recover.

“We have an unbreakable spirit right now and we should honour the run we are on and protect it.

“I am sure this group of players that we are trying to teach to do that day in day out will give every effort to do that on Tuesday.”

Visitors Crawley were seven games without a win, but arrested that slide with a good 3-0 victory against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

New boss Gabriele Cioffi, who joined in September after Harry Kewell left the club to join Notts County, was a surprise appointment. But he has endeared himself to the fans and the players alike.

The 6ft 6in Italian has kept a similar playing style to Kewell.

They are attractive to watch but do have the tendency to leak goals - although with Glenn Morris between the sticks they don’t leak as many as they probably should - which was particularly evident on Saturday.

The Reds’ record at home since Cioffi has been exceptional, but away from home it has not been good.

After their opening day victory at Cheltenham, they have lost seven of their subsequent away League Two games, including the last five in a row. But before that run, they did win 1-0 at Lincoln City.

They do maintain play-off ambitions this season but will have to pick up their away form if that is to happen.

Top scorer and former Stags striker Ollie Palmer will return to their starting line-up after suspension tomorrow.

But influential midfielder Felipe Morais is still injured.