Stags confident of beating the big freeze to face Lincoln in big FA Cup replay

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MANSFIELD Town are confident they can beat the Arctic weather before finding a way to melt through Lincoln City’s defence in tomorrow night’s mouthwatering FA Cup second round replay at the One Call Stadium (7.45pm).

With excitement building over a game that will see the winners at home to Liverpool in round three, the country was last night hit by a big freeze.

However, Stags will have covers on the pitch until as near kick-off as they can and will also have the help of fan heaters from TV company ESPN, who are broadcasting the game live, overnight tonight.

“It is quite soft under the covers at the moment and ESPN are bringing the hot blowers down so we are 99 per cent certain the game will go ahead,” said manager Paul Cox.

“The biggest worry is when we take the covers off if it is freezing hard. It is one of those scenarios where I believe the game will start and we hope it will finish.

“We want to play and I am sure Lincoln want to play, so let’s hope the weather is kind to us. It has all the ingredients of a fabulous cup tie like the first game was.”

Stags snatched a late equaliser at Sincil Bank to draw the original game 3-3 on 1st December.

The third round draw then handed the winners the plum tie of the 18-times champions of England and seven-times FA Cup winners. And Cox admitted it was hard not to think about the possibility of going head to head with the Merseyside giants.

“It is human nature to think of what could be,” he said. “We just have to concentrate on this game first and show the same mindset we showed on Saturday (when Stags beat Ebbsfleet 4-1).

“Liverpool are one of the biggest names in world football with an array of fabulous players. But we can’t get carried away thinking beyond this game. Even if we were lucky enough to get through, we also have some very important league fixtures to concentrate on coming up to Christmas.

“We must stay focused. But you can’t stop the players and supporters dreaming. It’s what we are all in this game for.

“I want our supporters to come down and enjoy the evening and get behind the boys. Their support on Saturday was out of this world and you can tell what it does and the lads responded with a good result.”

Stags trained yesterday on a 3G surface to beat the frost and only Adam Murray, who has been suffering with a virus, is a doubt for the game.

Skipper John Dempster added: “Everyone is looking forward to it.

“It is a massive game in itself with two local rivals going at it with the carrot at the end of it of a game against Liverpool. It doesn’t get much bigger.

“It is a massive opportunity for both clubs to make some decent money out of it too.

“When the draw came out, with no disrespect to Lincoln, you couldn’t help but get excited and talk about it. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”