Numbers stack up in Mansfield Town's favour ahead of Northampton visit
With 24 wins from 36 matches at home, the historical head-to-heads weigh heavily in Mansfield Town's favour going into Saturday's League Two encounter with Northampton Town at the One Call Stadium.
The Cobblers have won just four on their travels to North Nottinghamshire with draws making up the remaining eight games between these two sides, since their first meeting on 24th October 1931.
Stags ran out 2-0 winners on that day and will be hoping a similar result follows this weekend in a match which sees two teams with just three wins between them across 17 games so far this season.
Both teams seem to have a knack for drawing games; as Mansfield recorded their fifth of the campaign at Cambridge, Northampton picked up a season’s fourth at home to struggling Notts County.
One positive for Cobblers boss Dean Austin was the zero next to the Magpies’ name on Saturday, with his side picking up a first clean sheet of the season against Harry Kewell’s team.
It is something Austin and his backroom staff have been working on with their players, adding his belief they possess enough quality to score goals and hoping for a better outcome, however it arrives.
“As a group of players, as I’ve said many times before, the way we work and how we go about it on a Monday to Friday, they are different class,” Austin told the Northampton Chronicle.
“They’re very, very good and they listen to the instructions and the things we’re trying to do and we’re working hard on many aspects of our game, one of them being the retention of the ball because I feel we have players who can help us keep the ball.
“As I’ve said after other games, we haven’t done enough to keep the ball out of our net and not had enough quality to put the ball in their net, but I’ll take the positive of the clean sheet because, on the whole, I thought we defended pretty decent.”
And added: “Sometimes we’ll play well and sometimes we won’t but we have to learn to be resilient and hang in games so when we don’t play well, we win those games.
“It’ll almost be a bonus for us that when we don’t play well but win a game because that’ll help our confidence grow a bit and I think we will do that.”
Forward Kevin van Veen (pictured inset) leads the scoring charts so far this season for the Cobblers with four, at an average of a goal every 178 minutes for the club he moved to from Scunthorpe United in January.
Stags will have to be wary of Northampton’s threat but also be confident in their own attacking options, with Danny Rose getting a second of the season in the 1-1 draw at Cambridge United. He was inches away from a spectacular second too as Stags looked to kill the game off.
Mansfield boss David Flitcroft has told his players to be ruthless in their search for more wins - a quality they may yet find on Saturday, if history counts for anything.