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Match Previews

Mansfield Town (H)

17 March 2018

Notts County host Mansfield Town in a local derby with much more than bragging rights at stake.

Both teams are firmly in the automatic promotion race in Sky Bet League Two and only three points separate the sides heading into the game.

Notts have rediscovered the winning habit of late, taking maximum points from two of their past three league games to move back into the top three.

After suffering successive home defeats against Exeter City and Crawley Town in mid-January, the Magpies have won three games on the bounce at Meadow Lane to reignite their promotion hopes after a slight wobble post-Christmas.

Mansfield, meanwhile, have been steady, losing just once in their last 15 league matches, and are well-positioned ahead of the final stretch of fixtures.

Following Steve Evans' departure to Peterborough United at the end of last month, the Stags swiftly swooped for Swindon's gaffer David Flitcroft, who has drawn both of his games in charge thus far.

While this game won't crown either side as a promotion winner or condemn them to another season in the fourth tier, it could go a long way towards deciding the final fate of both the Magpies and the Stags.

Notts manager Kevin Nolan says...

"We have got to play all the teams around us in the coming weeks and it's going to be great.

"It gives it that little bit of extra spice. We're going enjoy it and go at it 110%.

"Mansfield is the next game and the most important thing is we prepare properly and make sure we're ready."

Click here for more from the manager.

Mansfield boss David Flitcroft says...

"Meadow Lane can be quite an intimidating place. They’ve made it a fortress and we’ve got to try and take hold of that and take ownership ourselves.

"It can only come through the performance of the players and the energy they show.

“Like in any big competition or any sporting event, that’s where you’ve got have your focus.

"Stick to the game-plan, the game-plan might change but you’ve got to be adaptable."

Team news

Kevin Nolan reported a clean bill of health for his team with Ross Fitzsimons returning to the fold following his car accident earlier in the month.

Mansfield defender David Mirfin is the only confirmed absentee for the Stags, as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Zander Diamond (hamstring) and midfielder Jacob Mellis (ankle) are both recovering well from knocks and continue to be assessed in the build-up to the game.

Dangerman

Danny Rose is an invaluable asset to the Stags and has been the spearhead of their promotion push this season, scoring at a regular rate to keep them within touching distance of the top three.

The former Bury striker is well-known to Notts fans and defenders after bagging a brace when the Stags beat Notts 3-1 at the One Call Stadium at the end of September.

The 24-year-old is only three goals shy of hitting 20 for the season and was rewarded for his fine form with a new contract which will keep him in blue and amber until the end of the 2019-20 season.

We've met before...

Notts currently hold superiority in the head-to-head stakes despite not beating the Stags in the league since August 2003, when Glynn Hurst's brace and a goal from Mike Edwards secured a 3-2 victory.

Last season's home match against Mansfield was Nolan's first game in charge of Notts, finishing goalless to end the Magpies' run of 10 successive league defeats.

What are the odds?

Could Nolan be the one to end the barren spell against the Stags?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 13/8 odds-against favourites for victory at Meadow Lane, while Mansfield are 17/10 to register a first win under Flitcroft's management. The draw is available at 9/4.

Notts have scored two or more goals in each of their last three home games and can be backed at 7/4 to do so again against the Stags.

Fancy Notts to win and keep a clean sheet? It's 10/3 for Nolan's men to win to-nil or 9/2 for both teams scoring with the three points staying in Nottingham.

Shola Ameobi garnered himself a reputation as something of a derby-day specialist during his time at Newcastle United with seven goals in 16 appearances against arch-rivals Sunderland.

Could he continue that form on the big stage in the black and white of Notts? The striker is 13/2 to be the first name on the scoresheet.

You can bet on the game here.

Supporters who sign up to Sky Bet using this link can help the club financially.


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