Preview: Mansfield Town vs. Grimsby Town
Mansfield Town will be looking to continue their push for the League Two playoff places when they host Grimsby Town at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday night.
The hosts are eighth in the standings, three points adrift of the top seven, while the visitors are in mid-table, currently sitting in 15th place.
Mansfield still have a very good chance of winning promotion to the third tier this season, and they could even mount a late push for the top three, given that they will only be five points off third-placed Northampton Town if they win both games in hand.
That said, one thing that will have to improve in the latter stages of the season is the Stags’ home record, having picked up just 26 points in 16 games at the One Call Stadium, the 15th-best record in the division.
Nigel Clough may also be concerned about his side’s recent defensive record, failing to keep a clean sheet in the last four matches, during which time they were on the receiving end of a heavy 5-2 defeat against Salford City.
Barring that blip, Mansfield have, for the most part, looked impressive over the past few weeks, picking up 18 points in their last 10 league matches, the fifth-highest total of any League Two side.
Last time out, the Stags picked up what can be seen as a decent point on their travels away at Stockport County, with Lucas Akins striking in stoppage time to cancel out Paddy Madden’s first-half opener.
Having been promoted to the EFL last season, Grimsby have enjoyed a decent first campaign back in the fourth tier, while they have also impressed in the FA Cup, reaching the quarter-final stage.
The Mariners defeated very good opposition in Luton Town and Southampton before eventually being knocked out of the competition away at Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend, suffering a 5-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium.
The FA Cup run will no doubt live long in the memory for Paul Hurst’s side, and they have also managed to turnaround their league form in recent weeks, losing just one of their last seven games and winning their last two.
If Grimsby were to win all three of their games in hand on Salford, they would be just five points off the playoff places, meaning a late promotion push is not completely off the cards, but they would have to go on a near-perfect run.
The Mariners are yet to face Mansfield in League Two this season, but they did come out on top in their EFL Trophy meeting at Blundell Park back in September, securing a 2-0 victory courtesy of goals from Otis Khan and Danilo Orsi.
Mansfield Town League Two form:
Grimsby Town League Two form:
Grimsby Town form (all competitions):
We say: Mansfield Town 1-1 Grimsby Town
Mansfield have struggled at home for large parts of the season, while Grimsby have been decent on their travels, picking up 25 points and beating the likes of Northampton and Southampton.
Given that the Stags are higher in the table, we expect them to be able to get something from the game, but the most likely outcome is a draw.