‘Meeting the opposition’ – Mansfield Town F.C

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Mansfield Town F.C

Ahead of Tranmere’s League Two encounter with Mansfield Town this weekend, I spoke to one of their supporters and journalists in Adrian Kita. He informed me about all things Stags, on and off the pitch as well as giving me his pre-match thoughts.

How long have you been a Mansfield Town supporter and how/when did you first come across the club?

I have been a Mansfield fan since the age of 10 and started going to matches when we were still in the National League battling for promotion. It is my local club so I came across it when I got free tickets from my school and fell in love with the club ever since.

Highest and lowest points across that time?

Highest point has to be getting promoted out of the Conference in 2013 and Matt Green scoring in added time against Hereford in the second to last game to ensure we won the league. Low point has to be the inability of going up to League One as we need one point from a couple of games at the end of the season and we did not manage that and ended up getting beat in the Play-Off Semi-Final by Newport County on penalties.

Random fact about the club?

We won the Freight Rover Trophy in 1987. I believe this trophy is now the EFL Trophy in modern-day terms.

What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now that the campaign’s coming to an end?

My expectations were low and wanted the Stags to survive in the league which they are managing and the expectation is the same now to survive in the league and build for next season.

Nigel Clough was appointed manager last season, thoughts on him?

I think Nigel Clough is a fantastic manager and a great addition to the club. He’s worked more or less at every level so I am happy that he has been appointed the manager and hopefully can finally take us up to League One.

Who are Mansfield Town’s owners and what are your thoughts on them?

The Radfords own the club and they are an amazing family that put the fans and the community at the epicentre of the club. They have put in a lot of hard work to try and lift the club out of this division and so far it hasn’t happened but I hope it will in the near future.

Your danger men?

George Lapslie when fit is a fantastic midfielder always working hard and helping the side no matter what but with his injury, it will likely be the front two of Jordan Bowery and Jamie Reid. They have finally started to put chances away and if they can do that more frequently and consistently they can become a real threat.

The last time both clubs met was in September, for a league fixture. It resulted in a goalless draw. Thoughts on that game?

It was a bore draw, nothing really happened and it was probably a fair result.

How do you see the game panning out? (Score prediction).

Tranmere have been on the charge up the league and we usually do well against the top sides so I’ll do with a 1-1 draw as I don’t see the sides split by much.

What starting eleven do you think Clough will select?

Stone; Benning (LB), Rawson, Perch, Gordon (RB); Three midfielders Maris, McLaughlin and Quinn; CAM Law; Reid and Bowery upfront.

Thoughts on Tranmere? The club in general.

Tranmere have always bounced back and forth between League One and League Two. They have heavily invested in their players with ex-Premier League experience in Jay Spearing, James Vaughan and David Nugent but they are doing well and pushing for promotion once more.

Thoughts on Mansfield’s winter transfer business? 

You can’t really do much business in January as we saw with the Stags. The signing of Stephen Quinn has been fantastic as he brings a lot of experience to the midfield, Oliver Sarkic has been injured so I think he’s a bad bit of business, Jamie Pardington in a young goalkeeper and he has essentially been brought in as added cover, Jake Wright is another experienced head but we’ve not seen much of him, Keaton Ward another youngster for the midfield which is here for yet again added competition and finally the permanent signing of George Lapslie has been brilliant as he is a fantastic midfielder but his recent injury has hampered his game time a little.

Andy Cook played a great part in Tranmere’s National League successes between 2016-2018, he shared a brilliant strike partnership with James Norwood. He’s now a Stag, thoughts on him?

I think on his day he can be a threat with his fantastic hold-up play alongside his height and build which help him a lot. I would definitely say he did not suit our style of play and that’s why he has been loaned out twice in the space of a year to Tranmere and now to Bradford. 

Andy Cook played a great part in Tranmere’s National League successes, sharing a beautiful strike partnership with James Norwood. He’s now a Stag, ‘on his day, he can be a threat’ says Mansfield Town supporter Adrian Kita. 

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord 

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