Mansfield Town travel to Newport County in the first-leg of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final


The Stags will travel to Wales to face their semi-final opponent, Newport County. With the Stags narrowly missing out on automatic promotion after a narrow loss against MK Dons, it leaves the amber and blues in the play-off spots.

The Welsh outfit narrowly made the play-offs after they drew 1-1 at Morecambe with the point being enough for the Exiles to finish in the last play-off position. It meant they now have the chance to face the Stags in a bid to make their way into Sky Bet League One.

Newport will have an advantage in this first-leg encounter as they play in front of their home crowd on Thursday evening. The Exiles are 10 games unbeaten in the league but play-offs will be completely different for both sides. Newport boss Michael Flynn refused to underestimate the tough challenge the Stags pose against his team:

“It’s going to be a very tough tie. Mansfield are a very good team full of good players, so we’ll have to be at our best on Thursday then Sunday. They’re a fantastic group of players and whatever happens now, it’s been a fantastic season. But we’re going into those play-offs trying to win them.

None of the teams were going to be easy. But we’re not going to be easy for any of them either. It’s going to be a very difficult game for both teams. We’re in there now and it’s an absolute no-lose situation for us. It’s a fantastic achievement and I am so proud that we’ve reached 71 points and finished 7th in the league.”

Mansfield Town did lose their decisive game against MK Dons 1-0 with David Wheeler’s goal being enough for the Dons to gain automatic promotion into League One meaning the Stags prepared to battle for promotion through the play-offs. Mansfield boss David Flitcroft says that the squad will use the weekend’s experience to galvanise them for Thursday evening’s play-off encounter against Newport County.

“This experience, I certainly never want to feel like this again, and that’s what I’ve told to the players. We need to soak it in, understand why we got beat, and understand how you’re feeling straight after the game.

But we can’t let it haunt us. Let it be the thing that free’s you into striving for a performance next week. I have good staff around me. We’ll be in tomorrow for our end of season do, and the players will be in. We’ll do it as a group. We have to regroup and we’ll start picking players up tonight. We won’t be haunted by what’s happened.

“[The players are] hurt. It’s a tough one. We’ve had a cause all season that we’re doing it for our families, and we feel like we’ve let them down. That’s how raw it is. We failed at this hurdle. And now we have to make sure that what comes out of this is a galvanised spirit.”

Mansfield last faced the Exiles at Rodney Parade in February, a game that ended 1-0 to the hosts. In the reverse fixture at the One Call Stadium on the opening day of the season, the Stags recorded a 3-0 victory, courtesy of a brace from midfielder Otis Khan and a further strike by forward Tyler Walker.

Team News

The Stags will be without centre-back Matt Preston for the game, following the concussion he sustained in Saturday’s match against MK Dons.

Long-term absentees Hayden White and Bobby Olejnik will miss out. Mansfield will also be without forwards Craig Davies and Jordan Graham for the clash.

For the Exiles, Ben Kennedy will is sidelined. Joss Labadie could return for the match, having missed the last six games through injury.



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