Crawley Town v Mansfield Town preview: Reds looking to build on Exeter City and Tranmere Rovers wins against Stags
The hectic fixture schedule continues in League Two and Mansfield are the visitors to The People’s Pension Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture, where Mansfield were probably the happier of the two sides, with Andy Cook’s 93rd minute equaliser salvaging a point for the Stags.
Mansfield aren’t in the greatest of form though, as prior to Tuesday’s fixtures they had won just one out of their previous seven games and not scoring in their previous five.
Their poor run of form has come after they looked like they were turning their season around with five wins in a row but after these wins they began to slip down the table again but with the league being so tight if they can pick up a few more wins they’ll be flying up the table once again.
However, if the losses keep coming then they could start having to look nervously over their shoulder if teams below them start picking up results. Manager Nigel Clough has tried to change Mansfield’s fortunes as he switched systems for a few games from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 but this ultimately didn’t see Mansfield get any results, which led them to change back to a 4-3-3 in recent weeks.
Top scorer Jordan Bowery has posed the biggest threat for the Stags despite their lack of goals and he has eight league goals for the season, just one behind Crawley’s Tom Nichols.
After Crawley’s long travels to Tranmere and Morecambe, it will be nice for them to have some home fixtures and not have to do any travelling. Tuesday night's game against Salford was the start of three consecutive home game, with Walsall to come next on Tuesday following Saturday’s game against Mansfield.
Crawley have shown some of the great football they can play and will just need to show some more consistency if they want to move up the table. If Crawley can build this consistency, they’ll look like a very strong side who could make a surge for the play-offs at the end of the season.
However, if the inconsistent form continues the Reds will see them self tail off and most likely finish in a mid-table position. There’s still 14 games 42 points to play for so anything is possible for Crawley who could finish the season strongly and push for play-offs or tail off and this once again depends on their consistency.
For now, their focus will be solely on getting three points against Mansfield and their recent performances have shown their capable of this, as they have impressed against Exeter, Tranmere and in the first half at Morecambe.
A performance similar to any of these would give them a good chance of picking up three points against the Stags on Saturday, which would give the Red Devils some good momentum ahead of Tuesday night's game with Walsall.