"As swift as breathed stags, ay,
fleeter than the roe"
Off to deepest Nottinghamshire to test the theory of whether a team performs better on the departure of an unsuccessful manager … Graham Coughlan has been shown the door after winning only 4 of his 27 games in charge, and this week’s midweek home defeat 2-4 at the hands (and feet!) of Barrow was the last straw. Academy manager Richard Cooper takes charge for the time being. The Stags are currently hovering over the relegation line on 5 points, without a win in their 9 games. If you think our form is poor just compare it with this…
October 10th Stevenage (H) Drew 0-0
October 17th Bradford City (H) Lost 1-3
October 20th Morecambe (A) Drew 1-1
October 24th Cheltenham Town (A) Drew 0-0
October 27th Barrow (H) Lost 2-4
There are numerous connections between the two clubs, going right back as far as most of us can remember (even Pedagogue) … In addition to our current tinkerman Darrell Clarke who made 177 appearances for Mansfield, the following gentlemen have played for both Saddlers and Stags … Terry Austin … Lee Beevers … Trevor Christie … Harry Middleton … Fred Morris … Dave Syrett … and in their current squad you’ll find Malvind Benning and Andy (who ate all the pies?) Cook. If that wasn’t enough, Stuart Watkiss also figures in the list of previous Mansfield Town managers.
This game would seem to be ideal for Darrell Clarke to adopt a full-on attacking system, even without “Flash” Gordon. Mansfield’s confidence levels must be on the low side, and they will be without defender Aaron O’Driscoll (red-carded against Barrow). It’s also worth pointing out that Barrow scored 4 goals at Mansfield, and all from open play (no penalties). Let’s give a couple of the youngsters a decent run-out, because judging from our Cambridge performance they couldn’t really do much worse!
Prediction? This has to be a “must-win” match - let’s be brave and go for a 1-3 away win. (Mansfield must score one, because that’s still our minimum gift to all opponents). Scorers for the Saddlers might well be a rejuvenated Wes MacDonald, Rory Holden, and Eeeeeelijaahhhhh.