MANSFIELD Town are expecting a physical battle against Newport County at Field Mill tonight as the Exiles bid to find their first points of the campaign, writes Michael Pearlman.
The Exiles have lost all three games in a horrible opening week to the new campaign, including squandering a 2-0 lead at Morecambe on Saturday, only to lose 3-2.
However, the hosts still expect a tough examination from the Amber Army as the two clubs promoted in the same season lock horns once more.
The Stags will be looking to make it two wins on the bounce tonight, but captain Adam Murray, who hit a memorable winner to earn Mansfield victory against Oxford on Saturday, knows the injury-hit Stags will have to fight all the way against Newport.
“It is going to be a battle and will be total opposite of the game on Saturday,” said Murray on Mansfield's offical website.
“We have had some real ding-dong battles with them in recent seasons and it will be the same on Tuesday.
“Every game we have with Newport is a battle. They're a team that has a good structure, good organisation, they’re physical and like ourselves they play to their strengths.”
The 32-year-old, also Mansfield’s assistant manager, is also welcoming the return of frontman Matt Rhead, who is now available for selection after a four match suspension. Murray said: “The kind of team we are and the way we structure things, Matt’s a focal point for us. He’s a good player [to come in] and at the right time with the numbers situation.”
Following the news that Liam Hearn will be out until Christmas with a new knee injury, Murray is hopeful that the Stags will be able to find a replacement: “The gaffer will have discussions with the board and the chairman to see what we can do.”
In addition to the return of Matt Rhead the Stags also managed to come out of Saturday’s win against Oxford unscathed, with no new injury concerns: “We’ve still got Martin Riley who’s having more tests today (groin) and obviously Ollie Palmer’s (ankle) not 100% but there's nothing new from the weekend,” he added.
County manager Justin Edinburgh has already promised to ring the changes.
“I’ll think about changes for the Mansfield game now,” he told Argus Sport.
“I’ve got players who are good enough to be in that side if the players in it aren’t going to take those opportunities
“We have to dust ourselves down and the good thing is that the games come thick and fast now and we’ve got a chance to put that right on Tuesday night.
“There were some positives from the first half; the goals we scored and the chances we created were pleasing.
“We have to focus on that, iron out the errors that keep occurring, regroup and go again on Tuesday.”