NEWPORT County AFC’s promotion credentials will be put to the test this afternoon by a Mansfield side that ‘tick all the boxes’, according to manager Graham Coughlan.

This is the 11th season that the Stags have spent in League Two since being promoted from the National League and the last time that the East Midlands side were in what is now League One was in 2002/3.

However, Nigel Clough’s men are top of the table with 13 fixtures to go and looking strong in what seems likely to be a five-team scrap for the top three with Stockport, Crewe, Wrexham and Milton Keynes Dons.

County are in good shape themselves after climbing up to tenth, just two points off the play-off spots.

They are yet to lose to a contender for automatic promotion in Newport – beating Stockport and Wrexham, drawing with Crewe and the Dons – but Coughlan knows the Stags will threaten that record.

“We are going up against the top of the table and it’s a great yardstick for our players if we want to build and progress over the next couple of seasons,” said Coughlan.

“They will possibly be in League One next year and where Mansfield are strong is that they can rest and rotate while still putting out a physical team on the pitch.

“If you want to fight Mansfield, they will fight you. If you want to play, they will play.

“They tick all the boxes – they are very strong, big, experienced, powerful, have a lot of nous and have been together.”

County lost 2-0 when the sides met at Field Mill on November 18 with Davis Keillor-Dunn scoring a double, while Rhys Oates missed a penalty.