Notts v Mansfield BIG match preview

Well, what a week! Seven days ago I sat at my Laptop, at the same time writing the preview for the home clash with Bury thinking surely a routine home win was on the cards and the season would be back on track.

As it happens a dreadful 3-1 defeat, punctuated by the mass breakout of boos and chants of "we want Thommo out" from the stands and Steve Thompson alongside assistant John Gannon were showed the exit door from Meadow Lane.

Field Mill... Getting ready for derby day
I was personally very surprised despite the fact the run of form over the past ten months or so has been abysmal purely because so much faith with the budget - Danny Crow was allowed to join just a week ago - and the fact a new contract extension was signed by Thompson in the summer.

But it has happened, and a new dawn begins.

McParland seems a popular choice but time will only tell, he certainly has everyone's best wishes, and what a game to start with at Field Mill.

Team News

Notts - Very hard to pick the team McParland will play considering he knows

Smith... His return to the squad would be huge boost
little of the players at this moment. The 4-3-3 formation Thompson preferred seems likely to be dropped, so who exits? Jay Smith is in contention for a return after a groin strain and Paul Mayo is available after suspension. Jason Lee, Lee Canoville, Michael Byron and Mike Edwards are all out. The one doubt could be over Neil MacKenzie who limped off last week.

Mansfield - Three more players went down with injuries over the week to add to the already injury crisis at Field Mill. Dan Martin is the most likely to make it back after a gashed leg but John McAliskey and Lee Bell are struggling. Jake Buxton should overcome his recent knock.

Form guide

Notts - Three straight defeats with three goals conceded in each of them saw to the end of Thompson's reign. Notts are looking more like a side destined for a relegation battle than a promotion push judging on the form guide which over the last six games reads: won, drew, won, lost, lost, lost. On their travels no wins have been eamed with three draws and two defeats so far. The Magpies are nineteenth in the table.

Mansfield - Rock bottom in League Two, the Stags haven't started well at all. They have avoided defeat on only three occasions in all competitions (13 games), with just one win all season. Finally stopped a six game losing streak in the league with a spirited 1-1 draw at Barnet at the weekend. Only three points from a possible fifteen on home turf.

McParland... Key man will be nervous
The view

Notts - This week's quote can only come from new boss McParland who is eagerly anticipating the game: "I can't wait. I'm nervous - but I can't wait."

Mansfield - Former Notts boss and now Mansfield manager Billy Dearden on the sacking of Thompson: "It's disappointing because I think we've had twelve games and there's fourteen managers lost their job. I find it unbelievable that they aren't being given a chance to do the job."

Key men

Notts - McParland will hold the key on Saturday. Will his emergence as boss herald a major change on the playing side? With players fighting to impress their new manager a response should be heeded and his team selection and tactics will be crucial in what is surely a must-win game. He may be new to

Brown... Pace a real threat
the squad but he has watched them this season and knows all about Notts derby's so motivating the players shouldn't be a problem. It is a major test so soon into his reign, and how he copes will have the biggest bearing on the outcome of the match.

Mansfield - Simon Brown is a big threat when fighting fit and is currently injury free at long last for Stags supporters. Whether on the right of midfield or as a striker his electrifying pace and energy can hurt any League Two side and he always has a goal in him. Against Notts he always seems to turn it on and he was in good form in Town's last outing at Barnet, scoring the goal that had the Stags in front just after the break.

Big battle

Austin McCann v Matt Hamshaw

We all know how this worked out last season around a year ago as Notts left-back McCann put in a Man of the Match performance after Hamshaw was dismissed for a second bookable offence after hacking down McCann who had started to dictate from left back in probably his finest game in black and white. After Paul Mayo's suspension McCann came back into the side and performed solidly last week so should keep his place and the tricky Hamshaw will be chomping on the bit to exact revenge as he felt he was harshly dismissed.

Possible line-ups

Weir-Daley... Will he net?
(4-4-2) - Kevin Pilkington; Gary Silk, Adam Tann, Stephen Hunt, Austin McCann; Andy Parkinson, Richard Butcher, Neil MacKenzie, Myles Weston; Lawrie Dudfield, Spencer Weir-Daley.

Mansfield (4-4-2) - Carl Muggleton; Johnny Mullins, Jake Buxton, Alex John-Baptiste, Dan Martin; Matt Hamshaw, Stephen Dawson, Lee Bell, Nathan Arnold; Simon Brown, Micky Boulding


So easy to get carried away with what your heart says as once again fresh optimism abounds. But this will be tough, despite the Stags' lowly position because local derbies are always thrillers and hardly ever one sided, particularly at Field Mill. A tense 1-1 draw with Weir-Daley to notch.