Match preview: Mansfield v Stevenage

Chris Whelpdale celebrates scoring Stevenage's third goal against Mansfield.

Chris Whelpdale celebrates scoring Stevenage's third goal against Mansfield. - Credit: Archant

Graham Westley is looking to bounce back from last week’s “shocking” display against Oxford United when Stevenage travel to Field Mill to take on Mansfield in League Two.

Boro lost 2-0 against Michael Appleton’s United at the Lamex Stadium as they recorded back-to-back losses. This Saturday they will look to pick up their first win in three games, and try to complete a league double over the Stags. Chris Whelpdale scored two and Charlie Lee added another as Stevenage won 3-0 back in September.

With Mansfield languishing at the foot of the table, play-off chasing Boro head into the match as favourites, a title Westley is relishing.

“It’s better to be the favourite than the underdog, I think. It doesn’t change our mindset. Whether you’re the favourite or the underdog, you can still win the game so we have to get ready to do what needs to be done to win the match,” he said.

“The last game between us showed that we can beat them. Every game needs to be won on its merits [because] every team will try to produce a different level of performance. But we know we can beat them and we’re long enough in the tooth to know it’s about what you do on the day.

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“We’ll go in with confidence but every side is trying to pull a performance together on the day. We need to make sure we’re ready for it and have enough desire to win the points on offer.”

Westley will not have Tom Pett (leg) and Adam Marriott (knee) at his disposal but, with the loans of Bruno Andrade from Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City’s Danny Johnson, plus a possible return for Whelpdale, the manager is expecting a much better performance than against Oxford.

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“Whelps will hopefully be back for the weekend – it looks as though we can manage him back into action – which is great because missing him, Adam, Tom and [Dean Wells] took a lot away from us last weekend. We tried to adjust but it was to a completely different game,” he said.

“It’s difficult for a side that’s got into a groove and done well over six or seven games to suddenly start to play a different game. Last week, let’s face facts, we were shocking. The changes were a part of that. That’s not a negative reflection on the side. They had got into a rhythm and a way of playing and had to come out of it and adjust to new players and we didn’t do it very well.

“We’ve brought in lads who give us the sort of threats and creativity we were showing before the injuries. We were a handful to try to deal with, scoring goals and looking threatening; we need to carry on threatening and keep our defensive work at the level it was to make sure we’re wining games convincingly.”

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