We turn our attentions to the weekend with a comprehensive preview of The Bluebirds' League Two trip to The One Call Stadium.
Mansfield Town v Barrow
Saturday 2nd October 2021, 3pm
The One Call Stadium
Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town enjoyed an encouraging start to the new League Two campaign when they won each of their first two outings, defeating Bristol Rovers and Newport County.
However, Nigel Clough’s men could not sustain that form and have not tasted victory since as a run of four consecutive league defeats saw them drop into the bottom half of the fledgling table.
Injuries and suspensions have certainly played their part for The Stags, who have rallied in recent weeks and boosted confidence with a creditable 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient last weekend despite finishing the game with ten men.
However, with three home fixtures in succession now on the horizon, Clough will have his eyes firmly fixed on a return to their best, starting with Saturday’s meeting with The Bluebirds.
One To Watch
Rhys Oates helped fire Hartlepool United to National League promotion last season but turned down an offer to stay at Victoria Park in favour of a summer switch to Mansfield Town.
The 26-year-old forward was in electric form during the second half of last term and found the net 18 times in the league to earn his move to The One Call Stadium.
Oates opened his account for The Stags against Harrogate Town at the start of September and he will be hoping there are plenty more to come - so he’s a player Barrow will need to keep an eye on.
Head To Head
Saturday’s game will be the 59th competitive meeting between the two clubs and it’s been a fairly well contested fixture, with Mansfield tasting victory 24 times in comparison to Barrow’s 23.
However, The Bluebirds completed the double over Town last term, earning their first victory back in the EFL with a magnificent 4-2 triumph at The One Call Stadium at the end of October 2020.
That was backed up by a solid 2-0 victory on home soil in March, which helped rid memories of the last time the two clubs shared a division when The Stags won 4-0 and 8-1 against Barrow.
Tom Nield will take charge of his first Barrow game of the season on Saturday when he’s on the whistle for our trip to Mansfield Town.
The official is now into his fifth season on the EFL list of referees having stepped up from the National League for the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign.
Nield last oversaw The Bluebirds back in December when we lost 1-0 at home to Salford City, while his most recent appointment was for Burton Albion’s 2-1 midweek win over Portsmouth.
Tickets for Saturday’s game are available to buy in advance from The Dunes Hotel Stadium until 1.30pm on Friday.
They will also be on sale from Mansfield’s cash-only Away Ticket Booth (which is located near to the away stand) prior to kick-off on the day of the game.
We are unable to live stream games on iFollow in the UK on Saturday afternoons, though Bluebirds fans outside of the UK can still access live footage on iFollow.
iFollow is the only place to access live online audio commentary throughout the 2021/22 campaign as we continue our link-up with BBC Radio Cumbria.
Fans will be able to listen to expert Bluebirds’ commentator Adam Johnson at each and every game – and this weekend is no different as he takes up his position behind the mic at The One Call Stadium.
You can purchase an Audio Match Pass for £2.50, an Audio Monthly Pass for £4.49 or sign-up for Audio Season Pass which provides all live commentary and video news for just £45.
Mansfield Town have been installed as 6/5 favourites for three points this weekend, with Barrow priced at 21/10 to come home with a win and the draw priced up at 9/4.