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Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Mansfield Town

26 April 2024

Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Mansfield Town

26 April 2024

The Bluebirds have their play-off destiny in their own hands and know a win against already promoted, Mansfield Town will secure a spot inside the top seven.

In their previous fixture, Pete Wild’s men faced another play-off-chasing side in the form of Graham Alexander’s Bradford City. The Bantams knew they had to win on the night, and they did just that with Tyler Smith finishing nearly past Paul Farman in the final minute of the game to secure a 2-1 win.

Barrow initially fell behind following a Bradford set-piece after a Bobby Pointon strike rifled into the roof of the net. With the first half going all in Bradford’s favour, the Bluebirds came out in the second half with a different energy and made a great impression. Kian Spence converted his free kick from 25 yards out, to get the scores all level. But the Bantams managed to find a winner when Andy Cook played it into Smith, who won all three points for the away side.

Spence’s second-half strike was his eighth goal of the campaign, extending his best scoring season in his career.

Team News

George Ray will be back in contention for Saturday’s line-up, after serving his three-match suspension.

The Opposition

Saturday’s opposition, Mansfield Town currently sit second in Sky Bet League Two table after already confirming automatic promotion to League One. The Stags have the chance to confirm second place with a win at Holker Street this Saturday, giving both sides something to play for.

Mansfield boss, Nigel Clough initially took charge of the away side back in November 2020. Since his appointment in late 2020, he has gone on to manage 201 games for Mansfield, winning 95, drawing 48, and losing 58. Throughout his time in Nottinghamshire, he’s gone on to average a 47.3%-win rate, averaging 1.7 points per game.

In their five previous matches, they have picked up 12 points having won four games and lost once. You have to go back to the 6th of April to find their last loss when they were on the end of a 4-1 battering away from Crawley Town.

A star player to watch on for is midfielder, Louis Reed. Reed began his career coming through the ranks at Sheffield United and has gone on to play for Chesterfield and Peterborough United. So far this season he has become an influential part of the Stags midfield, missing only one league fixture this season.


Barrow has played Mansfield seven times in league competition since the Bluebirds’ return to the EFL, with the Cumbrians winning four of the fixtures and the Stags winning three.

The last match between the two sides came away from home back in September 2023 on a day in which the Bluebirds fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat, following a late second-half winner by Ollie Clarke.


Keith Stroud will be the man in the middle for the Bluebirds' final game of the season. Stroud has taken charge of 27 EFL league fixtures this campaign, with 23 of them coming in the Championship. He has handed out a total of 139 yellow cards throughout the campaign, and just three red cards.

His last match officiating the Bluebirds came back in October 2020, when the Cumbrians faced Saturday’s opponents Mansfield Town, in a five-goal thriller away from home. The Cumbrians gained a two-goal lead within 25 minutes of the game, thanks to goals from Brad Barry and Patrick Borough, but the Stags pulled one back when James Perch notched in the home sides’ first goal on 35 minutes. The Bluebirds continued to dominate the second half, with away side extending their lead to 4-1, with Josh Kay scoring a second-half brace. The Stags managed to score a late consolation goal with Harry Charsley netting home, but it wasn’t enough for the home side, and Cumbrians took all three points back to Holker Street.

Alongside Stroud, he will be joined by Jonathan Hunt and Mark Dwyer, who will be assistant referees for the final game of the season with Matt Corlett taking on the role of Fourth Official.

Words by Dylan Whitbread

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