Mansfield Town vs Swindon Town preview: The hosts hope to cause an upset against the league leaders at Field Mill
(Photo by Colin McPherson/Getty Images)

Richie Wellens has slammed Mansfield’s decision to sack David Flitchcroft ahead of Swindon Town’s visit to Field Mill on Saturday.

Flitchcroft was dismissed at the end of the 2018/19 campaign after being eliminated by Newport County in the play-off semi-final.

Mansfield are now languishing in 21st place in League Two and have registered just three wins in their last 19 league games.

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“They missed out on promotion by the barest of margins and then they make a decision to sack their manager,” Wellens said.

He added: “I think it’s just another example of a club that has come so close to getting to where they want to be and then make a rash decision to get rid of their manager who had done exceptionally well there.”

Swindon are thriving under Wellens and the board rewarded him for his efforts by agreeing a new three-and-a-half year deal on Thursday.

The Robins head into their visit to Mansfield with a two-point lead at the top of the division and will be hoping to register back-to-back away wins in the league for the first time since early-December.

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Wellens revealed: “Defensively, they’ve got very strong players who are used to this level, and in Danny Rose and Nicky Maynard, they’ve got two strikers at this level who can score goals.

“But we’ve got to make sure we go there and remain in the same frame of mind as how we’ve been in recent weeks.”

Mansfield may have experienced an emphatic fall from grace this season, but their home form has improved considerably of late. They’ve amassed seven points from their last three home games – defeating Bradford and Newport respectively and drawing against Carlisle United.

Their improved form has created renewed optimism at Field Mill but manager Graham Coughlan insists his side must find the right “balance.”

Coughlan revealed: “We normally do a lot of work on offensive and defensive work, we normally split our days up in the week where one day’s spent on one department and another day’s concentrated on the other. So I won’t concentrate solely on defending.

“If anything we are looking to be a little more solid, a bit tighter and we are looking a dangerous outfit on the front foot when we go after teams. We won’t change too much.”

Mansfield have conceded the joint-second most goals (54) in League Two this season, behind only 22nd place Morecambe (58).

However, they’ve also scored more goals (46) than any other club in the bottom half of the division.

The Stags don’t boast the greatest head-to-head record against Swindon and are winless against them in their last six meetings (L4 D2). Swindon also won the reverse fixture 1-0 at the County Ground back in November.

Defender Ryan Sweeney believes his side “can get something out of the game” and calls on the home support to act as the 12th man.

“If we can get the home crowd behind us and get on the front foot early, I’m sure we’ll have opportunities,” the former Stoke City defender said.