Match preview: Mansfield Town v Doncaster Rovers - the biggest scrap yet

It is certainly a good thing Doncaster Rovers have demonstrated their ability to scrap as they look set for their biggest battle yet on New Year's Eve.

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans

Back-to-back wins and clean sheets against Grimsby Town and Notts County have shown Darren Ferguson’s side can back up attacking flair and composure with true grit.

And those battling qualities are likely to be needed in abundance on Saturday as they head to Mansfield Town.

Ferguson certainly thinks so. “It’s going to be tough,” he said.

“It’s going to be a battle and I have to pick a team accordingly.

“Certainly if we show the sort of things we did at Notts County, added to the quality we’ve got in the team in the top end of the pitch, I think it’ll stand us in good stead.

“We’ve got to maintain that determination to win games of football.”

One thing is for certain, Mansfield boss Steve Evans will have his side up for the game.

Evans is a master at fostering an us-versus-them mentality, a method he used with great effect at Boston United, Crawley Town, Rotherham United and Leeds United.

With Saturday’s game viewed as somewhat of a derby, Evans will not waste the opportunity to stoke up players and supporters for the visit of table-topping Rovers.

The Stags are in need of a win to revitalise their flagging play-off hopes.

After winning their first two games under Evans following his appointment in mid-November, Mansfield are without a league win in their last four, losing three of those matches.

Their only triumph in the period saw them beat Carlisle United 3-2 in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Evans is expecting a tough test for his side at the weekend.

“They are a quality side with a good manager,” Evans told the Mansfield Chad.

“He is a friend of mine.

“Darren (Ferguson) got relegated with them after a run that no one in football could believe.

“I think they lost 17 out of 18 to get relegated.

“I think they just needed a point with nine games to go – it’s a statistic that is frightening.

“But he went about his business in the summer, took the criticism and I am pleased for him that he built what looks a top class League Two side.

“So we need to be ready and deal with that.”