Stags must contend with Reds test before Liverpool Cup clash
BEFORE Mansfield Town can focus on their mouth-watering FA Cup third round tie against Premier League giants Liverpool, there is the small matter of a return league fixture against local rivals Alfreton Town.
The sides meet at the Impact Arena today (1pm) in the second instalment of their festive double-header.
Alfreton took the honours in the first showdown on Boxing Day, triumphing 2-1 at the One Call Stadium to register their first-ever win against the Stags.
Nicky Law's men will be looking to start the new year on a high by completing a memorable Blue Square Bet Premier double over their Nottinghamshire neighbours.
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Mansfield, meanwhile, will be out for revenge following their Boxing Day defeat – and a confidence boost ahead of the visit of Liverpool on Saturday.
Neither side were in action at the weekend as Alfreton's away match at Nuneaton Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, with Mansfield's home game against Grimsby Town suffering the same fate.
That means Alfreton defender Leigh Franks will miss today's game due to a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking of the season.
Goalkeeper Jon Stewart and midfielder Theo Streete are available after suspensions – Stewart for the final time before his loan from Burnley expires.
The Nuneaton postponement may have given captain Darran Kempson (hamstring) and left-back Connor Franklin (ill) more time to recover.
Mansfield will be without suspended defender Ritchie Sutton, who picked up his fifth yellow card on Boxing Day.
Former Derby County midfielder Adam Murray is back in contention after shaking off a virus.
Defender Ryan Tafazolli is also nearing a return but striker Ross Dyer (knee) is unlikely to feature again this season.
This is the first of three home games in a week for Alfreton, with Dartford the visitors on Saturday before Wrexham head to the Impact Arena a week today.
On the road this term, Mansfield have won twice – at Kidderminster and Macclesfield – drawn twice and lost five times, scoring 13 and conceding 22 in the process.
Today's fixture is all-ticket, with the biggest home crowd of the season expected.