Can I just start by thanking Steve Burr and all those lads that have played for us over the season just coming to it's climax. I think most fans never thought for one moment that by 3.00pm tomorrow we could well find ourselves in the play-off places after going through such a torrid time at the start of 2011 with our money, directorship and points deductions problems that looked likely to see the club fold.
It's only the hard work of the fans and players alike that we now stand on the threshold of greater things.
At the beginning of March all this seemed so far away with the team going on a really bad run of results but in recent weeks they've picked themselves up by the bootstraps to, up until last Saturday at Luton, go on a seven game unbeaten run that has catapulted us back into contention once more.
We now need to get back quickly into winning mode and make sure we gain all three points against our visitors, Mansfield Town, tomorrow. What Luton do at Fleetwood is beyond our control and if they win or draw then our season is over but, fair play to Luton, their place in the play-offs will have been nothing more than they deserve too after missing out so many times in recent seasons.
If we do make the cut then we'll have a possible three more games to look forward too with the first of those coming next Thursday at home to second placed Wrexham. But let's not jump the gun, first we have to beat Mansfield.
We could be doing that without our leading scorer Nick Wright after he was given some bruising attention at Kenilworth Rd and also Kyle Storer following training earlier this week when he pulled up with a twitchy hamstring. Hopefully they'll both be ok for the game but it'll be touch and go.
Steve Burr is hoping that Jack Byrne will have recovered from his hamstring injury from a few weeks ago to replace Storer if he cannot make it. We should have plenty of options to replace Wright up front in Steve Guinan and Ryan Rowe while Callum Gittings could be a shoe in if Wright was to have been played out wide.
Mansfield will be coming here on the back of a remarkable resurgence of form that in the weeks since the turn of the year has seen them lose just twice in twenty games. Those defeats both came away from home at Newport and Fleetwood so at least we can be sure that their away form is inferior to their home form.
They could be without the former Harriers midfielder Adam Murray. He's been battling through a long standing ankle problem all season that will be sorted by an operation once the season is over for them. He shouldn't have to wait too long then.
Two other Harriers play for them too. Martin Riley signed for them from Cheltenham during the close season and, at first, he struggled to make headway in the side due to a loss of form and injuries but since the start of the year, coinciding with their winning run, he has been ever present and could be a major factor in their rise up the table.
Danny Andrew, right, is the other former Red at Mansfield but he's only been there on loan from Cheltenham since the end of March. Strangely he's only played from the bench for them but his arrival at Field Mill has coincided with a run of bad results at Cheltenham that could see them dropping out of the League 2 play-off places before the end of their season.
The game itself will be starting at 1.00pm (as you can see above) and it should be a fitting climax to our season if we fail to win. If we do win then that'll be brilliant because it's what we all want at the end of the day. The Harriers going on to better and better things once more.
Photo © PUFC
Lyness, Breeden, L Vaughan, Mike Williams, Jones, Bradley, Marshall, Demetriou, Byrne, M Briscoe, Storer, Vincent, Cresswell, Hankin, Guinan, N Wright, Thompson-Brown, Johnson, Malbon, Gittings, Rowe.
Mansfield Town from:
Marriott, Redmond, Worthington, Thompson, Riley, L Briscoe, Stevenson, Rhead, Green, Murray, Dyer, O'Neill, Sutton, Smith, Todd, Howell, Day, Meikle, Geohaghon, Somes, Hutchinson, Andrew.
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