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Jan 8, 2022 at 12.15pm UK
MansfieldMansfield Town
Hawkins (67'), Oates (85')
Hewitt (38'), O'Toole (64'), Hawkins (71')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Ikpeazu (4'), Boyd-Munce (14'), O'Toole (90+5' og.)
Bamba (33'), Ikpeazu (37')

Preview: Mansfield Town vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Mansfield Town vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Mansfield Town and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Mansfield Town and Middlesbrough will put on hold their respective playoff pushes when they meet in the FA Cup third round at Field Mill on Saturday.

Both sides are in excellent form, with the Stags currently ninth in League Two and Boro occupying seventh in the Championship.

Match preview

Mansfield have not played since a 3-2 win over Hartlepool United on Boxing Day – their fifth consecutive victory.

Nigel Clough's side have won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions, a run which has seen them rise from League Two's relegation zone to three points behind the playoffs.

No team in the fourth tier have picked up more points on home turf this season and the Stags have won their last six games at Field Mill; not losing there since the start of October.

Mansfield have knocked out League One sides Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup so far this campaign, but have only progressed past the third round once in the last 34 years.

That occasion came in 2008 when they faced Middlesbrough in round four – the most recent meeting between the two sides – and Gareth Southgate's Boro team won 2-0 at Field Mill.

The Teessiders were a Premier League outfit back then and fans are dreaming of a return to the top flight under Chris Wilder, who has lost just once in eight games since succeeding Neil Warnock at the start of November.

Boro are only one point behind the Championship top six after winning five of their last six matches; only Blackburn Rovers have picked up more points in the second tier since Wilder's arrival at the Riverside.

A New Year's Day reunion with Sheffield United was postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests in the Boro squad, meaning the team's last outing was a 2-1 away victory at Blackpool on December 29 when Duncan Watmore struck a 93rd-minute winner.

However, Middlesbrough, who have been knocked out in the third round of the FA Cup in each of the last two years, have not won back-to-back away matches so far this season.

Mansfield Town FA Cup form:
  • W
  • W

Mansfield Town form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Middlesbrough form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Two unnamed Mansfield players have been ruled out of the game after testing positive for Covid-19, but Clough has the majority of his squad available again after recent postponed matches.

Harry Charsley, George Lapslie and Stephen Quinn are all back in training following recent injuries; Charsley completed 90 minutes in a friendly against Derby County Under-23s on Tuesday.

Top scorer Danny Johnson, who has been absent since the end of October with a foot injury, also played in the game and will be assessed ahead of the cup tie.

Wilder is expected to rotate for the trip to Field Mill and could hand rare opportunities to the likes of Grant Hall and Martin Payero.

Aaron Connolly will be eager to make his debut after signing on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion, but James Lea Siliki is away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon.

Youngsters such as Josh Coburn, who has just signed a new contract, as well as Sol Brynn and Nathan Wood, who have just returned from loan spells away, may be given the chance to impress.

Mansfield Town possible starting lineup:
Bishop; Hewitt, Rawson, Hawkins, McLaughlin; Stirk, O-Toole, Maris; Charsley, Bowery, Oates

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Brynn; Fry, Hall, Wood; Dijksteel, Malley, McNair, Payero, Kokolo; Coburn, Connolly

We say: Mansfield Town 2-1 Middlesbrough

This should be a fascinating encounter between two sides enjoying superb winning runs. With Chris Wilder expected to rotate his team and prioritise the Championship campaign, we think that there is potential for an upset in this tie – particularly considering Mansfield's strong record on home turf.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

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