PREVIEWS PLUS DEARDEN ON TRANSFERS
Captain 50-50 for return
STAGS captain Jake Buxton's chances of returning for the vital match against Accrington Stanley are rated as just 50-50
Buxton missed the Boxing Day win over Peterborough through tonsilitis and on Friday the club's official website mansfieldtown.net said his chances of returning were rated at 50-50.
His defensive partner Alex John-Baptiste, who was also missing from the Boxing day win through injury, is definitely ruled out - together with the suspended Stephen Dawson and Lee Bell, who is recovering from a knee operation.
Yesterday boss Billy Dearden told Chad the injuries and sispension meant he would have 'to shuffle the pack a bit again'.
Dawson leaves big hole to fill for Mansfield
Midfield dynamo Stephen Dawson will leave a big hole to fill when he serves a one match ban for picking up five bookings on Saturday as Stags take on Accrington Stanley at Field Mill (3pm).
Manager Billy Dearden already has a threadbare squad and will be leaving it until the last minute before he decides how to cover for Dawson.
"We will have to shuffle the pack a bit again," said Dearden.
"Jake Buxton and Alex John-Baptiste have not trained again today and it's Thursday already. I will just have to wait and see if one of them comes in and feels all right.
"It was good to see Martin McIntosh, John McAliskey and Dan Martin all put in a shift against Peterborough after being out for a while and it was a big bonus that they played a game, got through it and we won."
Another midfield option for Dearden is youngster Danny Sleath who has just returned from a month on loan at Boston United where he got another couple of senior games under his belt.
Stags have not let in a goal at home for a superb 458 minutes now and he added: "I certainly will not be changing the formation as having that back four is keeping us clean sheets at home.
Visitors Accrington are comfortably tucked into mid-table this season largely due to their excellent away form.
Their 2-1 success at Grimsby Town on Boxing Day was their fifth away win of the campaign, but they have lost nine times at home in all competitions.
The winner was scored by in-form veteran striker Paul Mullin who is now into double figures for the season and grabbed the winner at home against Mansfield on 22nd September.
The visitors will be unchanged and are hoping to sign on-loan Swansea midfielder Ian Craney after his spell ends on Saturday
So far so good for Dearden player hunt
Stags boss Billy Dearden is pleased with the way his squad-strengthening plans are going so far for next month.
But he has been in the game long enough to know things change quickly in football.
Dearden is looking to strengthen his struggling squad as soon as the January transfer window opens and today said: "I have made a few enquiries and have been pleased with how it's gone so far.
"I have asked about certain players and have been told I can have them if that club doesn't pick up injuries over the Christmas and New Year programme which is when clubs do tend to pick up injuries.
"I don't know how many I will get in yet. You look at getting in three or four and may only end up with a couple or none at all. Then you have to start again.
"So nothing is certain, but if everything is okay at these clubs then we will be okay."