We continue our summer feature looking at the teams we’ll come up against in League Two next term.
Next in line to fall under our microscope in this summer series is a team we’ve not played in a few seasons – Mansfield Town.
Who’s in charge?
Paul Cox took over as Manager of Mansfield Town in May 2011 after stepping down as boss of fellow non-league outfit Eastwood Town earlier that month.
During his playing days, Cox operated as a defender for Notts County, Hull City, Kettering Town and Halifax Town before taking the step in to coaching.
His first taste on that side of the game arrived in 2003 when he was appointed Assistant Manager at Eastwood and three years later he was promoted to Manager.
His success at the Club saw them move away from the threat of relegation and secure two consecutive promotions while also making Round Three of the FA Cup in 2008/09.
Where do they play?
Field Mill, known as The One Call Stadium due to a sponsorship deal, is the oldest ground in the Football League having hosted football since 1861.
It now holds around 10,000 fans although restrictions are in place due to safety and it usually holds somewhere closer to 8,000.
Town first started playing there in 1919/20 though it was also being used as a cricket ground at the time.
Where did they finish last term?
Mansfield were promoted to the Football League last season after winning the Blue Square Bet Premier title.
What’s their story?
Mansfield Town will play league football once more this season after fighting their way out of non-league by winning the Blue Square Bet Premier last term.
It meant they made a return to the Football League for the first time in five years following their relegation at the end of 2007/08.
Prior to that demotion, The Stags had played in the league for 77 years after being elected to the competition back in 1931.
While in the Conference, Town built a solid base on which to improve and they finished third in 2011/12 only to miss out on promotion after losing in the Play-Off Final to York City.
However, there was no such mistake last season as they put together a brilliant second half to the season during which they won 20 of their 24 games to ensure they topped the table and clinched promotion.
When did we last meet?
It was during Pools’ promotion season of 2006/07 that the sides last met in competitive action when Danny Wilson’s in-form side did the double over The Stags.
Having won 2-0 at Victoria Park in September 2006 thanks to a double from Joel Porter, Pools also took the points at Field Mill on New Year’s Day 2007 when Andy Monkhouse scored the only goal thirteen minutes from time.
In the Mansfield line-up that day was a certain Richard Barker, who was to prove crucial to Pools in the coming months…
What are the connections?
Striker Richard Barker arrived at Pools from Mansfield in January 2007, playing against us one week and for us the next.
Pools midfielder Lee Bullock spent a month on loan at Field Mill later that year. Other direct dealings with Mansfield include Darrell Clarke, who joined Pools form the Stags in 2001, and Jason Danskin, who we borrowed from Mansfield in 1988.
Goalkeepers Ian Bowling, Brian Cox and Carl Muggleton have all played for both clubs, as have a number of outfield players, most notably Billy Ayre, David Linighan, Tony Parry, John Gill and Tony Lormor. Most recently, ex-Pools loan striker Paul Connor played for Mansfield in 2011/12.
Fred Westgarth's great 1950s side provides a lot of the leading appearance makers against Mansfield, with Watty Moore (19), Ray Thompson, Tommy McGuigan & Jackie Newton (16 each) making up the top four.
Eric Wildon heads the goalscorers list with six goals against the Stags, ahead of Johnny Wigham and Stephen Halliday with five each.
Their efforts pale, however, alongside those of Mansfield striker Ted Harston, who once scored SEVEN times against Pools in a single match!
When do we play them?
Pools will travel to Field Mill to take on Mansfield on Saturday 5th October, while they will make the return trip to The Vic on Tuesday 25th March 2014.