'Mansfield will be a tougher foe', says Grimsby Town's Joe Colbeck
JOE Colbeck believes Grimsby Town will face a much different Mansfield side tomorrow than he did four months ago.
August's reverse fixture saw the Mariners claim a comfortable victory over a Stags side that, at the time, was struggling for early-season form, having been tipped as promotion contenders at the start of the campaign.
The game saw Colbeck open his account for the Mariners when he grabbed the third goal in a 4-1 drubbing of Paul Cox's side.
But since that result at Blundell Park, the Nottinghamshire side have been on an upward curve and currently sit eighth in the Blue Square Bet Premier, boasting the best home record in the league.
And while Colbeck admits that the Mariners gave Mansfield something of a 'pummeling' back in August, he knows says that tomorrow's meeting between the two sides will be an altogether different affair.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the 26-year-old said: "They've got a point to prove to their fans and themselves and they'll come at us from the off, because I'm sure they remember the first game and their manager will be reminding them about what went wrong for them.
"But for us, we've got to put that result behind us, look at it as a clean slate and an opportunity to get another three points.
"Mansfield had a slow start but they are starting to pick up now and it will be a different game this time round.
"I know we pummeled them a little bit at our place but they've got a great record at home at the minute and we know they're no mugs," he added.
Town warmed up for tomorrow's Stag Hunt with a 4-1 Boxing Day demolition of local rivals Lincoln City.
After sitting out the previous game with Wrexham through suspension, Colbeck returned to action at Sincil Bank and was the man of hte match. He scored one – if somewhat fortuitously – and had a hand in two more as the Mariners dug in to grind out what proved to be a comfortable victory.
And the Yorkshireman knows that they will need to show similar grit and determination again if they are to leave Field Mill with all three points.
He added: "Mansfield will be difficult opponents and it will be a tough game. They will be putting balls into the box all day long but the way we're defending at the minute, we're confident of dealing with it.
"On Boxing Day, Lincoln battled us for the first 15 minutes, but Mansfield will make it a battle for the whole game.
"It will be 90 minutes of channel balls and long balls into the box and we're going to have to be on our toes throughout the whole game.
"With it being a derby, Lincoln were always going to make it a battle and we really had to grind it out – we'll need a similar sort of performance at Mansfield."
He added: "On a personal level, it was great to be back and involved in such a great game at Lincoln.
"Being suspended for the Wrexham game was tough.
"I was sat in the stands, kicking every ball and when we scored, I was up celebrating like a fan myself, but being back on the field is much better and it was great to get back into it on Boxing Day and now I can't wait for Mansfield.
"It's a tough fixture list for over Christmas, obviously with the Wrexham game, the Lincoln derby and then the game tomorrow, but we've started well.
"I think we're doing really well at the minute but, and this is a cliché, over Christmas we're just looking at games one at a time and seeing where that takes us – it seems to be working at the minute."