JOHN Coleman will be using tactics and plans to try and outmanoeuvre Mansfield on Saturday.

The Reds make the trip to the Stags looking for their fifth win in six games – and three successive wins under Coleman.

But so far the Stanley boss has seen contrasting shows – the nine-goal attacking thriller at Northampton and then the 1-0 backs-to-the-walls performance against Plymouth.

“We have a game-plan for Mansfield as we do with every team,” said Coleman. “We know they are a physical side whose style of football is direct but they are capable of playing a bit as well and they have scored some great goals this season.

“We know quite a few of their players but they will have looked at us and done their homework and they will play to counter what we do.

“We have to combat them – and that’s the thrill of management, it’s like being an army general. It’s the battle of wills where you have to try to outmanoeuvre the opposition using plans and tactics.

“We believe in preparing the players right, they know their roles within the team on Saturday and that’s what we have been going through with them this week – they have been left in no doubt as to what is expected of them.”

Coleman wasn’t overly happy despite Stanley’s 1-0 win over Plymouth last Saturday but, looking back, he says he might have been harsh on his players.

“I was critical of the forwards and, while we can play better, they weren’t as bad as I thought they were. You also have to give Plymouth some credit although they were wasteful in front of goal on the day.

“There is a way we want to play but, firstly, you have got to be delighted with a win – this league is very very close and there is only a couple of points between a large number of teams so each point is important and I have pressed that home to the players.

“The last three years of when I was here last time as manager we were knocking around the top half of the table – and that’s where I expect us to be this year.”

Striker James Gray  sits out the last game of his three-match ban while defenders Michael Liddle and Adam Buxton are back in training but not yet match fit.