'No bad blood between the teams' - Clough and Brady preview Cobblers' Boxing Day trip to Mansfield Town
A 2-1 home victory was followed by a 1-0 success at Sixfields back in May as Mansfield edged past Northampton to book a trip to Wembley, where their promotion dreams were ended by Port Vale in the final.
Still in League Two, both teams are again in the promotion hunt this season, currently placed fifth and third respectively ahead of Monday’s clash.
“I think it will have a little bit of something extra and we can’t underestimate their desire to get a little bit of revenge for what happened in the play-offs,” said Stags boss Nigel Clough. “It’s not bad blood or anything like that. It’s just a healthy, professional wish to turn the tables on the team that knocked you out the play-offs.
"We get on well with them off the pitch. They’ve got Jon Brady and Colin Calderwood, a nice fella, so we all get on well and had a bit of time together in Scotland during pre-season.
“They’ve got Ben Fox playing for them who played for us at Burton. The way they’ve recovered from the play-off disappointment and the fact that they’re back up there in the top three again this season speaks volumes of them.”
Having already beaten Bradford, Swindon and Stevenage on the road this season, Cobblers will be aiming to take down another promotion rival on Boxing Day.
"They obviously have a very good squad and again they have gone and recruited strongly,” said Brady. “They were one of the favourites to go up again and there’s a lot of strength and depth within their squad.
"Nigel has a lot of experience and we had two really strong play-off games against them last season and we’re looking forward to the challenge again. Both teams want to go toe-to-toe and win the game. It should be pretty exciting because there will be no holding back from us and I’m sure there won’t be any holding back from Mansfield either.
"Every time I’m in Cloughy’s company, we get on really well. I enjoy his company and he’s an inspirational guy and it should be a good game between two teams who are up there and want to win. We don’t go away from home trying to get a draw, we go to try and win every game and I’m really looking forward to this one.”