Ahead of City's fixture against Mansfield Town, we spoke to local journalist John Lomas from the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad.
John is the Sports Editor at the Mansfield Chad a position he's held since the early 90's. Outside of football, John plays in his band Verbal Warning and are booked to play at the first ever Cornwall Punk Festival in March, but his day job is reporting on the Stags, something he's done for over thirty years. Knowing Mansfield inside and out, John gives us the lowdown on our visitors to the Park this weekend.
Hi John Thanks for talking to us!
How long have you been covering Mansfield Town?
It feels like since dinosaurs were roaming the earth.
I started covering Mansfield for the Nottingham Evening Post back in 1989 and my first job was to meet their new manager George Foster.
After four and a half years I took up the job of Sports Editor for the Mansfield Chad and have been there ever since while also doing stuff for nationals and radio plus the odd TV bit.
Sadly over recent seasons, newspaper budgets have tumbled and I am no longer able to cover the away games after so many years of travelling all over the country.
What have been your highlights in this time? Favourite Game?
I have seen a few promotions and relegations but the highlight would definitely be getting back up into the EFL from the Conference in 2013.
With only the champions guaranteed promotion it is the toughest league to get out of on the football pyramid and once down there clubs can sink further and be forgotten.
It was a real adventure travelling to some very obscure places and grounds which I would not have missed for the world, but it was also a huge relief to get back up.
I have also worked with some fantastic managers like Paul Cox and Keith Curle and although they are not opponents' cup of tea, and were not liked by some of their own club's fans, both Steve Evans and Carlton Palmer were spot on to work with from a media point of view.
Current boss Nigel Clough is also superb to work with as expected after his years in the game and a delight for me after watching his glory years at Forest from the terraces as a season ticket holder.
My favourite game would be the FA Cup tie with the mighty Liverpool in the Conference promotion season when Stags pushed them all the way only to be pipped 2-1 by cheating Luis Suarez's 'hand of god'!
How would you sum up the season so far?
Stags' season started so well but has dropped off alarmingly after a terrible run which was almost inevitable as injuries and suspensions mounted.
At the end of the recent Oldham game Clough was without 10 key players which would hurt any team.
But having Stephen Quinn back on Tuesday was a massive boost and they outplayed Port Vale over the 90 minutes.
As players return I would expect them to find that early form again.
Winless in 13, what do you think the Stags need to do to try and turn things around?
There has been a loss of form and a loss of confidence, but it is the loss of players that has done the damage and getting those players back should see Stags climb the table.
James Perch has been ruled out for the season and is a massive loss with his experience. But the rest will return and the sooner the better.
Having had five centre halves out, Clough had to pull back his best striker Oli Hawkins into defence.
But he needs to be back up the other end as soon as possible while Danny Johnson desperately needs a couple of goals to go in to kickstart his frustrating season and live up to expectations after his scoring feats at Orient last season.
What are your expectations come the end of season?
If injuries, bad luck and dodgy decisions from officials truly do even out over a campaign then Stags are in for a good run soon.
I certainly don't expect them to be involved in a relegation battle.
I would expect them to edge up into mid-table and, after strengthening in January, maybe start to chase the top seven. It is still early enough to make it a season of success and it only takes three wins in a row and you climb this table rapidly.
Which players should Exeter be wary of?
Experienced former Irish international Stephen Quinn showed how much they have missed him over his six-game ban when he returned on Tuesday and the link-up play between him and rampaging left back Stephen McLaughlin is a key feature of the team.
The energy and enthusiasm of midfield ace George Lapslie can turn a game and he seems to be getting back to the sort of form he showed when they elected to sign him full time after a successful loan spell from Charlton.
How would you expect Nigel Clough to set up his side against Exeter?
Clough favours four at the back and a midfield diamond and the Stags were hoping to have the quality of George Maris back at the base of that diamond today after his recent concussion.
What kind of game are you expecting? Open? Cagey etc…?
Stags will not be planning to shut up shop or play for a draw. They need to win and get this monkey off their backs.
I would expect them to try to start on the front foot and carry on where they left off in Tuesday's draw with Port Vale. The energy and work-rate they put into that game and the long haul down to Devon won't help their cause though.
Mansfield have only lost once in four trips to Exeter and the law of averages says you will win a game sooner or later by hook or by crook.
If the Stags of Tuesday night turn up as opposed to the poor display at Northampton the week before then I fancy they may shade it 1-0.