Mansfield Town found out their FA Cup third round opponents earlier this week, with a tie against Championship side Middlesbrough on the cards.
Mansfield have overcame Sunderland in the FA Cup first round, with a 1-0 away win, before a 3-2 away victory against Doncaster in the second round last week.
Their next test sees them face Middlesbrough, in what will be Boro boss Chris Wilder’s first taste of a cup competition in his new role at the Riverside.
The Stags’ manager Nigel Clough has got his side to 11th in the League Two table so far this season, and his priority will be getting out of the division and up into the third tier. But a good cup run, and a cup upset could certainly boost morale in and around the club.
Speaking to The Mansfield Chad, Clough gave his reaction to being drawn against Middlesbrough, and he revealed that he fancies Mansfield’s chances of causing an upset.
“It’s nice to be at home, first of all, with a good top-half Championship side as our opponents,” said Clough.
“Without wishing to sound being disrespectful, it’s not a Chelsea or a Manchester United, but it is at home and we have a chance of getting through.
“I think it’ll be a good crowd overall and a good atmosphere, and a real test for us.
“Their priority will be to get promoted, but I have never known an easy game against one of Chris’ teams.”
As Clough states, although Mansfield’s priority will likely be promotion, Middlesbrough will be looking to prioritise the same and get out of the Championship and up into the Premier League for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.
Middlesbrough have exited the FA Cup in round four or before in five of the last six seasons. An early cup exit is something that is somewhat customary for Boro fans, and so Mansfield will be hoping this continues when they face off in January.
Clough is right in that it will be a test for Mansfield, but they will be looking to cause an upset, and anyone is capable in the illustrious cup competition.