League Two final day: MK Dons and Mansfield battle for last promotion place

MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale took over at MK Dons last summer after 12 years at Exeter

"The whole season comes down to this game."

That is the scenario for MK Dons and Mansfield Town on Saturday. Fourth against third; both level on points. The winner earns promotion to League One. No pressure then.

A draw would be good enough for the visiting Stags, but manager David Flitcroft insists they will be on the front foot.

"I am from a football family and winning is everything," the 45-year-old told BBC Radio Nottingham. "I have had to fight for everything I have got, so taking a backward step or a cautious step is not in my character and not the way I have been brought up.

"We will work hard and run hard for each other and we will compete. I am really looking forward to the game."

For MK Dons counterpart Paul Tisdale, it has been a campaign of ups and downs. Winning streaks and unbeaten runs have been followed by a string of poor results.

However, Saturday's equation is simple. Victory in front of a bumper home crowd would seal an immediate return to the third tier. Anything less, and it is the play-offs.

"It's an unusual situation; it doesn't happen every year this type of game, and it's game on," Tisdale, 46, told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"The whole season comes down to this game and we have to make sure we put our best game out.

"We can't guarantee anything but we need to make sure we do our very best on the day."

League Two
Lincoln and Bury have already been promoted to League One

Mansfield have trained at England's base at St George's Park, which has the same sized pitch as Stadium MK, in the build-up to Saturday's match.

"You cannot come here and not be inspired," Flitcroft added. "The players will have the tinge of that and be ready for the big-match experience.

"It's a winner-takes-all game but what I will never ignore is the journey that got us there.

"It would be a huge achievement to go up this season - for the club, the players, the supporters and the owners who deserve it more than anybody."

The play-offs - final spot up for grabs

While MK Dons and Mansfield fight for the third automatic promotion spot, five other teams will battle it out for the one remaining play-off place, currently held by Newport County.

Tisdale's former side Exeter City are best placed to oust the Welsh club - a point could be enough at Forest Green Rovers if Newport lose at Morecambe and other results go their way.

Colchester, Carlisle and Stevenage head into the final day three points outside the top seven and know anything less than a victory will end their promotion hopes.

League Two table of teams from seventh to 10th places

Saturday's key promotion fixtures (all games start at 15:00 BST):

  • Forest Green Rovers v Exeter (play-off race)
  • Lincoln v Colchester (play-off race)
  • MK Dons v Mansfield (automatic promotion)
  • Morecambe v Newport (play-off race)
  • Stevenage v Cheltenham (play-off race)
  • Yeovil v Carlisle (play-off race)

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