Plymouth Argyle’s start to the season has not gone the way that Ryan Lowe and his squad would’ve liked.
After getting relegated from League One last season, the Pilgrims have had an inconsistent start the 2019/20 campaign and are 14th in the table with 12 points from 10 games.
The top seven and play-off places have not slipped too far out of reach for Lowe’s side, who are just four points back from seventh-place Newport County.
Plymouth face 19th-place Mansfield Town at Field Mill on Saturday and will be hoping they can end a run of seven games without a win.
Mansfield have enjoyed a similarly disappointing start after they qualified for the play-offs last season and may identify the arrival of the Pilgrims, who have suffered a few recent injury blows, as a game in which they can get back on track.
With that in mind, we examine how Lowe should line his side up on Saturday.
Despite the run of poor form, you can’t see the Plymouth boss moving away from the 3-1-4-2 formation that he has preferred this season.
Alex Palmer has been a mainstay in goal for the Pilgrims this season, starting every game and keeping three clean sheets so far, and the 23-year-old looks set to reprise that role against Mansfield.
The visitors have not kept a clean sheet since August and may struggle against a Mansfield side that have found the net regularly this season, scoring 12 times already. Lowe looks likely to start with a defensive three of Josh Grant, Will Aimson and Niall Canavan at Field Mill.
Ahead of them, the return to fitness of Joe Riley, who has missed three games with a knee problem, is a huge boost on the right-hand side and we think Lowe will put him back in the starting XI on Saturday.
Jose Baxter is missing due to a calf injury but Antoni Sarcevic, Joe Edwards, Danny Mayor, and Callum McFadzean have all contributed goals or assists this season and cap off what looks a strong midfield five.
Lowe’s forward options have been severely reduced by hamstring injuries to striking duo Byron Moore and Dom Telford, with 19-year-old Rangers loanee Zak Rudden also missing due to a knee problem.