Delighted Mansfield Town star Neal Bishop escapes suspension ahead of return to Notts County

Neal Bishop
Neal Bishop

Mansfield Town midfield star Neal Bishop will get to play at former club Notts County in Saturday’s derby after surviving a five-game tightrope on nine bookings with a two-game ban hanging over his head.

Bishop was relieved to get through the battle at Newport County last weekend to be able to go back to Meadow Lane for the first time since his four-year stint there, but said he had not been playing any differently to usual.

“I don’t go out and try to get booked any game to be honest,” he said.

“Situations arise sometimes where you need to take one on the chin for the sake of the team.

“There are other times when the team is not playing that well and, while I am not saying saying you’ve got to kick someone, sometimes you have got to put a foot in and get them going in a different way to liven the whole thing up.

“As an older player you are aware of what you’re trying to do. Sometimes these things work and sometimes they don’t.

“I have got nine bookings, but I don’t feel like it’s something that’s on my back.”

Bishop said he felt lucky not to see a card last weekend.

“I have not been pulling out of stuff,” he said.

“It’s just fallen right with Saturday. On another day I could have got booked in the last two or three games maybe.

“There were a couple of tackles that went in Saturday, certainly one, which could have been reds, let alone yellows, without wanting to get into deep discussion about the standard of refereeing at this level because I will get myself into trouble.

“It can be fairly unpredictable, especially with the role I play.

“You are going to pick up yellows, it’s part and parcel of the game.”

Manager David Flitcroft was delighted to see his midfield battler make the derby and felt he was sometimes a marked man by referees for his all-action laying style.

“Due to his passion and involvement in the game, probably five or six of his bookings are down to the passive way some people play,” said Flitcroft.

“When you have an aggressive style and a no-nonsense style like Bish has got you probably do stand out on a football pitch.

“That’s why he’s got his bookings – for being over-committed.

“But three or four of his bookings have just been for a committed action and I wish referees would see that.”

Sadly centre half Ryan Sweeney was not as fortunate as Bishop as his 10th yellow card of the season will see him miss the game.