Mansfield Town’s under 18s’ boss John Dempster spoke of how proud he was with his side’s ‘great attitude’ in their FA Youth Cup success over Cambridge City tonight.
Tyler Blake, Cain Smith and Alistair Smith bagged a goal each to cap a fine display sending the youngsters through to the next round to face Peterborough United or Dereham Town.
“Cambridge City were a credit to themselves, they put themselves about and they made it difficult for us. The standards that they set on Saturday’s in the football league has been outstanding – we dropped below that today, but it’s a great learning curve for them,” said Dempster.
“The majority of those boys are 16-years-old and coming to a stadium like this, the pitch is a carpet. We’ve got a youth team who are hungry to do well with a fantastic attitude, and we’ve got a first team to be proud of too, it stems from the top.”
Dempster’s role at the Stags is his first management role in football following the conclusion of his playing career and he’s said he’s relishing the position.
“I’m loving it, the boys make it for me, [they’ve got] a great attitude and [are] really energetic. They’ve made me proud and hopefully they can continue to do that – I’ve got a fantastic job and I love it.
“Results will turn sometimes because they’re young and inconsistent, but they’ve been a credit to their football club and parents this season.”
Adam Murray was in attendance at One Call Stadium on Monday night, and Dempster believes his players are a product of the superb work going on behind the scenes at Mansfield Town, and it’s making its way down to youth level.
“The chairman and the manager are tight, work hard and it works its way down to the youth teams we’ve got – all the coaches, all the management team are all grafting hard, we’re starting to see the results and I just hope people get the credit they deserve.
“What a great learning curve. Without being disrespectful we could’ve had a few more which is something we will have to work on. One or two of our centre forwards, if they were a little bit clinical they could be a threat, even in League Two.”
Commenting further on Murray in comparison to other senior managers, he added: “I’m inexperienced as an academy manager compared to some of the people I speak to and come up against on a Saturday – the main problem they find is that first team managers aren’t interested in youth and they’re banging their head on a brick wall. They feel like they’re producing players, but the manager doesn’t care.
“It’s the complete opposite here. The gaffer rings me to find out how we’ve got on, when we’re at home he comes to watch, he gets involved in training and it gives the lads a buzz. He came into the changing room at half-time [tonight] and it just shows how tight-knit we are at this football club. It gives the boys a massive incentive.”
You can view John Dempster’s interview in full on Stags Player.