Mansfield Town’s under 21s travel to Shrewsbury Town tomorrow in their second Central League Cup match, which will kick-off at 2pm.
The fixture will be the first of five consecutive away outings for the Stags following back-to-back home games.
Mike Whitlow’s men return to Cup action for the first time since September 14, when they faced an experienced Chesterfield development squad in the tournament curtain raiser at Kirklington Road.
A young Stags’ team went down fighting in a 4-2 thriller against the Spireites, with strikers Tyler Blake and Zayn Hakeem grabbing the two goals for Whitlow’s side.
Mansfield’s under 21s were re-introduced this year, aiming to bridge the gap between the senior side and the under18s. Two months into the new season, the Stags’ promising youngsters are gradually finding their feet and have added to their learning curve by playing alongside senior pros like midfielders James Baxendale, Jack Thomas, Jamie McGuire and striker Pat Hoban.
Unfortunately for Whitlow’s side, favourable results have been hard to come by in the Central League so far, having picked up a solitary win over Rotherham United when they triumphed 1-0 in the opening game of the season.
Stags go in to the match on the back of two straight defeats against Grimsby Town when they lost 6-2 before falling to a 5-1 defeat against Hartlepool United.
Against their Shropshire-based opponents, the Stags’ young guns will miss the services of frontman Zayn Hakeem, who is away on international duty with the Antigua and Barbuda under 20s until October 30.
First team boss Adam Murray has always said that the under 21s is an opportunity for players on the fringes of the first team squad to get much-needed minutes under their belts and this has been the case for midfielder Baxendale, who captained the side last time out and could again make an appearance tomorrow after being left out of Stags' first team squad against Luton Town last weekend.
Shrews’ youngsters have made a winning start to their Central League Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on home soil last time out.
Veteran striking duo of Andy Mangan and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake featured for the side, with the former netting the game’s opening goal around the hour mark. Substitute Tyrone Ofori slotted home midway through the second half to seal the narrow triumph.
Mansfield Town supporters are welcome to attend tomorrow afternoon’s fixture, and the address is as follows: