Mansfield Town's under 21s take on Rotherham United in their opening Central League fixture of the season tomorrow (2pm kick-off).
Stags have re-introduced an under 21s' team this season and have welcomed respected coach Mike Whitlow back to the club after a stint as academy manager at Burton Albion and he has taken on the role of head coach of the under 21s' side.
And first team manager Adam Murray believes having the under 21s side at the club marks a big improvement of the infrastructure at One Call Stadium.
“It’ll be a tough league but it’ll be one that we’ll try and get people minutes in as well. So some of the first team boys that haven’t played will get minutes in it, and it’ll just keep everyone ticking over [and] bridge the gap from the youth team to the first team," Murray said.
“The infrastructure over the last two years has come on leaps and bounds. I think we’re actually a 'proper' football club now, as I see it. And adding in the under 21s/reserve team is just another tick in the box and it makes us a more all-rounded football club. I think off the pitch and on the pitch at the minute, we’re in a fantastic place and it’s a good time to be involved with Mansfield Town.”
Former Leicester City defender Whitlow and head of recruitment Scott Rickards have put together an under 21s squad for the season, but the matchday squad will also include outstanding players from the youth team and first team players who need to keep their fitness levels high, and this will be monitored on a match-by-match basis.
Entry to watch the match is FREE for all supporters, and teamsheets will be available to purchase upon entry.
The address for the match is as follows: