Stags’ boss Steve Evans says Mansfield Town will field a strong side in tomorrow’s Central League Cup clash against local rivals Notts County.
After Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture ended in stalemate at Meadow Lane, the two sides will meet again tomorrow at Kirklington Road, the home of Rainworth Miners Welfare (2.00pm kick-off).
The boss has always said that the under 21s’ side presents the perfect opportunity for members of the first team squad to acquire competitive game-time and he says that a number of senior pros will be part of Mike Whitlow’s squad for tomorrow’s game.
Speaking to the local press at this morning’s news conference, the gaffer revealed that the likes of goalkeeper Scott Shearer, midfielders Jamie McGuire, Jack Thomas, Kevan Hurst and Ashley Hemmings, and forwards Danny Rose and Pat Hoban will all be included in the squad for the game against the Magpies.
“I think if I didn’t use it I would have been telling the Mansfield Town fans ‘porkie pies’ when I walked in because they’ve not been allowed to play,” the Stags’ gaffer said.
“I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s the strongest ever Mansfield Town team in a reserve fixture but it will be strong.
“The days are gone where these people get told they don’t need to play in the under 21s games and try to get into the starting XI on a Saturday, that’s why they’re there.
“If there are any Stags’ fans around, get yourselves up to Rainworth for 2 o’clock. It’ll be a good line-up but that doesn’t mean you win, of course.
“It doesn’t matter what team the opposition send, it’ll be a competitive game but we’re asking players to go out and work extremely hard and get the benefits when it comes to picking a team on Saturday.”
The Stags’ chief says he is still working hard to bring players in to improve his squad and revealed that a move to bring Blackpool forward Jack Redshaw to the club fell through at the last minute.
“We tried to do something with Jack last week and they tried to do something with one of ours. It was almost getting near to being done and it never got across the line but we’ve not revisited that this morning.
“We’ve tried to do a number of players, we’re trying to do a number of players in different positions, it’s not just in a front area of the pitch.
“We’re trying all the options. When someone says perhaps it’s not right to do a permanent, why can’t it be a loan? Then if you see the progress and how we do things here as a football club, you may wish to make it a permanent.
“So we’ve had all sorts of discussions, but the nice thing is, we’re starting to be able to get players in that, dare I say it, perhaps wouldn’t be here at the start of the season.”
Defender George Taft has been sidelined since mid-September with a hamstring injury and the manager today provided an update on how his recovery is progressing.
“We’re probably talking maybe a month to see him back in contention for the first team.
“Obviously with Lee Taylor (fitness and rehabilitation coach) coming in and working him so hard, he’s quickly advanced in terms of his recovery and his recuperation is speeding up, which is great. I look forward to working with him.
“When I saw him at Burton I always thought he was a talented boy; big, strong and aggressive. He’s a lovely kid as well, he’s working so hard behind-the-scenes."
Supporters can view manager Steve Evans' news conference by logging into Stags PlayerHD.