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Coaches say young Stags' loanees have bright futures

9 April 2018

Last week, Stags recalled striker Jordan Graham and midfielder Alistair Smith from their respective loans at Hednesford Town and Loughborough Dynamo, and coaches from each of the two clubs have said they will both be missed.

Graham made the bench for Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Crewe Alexandra at One Call Stadium, after training with the first team since returning from his loan spell.

Larry Chambers, assistant manager at Hednesford Town, says that the club were sad to see the striker go after making such a positive impact.

“Jordan is an exciting talent,” he said. “He’s got great touch, great awareness, he’s powerful and can score goals. He’s great in one-on-one situations too.

“At Hednesford he saw an opportunity to play first team football and when he got used to it he was a great asset for us.

“It was disappointing for us when he came back to Mansfield because he was such an asset.

“He has a big future but I feel that he needs to play regularly now. He’s done his bit in the lower leagues and I think that he’s ready to play first team football for a League side.”

Chambers also commented on the positive relationship that the club share with the Stags’ academy and youth coach Richard Cooper.

“Me and Richard Cooper go back a long way, we’ve always been very honest with each other and that’s allowed us to take a few players on loan,” he added.

“We have a good relationship with the Mansfield academy and have formed great links, and I feel that it’s been a fruitful relationship for both parties.

"It was disappointing for us when he came back to Mansfield because he was such an asset."

Larry Chambers, assistant manager at Hednesford Town

“We’ve definitely seen Jordan improve week-in, week-out, and now he just has to test himself.”

Pete Ward, manager of Loughborough Dynamo, shares a similar view of Smith’s loan coming to an end, and has said that his departure will leave a ‘massive hole’ at the club.

“With Alistair he found the physical side of the game tough at first, but he just got better and better,” he said.

“He’s an athlete. He always listened and took on board what I had to say. He came on leaps and bounds and I was always pleased with his attitude.

“He scored 13 goals from midfield, which in this league for such a young player is phenomenal.

“Everyone at the club loved him and we were sorry to see him go, he’s left a massive hole for us.

“After a few weeks he was one of the first names on the team sheet. I think he’s ready to return to Mansfield, like I say he’s come on leaps and bounds.

“The progress he has made in such a short amount of time is amazing. I’d love to have another ten of him. You can tell football is massively important to him.”

"Everyone at the club loved him and we were sorry to see him go, he’s left a massive hole for us."

Pete Ward, manager of Loughborough Dynamo

Ward also spoke of academy coach Richard Cooper, and said that the way he keeps in constant contact with the younger players is hugely beneficial for their development.

“Richard Cooper always watches his players and keeps in touch, he watches them very closely which I think is massively important” he added.

“The connection we have with the Mansfield Town academy is really good and it’s a relationship we hope we can keep going for years to come.

“The academy coaches are in constant contact with their players, which you don’t always get with other clubs. I think that’s massively important.”


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