Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says he is ‘immensely proud’ of defender Hayden White for his performance against Tranmere Rovers, on an evening where his partner went into labour.
White started on the right-side of a back-three, as he has done so in every game he has featured in this season, and battled to preserve Stags’ clean sheet.
Manager Flitcroft revealed that the defender travelled from the hospital to play in the game, after his partner went into labour.
“Big shoutout to Hayden White tonight,” he said. “It was a bit touch and go and I didn’t think we’d have him.
“His partner has gone into labour tonight and I wanted the win for Hayden. He’s travelled three hours from the hospital. We’re hoping that she will give birth tonight and everything is safe and sound.
“Not many players would do that. I’m immensely proud of the group but I’m immensely proud of Hayden. He’s come up and has become that leader that I knew he could be.
“Hayden’s performance was colossal. The clean sheet does please me coming to a place like this.”
"Not many players would do that. I’m immensely proud of the group but I’m immensely proud of Hayden. He’s come up and has become that leader that I knew he could be."
After a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Tranmere Rovers, the manager reflected on the chances his side created during the affair.
“I think it was a really open game in the second-half,” he added. “The first-half was a cagey affair but the start that Tranmere had in the second-half, they came at us.
“The chances that we have then created, Tyler Walker’s header, and the one-on-one. He’s the player you would want to see on that ball at that moment with his finishing quality. I thought we would just see the back of the net ripple.
“We had to work really hard for our opportunities. When you see the game open up and you see Otis [Khan] 12-yards out with just the ‘keeper to beat, he’s just lost his composure a little.
“When you don’t score them [chances], it’s really important that you don’t concede and keep that clean sheet.
“They [Tranmere] got that promotion and have that momentum and this place was rocking. It gets loud. They get a corner and the volume goes up.
“I think that our young players not just coped with that, but dealt with it really well. Their set pieces have real quality and we had to deal with a few of them in the second-half, and I thought we did that brilliantly.
“You reflect on tonight and it becomes a fantastic point if we had won on Saturday.
“We’re unbeaten again, and all credit goes to that group of players that’s gone out there and made sure that we kept that clean sheet.
“You’ll see Otis this season just dispatch that [one-on-one chance]. You’ll see Tyler Walker do the same, and he will. So I’ve no problem with that. It’s just that last little bit of impact and technique, and if you get it right [you win].
“The players are staying out and doing the work. They can’t do any more. I’ve got a group of players here that want to stay out on the training ground and want to improve.”
The manager also discussed his decision to switch goalkeepers for the game, during which Stags’ stopper Bobby Olejnik made a string of fine saves.
“I ask this squad for respect and how we respect each other. We’ve got a good squad with good quality in that squad. It’s probably ten less than last season but I’ve gone for quality.
“There will always be football decisions, never personal. I knew there would be a lot of crosses tonight. It’s a strength of Bobby’s, collecting crosses. But his passing was good [too].
“The save he’s made in the second-half was phenomenal. Bobby has been waiting in the wings as it’s his first league match under me. He has supported and respected Conrad with everything.
“He’s been patient. I felt as though I should give him that chance that I would give an outfield player. He’s done the club proud and the group proud. Conrad’s supported him and that’s again what I want in the group.
“It [respect] is something that you grow over time and something that you have to try and foster in the environment.Then when they come on the pitch they know exactly what they have to do and what they are prepared to do for the group and the cause.”
Lastly, the boss looked ahead to the rest of the week, before Mansfield’s fixture against Macclesfield Town at the Moss Rose on Saturday.
“We have a game behind closed doors up at Doncaster tomorrow, so the lads that have had less game time, like Omari, Rose, Atkinson, they’ll all play in that with the younger players.
“It’s important that we get Gibbens a game along with Jordan Graham and [Nyle] Blake.
“It’ll probably be a recovery day on Thursday. It’s been a big shift but that doesn’t end. It’s Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday. We have to be mindful of that.
“There could potentially be changes to the starting lineup but again, we will plan that out tomorrow and Thursday.
“It’s tight [at the Moss Rose] and the supporters are on top of you. It’s a ground where again, they have the momentum from last season. But I’m going there with an excitement.
“We’ve shown a lot of good signs tonight that we’re a good team, but we just didn’t have that ruthless edge.”
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