Senior development coach Richard Cooper says that the system used in the reserves’ 5-1 win over Peterborough this afternoon stems from daily communication with first team manager David Flitcroft and assistant manager Ben Futcher.
This afternoon’s match, which took place at the RH Academy, saw a dominant display by the Stags earn them all three points in their first Central League Cup group stage match of the season, with David Flitcroft and Ben Futcher in attendance.
Forward Omari Sterling-James found the net twice for Mansfield, with the other goals coming from Cameron Healey, Tom Fielding and Jordan Graham.
Cooper says that the formation his side adopted, which included using midfielder Keaton Ward as the central centre-back in a back-three, was inspired by the first team’s system.
“We worked on some bits yesterday with Sam Wilson [goalkeeper] and the three centre-backs on playing out [from the back],” he said. “Today we managed to put a lot of that into practice.
“We tried it [putting Ward at centre-back] and we played him next to Aiden Walker in a behind-closed-doors game last week, and he came through really well.
“The thing with Keaton is, as he is a midfield player, he’s very competent on the ball. He can get on the ball and get us playing, allowing the midfielders to play a little bit higher.
"Absolutely [three-at-the-back system is inspired by the first team]. We speak to the gaffer [David Flitcroft] and Futch [Ben Futcher] every day on the formations and who we have available."
“If we can beat their press, which is what Keats did with his passing, it certainly puts us into a good position going forward.
“Absolutely [three-at-the-back system is inspired by the first team]. We speak to the gaffer [David Flitcroft] and Futch [Ben Futcher] every day on the formations and who we have available.”
Cooper was left impressed by Stags reserves’ performance in the 5-1 victory, and asked for more of the same in the upcoming Central League Cup fixtures.
“We played well and played some good football at times,” he added. “The boys were looking forward to the game as we’d not played a competitive game since October.
“We’ve played some friendlies, but you can’t recreate a league or cup game, which it was today. I’m really pleased with the performance.
“There are a few lads out on loan, which is good for them as it keeps them playing competitive football. So for us we’re probably still a few numbers light.
“But, in terms of getting the [reserves] team back together, it was as close today as it’s been since pre-season really. It was good to get everyone in the same building.
“At the minute, the lads are just buzzing to get the games because it’s something they’ve not had a lot of. If the performances continue like they did today, then we’ll be happy.”
Forward Tom Fielding joined the Stags from Leicester in the summer, and after he scored and assisted in today’s match, he spoke of how he has settled into life in Mansfield, while praising the new RH Academy.
“I think I’ve settled in really well [since moving from Leicester],” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and they’re a great group of lads.
“I’ve really enjoyed the football side of things and I’m developing as a player. I was also lucky enough to make my debut for the first team in the Checkatrade Trophy, which was a brilliant experience as well.
“In terms of standard of football, there’s not a lot of difference [between Mansfield and Leicester]. I’m really enjoying the football here and I think the standard is really good.
“The new training ground is a brilliant complex and it’s just as good as you’ll get in any League Two or League One side.”
The forward says that Mansfield ‘controlled’ the game in today’s 5-1 win.
“I thought the team’s performance was really good today. I thought we played really well in the first half and we controlled the game for the majority.
“[We scored] five goals which shows that we’re creating chances and finishing them off as well.
“I’m happy to be on the scoresheet and I was pretty happy with my performance today. There were a couple of times where I thought I could have been a bit more positive, but overall I created a few chances and I’m happy to get on the scoresheet.”