Senior professional development coach Richard Cooper says Stags’ younger players ‘stepped up’ in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Morecambe in the Central League.
Many of John Dempster’s under-18s were involved in the clash, and two academy players – Kian Sketchley and Tyrese Sinclair – were on the scoresheet.
Cooper was impressed by the youngsters’ displays.
“We’re pleased with the performance,” he said. “We worked on a few things the day before in training on what we were trying to get out of the game and fortunately, a lot of that happened today.
“It’s good when the youngsters get the chance. We spoke to the gaffer [David Flitcroft] and Futch [Ben Futcher, assistant manager] about that, getting the younger lads involved.
“Some of the under-21s were training with the first team so it was a chance for some of the under-18s to step up. I think they certainly did that.”
Cooper added that he was pleased at how the younger players stood up the challenge of a more experienced Morecambe outfit.
“We see a lot of [under-18s] games on a Saturday, and this was obviously a bigger test for them. Morecambe had some first and second year pros in their team.
“It was a good test, and the back three and the two wing-backs did excellently today.
“What we tried to work with Ty[rese Sinclair] is getting him into that space between the strikers and the midfield.
“It’s up to Tyrese to make good decisions – it’s up to him to either slide in Jimmy [Knowles] or Riley [O’Sullivan], or is he going to step up and have a shot himself.
“There were quite a few occasions where that happened today, so that was pleasing.”
Stags’ other goalscorer on the day, Nyle Blake, went off in the first-half with a hamstring injury. Cooper says that the damage is not as bad as first feared.
“We don’t think it [hamstring] is fully gone. We just took him off on the side of precaution.
“We don’t think it’s a complete pull of his hamstring, it just felt a little bit tight. It’s a shame because at the time, Nyle was causing a few problems with his running.
“Fingers crossed that it’s just a minor setback for him.”