Shot-stopper Bobby Olejnik will be in contention for a place in the line-up for tomorrow night’s Leasing.com Trophy match at home to Crewe Alexandra (7.45pm kick-off), manager John Dempster revealed today.
The 32-year-old has been sidelined since December of last year after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in training.
Hopes of a speedier return to the squad were dashed recently when the Austrian goalkeeper dislocated a finger during training prior to Stags’ home match against Plymouth last month.
But he’ll now compete with Aidan Stone tomorrow for a start in between the posts.
“Bobby completed a full training session today and he’s in contention to play against Crewe and he’ll be involved with everybody heading forward,” said Stags’ boss John Dempster, speaking to www.mansfieldtown.net this afternoon.
“We’ve also got Aidan Stone, who is training brilliantly, so those will be the two goalkeepers in the squad for tomorrow night’s game.”
The manager said that tomorrow’s squad will consist largely of first team players whilst some under-21s and under-18s’ players will be elevated to the first team squad.
“We have a lot of senior pro’s who will feature, and we’ll have some of under-21s’ players in and around them, as well as some under-18s. It’ll be a real mix of experience and youth, and we’ll be aiming to win the football match.
“I’ve had one or two players who have come to me and expressed their desire to break into the team and have asked what’s needed to break into the starting 11. This is an opportunity for those players to go and perform to a high standard and give me a problem for the weekend.
“If there are outstanding performances tomorrow night from certain individuals then they will be in contention for a place on Saturday. What an opportunity for those players stepping in tomorrow night to make a real positive impact and put me in a position where I’m considering them for the Oldham game.”
Meanwhile, defender Matt Preston will return to the matchnight squad. The 24-year-old is suspended for four league matches – the last of which will be this Saturday at home to Oldham Athletic - but will be available for tomorrow night’s Group E trophy match.
In other news, John Dempster confirmed that the club would not be appealing Hayden White’s red card from Saturday’s dramatic 1-0 victory at Grimsby.