Manager Nigel Clough says Jason Law earned his recent first team appearances by showing a continual improvement since the Stags’ boss joined the club.
Law (below), 21, made his league debut for the amber and blue at home to Cambridge, and has gone on to start successive fixtures since.
The boss says that club staff will ‘assess’ Law over the ‘next few months,’ to see if the versatile forward has a part to play in the 2021/22 campaign.
“He [Law] has just got better,” Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags. “When we first came in, we didn’t see an awful lot of him because we were concentrating on the first team lads, which he wasn’t really a part of.
“We played him at Scunthorpe in the Papa John’s Trophy and he did well. A couple of people mentioned to us that he’s neat and tidy and won’t give the ball away.
“Training with the first team as he has done every day, he’s just gradually grown in confidence. I think he’s improving.
“We want to assess him in the next few months to see if he can play a part for us next season.”
Looking ahead to the final few months of the season, the boss says that - as well as achieving safety - he wants his squad to develop a ‘pattern of play’ ahead of next term.
“[We’re taking the season] very much on a game-by-game [basis]. We want to get safe, that’s still the bottom line, but that can be in several ways. You finish in the top half of the league and you’re safe.
“We want to get as many points as we can, but we must also have an eye on next season as well. I think we’re good enough to stay up this season, I have no doubt about that.
“We don’t want to get dragged into any silly relegation fight, but we also want to have a look at things for next season.
“We want to have a look at players like Jason Law and maybe one or two others.
“It’s about establishing a pattern or method of play over the next three months, as well as winning games.”
The Stags are next in action on Tuesday night, against the in-form Bradford. The boss previewed the fixture, along with speaking of strikers Andy Cook – on loan at Bradford – and Nicky Maynard, who was loaned out to Newport in January.
“They [Bradford] are in a good run of form at the moment. I know Cooky [Andy Cook] has certainly helped that and got them a couple of goals. So we’re pleased he won’t be playing against us!
“Everything has sort of gelled and come together in the last couple of months [for Bradford]. They’ll be as confident a team as we’ll face this season.
“We’re pleased for him [Cook]. He wanted to go and play games and Nicky [Maynard] was the same. If we were being ultra-selfish, we could’ve kept them for the odd ten minutes here or there.
“But games like Saturday [against Morecambe], we didn’t put a sub on until the 92nd minute. Maybe him and Nicky would’ve been sitting there disappointed that they didn’t get any game time.
“It was best all round, especially for the lads, as they’re too experienced to be sitting on someone’s bench.
“We haven’t made decisions on either of them. Nicky’s contract is up [at the end of the season] but I believe we have an option [to extend] on Cooky. So that’s a conversation we’ll be having in the next few weeks.
“They’re both good lads and it’s about being fair to them as much as anything. We’ve put our faith in Reidy [Jamie Reid] for now, so he’s going to play the majority of the games from now until the end of the season.”
Mansfield returned to winning ways on Saturday, with their 1-0 victory over Morecambe. Nigel Clough discussed the win, further praising the resolute defensive performance from his side.
“We were a little more solid and didn’t make any mistakes [against Morecambe]. Everyone did their jobs throughout the team,” added the boss.
“Having conceded the goals that we have, we’re entitled to improve [defensively] because that should hurt their pride. It hurts all of us when we’re conceding goals.
“Some of them [goals conceded in the last few games] we couldn’t do anything about. But we certainly should be defending better for some of the goals we conceded.”
There was also an injury update from the boss ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Bradford.
“One or two knocks. Stephen Quinn [has a] back and groin [problem] from Saturday.
“Jason Law [has a] groin [issue] alongside one or two knocks and niggles. It might well be the same squad [from Morecambe for Bradford].
“Laps [George Lapslie] won’t make it and Stephen McLaughlin is doubtful. Oli Sarkic is probably the closest of the three [short-term absentees].
“When it’s Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday it [injuries] is inevitable. There is very little recovery time and very little time to do things.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.