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Match Previews

Youth preview: Bradford v Stags

17 March 2022

Mansfield Town's under-18s face Bradford tomorrow in their final scheduled Youth Alliance League fixture of the season (11am kick-off).

The Stags have incoroporated numeorus players from their younger age groups into the youth team this season.

The fine player development work by the coaches at RH Academy has led to impressive displays from youngsters such as Elliot Hartmann (right-back), Alfie King (midfielder), Noah Aynsley-Johnson (forward) and Cormac Maher (defender) in the under-18s' side - to name just a few.

Mansfield head to Bradford this week off the back of a superb performance away at Huddersfield last weekend.

A second-half hattrick from Aynsley-Johnson in the contest made him the first school boy to score three times in a Youth Alliance fixture for the club.

Youth team regulars, Cody Collins (centre-back), Charlie Carter (midfielder) and Darien Wauchope (left-back) have featured for the club's under-23s' side alongside some of the senior pro's.

Professional development phase lead coach, Sam Collins reflected on last weekend's clash with Huddersfield.

"We’re really pleased with how we’ve played in the game," he said.

"14-year-old Elliot Hartmann was outstanding.

"We’ve had under-15s and 16s involved. One of the things we’ve been frustrated with recently was not taking chances, but we did that really well."

The coach PDP lead was pleased to see youngster Noah Aynsley-Johnson set youth team history at the weekend.

"Noah came on at half-time, it was really pleasing for him to score a hattrick," said Sam.

"He’s got a really good attitude and as long as he maintains that right attitude to get better he’ll be fine.

"He had an injury for large period of the season so we’re happy to see him come on and become our first ever schoolboy to get a hat-trick in the Youth Alliance."

The coach also highlighted two other youngsters who are making a positive impression at RH Academy.

"Curtis Davies (midfielder) - who missed lengthy periods due to injury - has been doing excellent in recent weeks.

"He’s had a run of games and it’s reflected in his performance.

"We hope that he’ll stay clear of injuries and finish the season strong.

"Oliver Taylor (midfielder) made his first start for the youth team the other week. He’s only 14 and plays for our under-15s’ side. Oliver is a really exciting talent."

The Stags played Category 1 Blackburn Rovers in midweek in what was a good test for Mansfield.

"We played on Tuesday in the Clarets Cup against Blackburn," the PDP lead coach said.

"We weren’t able to use some of our younger players as they had school requirements.

"The more experienced lads got a good work out playing against a Category 1 team and the players did well."

Looking ahead to the Bradford clash tomorrow, Sam said: "Bradford have got some talented players; their style of play will be similar to ours.

"We’re looking forward to it. We’re not interested in results, it’s all about performances and player development."

Supporters can attend this Saturday's fixture free-of-charge.

The venue for the weekend's match is:

Bradford Park Avenue, Horsfall Community Stadium, Cemetery Road, Bradford, BD6 2NG 

Kick-off is at 11am.

Supporters are advised not to attend if experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.


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