Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough highlighted the importance of getting match minutes into some of his squad following tonight’s Papa Johns Trophy loss away at Grimsby.
The Stags’ chief made eight changes to the side that superbly beat Gillingham 2-0 on Saturday.
Injury and illness had halted the game time for some of Nigel’s squad, but the manager says providing them with a game was the ‘most important’ thing about this evening.
Speaking to the local media post-match at Blundell Park, the boss said: “That was the most important thing [giving players minutes].
“You saw Kieran Wallace and Quinny [Stephen Quinn] needing games, they were a little bit short [of match practice], Will [Swan] at times too - they needed that game.
“JJ [O’Toole] and Perchy [James Perch] haven’t started in the last couple of weeks.
“It was great from that point of view; the only nightmare of the evening is Anthony Hartigan.”
Midfielder Anthony Hartigan had impressed in recent weeks but was withdrawn on 30 minutes after getting injured in a challenge on halfway.
“He’s dislocated his shoulder for the second time,” said the gaffer.
“We’ll have to see how it settles down, but I thought it was the only bad tackle in the game.
“It wasn’t even given as a foul.
“We’ve lost one of our best players for a few weeks.
“It’ll be [a] huge [miss], especially with Hiram Boateng also being out at the same time.
“It puts a little bit more responsibility on the other midfielders we have.
“It was good to get Jason Law back on the pitch tonight, but Anthony Hartigan was just settling in.
“He [Hartigan] was improving game by game and his pass for the second goal on Saturday was outstanding.”
This evening’s result, a 2-0 loss, sees the Stags hold a victory and a defeat after the two opening Papa Johns Trophy matches of the 2022/23 season.
“I don’t think we started in the first-half,” said Nigel, assessing the tie.
“They were brighter and sharper than us.
“They got a two-goal lead and then in the second-half it was a different game completely.
“I’m not sure how we haven’t scored.”
Versatile performer Jordan Bowery began the game in the middle of a back three before being switched to left wing in the second-half.
“We’ve played Jordan back there before,” said Nigel.
“We wanted to stick with the formation that played so well on Saturday.”