Boss Nigel Clough has provided an update on the Stags’ prospective transfer activity, speaking at a news conference at RH Academy this morning.
The club have made enquiries for three players, while updates were also given on striker Danny Johnson – whose loan at Walsall is set to expire on Sunday – and midfielder George Lapslie - who’s turned down a new, enhanced contract.
Speaking about the two aforementioned players, the manager said: “I believe there’s been some enquiries for Danny [Johnson]. David [Sharpe, CEO] and the board are handling those.
“It’s a bit of a stalemate at the moment,” said the gaffer, speaking about Lapslie’s new contract offer. “We made an improved offer, which was rejected. I think there has to be a desire for George’s representatives to come back and say, ‘listen, this is what it will take for him to stay’. Anything can happen in the next couple of weeks. We just have to be realistic.”
On prospective new incomings, the manager said: “We’re having a meeting today (Tuesday) with David Sharpe to go over options.
“[It is] Unlikely I think [that players will be brought in before Saturday].
“We’re not going to chase players that aren’t as good as what we’ve got. They have to be at least as good or different in order to improve the squad.”
The manager revealed that defender Stephen McLaughlin is a doubt for Saturday’s match at home to Crewe, but versatile midfielder Kieran Wallace could be in line for a return to the squad.
“He’s [McLaughlin] not training,” said the manager. “He came off with an ankle injury – which we’ve got three of at the moment. One was a blocked tackle, one was a kick and one was a twist. That’s three that we’ve got with Lucas [Akins] and Kieran Wallace as well.
“He’s [McLaughlin] not training in the middle of the week. We’ll see how he is on Friday.
“I would think [he has a] 50/50 [chance of playing Saturday] at the moment, something like that.
“Out of the three, Kieran Wallace has probably got the best chance at the moment [of featuring this Saturday at home to Crewe] but we’re hopeful.
“He’s [Akins] not training either in the middle of the week. You’re talking two or three days so you hope the improvement is sufficient so that they can train on Friday morning.”
Crewe Alexandra are next up at One Call Stadium, managed by former Mansfield midfielder Lee Bell, who briefly played under Nigel at Burton.
Speaking about Saturday’s opponents, he said: “I’ve watched them [Crewe] a couple of times this season and they don’t half hang on in there in games.
“I saw them against Leeds in the Papa Johns [Trophy] and Leeds must have had 70% of the game but they defended fantastically, and I think they ended up nicking it.
“They’re that sort of team at the moment. They got a very good 0-0 on Saturday and we know Lee Bell, he came on loan for us at Burton.
“They’re trying to get that balance between everybody associating Crewe with this way of playing but they’re in League Two and probably haven’t got the players to play the way Crewe always have done.
“They’re trying to navigate a way through, and I think they’re doing very, very well at it.”