There was brighter news this morning for injury-torn Mansfield Town on their latest three casualties as they prepared for Saturday’s visit of Cambridge United.
Fergus Bell, Simon Heslop and Matt Rhead all came off in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Portsmouth but two, or possibly all three, of them are expected to figure in Saturday’s home clash with Cambridge United.
Bell, already soldiering on with a dislocated collarbone, was left without vision in his left eye last weekend after a shuddering bang on the head from team mate Matt Rhead, Rhead himself then limped off with a hamstring problem, and goalscorer Simon Heslop came off with a swollen foot after a block.
Rhead went for a scan on the hamstring this week and assistant manager Adam Murray said: “He is doing well and a lot further on than expected.
“We will see how he comes through training today but he, like a lot of them, is pencilled in for Saturday at the moment. He had a hamstring strain but there wasn’t much of a tear in there.
“We had a few on a tightrope at the start of the week and we’ve had to monitor them.
“But Fergus has had the all-clear from the doctor and Simon will train today and we’ll see how he goes.”
Stags had 10 first team players ruled out at the start of the week and Murray, himself suspended for Saturday, said: “It’s like there’s some kind of voodoo on the place, but it’s one of those things and you just keep ploughing on.”
Stags now have two young loan players making up the numbers with Derby’s Keiron Freeman and QPR’s Jamie Sendles-White, who didn’t disappoint at Fratton Park.
Murray said: “Young players from a higher level sometimes come to this standard and it can take a couple of games to get the tempo at which it is played. But they played well on Saturday and now need to keep up that standard.
“We are not in a position where players can come in and learn the game on our shift. They have to come in and hit the ground running.”
He added: “We have three tough games this week. We have to go to Tranmere and York, who will have the effect of changing managers. But we are focusing on Cambridge on Saturday.
“Their manager, Richard Money, is a top coach. I had a brief spell working with him and saw how he works from day to day and what he is about. He is good at what he does.
“They are big and physical and they are organised. They got a great result last Saturday and will be full of confidence.
“But we are the home side and we need to put visiting teams on the back foot.”
However, Chris Clements, who came on near the end of last weekend’s draw at Portsmouth, despite not being fully fit, felt his injury again on Monday and will now be rested on Saturday with a view to being fit to face Tranmere on Tuesday the soonest or York away the following weekend.