Eastwood return for Cox for Stags friendly

Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox returns to his former club Eastwood Town for a friendly game tonight (7.45pm) as Stags continue to keep themselves fit and ready for their return to action at Telford on Saturday after a two-week lay-off.

Stags played behind-closed-doors friendly games with Northampton and Forest last week, but tonight’s game is open to the public.

“I still have an affinity with the club and I worked very closely with the management team there,” said Cox. “I don’t know how strong a side they will put out but it will be a proper non-League game at a proper non-League ground.

“I don’t think we will get as much time on the ball as we did in the games last week and it will give some players chance to play as well as looking at some more trialists. I want people tonight to make me pick them on Saturday for the Telford game.

“Players who don’t want to play these days may be the players who don’t fancy plying somewhere like Bath on a Tuesday night, no disrespect to Bath.”

Mansfield are hoping defender John Thompson will have recovered from a slight knee injury to continue his comeback and Cox added: “I hope John can play tonight and put himself in contention for Saturday.

“John has been a bit unlucky this season and, looking back, you have got to feel a bit sorry for him.

“It would be a massive lift for us as he hasn’t pulled on the shirt since joining the club. But if you push people back in when they are not 100 per cent it can have a detrimental effect on the player and how the team and people perceive that person.

“If he comes through tonight then I will speak to him and see if he feels he is mentally and physically ready. It would be nice to play my strongest side for the first time.”

Admission to tonight’s game is £5 adults and £3 concessions with children admitted free.