ALTHOUGH he didn’t score, Luke Medley was delighted to be back in Mansfield Town colours in the 2-0 defeat at leaders Crawley on Tuesday night after being recalled from his loan spell at Aldershot.
“What a great game to come back into, I was buzzing throughout it,” he said.
“We worked our socks off tonight against a team destined for the Football League. We grafted and gave a good account of ourselves. We can take the positives out if it.
“I am glad to be back and the lads welcomed me back with open arms.
“I know there is a chance of playing at Wembley, but we have to put that to the back of our minds and I just want to get on a good run until the end of the season.
“We have so many games coming up, four in a week at one stage. But I can’t wait to play back in front of the home fans again on Saturday.”
Manager Duncan Russell paid tribute to his side’s efforts against the soon-to-be champions and said: “We showed a lot of character tonight against a very good Crawley side who showed great movement.
“I am down to bare bones tonight after Adam Smith and Kyle Nix pulled out at the last minute which left us with three on the bench.
“So I take my hat off to the lads who played tonight as they showed a lot of courage and tried to play and kept going to the very end. That’s all I could ask of them.
“Of the seven injured players, our physio Jason tells me we should have six of them back for Saturday.
“But I still need to bring one or two more in before Thursday’s deadline as we need more strength in depth with so many games coming up. Then I plan to rotate the side as players, by their own admission, are very tired.
“I missed my wingers tonight and, if I had more of my players to chose from and they showed the same enthusiasm they did tonight then we might have got something out of it. But take nothing away from Crawley, they have a lot of good players.”
Crawley boss Steve Evans said: “We could have had eight tonight against a good Mansfield side.
“But there was some terrific goalkeeping and some bad luck on our part.
“That is a Mansfield side with a lot of pedigree, well organised by Duncan Russell and I am delighted for him and his side to be going to Wembley. To be fair to them they do have a number of injuries to deal with, though so do we.
“If we had scored the second goal early on it might have been a rout.
“But we are just happy with the three points and it was a terrific night.
“Though Mansfield did hit the post at 1-0, I never felt we wouldn’t win the game.”