Injury-ravaged Mansfield Town hope to bring in at least one player to boost their flagging numbers before Saturday’s trip to fifth-placed Wycombe Wanderers.
Stags boss Paul Cox had 16 fit players this morning (Thursday) and has been scouring the country for possible free agent/loan signings to bolster that.
Mansfield beat Worksop 3-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly earlier in the week when some trialists who had been training with the Stags were given a game.
Cox is hoping one midfielder/utility player in particular may sign after he scored a couple of goals in that game and did well, though the deal would need international clearance.
“We are going to have to push something and I hope there can be a bit of movement,” said Cox. “It’s where we are right now – 16 fit players from the 21 which is not ideal.
“I hope over the next 24 hours we can sit down and talk to one, maybe two, of the players and see if we can get something done for Saturday.
“I don’t want to have to put players who are not fit on the bench and we would probably have to give some of the U16s a run-out which is not ideal.
“The staff have been working hard all week to try to bolster numbers. I hope we can get the right players at the right price in the right time span.
“Spirit has never floundered in any way. We have a tight dressing room. The lads know what is needed as a group and they are very focused. It is probably the most together I have seen a dressing room since I came here. But they now need some help with numbers.”
Fergus Bell, who turned his ankle at Exeter City after scoring the second goal last weekend, was expected back in training today.
But doubts remain over Ritchie Sutton, who has a hamstring strain, and Simon Heslop, who struggled last weekend after his foot became infected after stitches in a wound at Notts County opened up.
Cox was delighted with the Worksop friendly, saying: “It was a good blow-out for players who have not played much football of late. It was competitive. The game was fast and furious. A couple of the young lads got a game too.”
Stags will be looking to build on last week’s win at Exeter this weekend at picturesque Adams Park where the Chairboys have lost to Tranmere and been held by Bury so far in picking up 11 points from six games.
“Wycombe are flying,” said Cox. “Reports we’ve had say they’ve added to their squad, spent a bit of cash, and brought some good players in. They have had some good results.
“They are two points above us so it’s the thrill of the chase that if we win we know we can go beyond them.”
After the disaster of arriving late then losing at Dagenham, Cox was delighted last weekend to be allowed to take the team overnight to Exeter which he felt helped with their first half freshness.
But he was disappointed not to be allowed to do the same this weekend.
“We are travelling on the day of the game so people can take out of that what they want,” he said.
“It is not ideal and not something I personally want but it is a situation we have to get on with and I don’t want to be making it an excuse after the game.
“I don’t want players feeling sorry for themselves. They have to go out there and perform.
“When you balance out all the little things they add up to performance and winning football matches and, ultimately, add up to where you finish.”