MANSFIELD Town are looking forward to a bruising pre-season encounter at EvoStik League Premier Division Hednesford Town tomorrow night (7.45).
Stags boss Paul Cox sees it as the perfect game in which to see his players’ mental and physical reaction to a tough away midweek game of which they will see several once the real action starts next month.
Cox, who will also have a look at some of his fringe squad players, said: “I think this will be a really hard test of our players.
“I have known Hednesford’s two managers for a long time and they have had great success in non-League football.
“They don’t believe in friendlies and it will be a full-blooded encounter which I will be able to pick holes in for different reasons.
“I want to find out things about my players in games like these now, not going into Christmas.
“I need players who are consistent for 46 games. Games like this sort the men from the boys.”
John Thompson is likely to rest his hip injury until the weekend trip to Boston United while an illness bug has already affected several players including Martin Rily, Adam Murray, and Neil Collett.
Lindon Meikle is also likely to miss out with an ankle injury picked up in training last Friday but should be fine for Boston.
Cox was delighted to see his charges win their first friendly of the summer, 1-0 at a very strong FC Halifax Town on Saturday.
But he added: “There were still things that upset me, mistakes we haven’t learned from since the Nuneaton game, and we need to sharpen things up now.”
Mansfield remain in the market for the signature of Rochdale strike ace Anthony Elding after he decided not to join Plymouth, but several other clubs, including Stockport and Grimsby are also wanting him.