Stags try to keep Alabi, but Blake could be heading out

Mansfield Town's Paul Cox  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Mansfield Town's Paul Cox -Pic by:Richard Parkes

Mansfield Town are still hopeful of keeping Stoke City loanee striker James Alabi, possibly until the end of the season, but young on-loan Forest midfielder Jack Blake could be on his way back to the City Ground.

Stags boss Paul Cox is a big fan of Alabi and is trying to find out what Stoke are prepared to let them do with the burly striker, who was sent off early on his debut a fortnight ago.

But, with Chris Clements almost ready for a return, Blake’s chances look to be limited and it is unlikely the loan will be extended after this weekend unless more injuries crop up.

Cox said: “James is back training with us today after a couple of days training with Stoke. Nothing has been agreed as yet. We are still negotiating and talking to Stoke.

“I would like to keep him here, but we have to be respectful he is still a Stoke player.

“I think the boy has an incredible amount of potential. Supporters that travelled down to Southend and saw the 20 minutes he played saw the potential in him. He gives us options.”

Cox left Blake out of the Stags side that won 8-1 at St Albans in the FA Cup last Saturday and said: “Chris Clements is coming back and we have one or two decent footballers in there.

“I had to be honest with Jack on Saturday and leave him out as, if we didn’t extend the loan, I didn’t want him to become cup-tied if he wanted to play for anyone else in the competition on another potential loan.

“Jack has been like a breath of fresh air to us. But we are looking strong in that department now and I don’t want to keep him here for the wrong reasons when we have players already contracted here who can do just as good a job.”