Developing young players will form a key part of Mansfield Town’s season, believes boss Paul Cox.
Stags fielded youngsters Liam Marsden, youth teamer Chris Spencer and a couple of other youth players in the 3-1 friendly defeat against Aston Villa.
And with a smaller playing budget at his disposal this season, Cox knows there is even more pressure on the club to develop players from within.
Said Cox: “This club is all about developing the young players now and bringing them into the first team.
“Myself and my staff will be working very hard to bring the next generation through.
“I thought Marsden played very well tonight and it is really positive that we finished the game with a 17 year-old and an 18 year-old on the pitch.
“They will have gained valuable experience from playing against such a high-profile opposition which is great news.”
Despite the 3-1 defeat Cox believes it was a night full of positives and good individual displays, with the unnamed trialist goalkeeper especially catching his eye.
Added Cox: “He played well and made some decent saves. There were times he was put under pressure, but that is what I wanted to see.
“We have another Swiss goalkeeper that we want to take a look at and I am still in contact with Stuart Pearce over Dimitar Evtimov,
“This season we are having to look far and wide for our players and it is vital that we make the right decision.”
Cox also spoke of his delight at the progress of the club’s pre-season campaign.
“Things are going well so far,” he said. “The Villa game was an excellent competitive workout against a quality team.
“We were put under pressure and that is exactly what I wanted. You learn a lot about your players when they are under pressure and what we need to improve on when things are tough.
“We have got high quality opponents lined up and that is what we need. We have got some good players to come back for the Leeds game so I am happy with how things are looking right now.”
But the club have received blows with the news that tomorrow’s (Saturday) scheduled friendly with Birmingham City has been cancelled on police advise.
The club are also waiting to find out the extend of injuries to Sam Clucas and Fergus Bell, who received knocks against Aston Villa.
Stags are due to face Leeds United in their latest pre-season outing on Tuesday night.