Paul Cox handed centre half Ryan Tafazolli his Football League debut in yesterday’s 3-0 defeat of Northampton – and the youngster responded with a display that won him sponsors’ man of the match.
“He is still a baby, but winning man of the match gave him a massive pat on the back,” said a delighted Cox.
“It was his first start in League football and he is not going to come up against a better front man at this level than Clive Platt.
“Ryan’s positional sense was out at times, but if he keeps listening and learning he is going to have a good future in the game. I am pleased for the kid.”
Tafazolli was delighted with his award but very modest too.
“There were a lot of good performances out there and man of the match could have gone to anyone. But I was delighted it came to me on my League debut,” he said.
“Platt and Blyth were a real handful. They were really direct and we knew we had to defend the box well and pick up the second ball.
“I think I did all right and it was good we kept a clean sheet.
“I have been training hard and making sure I was ready for a game if I got the chance. Once I saw Martin Riley sent off last week I was hoping I would play.
“The reserves have been unbeaten and a lot of the lads are champing at the bit to get in the first team, so I have to say thank you to the gaffer.”
Stags have now gone seven games unbeaten and moved up to fifth in the table and Tafazolli added: “Confidence is coming right through from the first team to the players on the bench and in the stand. We are all buzzing. We just have to keep level-headed and our feet on the ground.
“Everyone has believed from the start. We know what we are about.”