AFC Mansfield manager Phil Buxton planning to give youth a chance
AFC Mansfield boss Phil Buxton is hoping to find what he is looking for from within the club ranks as he rebuilds the squad for the coming season.
Buxton is still short in some departments after a massive summer turnover of players, but believes some of his U21s could stake a claim as they continue a very busy spell of pre-season friendlies.
“It is a really busy week and games are coming thick and fast which is really good – it's what we want building into the start of the season which is only about three weeks away,” he said.
“It's all about building team morale as it's quite a new team, having lost a lot of players from last season.
“We want to build that camaraderie back into the squad and get everyone going together. From the whole squad last year I think there are four players left which is a big turnover.
“We are really trying to blood the U21s and give them that progression and a stepping stone to younger players coming through. I want to give them the opportunity to prove themselves.
“We are still on the hunt for two or three more in various positions.
“But I won't rush into those if I have players here who are good enough but are a bit younger and don't have that experience. I think it's right we try to give them that experience and time to play.”
Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Harworth Colliery made it two out of two friendly defeats, but Buxton said: “We controlled the game.
"We had quite a lot of possession and looked all right shape wise and comfortable on the ball.
“But we just couldn't stick the ball in the net and got done by a defensive error. Then they shut up shop for the last 20 minutes and we just couldn't get through
“It was a bit of a frustrating game but it's pre-season and you have to take what you can get out of it.”
A defensive mix-up on Saturday saw Harworth take full advantage with a rocket of a strike from Callum Brooks hitting the roof of the Bulls net just after half-time.
Tonight (Tuesday) the Bulls host a visit from Carlton Palmer’s Grantham Town.
On Saturday a Mansfield Town XI will provide the opposition before a trip to Rainworth MW on Tuesday night.