Baptism of fire for Nottingham Forest youngsters as they are thrown in at the deep end by Mansfield Town

Nigel Clough said being thrown in at the deep end at Salford on Saturday had been a baptism of fire for Mansfield Town's two young Nottingham Forest loanees.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 6:00 am

With players missing, Clough elected to give striker Will Swan and defender Riley Harbottle their debuts in the 2-0 defeat and said: “I felt a bit sorry for the two young Forest lads as it was a tough baptism for them.

“You bring them in and, ideally, you don't really anticipate them starting the first game of the season.

“You want to gradually get them used to League Two, not throw them in at the deep end.

Will Swan on his Stags debut on Saturday. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger

“So it was tough for them in a poor team performance - that's what made it tough for them.”

He added: “I though Will ran around and worked hard and Riley had a lot of the ball at the back – he is probably not used to that side of it where we are dependent on him for the distribution to get us going.

“He has come in and done very well defensively for us, but with Hawks (Oli Hawkins) being out he's found himself in the middle.

“It was a tough one for them but they will be so much better for it. That's what they are here for. Young players are not the finished article – that is why they are out with us.

“Last season we had a very experienced side with not so many youngsters in, which I think is one of the reasons why we performed so well.

“But I think they will both be very good for us over the next nine months.

“Any game time they have we will get the benefit. It's very different to the U21 and U23 football they're used to.”