LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Time to stop hurting and start dreaming again
As the heartache finally starts to ease from last season and the weather warms up, it seems a good time to start dreaming about the season to come.
At this time if year it feels like anything is possible for most supporters.
And speculation has begun over who John Dempster may or may not sign. But he is clearly in no major hurry to bring new players in as he said two weeks ago.
There are enough out of work players out there who could do a good job and Dempster and his team will be sifting through names.
Hopefully Nottingham Forest will give an early indication of their intentions with top scorer Tyler Walker so Dempster can rule him out and look elsewhere if needed or sort out a deal for another season at the One Call Stadium.
It certainly looks to be the key department Dempster needs to get right after it ended up so threadbare last season.
The experienced Craig Davies, back from injury, and youngster Jordan Graham, another year older and wiser, could both make a mark and a proper pre-season without the distraction of transfer requests should help Danny Rose recapture his 2017/18 form.
But Dempster will need at least a couple more in there and it is those signings most fans will be eagerly waiting on.
Pre-season fixtures have begun filtering through and two weeks tomorrow we will get the full League Two fixture list which is when the excitement really starts to build.
Players will be returning for training shortly after that when they will need to learn a few new rules the sport is bringing in to try to improve things.
No longer can sides put attacking players into opposition’s defensive walls – they have to be a metre away.
Injured players must now leave the pitch at the nearest point to them to stop the cynical slow trundle across the field to waste time.
For penalties, a keeper must now have at least one foot touching the line, and must not be moving or touching the goalposts which was all part of the psychological battle.
Also, even accidental handballs will now be punished to try to add clarity.
When the ball accidentally strikes a player’s hand before crossing over the line the goal will be disallowed and if a player has accidentally handled the ball and created an advantage or subsequently scores, they will be penalised with a free kick.
And the competitive dropped ball is no more.
If play is stopped inside the penalty area the ball will simply be dropped for the goalkeeper. If it is stopped outside the penalty area the ball will be dropped for a player from the team that last touched the ball.
Bookies already have Stags fourth favourites for the title behind relegated trio Plymouth, Scunthorpe and Bradford, who will all be hoping to do a ‘Milton Keynes’ and not a ‘Chesterfield’ to stop the rot.