Keeper search goes on for Mansfield Town as Nathan Bishop door all but closes

Mansfield Town continue their search for a new goalkeeper with the door all but closed on a loan return from Manchester United youngster Nathan Bishop.

But boss Nigel Clough said he is more than happy to start the season with experienced new signing Scott Flinders and continue to search for competition for him.

“We needed to bring a couple of goalies in and Scott Flinders is one we have always known about,” said Clough.

“He is 35 now and probably as fit as he ever has been. He must have played 20-odd games in League One for Cheltenham last year.

Nathan Bishop - in commanding form last season.

“Also he is reasonably local, so it was a bit of a no-brainer for us.

“It takes the pressure off us trying to get another goalkeeper as well as, if we start the season with Scott, we'd be quite happy with that.

“We are still searching for another one as well.”

On the attempts to bring the impressive Bishop back for another campaign, Clough said: “We'd have loved to have got Nathan Bishop, but that is probably unlikely now as I think Manchester United want him to go to the next league, which is understandable for his career progress.

“It would have been lovely to keep Nathan because he I think he had a superb season for us.

“I think the door is almost closed, though not from our point of view – or his point of view even.

“His club really feel he needs to go to League One, though I don't think it is as important for goalkeepers. And I know there are one or two people we speak to think the same.

“He played 50-odd games for us last season and I think playing 50-odd games at, hopefully, the top of League Two as opposed to maybe the bottom half of League One, I don't think there would be much difference.

“So we are still on the lookout for another one, but it was important to get Scott in to challenge for that first team spot.”

Clough said that could be a loan keeper or a permanent signing.

“We are open to either one of those options,” he said.

“I think to get another good young goalkeeper in like Nathan to work with Scott Flinders would be ideal. It would be a nice combination.”