LOMAS ON STAGS: No manager could legislate for  Mansfield Town’s current player crisis

No matter who the manager is, it would be hard for anyone to legislate for coping with the number of players Mansfield Town have missing right now.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 10:23 am
Oli Hawkins in action on Saturday before injury - Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

It's hard to remember a time when the Stags had 10 outfield players unavailable through a combination of injuries and suspension.

There are no excuses for the suspensions and the players involved have exacerbated what was already a difficult situation for their boss.

But to lose two more on Saturday was a real kick in the teeth and the makeshift side that battled on to earn a point and clean sheet will have been disappointed to hear some boos from the stand which were not deserved.

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Fans never booed their own side in years gone by, but in modern day football it has become the done thing.

I cannot honestly remember when it suddenly started happening and younger fans will know no different.

Thankfully only a minority felt it necessary on Saturday.

No one wants to go 11 games without a win.

But these are very mitigating circumstances and what Nigel Clough would give to be able to name the same side two games in a row, let alone his strongest side.

They are not excuses – just plain facts.

You could see how much the players did appreciate those applauding them at the end.

Saturday's injury to George Maris had the whole stadium hugely worried.

To see a player down on the pitch as long as we did in that 13 minute break before being stretchered off was awful and it was a huge relief to everyone that he was sitting up and talking after the game.

With five centre halves already out injured and Clough having to sacrifice the assets of giant Oli Hawkins up front to fill in at the back, to then see the former Ipswich man unable to come out for the second half was surreal.

At least the displays of James Clark and Keaton Ward cheered many and offered serious hope for competition for places when missing players return and Stags try to begin the climb away from trouble.

Thankfully the crisis has come early in the campaign and there are plenty of games and points to come in which to put things right.