Mansfield Town boss happy with defenders after pre-season win over Rotherham United

Mansfield Town v Rotherham Utd.'Action from the One Call Stadium against visitors Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon.
Mansfield Town v Rotherham Utd.'Action from the One Call Stadium against visitors Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon.

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft was delighted with his side’s defensive work in Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win over Rotherham United.

All the goals came in the first half as Craig Davies gave the Stags an early lead, which was cancelled out before Tyler Walker hit what proved to be the winner.

It was the Stags’ third win over Championship opposition this summer — they also beat Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County — as well as drawing with Sheffield United.

However, the boss was particularly pleased with the defensive work and said Rotherham represented the sort of test the Stags will face when the League Two season starts with the visit of Newport on Saturday.

“Rotherham represent a team full of players that have one cause. They play it forward early and they play it forward fast.

“We’ve not really come up against that as much because of the sorts of teams we’ve played. Derby and Sheffield Wednesday wanted to move the ball quick at times.

“They play for the manager and there is a real togetherness at the football club.

“They hurt you from every angle and are not afraid to put in crosses, so it represented real-time football.

“This was a robust game and a game that had set pieces we had to be astute on. We conceded a goal from a set piece, which I was disappointed about, but we had to dig in at times and be strong.

“Defensively, the three defenders and Conrad Logan absolutely stood firm when they got tested. I’m delighted with that.”

“We managed the game in the last 20 minutes really well.”

Flitcroft said there had been a lot of positives throughout the pre-season.

He added: “But this has represented real-time football and we came through it pretty much unscathed.

“I look at Hayden White and Matt Preston today (as standout performers) I thought Matt Preston had a lot to deal with today. Michael Smith gives anyone a problem. They dealt with that really well.

“As a central defender, I thought he (Preston) was outstanding today. It was the best performance that he’s played. As a test, that’s the hardest test he’ll come up against all next season. And he came through it with flying colours.

“Hayden White is getting better in that right-sided position and Mal Benning was someone who committed and really wanted that summer programme.

“Probably since I’ve come in he’s been one who has carried on getting better and fitter and stronger and more dynamic. He’s a thinking footballer. He thinks about the game and understands the game.

“I think he was exceptional.”

Flitcroft said the Stags were still looking to add another defender to the squad and his preferred 3-5-2 formation.

But Nathan Cameron, who recently trained with Mansfield, will not be joining the Stags.

“Nathan Cameron is a no-go now. He’s had a scan and revealed it’s a complete new injury on his knee ligament. Cam’s going to have some time out,” said Flitcroft.

“We’ve got a few good options in term of loan options and potentially one who has come up free who is available now.

“It is just down to the numbers and making sure we can get the right balance and that is what we are working on probably going into next week.”