Mansfield Town goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik finally makes his long-awaited playing comeback in this afternoon’s Central League Cup reserves game away to West Bromwich Albion (2pm).
The 32-year-old Austrian has been sidelined with a serious ACL knee injury sustained in training last December but will take part in today’s game, which is a big boost for club and player.
Summer signing, striker Andy Cook, will also play his first game since injury today while two other injured players, defender Hayden White and striker Dapo Afolayan, are not ready to play today but could still be fit for Saturday’s trip to Crawley Town.
“Bobby will play 45 minutes for the reserves at West Brom today, which is brilliant news for the club, and we’ll see how Cooky goes in the game as well,” said boss John Dempster
“Cooky and Omari (Sterling-James) will be playing up top together.
“We did have Otis Khan down to be playing as an attacking midfielder but he’s gone down with sickness. So Tyrese Sinclair will step in for him which is brilliant for him to play alongside some of the more senior pros.
“Alistair Smith and Will Tomlinson will play in midfield with Jason Law on the left and Jamie Clark in the right. And we’ve got a young back three of Jamie Chisholm, Lewis Gibbens and Aiden Walker.”
This is Stags’ first reserve game of the season and Dempster said they would be taken seriously and made full use of.
“One of the first things I said to the senior pros here was that the reserve games would be used to top up minutes throughout the season,” he said.
“If they come thick and fast we will use them accordingly, but we won’t have a situation where the reserve games are looked down upon. It is valuable game time for all players.
“We will get minutes into the legs of the senior boys who have been out for a period and further development for the younger players, playing against decent opposition alongside more experienced players.”
On other returns from injury, he added: “We are expecting Hayden White and Dapo Afolayan to take part in a session today and they will both become more heavily involved as the week develops. We hope to have them available for the weekend.”
The game at West Brom is being played behind-closed-doors at the Baggies’ request this afternoon.