Promising young defender Lewis Gibbens is back from a dislocated shoulder to provide added back-up in Mansfield Town’s promotion run-in.
But boss David Flitcroft said the 18-year-old’s biggest test would come this summer as he tried to bulk him up for the rough and tumble of regular EFL football.
Gibbens came through 90 minutes of reserve team action this week after suffering the shoulder injury while out on loan at Boston United.
“Lewis went out on loan and did really well but has been plagued by injuries,” said Flitcroft.
“But his rise from where he was in the summer in the development squad to the first team, it’s a massive difference and a massive divide.
“What I think has happened is you get stretched and tested every day and between the U21s and the first team you are probably looking at a 40 per cent difference in intensity and from the development squad to the first team about an 80 per cent difference.
“He has made those big strides but those big strides come at a cost sometimes as you are always stretching to get to that level as you have not been prepared from being a 14-year-old to reach that level of professionalism and physical, mental and technical work.
“Gibbo is catching up so much. I am hoping he’s over that.
“He has a massive summer ahead of him. I have really got to make sure his mind set is my mindset that doing more improves you and makes you better.
“We need to get his body like a piece of iron, so robust it can withstand anything.”