Mansfield Town will send a young side to Basford United for tonight’s latest pre-season friendly with boss Adam Murray challenging his young players to hit the higher standards needed to break into the first team.
Murray said some of his younger players, who perhaps felt they had made it last season, have had a culture shock with how high the quality of his new-look squad has risen over the summer with his 13 new signings.
Now he says they need to raise their game and show him they still deserve to be involved.
Murray said: “It will be a team of young pros with some of the youth team tonight.
“We looked at it yesterday afternoon, the amount of game time the lads have got in and the work we want to put in on the training ground this week, and we thought the training ground would be more important than more match time for the senior pros.
“So it will be a case of topping up the younger lads’ minutes and we will have a good week on the training ground with double sessions for the seniors.”
He added: “Coming back in, it’s been a kick up the backside for some of the young players.
“ Last year the boys that got involved with the group shone but they have come back in pre-season and it’s been a reality check for them.
“The group’s standards and their technical and tactical ability have risen and so they’ve had to get their game to match that and some of them have found it tough.
“It’s time for them to step up to the plate as it’s a tough group to break into. We’ve had a number of chats with the young pros of the last couple of weeks and it’s been a bit of a culture shock for them.
“It’s up to them now to come up to the standards the group are hitting and break into the first team squad. It won’t be a given. They’ve got to earn it.
“If you played five or 10 games in the first team it doesn’t mean you’ve made it as a footballer. You’ve got to do it on a consistent basis and push yourself.
“I want to see the young pros now going to your Carltons. your Granthams and your Basfords and I want to see some wins. They have their targets. But they wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in them.”