Excitement builds as big clubs head for Mansfield

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As he continues his quest to bolster his defence before the big kick-off, Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft is excited by the quartet of big home pre-season friendlies over the next two weeks.

Derby County visit on Wednesday (7.30) followed by Sheffield United on Saturday (3pm), Sheffield United next Tuesday (7.30) and Rotherham United a week on Saturday (3pm).

“We have some great quality coming down to the One Call with the teams we’ve got,” he said.

“These home fixtures will give supporters a chance to see the new players that they’ve not seen yet.

“The quality opposition will certainly raise the levels. I am hoping to see a raising of quality and a raising of performance.

“I am also hoping to see a raising in fitness levels as we drive through pre-season.

“These will be much sterner tests as we come up against unbelievable quality from the Championship.

“They are games we really enjoy and look forward to.

“But the main priorities will be minutes played, distances covered and making sure we realise what is important – which is the start of the season date and working towards that.”

Flitcroft has been playing 3-5-2 so far in pre-season but with only two fit centre halves is working hard to try to bring in more.

“A defensive player is absolutely necessary,” he said.

“At the minute I’ve got two centre halves and I’m playing with a back three and I am having to manoeuvre players around.

“But it also gives us a chance to look at certain players in different positions - we had Hayden White playing right side centre half on Saturday.

“But we are short defensively – we need centre half cover. It’s imperative we get that right.”

However, Flitcroft is very happy with his midfield options and had special praise for Will Atkinson’s display as a wing back.

“I do like our midfield. I like the balance and I like the flexibility,” he said.

“Will Atkinson’s performance today has told me everything about Will – his willingness and honesty to run and the quality he has got.

“We have good options down the centre of the pitch and good wing back options.”

Tickets for all home friendlies are £10 adults and £5 for over-65s and under-18 tickets.

The Quarry Lane Stand will not be open unless demand dictates it is needed.