Left back problems for Stags ahead of Fleetwood FA Cup tester

MANSFIELD Town have a problem over who will play left back for Saturdays’ big home FA Cup fourth qualifying round with moneybags BSBP rivals Fleetwood Town (3pm).

Joe Kendrick faces a fitness test but is struggling with a back injury while likely replacement Matt Bell has a knee injury.

“We will have a look at it tomorrow,” said manager Paul Cox. “It is looking unlikely we will be able to get anyone in on loan as no one wants players to become cup-tied.

“It looks like Ben Futcher will be fit again to play centre half, which is a massive boost, so we could play Ritchie Sutton at right back and move Luke O’Neill to left back if need be.”

Tom Naylor and Louis Briscoe remained sidelined with their injuries, Briscoe awaiting the results of a scan on his groin problem.

Cox continues to look at strengthening his squad but, with it being the FA Cup, says it is unlikely anything will materialise before next week.

He said he won’t be pursuing any of the trialists who played in the midweek behind-closed-doors friendly with Tamworth, feeling none looked strong enough for the BSBP, although winger Leon Osbourne impressed and will continue to train but cannot sign for anyone until the turn of the year as his contract with Bradford City was cancelled.

Fleetwood may have their attention distracted by keeping a firm eye on the BSBP title they have thrown so much at already.

But Cox assured fans he is desperate to be in the first round draw and won’t take the game lightly.

“I will be taking the FA Cup seriously as I want to win every game we play,” he said. “It is probably one of the hardest draws we could have had and it will be interesting to see how we react on Saturday.

“We have got to be brave and start enjoying our football at home. We mustn’t let anything affect us.

“Having watched the DVD, on reflection we didn’t play that badly last weekend and had enough chances to have won three matches early on. We were just a bit powderpuff.

“Now Fleetwood gives us a nice, juicy game to get our teeth into. I don’t want the lads to walk round like they have the world on their shoulders at home. I want them to express themselves.”

Midfielder Anthony Howell will be hoping for a recall after being an unused sub on his return from suspension last weekend.