Although overshadowed by Tyler Walker’s hat-trick on the night, the reappearance of Danny Rose and his second half goal could prove even more significant for Mansfield Town as the season wears on.
Rose, still on the transfer list at his own request, was a surprise inclusion on the bench in last night’s sensational 6-1 thumping of Accrington Stanley.
Like the prodigal son, he was unsure how he would be welcomed back by supporters having certainly played his part in ‘engineering’ a move to be with former boss Steve Evans at Peterborough United.
Last night he was given cheers as he walked to the dug-out pre-match and then cheered as he warmed up to come on in the 65th minute.
As he entered the field of play, a section of fans still livid with him elected to boo him amid the other cheers – and Rose could expect nothing else really, having been handed a good extended contract by the club and then had his head quickly turned.
But those jeers turned to cheers within a minute as he reminded them of his lethal goalscoring abilities to extend Stags’ lead over a bewildered Accrington that were long overdue a tonking by Mansfield after going 13 games unbeaten against them.
Manager David Flitcroft has publicly said he is willing to forgive and forget Rose’s mistake in getting dragged into the Peterborough maneuvering.
But he did also hint that he felt Rose had not been giving his all for him since Flitcroft took over at the club and that anyone meeting the asking price before the end of August might still be able to take Rose on loan and pay up in January.
In Tyler Walker and Craig Davies Flitcroft has signed two gems, but to have a fully fit and motivated Rose as a third striker would be a massive bonus.
It’s impossible to know what the atmosphere is like between Rose and Flitcroft behind closed doors.
But most Stags fans will hope the phone does not ring before the loan window closes and everyone can put this unsavoury saga behind them and move on.
Last season Mansfield had to rely heavily on Rose’s goals to stay in promotion contention.
This season they look to have goals in them from all over the park – they have now hit 11 in their first three games.
But, with the chances they are carving out, a fully fit and hungry Rose might find it easier to reach that 20-goal target that eluded him last season.
If he gets back in the side and scores goals, even the most angry of his critics would very soon be back on his side so fickle is football.
But, even if he does stay, his first hurdle will be to dislodge Walker or Davies and that won’t be easy.