LOMAS ON STAGS: Who will be shown the door and what does Flitcroft need to bring in?

Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Crawley Town, One Call Stadium, 05/05/18, K.O 3pm''Mansfield's manager David Flitcroft''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Crawley Town, One Call Stadium, 05/05/18, K.O 3pm''Mansfield's manager David Flitcroft''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

Mansfield Town fans expect to know later today which players are on boss David Flitcroft’s retained list as he begins to build for the future.

With the heartbreak of missing out on the the play-off last weekend still raw, it’s been a difficult week.

So by the end of it we should get some inkling as to where Flitcroft feels the frailties were that need beefing up.

Joel Byrom’s departure yesterday would not have been a shock as he barely figured under Flitcroft.

Former manager Steve Evans was a huge fan of the midfielder, but injuries and inconsistency ended up wrecking what could have been a very good season and he was the first to go.

We are told a lot of the players are under contract or with an option for an extra year so it’s hard to know exactly where we are with deals.

But, if Flitcroft does not have them in his plans for next year, most would find another club.

Although ultimately a year of failure, the squad performed very well at times and it’s hard to imagine any of them not being able to find a new employer if shown the door.

So where does Flitcroft need to strengthen?

He is certainly well off in the goalkeeping department with Conrad Logan taking the No.1 shirt ahead of the very capable Bobby Olejnik early doors and keeping a firm hold on it to win some Player of the Year accolades.

Defensively, Stags did well, ending up with one of the top seven best figures for goals conceded, spoiled hugely by the 4-3 home loss to Crewe.

Indeed, they only conceded more than two goals in a League Two game on three occasions, away to Cheltenham and at home to Swindon and Crewe.

The back four of Hayden White, Rhys Bennett, Krystian Pearce and Mal Bening looks excellent with the likes of Zander Diamond and Johnny Hunt chasing their places.

It’s impossible to know whether veteran David Mirfin, the club’s only long term injury casualty of the campaign, is in Flitcroft’s thoughts.

He also has fellow centre half George Taft returning from a very successful loan spell at Cambridge, where he fully regained his fitness and did enough for United to want him full-time next year.

Flitcroft will know enough about him to decide if he wants to keep him at the One Call.

So, unless he ships out Mirfin and Taft it’s hard to see him needing much at the back – and we could see youngster Lewis Gibbens involved at some stage too.

However, the midfield does require some attention and up front the side continues to cry out for a predatory goalscorer.

With Byrom already gone, he probably needs two central midfielders and more if he lets any others go.

Steve Evans and then Flitcroft tried a wealth of central midfield combinations. But nothing seemed to really click as a partnership.

Stags need someone in there to make things happen with a dash of magic- and maybe someone aggressive able to kick opponents when needed.

Jacob Mellis blew hot and cold, though did show his immense talent at times.

But the fact that probably the best of the central midfield bunch was winger Alex MacDonald, who was asked to do a job there and play centrally, speaks volumes about their needs.

Callum Butcher is due back from loan and has to be a far better player than his early displays with Mansfield showed. Doubtless the meticulous Flitcroft has had reports on how he played on his loan spell and will know if he would be worth a recall.

Will Atkinson and Paul Digby are useful players to have in your squad as they can play a number of positions, Digby in midfield or defence, though Flitcroft may think he can bring in better.

The experienced Paul Anderson falls into the same category. I felt a bit sorry for him at times as, when he was playing well out wide, he found himself dropped next game by Evans for no obvious reason.

He only then featured four times under Flitcroft, which suggests the new boss may not be a fan.

But I think he is well worth keeping on.

As far as wingers are concerned, CJ Hamilton certainly blossomed over the campaign and was the best wide man.

MacDonald had some good games out there while the talented Alfie Potter blew hot and cold.

Returning from loan, Omari Sterling-James, whether used as a wide man or striker, remains an unfulfilled prospect and a bit of an unknown entity, though Steve Evans had high hopes for him next season in extending his contract.

So Stags could do with one or two new wingers and have already been linked with Tadcaster Albion’s exciting former Leeds United wide man Billy Whitehouse.

Up front is a big area for Flitcroft to tackle.

Danny Rose, despite failing to score at all under Flitcroft since Evans left in February, finished top scorer, has an extended contract though will doubtless be the subject of summer bids from other clubs.

Lee Angol will certainly figure prominently.

Flitcroft has identified him as someone he can really work with and improve and his hero’s display at Yeovil showed Stags fans the talents they expected but rarely saw through a disappointing bit part season for Angol.

Lincoln fans said he had something about him and I believe Stags will get the full benefit of him blossoming under Flitcroft’s guidance.

Most fans would like to see loanees Kane Hemmings and Ricky Miller signed and given a full pre-season to really show their worth.

Hemmings is on the Oxford retained list, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be coming back if wanted, while Miller has been transfer-listed at Peterborough.

The one striker unlikely to be retained is Jimmy Spencer who, apart from a start and a hat-trick against Guiseley in the FA Cup, had a tough old season.

He rarely got a first team look-in and things failed to happen for him when he did get on the field.

Stags definitely need a ‘Matt Rhead style’ target man they can utilise when they need to come up with a ‘Plan B’ or against certain opposition.

Let’s not forget Flitcroft likes to put faith in youth and Jordan Graham is a big striker, albeit with no first team experience, but could figure if he can show in pre-season he can mix it with men.

Flitcroft ended the season with a squad not of his own making or containing a single player he has signed.

There is certainly plenty of talent in it, now we will sit back for a few weeks and see the manager’s talent in knowing exactly who to add to it to take them one step further next time around.