Mal Benning back for Mansfield Town at Crawley Town, but Stags rocked by Nicky Hunt departure

Nicky Hunt
Nicky Hunt

There were two major stories to emerge from today’s Mansfield Town team news at Crawley Town today with the great news that left back Mal Benning is back in the side tainted by the possible shock departure of experienced right back Nicky Hunt.

Hunt is said to be speaking to another League Two club who have come in for him with what is said to be a good offer just three days from the end of the January transfer window.

Nothing has been signed yet but boss Adam Murray said: “The package was very good for the football club.

“Nicky wanted to speak to the club, which we respect. We didn’t expect this, it was totally out of the blue.

“We weighed up the situation and Nicky is looking at the next stage in his career and looking after himself, which is fine.

“The package was very good for the football club and he is 33 next season, so he had to weigh up the options.

“He wanted to talk to them so we didn’t think it was right to stand in his way and involve him in the squad today. Obviously his mind is elsewhere.

“The deal hasn’t been done. He is in talks today so we’ll see what happens over the next 24 hours.”

Should it go through, Murray said he had a possible replacement in mind over the next 24 hours.

However, there was good news with the return of classy left back Benning, out since October with a serious knee injury.

With Hunt missing, Lee Collins switched flanks to play right back after a man of the match display at left back in the 2-1 midweek win at Morecambe.

Stags were today chasing their eighth away win of the season at a Crawley side that had lost three of their last four outings.

CRAWLEY: Preston, Walton, Bradley, Edwards, Barnard, Young, Bawling, Harrold, Jenkins, Yorwerth, Smith. Subs: Little, Rooney, Atkinson, Fenelon, Ashton, Deacon, Tomlin.

STAGS: Shearer, Collins, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning, McGuire, Clements, Blair, Baxendale, Green, Beardsley. Subs: Jensen, Westcarr, Rose, Yussuf, Thomas, Kavanagh, Chapman.

REFEREE: Graham Horwood of Luton.