Mansfield set to search for defensive cover

UNABLE to sort a deal with Crawley to keep loanee centre half John Dempster, Paul Cox is set to delve into the loan market once Dempster’s loan ends in a couple of weeks.

It would have been the perfect opportunity for a fit-again Rhys Day to stake his claim for a recall, but Day suffered a serious knee injury last weekend to see his season – and maybe his Mansfield career - prematurely ended.

He ruptured a patella tendon, which connects his kneecap with the lower part of his lower leg, which saw him undertake a career-saving operation today (Thursday).

Dempster is out of contract at Crawley in the summer and so could still find himself back at Field Mill next year. But in the meantime, with John Thompson still not back to fitness either, Cox is suddenly short in a department in which he seemed blessed earlier this season.

“Not only is John a top drawer player but he is also a great professional to have around the club,” said Cox.

“We did all we could to get him but couldn’t find a deal that suited all parties in the end.

“He will be very much in my mind at the end of the season for next season. But, for now, we have to look elsewhere.”

On Day’s injury, he said: “Rhys has had no luck whatsoever since I have been here.

“Rhys played at Rainworth last week and reports said he was immense and back to what we know he can do.

“Then something like that happens to him. I am really disappointed for him as everyone knows what a fit Rhys Day can do.

“He is having an operation which I hope goes well and then he will have the best medical treatment possible and be well looked after.”

However, Day’s contract expires in the summer and, at the end of a season in which he has failed to win a first team place, his future remains uncertain.