MANSFIELD Town were able to take full advantage of Kettering Town’s financial plight today when they were allowed to bring in the Poppies’ star midfield duo of Marcus Kelly and Aman Verma.
With experienced central defender John Dempster and pacey striker Nialle Rodney already signed, it means Stags have strengthened their squad with four exciting-looking signings before the loan window closed tonight.
However, with Louis Moult, Matt Green and Keiron Freeman already in on loan, not all four new faces may be able to face Bath City on Saturday as clubs can only use five loan signings at once.
Kettering were forced to put their whole squad up for sale and, with his excellent connections and relationship with the Poppies, Cox was able to dive in and cherry pick Kelly, the club’s player of the year last year, and Verma, whom Cox describes as a ‘fabulous footballer’.
Kelly and Verma are on loan with a view to them signing 18-month deals in January.
“It has been a hectic few weeks in terms of travelling to watch players and making phone calls,” said Cox.
“It had really become apparent the squad lacked depth and needed strengthening. So we have gone for four players. I wanted to show we are really serious about staying in the pack and get through to Christmas on the heels of the big boys up there.
“All four are in different positions so it will also get one or two looking over their shoulders and help cover us for suspension, injury or loss of form. We now have quality in depth to come in. It is easy for players to fall into a comfort zone when you have a small squad.
“We need to raise the bar and push standards even higher.”
Boss Paul Cox told www.mansfieldtown-net he was delighted with the signings and said: “Both Marcus and Aman are very good players at this level and are of the right age. They are both technically very gifted and will give us the strength in depth which our squad needs.”
Bath have won only once in the league all season and at home their 10 games so far have produced that one win and two draws to leave them marooned rock bottom, already 11 points off safety.
“It is a good time to throw new players in and give us fresh impetus,” said Cox.
“Bath are fighting for their lives and a dangerous animal. So we must make sure we hit the ground running and get at them. We must put the onus on trying to win the game.
“Such is the expectation at Mansfield Town that we are expected to win whether we play Bath or Manchester United. It took extra-time for a League club, Dagenham and Redbridge, to beat them in the FA Cup last night so we know how tough it will be.
“Last week they were beating Southport 1-0 until the 89th minute too.”
Stags are without skipper Adam Murray, serving a one-match suspension, and, while Louis Briscoe is back in training at last today, Saturday will come too soon for him.
Bath today brought in teenage Bristol City left-sided player Joe Bryan on loan. He can play left back or left of midfield and should make his debut against Stags.