Teenage defender Liam Marsden has enjoyed two game in succession for Mansfield Town’s first team for the first time this week and hopes he can now win himself a regular slot.
The 19-year-old local lad, who also boasts a superb long throw, is vying with Lee Beevers for the right wing back slot and was gutted that a pre-season ankle injury saw his hopes of starting the season evaporate.
“I was disappointed as I had a good pre-season,” said Marsden. “But Lee Beevers is a good player and I also had that little ankle injury in training which came at a terrible time to pick up an injury.
“I am setting myself more goals and I hope to get better and progress as a player. Last season was a good season as I made my debut, which I didn’t expect.
“It’s been good being in and around the first team and it has been quite easy to settle in with the boys.
“It is always good playing for your local team. It is a dream when you are growing up and watching them and that dream has come true.
“Last year was a good season and I think this is a better squad, though it’s not as big.”
Marsden’s long throw was discovered by accident in his youth football days and could become one of Stags’ secret weapons as his career progresses.
He said: “I started out playing football for Glapwell in the Chad Youth League. The manager watched me throw the ball up the line and said we need you to throw it like that into the box, which got us a few goals to be fair.
“But there is no technique to it. I don’t work on it. It is just one of those natural things.”
Marsden will head to Wycombe with the squad tomorrow, knowing the fifth-placed Chairboys will be a completely different proposition to last season, when they only avoided relegation on the last day after Stags beat their relegation rivals Bristol Rovers.
“They are a completely different team to last season. They’ve had a good start and are flying in and around the play-off places,” said Marsden.
“It’s always a hard place to travel and our legs won’t be as good as a home game, but no excuses, we will go down there and try to get three points.”
He is hoping Stags can build on last week’s superb 2-1 win at Exeter.
Marsden added: “It was a battle at Exeter, but the lads dug deep. We played to our strengths and played the ball well on the floor and in the air with some good passing.”