Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox believes he has an improved squad at his disposal.
Despite having a smaller squad and smaller budget available than last season, Cox is confident he has put together a squad that possesses more versatility as well as more quality.
Mansfield defeated Grimsby Town 1-0 last night thanks to Matt Rhead’s first-half winner to continue their impressive pre-season campaign, which has included wins against Notts County and Leeds.
“We have got 20/21 players and it is about gelling them together as a unit,” Cox said. “We now need to put together an 11 that can take this team forward.
“I have got an honest and committed bunch of players. This squad is an improvement on what we had available last season, we just need to be lucky with injuries and suspensions, I think that is what will affect us the most this season.
“Sascha Studer looked excellent today. He was put under pressure, but handled things exactly as I would have expected and will become a top goalkeeper.
“I will have another look at the trialists this week. They are both players who have an excellent pedigree and who have both been promoted out of this division before.
“We have lots of irons in the fire at the moment and we will be working to improve the squad further, especially in the left side area.
“There will be no players leaving before the start of the season. We have got to make sure that we have competition to keep players on their toes and push them and that we have options in all areas.”
Cox also spoke of his delight at how his Mansfield side came through the tricky trip to Grimsby.
Addded Cox: “This was a different type of test for us, but just the test I wanted. I like games like this because it gives me plenty of problems to solve and tells me a lot about my players.
“It is very easy to get carried away when you are defeating teams higher up the football pyramid. This test, and the Lincoln, test tells me much more about where we are at than Leeds and Villa.
“This game was much more like the level we will be playing at, it was a very competitive game that helped bring us down with a bump.
“There are still areas that we can improve upon, both with and without the ball.
“We have kept two clean sheets and won our last two games which is very pleasing. We did not look very fluid going forward but we looked good defensively.
“We still have Luke Jones and Sam Clucas to come back. Liam Hearn got another 30 minutes under his belt.
“Fitness levels are improving and things are starting to come together.
“I experimented with two different elevens tonight, with different combinations and formations and have learnt a lot about individuals and the team group as a whole. It was an excellent workout tonight.”
Mansfield face Lincoln City away on Tuesday night, before wrapping up their pre-season campaign at home to Walsall.