Stags defender Thompson battles to overcome mental scars

FORMER Irish international John Thompson is back in light training as he tries to work towards a Mansfield Town debut following his horrific pre-season injuries.

Star Summer signing Thompson was the worst-hit of three victims of Gary Ricketts challenges in the ‘friendly’ at Ilkeston and, after having his face forced into an iron surround bar at the ground, had needed an operation to re-set his nose as well as 40 internal and external stitches.

Thompson was a spectator at Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with AFC Telford and is now starting work to get physically fit, though boss Paul Cox feels that may the least of Thompson’s worries as healing the mental scars could prove tougher.

“It was nice to see him back at the club with a smile on his face on Tuesday and his scars have healed really well,” said Cox.

“The players are really excited about him coming back into the fold.

“But I won’t be putting any time on when he will play again. That has to be down to him when he is ready.

“I won’t put any pressure on him. He has to be physically fit and, more importantly, mentally fit.”

With Ben Futcher already on four bookings and unavailable when his loan ends on 5th November until January, Thompson’s return could be perfectly time.

However, Cox added: “That’s true but we also now have Martin Riley fully fit who is a good player and the forgotten man at the moment and Rhys Day is back in training too. And that’s not counting Tom Naylor, who is still here at the moment.

“We have some very good centre halves at this club – it’s a manager’s dream.”