Promising Stags loanee Callum Elder, who left his teenage years behind by turning 20 this week, is hoping tomorrow’s big game at Carlisle United won’t be his last for the club.
The Leicester City left back, an Australian youth international, has impressed more with each game over his month on loan and, now having had a taste of first team football, is eager for more.
“This is my last game on Saturday, but I would be delighted to extend my stay as I am enjoying my time here. The lads are a great bunch,” he said.
“I am keeping in touch with the coaching staff at Leicester. They ask me how it’s gone and I’ve nothing but positive things to say to them.
“I am enjoying playing in a first team. Since I came here a lot of changes have happened in the team.
“We want to move forward and I think it will be a positive end to the season.
“This is my first loan and I am enjoying it. There is nothing like playing at 3pm on a Saturday in front of a crowd. I think I am growing as a player each game, adjusting to life in League Two and I think I am doing all right.”
It was a tough start to League life for Elder as he was one of five new players thrown in at the deep end at high-flying Burton earlier in the month and found themselves 2-0 down at half-time.
He said: “Burton away was an eye-opener, but I think we did well in the second half as a team and as individuals. Hopefully we can now take another step in the right direction.
“A lot of boys in the dressing room at Leicester told me what to expect. You can take as much information as you can but, until you experience it yourself, you don’t know what it’s all about.
“The difference between League Two and the U21 league is massive. It was the speed of the game more than anything as I knew it would be physical. It’s all about growing into it as quickly as I can which will be beneficial to everyone.
“If I can consistently produce a high level of performance it will be great for Mansfield and me. I can prove to both clubs that I can slot into a first team at a young age.”
Elder arrived as one of two Leicester City U21 loanees along with keeper Adam Smith, who has also shone so far.
“It helps having Adam Smith in goal and we come into training together,” he said.
“It’s good to have a familiar face behind me in goal and we have played a lot of football together. I think we are on the same wavelength and it’s going all right.
“He is a big lad and commands his box well. As a defender, having him behind you in goal gives you confidence.
“I have come here inexperienced and I know in their position Mansfield need results. But I am a quick learner.
“I have enjoyed working with Junior Brown on the left hand side. We’ve worked well together. It’s helpful that we get on well off the pitch too.
“The gaffer says we just need to believe in the process and these performances will turn into results on matchdays.”
Stags face a tough six-pointer at fellow strugglers Carlisle United tomorrow and Elder said: “We know it is a big game but all the lads are up for it. We are working hard in training trying to be ready.
“It is a long journey up there, but we want nothing less than three points at the end of it and we are looking forward to it.
“It’s what you live for as a footballer, playing for points on a matchday in front of fans and winning games.”