Paul Cox will send his youth team into the lion’s den tonight as Stags fulfil their reserve league game at local arch-rivals Chesterfield (7pm).
With the Mansfield Town squad still bleary-eyed from the weekend celebrations of winning the BSBP title and packing their cases for a trip to Tenerife, Cox will use tonight’s game as a chance to blood his young guns against older and more experienced opponents to see who may stand a chance of going all the way.
“I want to have a look at which of these young kids might come through into my first team,” he said. “We have a lot of local boys here champing at the bit. There are some very good players and sometimes you have to let them off the leash and put them into ‘men’s football’.
“I know it’s a local derby, but, for me, the real battles with Chesterfield will be the first team next season.
“I know these kids won’t let us down, even if they lose the game. We have to keep testing them and pushing them.”