Steve Evans confirmed that midfielder Jack Thomas had caught his eye during the reserve team’s 2-1 win over Notts County on Tuesday.
Thomas has found himself on the fringes of the squad all season, but as part of a very strong reserves side he shone, particularly in the second half as he proved he is finally fully fit and a serious contender for a first team start.
Evans, who fielded nine first teamers in the side, said: “It was good for the players. We started really bright. We had a real energy and purpose in the first 15 minutes and got two early goals.
“At that time you were probably thinking this could get a bit too easy, and it did become too easy. What happens from that is players take an extra touch, they try to hit their pass more precise and everything goes off a bit.
“But we worked incredibly hard and full praise must be given to young Jack Thomas.
“He suddenly looked like the player we could remember watching last season when he got into the team. He was a really dynamic box to box player.
“We have got him a bit fitter so Lee Taylor takes a lot of compliments for that as Jack has been able to produce performances like that.”
He added: “There were other winners. Danny Rose and Paddy Hoban will always look a handful for any team so I was really pleased with them and the boy Baxendale has had a lot of minutes under me as I think he is a real talent. But, like most others here we just need him to get a little bit sharper.”
The side contained two young players in Keiran Harrison and Louis Danquah and Evans said: “It’s great to see the young lads come through.
“Nothing will please me more than two or three Mansfield youngsters being able to break into the squad and get in the team.
“The youth team have a big task here as the quality of the first team goes up. It gets tougher.
“So the demands on the youth team staff will actually go up to find better players as we will hopefully very soon trying to find players good enough to go to League One and the Championship and not just League Two.”