Mansfield Town were delivered a hammer blow for the play-offs with the news that key defender Matt Preston will miss both legs to recover from his second concussion of the season.
However, boss David Flitcroft said that will open up an opportunity for the patient Ben Turner to show his worth in League Two’s meanest defence against Newport County.
Preston suffered a nasty blow to the head when challenging MK Dons keeper Lee Nicholls on Sunday and, having tried to carry on, went down in challenging Chuks Aneke and this time left the field with just 19 minutes gone.
“It was a bad collision he had with the keeper,” said Flitcroft.
“He has already had concussion this season. It’s not just topical, it’s something that’s really important that he football hierarchy are trying to get right. We’re trying to put things in place. We have a duty of care to players.
“Matty will probably miss both games due to having concussion for the second time this season.
“It’s such a short turnaround with Thursday and Sunday looming.
“We will assess him after that. There is a protocol to go through step by step.
“He has been brilliant for us this season and two games you’d want him to play in he can’t.
“Our support and love is with Matty but it just opens up an opportunity for someone else.”
Turner turned in a superb performance in the defeat at MK and Flitcroft has no qualms about putting the big man in.
“The press and pundits are obsessed with tactics,” he said.
But these games are won with people and Ben Turner is made for big games. His leadership quality and his defiance in not letting somebody get ahead of him – he is a brilliant person to have around.
“He said to me the other week, gaffer, whenever you need me I am keeping myself ready.
“It’s been difficult as we have the best defensive record in the league and the three lads have played phenomenally all season to lock out teams.
“Turns has been unlucky and had to be patient, but he picked his opportunity up on Saturday and was really good.
“When you work with him every day you realise why he has played at the level he’s played at and why he’s done what’s he’s done. There is a defiance about him. He is a player I want around.”