OPINION: Stags won’t be the promotion bridesmaid

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For the second successive August I will be leading one of my daughters down the ‘aisle’ for what I am sure will be a wonderful wedding.

Just a few days earlier Mansfield Town will have kicked off the eagerly-awaited 2017-18 season after a summer of spending that has raised hopes of promotion.

But will the Stags end up being a bridesmaid at the League Two promotion party in May — or will they be the blushing bride?

Manager Steve Evans has pieced together a squad that has impressed the bookies — all the major firms make the Stags one of the favourites to go up next season.

Owner John Radford, chief executive Carolyn Radford and, of course, the fans are all talking up our chances of playing League One football in 2018.

Well over 2,000 supporters have snapped up season tickets, clearly impressed by the investment made by the Radfords.

And after 13 signings up to the acquisition of striker Omari Sterling-James, it is easy to see why.

Experience and class in defence — David Mirfin and Zander Diamond have won promotions and played at a higher level — and in midfield make the Stags look very strong on paper.

But, as we all know, until the season kicks off none of us will know how the amber and blue will fare next season.

I would like to see the attack strengthened further, however, despite the arrival of Sterling-James to join other newcomers Lee Angol and Jimmy Spencer, and Danny Rose, a player who thrived under the positivity of manager Evans. Now that the Stags have a higher profile among the rest of the division — thanks to the ebullience of the colourful Evans and the ambition of the Radfords — they will be there to be shot at next season.

Another goalscorer, particularly an experienced one, would send an even stronger message to the division and provide insurance against injuries and suspensions.

Either way, I think this year the Stags won’t be the promotion bridesmaid as everyone at the club is geared towards making this a season to remember.

But for now I won’t be worrying too much about the ifs, buts and maybes ahead.

Instead I am savouring the mouthwatering prospects of so many derbies and the visit of Coventry City. I can still clearly recall the Stags’ shock 1976 win that knocked City out of the League Cup.

Let’s hope 2017-18 will bring more happy memories.