Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes the club’s future is bright after seeing the Stags’ in-form youth team advance into round two of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 home win over Cambridge City on the main One Call Stadium pitch on Monday night.
The youngsters now face the winners of Thursday’s Dereham Town v Peterborough United tie in the next round and Murray said: “When you play in the Youth Cup, no matter who you play it’s a big occasion.
“I know the boys had built themselves up for the four or five days before so there were a lot of nerves out there.
“It was the first time they had played on here in front of our home fans, so they looked a bit anxious. It was just a case of relax and play your game and second half we started to play some football, even though we couldn’t see each other because of the fog and, in the end we got the result.
“It was a great experience for them and part of the experience for when they do eventually come in with us. These games and these occasions are invaluable, so it is brilliant for the boys.”
He added: “They can play better. I think first half they were average but second half we showed our quality. Again, it’s a bit like the first team – it’s a whole new set-up and it will take time to get it exactly where we want it with the type of football we want to produce and the type of players we want.
“But the boys are sat top of the league, so like we keep saying, the whole club is in a great place and to see some of our young boys on show on Monday was excellent.
“We had seven of them in today training with us and we will have a look at them as the ultimate aim is to get them out there.”
Giant centre half Corbin Shires, who was hospitalised by a virus after making the first team squad, played in the game and Murray said: “He’s obviously had his illness, which shook him for a couple of months, but he’s back now and needs games.
“He played in a back three on Monday which he is not used to playing and it took him a little bit of time to get going.
“But he is one for the future. He is 17 years old, 12ft tall and feet like a wizard, so he has all the attributes you want.”
Murray continued: “I went with Demps (youth team manager John Dempster) to some of the trials over the summer and obviously you get a lot of lads from the bigger clubs who have been released. We picked a couple out together and we’ve got some good boys in there.
“You’ve got Cain Smith in midfield who for me is industrious, very good technically, and he’s fit. And you’ve Zayn (Hakeem) up front who is quick, has good movement and scores goals.
“There’s some really positive young lads in there who are 16/17/18 years of age and we want to get them in the first team as quick as we can. If they are good enough at 16 then they will go in.”