Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans pitched his youth team players into an inter-squad game against first teamers today to have a proper look at the depth of talent he has inherited.
“The analysis has to go across all the playing staff,” he said just before they kicked off.
“If I was a parent of one of those young 17/18-year-old kids, I’d want to be asking has Steve Evans looked at my boy? Has he seen him in action?
“The one thing I did promise the chairman and chief executive when I came in was my analysis of the playing squad goes right across the whole remit.
“We have seen them in training, but this is our first chance to see them in a little game.
“We are also using it to get some minutes for the lads that have not had a lot of minutes in the first team recently. So it’s a wonderful opportunity for them.”
Evans was hoping some of the youngsters would catch his eye and he said: “They know if I get a good performance here today or in training, there is a chance the management team might pull me across and ask me to train with the first team on a regular basis.
“We have had different players that have been recommended and sent across by John (Dempster) and the staff. But there’s nothing better than looking for yourself.
“There is a freshness in it. You might be a right back in the U18s and you might think there’s only the strikers or centre halves get sent across and do you get your chance?
“Well here is an opportunity to be a shining light. And we won’t be shy. We’ve always said if they are good enough they are certainly old enough.
“I am looking forward to seeing them.
“They are a bright bunch. They have been giving me some stick about my scarf, my hat, my gloves, my brolly and everything!
“That’s what you want to see. Young men who are full of the pride of being a footballer – now let’s see if they can play.”
Stags gave much-needed minutes to players short on game time like Darius Henderson and Mitch Rose in the inter-squad game.
“There is only Rhys Bennett missing this morning, who’s got a little strain from Saturday,” said Evans.
“But he should be back in training on Thursday so there’s nothing too worrying about that.”