David Flitcroft finally gets his man as Willem Tomlinson joins Mansfield Town

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Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft said new signing Willem Tomlinson was an all-round midfielder he has kept an eye on since he was manager at Swindon Town.

Stags stole the 21-year-old from under the noses of League Two promotion rivals Exeter City last night, where he had been training and agreed a deal, to give him an 18-month contract.

A delighted Flitcroft said: “Sometimes we pigeon-hole midfielders – he’s a number four or a number 10. But Willem is an all-round combative midfield player.

“He is all-action and someone I was watching quite closely with my northern connections from when I was at Swindon. He broke into the first team and played games in the Championship and League One.

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“When he became available it was an opportunity to get him and give him an 18-month deal.

“I am looking forward to working with him. I think he is a good signing for us.

“It is certainly an area in which we need a lot of cover. We can rotate in there with different formulas and formations we can look at.

“He is a player for now and for medium term as well.”

Flitcroft said he now felt the midfield department could cope with all eventualities with the arrival of Tomlinson.

“I looked at the squad numbers before the window,” he said.

“We lost Butch (Calum Butcher), Dave Mirfin, Omari (Sterling-James) and Timi Elsnik. It was matter of looking carefully and making sure we had cover.

“I have Bish (Neal Bishop) on nine bookings which has concerned me for a few weeks. His loss in the second half at Carlisle really worried me.

“Macca’s (Alex MacDonald) probably still three weeks away. So we are making sure we’ve got the numbers right, which I think we have now.”