Mansfield Town’s youth team have a second successive league title in their sights – and first team boss Steve Evans is hoping to reap the dividends of a new crop of talented youngsters coming through.
The reigning champions strengthened their hopes of retaining the Youth Alliance crown last weekend with a vital win over leaders and biggest rivals Oldham Athletic to take over at the top.
Oldham had begun the day at the top, level on points with the Stags, but with a superior goal difference.
But, despite going behind, two goals from Jason Law saw Stags home to a 2-1 win to go three points clear with five games to go.
“I messaged John Dempster as soon as I knew the result on Saturday,” said Evans.
“I was buzzing for them, not just for John but for the players as they are the boys that have to go out and do it. Then you’ve got the likes of Mike Whitlow and Richard Cooper – they work so hard with the new structure. You want them to do really well.
“If it’s got a Mansfield Town crest on it, whether it’s U9, U15, ladies or whoever, we want them to win if they wear our badge.
“When we haven’t got a reserve game we have our players play against the best in the youth structure and we get an opportunity to look at them first hand.
“It’s why the young boy Lewis Collins is training with us on a daily basis as he was quite outstanding.
“We have to be all over it as we want some of those boys into the first team.”