Mansfield Town’s defensive options will be further depleted for the local derby visit of Notts County next month after on-loan Forest defender Alex Iacovitti this week received a call-up to play for Scotland U21s.
Iacovitti, 19, is one of 12 uncapped players in an experimental squad, the first announced by new Scotland U21 boss, former Forest midfielder Scott Gemmill.
He will be away from Mansfield for UEFA European Championship qualifiers in Iceland on 5th October and Macedonia on 11th October which means he will miss the One Call Stadium showdown with the Magpies on 8th October as well as the Checkatrade EFL Trophy game at Port Vale next Tuesday.
Stags boss Adam Murray already has fellow defenders George Taft and Kyle Howkins sidelined with injury, but is happy for Iacovitti whom he has been delighted with so far.
“He has been superb,” said Murray. “Even though he’s played a few in the Championship, he’s not had a lot of competitive football, especially in League Two.
“But he’s come in, he’s been brilliant, both at centre half and at left back where he was outstanding.
“So it’s a big loss, especially in a local derby as he is so hungry to do well for Mansfield. But it is only League game and it’s good for him.”
Former U17 and U19 coach Gemmill took over the reins from Ricky Sbragia last month, who quit after the 4-0 away loss to Ukraine earlier this month.
Hearts defender John Souttar is suspended but there are a lot of new names.
Middlesbrough’s on-loan Hearts defender Jordan McGhee, Celtic midfielder Liam Henderson, Motherwell’s midfielder Chris Cadden, Dundee attacker Craig Wighton and Swansea City striker Oliver McBurnie are the most recognisable faces in the side.
Gemmill said: “We have very exciting young players coming through and this is an opportunity for them to test themselves at a very high level.”
The Scots are completely out of the reckoning for qualification for the UEFA U21 championships, being held in Poland this summer, as they languish second bottom of Group Three in the qualifying campaign.
The best Gemmill’s babes can hope for in their final two qualifiers is a fourth-placed finish with Macedonia leading the chase by a point from France.
Iacovitti has already played for his country at U17 and U19 level.