LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Stags can sharpen their promotion claws against Championship trio

Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football;Skybet; Play Off Semi Final;'Mansfield Town v Newport County'12/5/2019  KO 6.00pm; One Call Stadium;'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229''Stag's Krystian Peace consoles Ryan Sweeney after losing the penalty shoot out
Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football;Skybet; Play Off Semi Final;'Mansfield Town v Newport County'12/5/2019 KO 6.00pm; One Call Stadium;'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229''Stag's Krystian Peace consoles Ryan Sweeney after losing the penalty shoot out

Many Mansfield Town supporters will get a first glance at the new summer signings as football comes home to the One Call Stadium tomorrow night.

The last time we were there, fans were filing out in silence or tears after the Play-Off semi-final penalties defeat by Newport County.

Top scorer Tyler Walker’s missed penalty proved costly as manager David Flitcroft tried to fight back his own tears at the post-match press conference.

That was nine weeks ago – but it seems a lifetime ago now.

Walker and Flitcroft have long since gone, an ambitious rookie manager has been installed and a couple of top class striker signings have been added to an already excellent squad.

With the players in the building and the backing of the Radford family, new boss John Dempster knows he has the tools to finally get the club over the finishing line this time – and optimism is high that he can deliver if the players gel and Lady Luck is kinder.

Championship trio Blackburn, Hull and Forest will give tough tests over the next seven days that will see him able to formulate a starting XI at Newport County on 3rd August.

But it is quite telling that, while other recent managers have said these big home friendly games are about keeping shape under pressure and working hard without the ball against illustrious opposition, the new management have said the games will be more about Stags keeping the ball and seeing what questions they can ask of Championship opposition which is refreshing.

It sounds very much like Mansfield want to take on League Two on the front foot next month and hit the ground running.

You win nothing promotion-wise until the end of the campaign.

But there is nothing like sending out a powerful early statement of intent to worry opponents and spark a rush of supporters through the turnstiles to match, if not better, last season’s excellent backing.

Stags have certainly made a statement of intent before a ball is kicked by seeing off League One competition to sign the likes of Andy Cook, Nicky Maynard and Dion Donoghue.

Now the players need to carry Dempster’s vision onto the field and sharpen their promotion claws against some very talented players over the next seven days to further whet the appetite.