LOMAS ON STAGS: Stags strengthen ahead of a season of unknown destiny

Bringing in an extra midfielder in the shape of Ryan Stirk this week is a wise move by Nigel Clough as the new season draws ever closer for Mansfield Town.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 4:23 pm
Mansfield Town's coaching staff - making sure they are covered in all departments for the season ahead.

Midfield looked to be Stags strongest department but it only took a few knocks in pre-season to sideline three players and have alarm bells ring.

Interesting also that Clough may do the same for the central defensive department, having turned to striker Jordan Bowery to play out of position for a time at Hill on Saturday.

As Clough says, anyone coming in must be good enough to challenge for a starting place.

It's not his way to have a large squad that gradually become disgruntled over a season and pay out wages unnecessarily.

But who knows what lies ahead of us this time around?

It is certainly a season of renewed optimism at this moment after the misery of the last two years, but it is also a season of huge unknowns.

After an aborted season and another behind-closed-doors due to the pandemic, no one knows which way the next campaign may go. More and more people I know seem to be getting the illness right now, albeit less severely then before the jabs were utilised.

But it's hard to know what Government rules will be from hour to hour let alone week to week anyway, and if we are hit another strain from another wave could leave some clubs caught short on playing staff.

I am already feeling for the competitors in Tokyo who, after so much sacrifice, are picking up and putting on their own medals in front of largely empty stadiums.

On the positive front, it was good to see Danny Johnson get a brace away at Championship Hull City in Saturday's friendly.

I think he may be worth a quiet bet on being Stags and even League Two's top scorer this season if he can match last season's form with even better service this time around.

Many of you will doubtless be having a flutter on Stags for promotion too and, while the club are not making any idle boasts and keeping their counsel, the astute-looking signings made coupled with the talent already in the building has promoted bookies to make them 3-1 joint third favourite with Forest Green and Leyton Orient behind big-spending favourites Salford City and Bristol Rovers.