LOMAS ON STAGS: Time for Miller to shine on the Football League stage

editorial image

As Mansfield Town continue to build the momentum of an out-of-control juggernaut, how thrilling to see manager Steve Evans further bolster his squad before the transfer deadline.

Strengthening when in the lofty position Mansfield occupy is always preferable to strengthening when in a position of desperation.

Teams are happy to look down on other clubs when they are trying to patch up the holes in their sinking ships with whichever waifs and strays they can persuade to join them.

However, at the other end of the table it’s a whole lot easier to bring in the cream of what is available – especially when you have money to spend.

Sides already struggling to keep up with you are left groaning when they see who else you’ve managed to add to your roster.

Steve Evans assured Mansfield fans he had not spent all his transfer kitty in the summer and looks to have pulled three more rabbits out of the hat.

Youngsters Adam King and Matt Penney arrive from big clubs who already think a lot of them and their prospects.

I am looking forward to see if the pair can live up to their rich promise during this crucial final 16 games of what we all hope will be a promotion season.

But the one that really caught the eye was the signing of Ricky Miller.

This man’s goalscoring record is absolutely phenomenal.

I know in the past that goalscoring at the lower levels does not always equate to scoring in the Football League.

But on the other hand check out how Jamie Vardy did when he was finally given the chance. It can and does happen.

Like Vardy, Miller has come from a different background to those who have spent their career in the League and has had his discipline issues on and off the field.

Indeed, a court case hangs over him for April and the Stags will be hoping for good news on that.

Miller is now 28 and, to his credit, has admitted he has enlisted some help to try to sort his off-the-field issues and now just wants to concentrate on what he does best and help fire Stags to promotion.

He has acknowledged that Evans has taken a chance on him and has vowed to repay that faith.

The fact that Peterborough have already agreed the option of Stags buying him in the summer, confirms he is no longer in their plans.

Miller may have had more clubs than Tiger Woods in his relatively short career. But maybe Mansfield could be the club where he finally settles down and explodes onto the Football League scene after false starts with Posh and Luton Town.

Three straight League Two wins, undefeated in nine and only one loss in 18 games tells you all you need to know about the squad Evans has crafted so far.

Stags have only lost away at Crawley since that dismal 3-1 home defeat by promotion rivals Swindon Town back on 14th October last year.

So this Saturday’s game is the perfect chance for revenge against Swindon.

The Robins have had an odd season where they have been dynamite away from home but inconsistent at the County Ground, though have won their last three outings there now.

Things are so tight up there in League Two, you can barely afford a slip.

Swindon are in seventh place but a win over Stags would see them leapfrog Steve Evans’ men on Saturday.

It is the first of four massive games in a row against promotion rivals which could have far-reaching consequences – Newport at home (though their challenge has faded recently), Exeter away and Coventry at home follow Swindon.

That run will leave us with just 12 games to go and, by then, Stags should know a lot more about their top three chances and how good the deadline week signings have proved to be.