Skipper Ricky Ravenhill impressed by Stags’ youth production line

Ricky Ravenhill
Ricky Ravenhill
  • Stags’ future in good hands
  • Highquality of youth a suprise to Ravenhill
  • No fear of Bury in the camp

Stags skipper Ricky Ravenhill reckons the club’s future is in good hands after seeing the quality of young talent coming along the club’s youth conveyor belt.

Ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Bury, Ravenhill admitted he had no idea just how high the quality of Mansfield Town’s youth system was until he signed with three of the future stars given new contracts last week.

“I love seeing them come through,” he said. “Since I have been here it’s one thing that has really impressed me. You don’t know about that before coming in.

“I have seen six or seven players who have a good chance of coming on and progressing over the next few years.

“Jack Thomas, Joe Fitzpatrick and Corbin Shires are really good players who train with us quite often and don’t look out of place which makes you quite optimistic for the future of the club.

“But they will need a bit of experience to help them along the way. I am fully committed to this club and want to stay here as long as I can.”

Boss Adam Murray has said he wants to blood as many youngsters as possible this season once safety is achieved.

Stags can all but do that with wins over Bury tomorrow and AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday in two home games in four days, which would probably only leave them needing one more win from their last nine games.

“The end of the season is coming up and we have some big games to play,” said Ravenhill.

“We have 11 to go and there is a lot of football left to be played. We want to finish as strongly as we can.

“But you can’t look too far ahead or you will get tripped up in the short term. Game by game we will tick them off towards our points targets.

“We won’t let this season go in any shape or form. Once we are safe we will try to finish as high as we can.

“Put two, three, four back-to-back wins together and the league changes so much it’s frightening. There is a lot to play for as there are a lot of places we can move up.

“I know it’s a cliché but we will take each game at a time and Saturday is a big game. Bury are a good team, they’ve proved that over a season and spent a lot of money.

“But we know we are capable of giving them a good game if we turn up. There is nothing to fear in this league, it’s all about consistency.”

Last weekend it took a goal by the home side to spark Stags into life and earn a 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Cheltenham Town.

Ravenhill said: “We were not happy with the way we played in the first half, though away from home to come in at 0-0 at half-time, we had to some level done our jobs. But we knew we could do better.

“In the second half we took the game to them and, at the end of the day, we were disappointed we didn’t get all three points.

“We have had a lot of games coming thick and fast and you are going to get times like that. You get times when people are not quite 100 per cent but you have to come through those times.

“If you have got seven or eight players on their game and they are better than the opposition are, then you are going to get a lot of results.

“But we don’t want to go 1-0 down every time before we get into gear.”

Stags’ equaliser on Saturday came from Scunthorpe loan striker Billy Kee, who looks to be hitting form in his final month at the club.

“He is working so hard,” said Ravenhill. “Everyone knows his ability and his record in this league. I hope he can now start putting it all together.

“He has had a stop-start season so far. But he scores goals like that day in day out on the training ground.”