When the retained list was revealed at the end of last season, there were three names I wasn’t happy to see in the category of ‘players under contact and made available for transfer’.
Anyone whose read my blogs over the last year will know two of those names in Paul Anderson and Paul Digby – the other is a man who has just been taken off the list, and rightly so in my view, Will Atkinson.
Digby and Anderson remain on the transfer list although Anderson IS currently out in Portugal whilst it would appear Digby is not, but that is a discussion for another time.
Removing 29 year old Atkinson from the list is a positive move from David Flitcroft, as Atkinson, in my opinion, provides adaptability across the midfield and fits with the type of play Flitcroft will impose this forthcoming season.
Able to play right, left and centre, Atkinson can really deliver when called upon and does a lot of the “unseen” work closing play down and creating space – I think he’s tenacity will really shine and get the best out of the likes of Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton.
I’ve written numerous articles over the years about finding a set position for a player who can player in a number, Paul Digby and Alex MacDonald were prime examples – but with Atkinson, I think it’s the opposite, let him roam, allow him space and freedom, let him be the engine and watch us progress.
At the same time of confirming the removal of Atkinson from the transfer list, the club confirmed that former bury skipper Nathan Cameron has joined the club out in Portugal for the training camp.
The long serving Bury man is exactly the type of commanding central defender need and could fill the void left by Rhys Bennett, however much like David Mirfin, Cameron has a recent injury history and in the last two season has appeared for the shakers less than ten times which is a worry.
If however the Stags medical team can get Cameron match fit, it’s certainly worth taking a punt on the 26 year old as we really do lack cover and back up in that area with Zander Diamond, similarly to Paul Digby, being nowhere to been seen in Portugal and transfer listed.
Staying with the transfer listed players, Paul Anderson IS out in Portugal and training with the first team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken off that list in the coming weeks and playing a key part next season.
Anderson’s transfer listing was no shock after he wasn’t fancied by Flitcroft upon his arrival, we know from our Memory lane episode with Bobby Hassell that Flitcroft is prone to targeting the older players in favour of blooding youth.
However that doesn’t mean the versatile former Forest man can’t win over Flitcroft and get the first team football he so desperately wants in order to stay at Mansfield – another fact he’s made clear to anyone whose spoken to him.
The final player listed is Calum Butcher who has also been spotted out in Portugal training with the squad – it’s an interesting one where the 27 year old is concerned as he was only loaned out last season as he couldn’t settle up here without his young family who, according to the world of rumours (I know you should never do this but still) were meant to be moving closer to Mansfield during this summer.
Who knows with that one, but for me, Butcher does has a talent and the ability to play at a much higher by very much falls into the category of performing well in a certain role, set system and style of play.
The excitement is certainly building more and from the signings we’ve made so far – Flitcroft looks to be shaping a good spine of the team, and putting together a squad who be physically fitter and more focussed for the challenge ahead which is still very much promotion.
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