Another week at Field Mill and well, what a busy one it’s been! Reflecting on Saturday’s goalless draw with AFC Telford United, Paul Cox spoke to me with honesty on Monday morning saying his side must get back to basics ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bath City.
As we head into the Christmas Period (the coca-cola adverts on TV so it’s officially Christmas!) the Stags boss has been keen to add to his squad, on Tuesday he did so adding experienced defender John Dempster to the ranks on loan from Crawley. The 28 year old former Kettering captain joins on loan for three months and comes as a massive boost following the departure of Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher. Whilst some will wonder where the arrival of Dempster will leave Rhys Day, you can’t fault the capture of another dominant centre half who has achieved success with three of his former clubs, Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering Town and Crawley.
Away from first team affairs briefly as we enter Wednesday, our youth team continued their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Boston United, Blake Vincent’s goal levelled the game in the second half after the young guns had fallen behind early on in the first half. The Stags point saw them stay top, however following a fixture today (Friday) involving second placed Ilkeston, the Stags young guns have been knocked off top spot and will fight to return there on Wednesday afternoon as they take on Fleetwood at Field Mill.
The Stags boss promised more signings following Dumpster’s arrival however with fans constantly pressing refresh on the official website, the next news to be revealed was Adam Smith’s departure on Wednesday. The 26 year old winger has again linked up with Aldershot on loan until January – in all honesty I don’t think he’ll be returning to Field Mill, I expect the move to become permanent. Adam’s a quality player on his day but sometimes ability and mindset are different things, would I like to see Adam in our side week in week out? Yes, but if moving him on free’s up money to bring in fresh talent with equal, if not better, ability – then I’m all for that. It’s not secret Adam was one of the highest earners at the club, one phrase will sum up the whole situation, it’s the one from Hot Fuzz – This move is “for the greater good” All the best Adam.
Smith’s departure until January of course frees up money, Paul Cox moved swiftly on ‘loan deadline day’ too bolster the squad with three signings. First Cox moved swiftly to add former Nottingham Forest youth teamer Nialle Rodney to the side, signing on a month’s loan from Bradford City. The 20 year old will add power and pace upfront and relieve the pressure on Matt Green’s shoulders, we need to play with flare and freedom up there, and personally I think that’s been missing. Questions will be raised towards the point of Louis Moults loan deal, perhaps he’s not done enough in training, perhaps he’s carrying a knock – we just don’t know. Louis a great talent, I thank him for his efforts and wish him well back at Stoke.
Thursday was a mental day as Rodney’s loan deal was signed sealed and delivered, Paul Cox and Micky Moore then worked wonders to bring a further two signings to the club, feeding on Kettering’s financial misery by bringing in poppies duo Aman Verma and Marcus Kelly. Both have joined initially on loan and will make the move permanent in January, penning 18 month deals. 24 year old Verma was of course part of Darlington’s FA Trophy winning side in May, the central midfielder could be thrown straight in as skipper Adam Murray is suspended for Saturday’s game. The addition of 25 year old Kelly is another positive move by Paul Cox, Kelly offers options at left back, left midfield and in the centre of the park, he comes highly recommended too having picked up Kettering’s player of the season award last season.
So four signings by Paul Cox takes our loan count up to seven, however BSBP rulings state you can only place five within your match day squad – so now the question remains, which loan players will miss out? My money would be on Louis Moult and John Dempster; I don’t see why Paul Cox would change a back four which managed to keep the Stags’ first clean sheet in 12 games last Saturday.
Louis Briscoe and Martin Riley both returned to training on Thursday, I see neither being involved on Saturday though, however I do see changes – expect Verma, Kelly and Rodney to debut. With skipper Murray suspended, we’re left wondering who will skipper the side, I’m sure John Thompson will be handed the armband to no complaints from players or supporters.
So that’s pretty much it for this week, be sure to join myself and Scott from 2PM tomorrow for our last broadcast on Takeover Radio, as the Stags head to rock bottom Bath City.
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