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Match Previews

FA Youth Cup preview: Stags v Derby

8 November 2023

Mansfield Town under-18s face Derby County on Friday evening in the FA Youth Cup first round (7pm kick-off).

Stags drew 2-2 at home to Grimsby Town on Saturday. Midfielder Alfie King and forward McKeal Abdullah netted for the amber and blue.

Speaking to, professional development phase lead coach Steve Chettle reflected on the contest.

“It was a really tough game and it was very competitive.

“We were fantastic for the first half an hour and played probably some of our best football of the season but two errors of judgement in the back four saw us go 2-1 down before half-time.

“In the second-half, it became a bit of an end-to-end game. McKeal, again, scored a goal to get us back to 2-2 and then it could have gone either way.

“We were pleased with a point after all of it.”

On the mood in the squad ahead of Friday’s FA Youth Cup first round fixture against Derby, the coach added: “They’re very excited.

“When the fixtures come out everybody looks for what the first round of the FA Youth Cup will be and it’s a big challenge for us.

“Derby County at home. There’s a lot of rivalry between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Some of our players have been at Derby before as kids so it should be a really good atmosphere.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

The former Nottingham Forest defender went on to provide an insight into the advice he’ll give the young Stags ahead of the encounter.

“[I’ll be telling them to] Play with their heads and not let the emotions of the game get to them,” he said.

“Everybody realises it’s a big game – especially with it being at One Call Stadium.

“It’s special for them. They have got to make sure they’ll be mentally prepared and physically it will be tough as well because we’re playing against a Category 1 team.”

On some of the under-18s’ standout performers so far this season, he said: “[Midfielder] Ollie Taylor – who is a first-year scholar has trained with the first team already this year. His performances have been really consistent.

“Elliot Hartmann is another first-year who plays right-back who again has been consistent.

“We have then got our attacking midfield players, Ronnie Kokkinos and Alfie King, who have been training with the first team also.

“We have a good mix of first and second years and some really exciting, talented players to see. The manager [Nigel Clough] is aware of these players already and has involved them in first team training.

“It’s super exciting and we’re super excited for the game. We hope people come along to watch.”

The PDP lead coach provided an encouraging message to the supporters, and people interested in attending, ahead of the match.

“We try and play an attractive brand of football just as the manager does in the first team.

“We’re looking for the same things he’s looking for with dynamic and smart passing.

“The game gives a chance for people to come and see the next breed of Stags’ players so get yourself down.

“It’s an opportunity to try and make this a great night for our scholars.”

Tickets remain on sale for the encounter with blocks A-D of the Ian Greaves Stand lower tier open for Stags’ supporters.

Home tickets can be purchased online now at

Away fans will be situated in blocks G and H of the same stand.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Adult: £3

Concessions (Under 18s & 65+): £1

Refreshment kiosks will also be available for all supporters.

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