Over to you, Mansfield Town: Imps 2-2 Wolves (4-5 pens)

Four things we learned from the Wolves Under 21 game

Adam Crookes is not viable cover at full back

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I might get a bit of a pasting for this, I know the Forest youngster is a home-grown lad and of course I want him to do well, but we’ve seen him to blame for three goals in three matches now. He was out of position for the opening strike last night, Wolves’ first foray into out half and I’d be concerned if he was dropped into League Two action.

I would be surprised if we keep him beyond the New Year, we’ll be out of this competition and his game time will be suffocated. 

What he needs is a long stint somewhere like Boston or Alfreton, getting lots of regular game time at a competitive level. The errors may come from match rustiness, they may be youthful naivety, but they’ll do him no favours in the long-term.

I don’t want this to appear to be me slating him, there are aspects of his play I’ve seen and like, but I’m not convinced that he’s League two quality just yet.


When called upon, Matt Green will be ready and waiting

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

My admiration of Matt Green has never been a secret and to see him on the scoresheet gave me great delight. Green is a class act, in terms of attitude and application and last night he showed once more why he’ll be perfect for a first team spot when the time is right.

He’s so quick, always running the channels and of course, he was our leading scorer last season. Last night he took his personal tally to five for the campaign, more than he had at the same stage last time out.

His goals showed all the classic Matt Green traits, pace, awareness and coolness under pressure. He was given a bit of stick last season for not being a natural finisher, but anyone watching his second goal back last night will argue against that. He’s still one of our best players, despite being on the bench and last night he proved it.

Trevor Kettle is still unpredictable

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I know I didn’t watch the game and frankly if we’re going to get Kettle, I’d rather it was a non-entity of a game such as this. He’s a menace, always has been and always will be. His bookings for dissent showed a lack of understanding of the game last night and the comments from Steve Thompson on the radio only underlined what a poor referee this guy has been throughout his career.

One decision I do agree with is the booking for Matt Green for deliberate handball though. Referee’s cannot use their discretion for something when it is a standard offence with a pre-set level of punishment. It’s a bookable offence, plain and simple.

Still, stopping the game when we’re attacking for an injury that isn’t to the head is not within the rules anymore and as usual, Kettle showed a lot of yellow cards in a game that wasn’t as full-blooded as a League fixture. Makes me wish we had him for the first group game against Mansfield, we might have ended up playing eight men.

Jury is still out on Mensah

Courtesy Graham Burrell

It must be hard coming into a side and not getting a lot of game time, but as yet I’ve not seen anything from Bernard Mensah that suggests he’s knocking on the first team door.

We laud the depth of our squad, but three win less Checkatrade games suggests perhaps it isn’t quite as deep as we feel. Outside of the match day 16 there’s a few players who don’t take a chance when it comes their way and at the moment, Mensah is one.

Adam Crookes I’ve already mentioned and Sam Slocombe is one who doesn’t convince me either. I do feel the players that impress but won’t get game time are likely to be loaned out, such as Luque and Smith. 

I understand it is tough for Mensah, but it must be a concern when a League One player joins a League two club on loan and doesn’t impress against an Under 21 side. There’s talent there, he has the build and the physical attributes to impact the side but he’s surely running out of chances.