NOTTS COUNTY PREVIEW
YOUTH ON PARADE IN COUNTY CUP FINAL
Evening Post, 02 May 2007
Notts County will not risk any first-team regulars in tonight's County Cup final against Mansfield Town as they look to end their League Two season on a high.
The Magpies have not won their last three games and go to Macclesfield for the final match on Saturday knowing they can send their opponents into the Conference.
Thompson says he owes it to other teams in the league to field his strongest side and will use tonight's match at Meadow Lane (7.45) to give fringe players a run out
That will include twins Rob and Matt Austin, who have been given professional contracts for next season.
Thompson said: "There will be no first-team players. It will be the twins, plus people like Dan Martin, Tcham N'Toya, Bobby Wilson and Saul Deeney who need a game.
"I want to finish as high as I can in the league so no disrespect to the County Cup, we owe it to teams in the league as well to pick our strongest team at Macclesfield to try to win it.
"But you never know with young players, they will want to do well but it will be rusks at half-time.
"Billy Dearden agreed we would give youth a chance.
Mansfield are without a number of first team regulars through injury, including captain Jake Buxton, Jonathan D'Laryea, Matt Hamshaw and Giles Coke.
If the score is level after 90 minutes, it will go straight to penalties.
Notts fans will be in the Derek Pavis Stand and Stags supporters in the Kop End. Tickets are £8 adults, £5 concessions and students and £1 children.
Can battered Stags go out on a high?
SAFE at last, injury-ravaged Mansfield Town look to bring down the curtain on a season to forget in winning and, maybe even, trophy-lifting fashion this week.
Tomorrow night (Wednesday) Billy Dearden will try to fashion a side to travel to Notts County for the Notts FA County Cup final (7.45pm) before Saturday's final League Two game at Bury (3pm).
Seven senior players are in the treatment room with many others battling on well short of fitness and desperate for the end of the season.
Matt Hamshaw, Jon D'Laryea, Asa Charlton, Jake Buxton, Gareth Jelleyman and Giles Coke were this week joined by Callum Lloyd (hip) in the treatment room after he limped out of Saturday's crucial 2-1 win over Barnet in the first half.
None of these players are expected to be available for either game this week, though Buxton and Lloyd are outside bets for Bury.
Also full back John Mullins will be be resting up after a nasty bang to the head which left one eye closed for over half the game.
On top of these, players like Alex John-Baptiste and Stephen Dawson are going through the pain barrier just to make up the numbers.
"I have no idea what kind of side we will put out at Notts tonight," said assistant manager Paul Holland.
"It will probably be youngsters and fringe players but others may have to play if needed. It would be nice to be able to rest some of them like Dawson and John-Baptiste.
"Alex should probably have not played for the last month but has managed to get through and, all credit to him, looks like finishing an ever-present.
"He has been the one to look up to and has kept the defence together at times. He has been immense and we would love to keep him here.
"But the game will give the younger players the chance to impress and hopefully lift a trophy at the end of it. It could also give other players the chance to be in the shop window."
With Asa Charlton now told he will be joining Barry Conlon and Martin Gritton out the Field Mill door this summer, John-Baptiste is joined by the likes of Simon Brown, Michael and Rory Boulding, Lloyd, Dany Sleath, Chris Wood and Giles Coke in being out of contract in the summer.
"We have spoken to some of the lads already and, now we are safe and know what's happening next season, we will sit down and sort out everyone's futures, hopefully this week," said Holland.
"Hopefully we can come to an agreement with those we want to keep. They know they have to do better.
"They can't be coming in asking for big pay rises when we've finished 17th or 18th again - that's not where we want to be."
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