YORK City could still strengthen their strikeforce during the run-in to the end of their Sky Bet League Two campaign.
Manager Nigel Worthington would have until Thursday, March 27 to recruit a new forward before the window for loan signings closes.
Top-two scorers Wes Fletcher and Ryan Jarvis were both on the bench for Saturday’s 1-0 win at AFC Wimbledon, where recently-converted centre-foward Michael Coulson scored the only goal of the game.
Ryan Bowman has also started the last 11 matches up front, although he has not netted in nine outings prior to tonight’s trip to Mansfield.
City chief Worthington believes the attacking quartet are as strong as any other group in the Football League’s basement tier when on form and injury free.
But, with Fletcher and Jarvis having both had spells on the sidelines recently and at other stages this term, Worthington is still scouting around for possible reinforcements.
He said: “Michael Coulson has been putting real shifts in and has now brought a few goals into the bargain, which is a big plus. Ryan Bowman needs to put the ball in the net to get him through this lean spell and then more should come.
“Jarv and Wes have had their injuries that have hampered them but, when the four of them are fit and on top of their games, I think they are as good as anything in the division. If I could bring in another forward before March 27 to mix things up, though, I would love to do it.
“It would need to be the right individual to add to what we have got and maybe even make us better if possible, although it’s not always an easy position to fill.”
Thirteen-goal Fletcher came on as a second-half substitute at Kingsmeadow after missing two matches with a groin problem and Worthington is now mulling over whether to recall him to the starting XI, with Bowman the most likely candidate to make way.
On his selection options at Field Mill, Worthington added: “You have to make decisions as a manager and can’t shy away from them. If we do make changes, I will explain it to the outgoing and incoming players.
“It’s never about any individual. It’s about a squad of players.”
Mansfield are currently eight positions behind ninth-placed City but a home win this evening would close the gap on their visitors to a single point.
Worthington is expecting another physical contest and has warned his players that they will need to pay particular close attention to front two Sam Clucas and Matt Rhead, saying: “We must be as committed as Mansfield, otherwise they will over-power us with their aggressive play.
“Clucas is a very, very good player up front and the big lad Rhead does the work of three players. After that, they have got a group of good, honest, hard-working and fit professionals who will give their all.
“You have to admire and respect that but, if we do our jobs, we know we can win the match.”
John McCombe, who switched from tonight’s hosts to Bootham Crescent in January, will be tasked with keeping Rhead and Clucas quiet and Worthington has been delighted the towering centre-back has regained his love for the game following a frustrating spell with the Stags.
“Big John is a super lad,” the City boss enthused. “He’s enjoyed his football since he came here and has played with freedom, while enjoying the surroundings here and the welcome he has received.
“That’s great from my point of view because when you have happy players within your ranks it can take you a long way.”
With seventh-placed Southend visiting a Scunthorpe side unbeaten since the turn of the year while City tackle Mansfield, there is also potential for Worthington’s men to close the four-point gap to the play-off positions.
But he remains uninterested in extolling promotion prospects.
“We are playing catch-up as far as the play-offs are concerned and there are still teams with games in hand who can go above us,” he pointed out. “You may as well talk through your hat if you talk about the play-offs, but we have just got to keep picking up as many points as possible.
“We will win points and drop points and so will teams above and below us. We have just got to wait and see where we are after that final whistle at Scunthorpe because anything can still happen.”