MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox joked he might have to pick himself against Oxford United tomorrow after suffering a host of injury problems one week into the season.

Budget cuts during the summer mean the Stags have trimmed their squad to 22 professionals.

Stretched resources were hit during Wednesday night’s 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield United, when striker Liam Hearn and centre back Martin Riley limped off.

Cox told the Mansfield Chad: “Before the game we said that one thing we didn’t want was any injuries as we only had 18 fit players before the game.

“Yet we lost two more. It feels like we’ve run over a black cat at the minute in terms of injury and I could end up playing on Saturday.”

Both players have been sent for scans, with Hearn having an outside chance of making tomorrow’s squad.

Ex-United midfielder Adam Murray is another doubt with a back problem, but even if he is not fit there will be other familiar faces in the line-up.

Midfielder Simon Heslop, who spent three years with the U’s before being released last summer, has made a strong start to life at Field Mill after moving from Stevenage.

Banbury Cake:

  • Simon Heslop is among a host of Mansfield players with Oxford United connections

Up front, former United trainee Alex Fisher will lead the line after scoring at Bramall Lane in midweek.

Mansfield’s three-man defence includes John Dempster and Ryan Tafazolli, who went on a pre-season tour to the United States with the U’s two years ago as part of an unsuccessful trial.

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