Stags test is first in a hectic eight-match month

Date published: 02 October 2018

Athletic kick off a hectic eight-match month of October tonight with a trip to the One Call Stadium to take on Mansfield Town (7.45pm kick-off).

Frankie Bunn’s squad are set to be tested to the limit in terms of fitness over the next few weeks, but almost all the players are ready and firing.

Bunn said: “Everybody’s in good fettle, as we finished the game on Saturday (the 0-0 draw at Swindon), it’s quite relevant our fitness is there to see when you get Christopher Missilou breaking from his own box in the 90th minute.

“It bodes well for us as we're a fit group, we're a group that fights until the end and like I said on numerous occasions we're going to need that this season.

“When you play Saturday, Tuesday everything’s condensed to a couple of days.

“We had a look at them Sunday and this (yesterday) morning, so we're trying to highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

“There are things we can work on, but the players adapt well to whatever we suggest to them and try what we try to put across.

“I think we are getting better as a group in everything we do which I think is starting to flourish, the squad is strong, and we’ve got good players in depth.”

Sam Surridge missed out against Swindon Town due to a hip problem and Bunn confirmed he will once again be a doubt for tonight’s match.

However, Ishmael Miller accumulated another 65 minutes into his legs, so opportunities for other players will be there for the taking.

Bunn added: “We'll see how he (Surridge) is, he's still growing, and young players are erratic in terms of injuries that they pick up and they’re just knocks so there's no massive concerns.

“We had some good performances on Saturday and that’s what the squad is there for.

“If somebody is missing then someone else can come in and do equally as good a job.”

Athletic will be looking to strengthen their position in the play-off places with victory against the Stags tonight.

Meanwhile, on-loan striker Surridge has been nominated for the September Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award.

The 20-year-old netted five times in four games, including braces against Colchester United and Grimsby Town.

He is up against strong opposition in Colchester’s Luke Norris, who scored five goals as well as assisting twice, Lincoln City’s Jason Shackell, who was part of a defence that conceded three goals in five matches as well as the centre-back scoring late winners against Macclesfield and MK Dons, and Pierce Sweeney from Exeter City, who contributed three goals from his right-back position in September.

The winner will be announced on Friday.

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