Fans outside of Mansfield might wonder why their game with Crewe is cancelled this weekend, with ‘insufficient players’ used as the official reason on many fixture websites.
The truth is they’ve been affected by international call-ups, something rarely seen in the fourth tier of the English game.
You won’t be seeing their players in action in Europe though, two will be jetting off to a sunnier climate for their football.
Birmingham-born Kristian Pearce will represent Barbados at the National Stadium (pictured top) for their CONCACAF Nations League qualifier against Guyana, whilst Omari Sterling-James has been selected by St Kitts to play against Puerto Rico three days later in the same competition.
Defender Ryan Sweeney, on loan from Stoke, isn’t going to enjoy a break in the sun though, he’s been picked for Eire U21s for their UEFA U21s qualifiers versus Kosovo and Germany.
Speaking to local media, manager David Flitcroft said: “It is great for the players and I am delighted for them – certainly for Pearcey. I will have to go over and watch that one and get my trunks ready! He is chuffed with it. At 28 he didn’t realise he’d get a call-up to go and play for his country.”
Points on the board are always better than games in hand and just as Mansfield had some momentum, they’re forced to take a break. It could be beneficial, resting for a week whilst everyone else has a game, but momentum is important in football and their win against Carlisle at the weekend leaves them unbeaten in League Two.
It’s still going to be incredible for Pearce at 28 to get some international football, it’s also a nice story to see an hard-working lower league player getting some recognition.