SOME would say he had to go with his strongest side given what had happened on Saturday. Others would say it is the side he should have selected against Norwich City. But credit Owen Coyle for putting out the right side at Field Mill.

It made a welcome change for Rovers supporters starved of any semblance of success in the competition in recent seasons.

For the past five years they have watched Coyle’s predecessors switch up their starting line-ups and pay the ultimate price.

But once Rovers got their bit between their teeth, after Mitchell Rose had all too easily equalised, there was never any danger of another shock.


WITH his brace hauling him up to three in two games – or as his manager pointed out afterwards, three in one-and-a-half – on-fire forward Anthony Stokes grabbed the headlines.

After a fairly quiet pre-season the summer signing from Celtic has burst into life when it matters the most.

But it was another Coyle capture who initially caught the eye against the Stags.

It is early days, of course, but Jack Byrne looks a player. The on-loan Manchester City midfielder’s passing, in the first half in particular, was razor sharp.

Byrne likes to drop deep, picking up possession off the centre-backs, but there was an instance early on in the tie when he won the won ball high in Mansfield’s half and played in Ben Marshall. That looks where he could make the most impact.


A GOOD response to Saturday and, in the end, a comfortable victory, which could have been more emphatic. But there were still areas of concern.

Rovers’ passing in the first half at times was slack with Shane Duffy and Darragh Lenihan, in particular, guilty of squandering possession.

Indeed Duffy should have been punished in the second minute with an under-hit back pass which left CJ Hamilton clean through on goal.

Hamilton let Rovers off the hook but Rose later took full advantage of poor pressing and poor marking.

With two wingers and two up front Coyle’s side are going to be open this season. They need, then, to cut out the needless errors they are making.

Better teams than Mansfield will make them pay. As Norwich proved.