Ryan Stirk has become Nigel Clough’s ninth summer addition at Mansfield Town on a season-long loan from Birmingham City.
Clough explained the reasoning for the 20-year-old’s signature on the club’s website today.
He said: “Ryan is a young midfielder, who played in the same Birmingham under-23s’ team as Ryan Burke (who signed for the Stags on a free transfer earlier this summer). He has some experience in the first team at Birmingham and shows a lot of potential.”
It would not seem that Stirk was not on Clough’s original shopping list ahead of the upcoming League Two season but some team news has seen a gap in the side open up for him.
He added: “Recent injuries to George Lapslie, Harry Charsley and Jason Law have highlighted that we could be a little light in this area. He’ll therefore give good competition in midfield.”
Despite some high profile transfer business Mansfield have underperformed in the last two seasons finishing 21st and 16th.
Clough is an extremely experienced gaffer for the level and will want to kick on in his first full season at the club. The 55-year-old has been more accustomed to working in the Championship and League One throughout his managerial career and will be quietly hoping he can realise get back there with The Stags this upcoming season.
Stirk joins up with this League Two squad with just two appearances in men’s football to his name, having started The Blues’ final two matches of last season, 4-0 and 5-2 losses to Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers respectively. The midfielder, who played once centrally and on the left for Birmingham, is clearly not in Lee Bowyer’s first team plans for 2021/22 and needs to start making other Football League inroads now at the age of 20.
There are success stories of young players either on loan or permanent contracts with League Two clubs every season, Stirk’s inexperience suggests he needs to grab this opportunity with both hands if he is to forge out a Football League career for himself, the injury issues at Mansfield have provided him exactly that.