Mansfield boss David Flitcroft said the Reds loanee needed more protection from referees. His Magpies counterpart responded.

Ahead of the big League Two Nottinghamshire derby between Mansfield Town and Notts County, Stags boss David Flitcroft had spoken of the need for Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant – who was a former Magpies fan favourite – to have more protection from referees.

Speaking to the Mansfield Chad, the Stags manager said he counted 14 fouls on the talented midfielder in the 1-0 defeat to Newport County last weekend, testament to being unfairly targeted by opponents, and added he would seek to speak to the Referees Association: “I need to show how many times Jorge gets fouled and how many times it doesn’t get recognised.”

 

In response, Notts boss Neal Ardley acknowledged and subsequently laughed off his counterpart’s comments, describing them to the official club site as “the old Sir Alex Ferguson trick” of putting pressure on the referee ahead of the game, and joked about getting his players to “just kick him then”.

“Dave is an experienced manager and he knows what he is doing,” added Ardley, whose side are bottom of League Two but have picked up four points from their last two games. “I will go tit for tat and say we are looking for protection for Enzio Boldewijn.”

Grant has impressed since joining Mansfield on loan from Forest last month – a controversial move among some Notts fans given his prior cult hero status at Meadow Lane – boasting a tally of four goals and two assists from six League Two games (Transfermarkt).

At County, the 24-year-old’s loan stints there yielded 25 goals and 12 assists in just 73 appearances as the Magpies survived relegation in 2016-17 and finished in the playoffs the following season, and earlier this term he had a spell at Luton Town before coming back in January and being sent out to Mansfield.

In other news, Report: Club ‘make contact’ to sign £58m star who rejected Spurs move