Caretaker boss Richard Cooper unsure if he will lead Mansfield in Sunderland tie
Caretaker manager Richard Cooper does not know if he will still be in charge for Mansfield’s FA Cup tie at Sunderland on Saturday.
But if academy boss Cooper does hand over the reins – with former Burton manager Nigel Clough among the favourites to take over – he will be proud of a 1-1 draw at Bolton
Antoni Sarcevic’s 90th-minute equaliser cancelled out George Lapslie’s 57th-minute header to deny Cooper and Mansfield victory.
“I will wait until the chairman or CEO gives me a shout,” said Cooper, who took charge after Graham Coughlan’s departure last week.
“I have just taken it on a day-by-day basis. I have tried to do the job to the best of my ability and plan and prepare for two games over a short space of time.
“I am proud of the players but also super proud of my staff, Mike Whitlow and Sam Collins, who have helped me.
“I will get on with it until someone tells me otherwise. I have now got an FA Youth Cup game (against Bugbrooke St Michaels) on Thursday if it is on.”
The visitors were certainly crestfallen by captain Sarcevic’s third goal in five games – all to earn a share of the spoils for Wanderers.
“We were so close to getting that elusive win we all wanted – no one more than myself because I have been at this club a long while,” added Cooper.
“But the gap in our defence was too much and Sarcevic made a great run and took advantage.
“Bolton came out of the blocks in the first 20 minutes and we had to get a grip with the shape.
“Once we did that we got a foothold in the game and I thought we were the stronger side at times.
“But this has probably been the story of trying to see a game out.
“In the 90th minutes it does becomes a bit soul destroying. Our dressing room is a bit low because they thought they had done enough to win the game.”
Bolton boss Ian Evatt praised late goal hero Sarcevic.
“He is captain of this football club for a reason,” he said.
“He has gone through the mill and taken some stick this season.
“But he has come out the other side and he has shown why he is captain.
“In the first half, I thought we played well and were fluid at times but probably didn’t create enough.
“In the second half we didn’t start well and got overrun in midfield physically.
“It seems we want to go behind before we want to show the right desire and intensity.
“There are two or three who have been outstanding of late and who are carrying most of the team.
“I feel for them because some of the others are letting them down.
“They have to start getting angry with themselves and have to want more from each other. The pleasing thing is we kept going.”