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1st May 2021 0:11

Nigel Clough targets eight players for Mansfield Town glory bid
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 28th April 2021

Nigel Clough has identified eight summer targets he believes can have Mansfield Town competing for promotion next season.

And work has now begun to try to lure those players to the One Call Stadium.

After avoiding relegation following a season-long fight, manager Clough wants to now compete at the top end and looks set to make sweeping changes to the squad, though said he was happy with his midfield options.

“We have identified our top eight targets that we want to come in, so we are working on those and will do our best to try to get the number one targets in,” he said.


“We are going to try to get some early business done as that's the best way. If we can get one or two in - even two or three out the eight.

“But there's some we're going to have to wait for decisions.

“We have made contact with all eight's representatives or clubs or whatever. So we have started the ball rolling with them all.”

Clough will bring in new defenders and strikers and has also said he intends to look at his goalkeeping department. But he added: “I don't think midfield is a priority area at the moment.

“We're very happy with our midfield. Ollie Clarke is out at the moment. But with him, George Maris, Stephen Quinn, if we've got him, George Lapslie, Harry Charsley and Jason Law I think we've got a good midfield.”

The current squad have two more games to impress, but Clough admitted: “I think we are pretty much there - we're probably 99 per cent of the way there with our decisions made.

“I don't think we have too many under contract now and, obviously we have made the decision on Mal Benning.

“We've done quite a few contracts in the last few months for those who are going to be around.

“We will certainly have a chat with Stephen Quinn and see what his position is, but I think we have done most of our business in terms of existing players.”


Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags on Mal Benning:
"I had a chat with Mal last week and said to him what are your thoughts. We were edging towards not offering him anything for next season, and he said I think I need a fresh challenge.
"So I think it's in everybody's best interests that he moves on and gets himself another club."
(On his not being involved in the last few games once we were safe): "The last thing we wanted was him twisting a knee or something which jeopardises any potential contract that he could get for next season and beyond. I think he deserves that and out of respect for him we won't be involving him."

On James Perch:
"We're thrilled that Perchy is staying. It's as important a contract as any for next season. You know that what ever position he plays, he's going to perform to a certain level and that's enough for us.
"He's a great example of how to be a professional footballer."
"I would say they (Perch and Quinn) have been our most consistent players in the last few months."

On the Salford game:
"We ended up with more shots than them, more possession, and that's away at a play-off team."


Nigel Clough banking on home sweet home
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough has been happy with recent home form and believes that is where his side can build a firm basis for success next season.

Stags end their home programme for the season with Saturday's visit of Oldham Athletic, now managed by ex-Stags boss Keith Curle, and Clough said: “I think home form has been good generally.

“The margin of victory we had in the last one against Scunthorpe (3-0) - that could have come in any of the games against Newport, against Carlisle, against Forest Green.

Read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/nigel-clough-banking-on-home-sweet-home-3217768

“The one against Orient that we lost was purely the mistakes.

“I have been very pleased with the way we've approached games at home - the way we've tried to go forward and take the games to teams - away from home as well, but especially at home.

“That has to be where we are looking to get the majority of our points next season.

“We have to have the foundation of being hard to break down and then we have to be a threat - hopefully we will be more of a threat next season with the new players coming in.”

Swashbuckling visitors Oldham have scored 16 goals in their last five games, wining three of them while losing a thriller at Morecambe and a setback at home to Grimsby last time out.

“From what we've seen recently they are probably the most expansive side in the league at the moment,” said Clough

“I think they've scored the most goals in the league and probably conceded the same amount as well, which tells you how they can play.

“They are a very threatening and dangerous side going forward.

“They play very expansive football so I think we are going to have to defend well to get something out of the game.”

He added: “Although teams are still vying for play-offs and so on, we have seen lots of goals in the last few games.

“There have been a lot of late goals and late drama too. I think everyone can relax a little bit now and go and play.”


Farrend Rawson back at the Mansfield Town after collision horror
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 28th April 2021

Mansfield Town centre half Farrend Rawson is back in the club as he continues to recover from last weekend's horrendous collision that left him unconscious in the defeat at Salford City.

But, with only two games to go and safety achieved, he is unlikely to be risked again this season.

Rawson was flattened in a collision with sub keeper Jamie Pardington near the end of the 2-0 defeat at Salford City and ended the afternoon in hospital.

He needed extensive treatment on the field including oxygen.

“Farrend is back in but he's not training. He's just doing a little bit of gym work,” said manager Nigel Clough.

Read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/farrend-rawson-back-at-the-mansfield-town-after-collision-horror-3217770

“We won't be taking any chances with him with the situation we're in.

“He has come round and he's back on his feet. He still feels a bit groggy and has a bit of a headache. But he is on the way to recovery.

“He won't be involved on Saturday and we have to consider if it's worth risking him for the last game.

“Tom Whittamore, our physio, is very hot on following the protocols.”


Stags ponder over full debut for goalkeeper Jamie Pardington on Saturday
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

No decision has yet been taken as to whether young Wolves loanee keeper Jamie Pardington will make his full Stags debut at home to Oldham Athletic this Saturday.

The 20-year-old had a traumatic introduction as a late sub in last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Salford City, accidentally rendering team mate Farrend Rawson unconscious in a collision.

“We are talking about it and we will do what's in the best interests of him and the team,” said manager Nigel Clough.

“We are not sure yet. We will discuss it with Seamus (McDonagh) the goalkeeping coach this week and see how we go.

Read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/stags-ponder-over-full-debut-for-goalkeeper-jamie-pardington-on-saturday-3217773

“I should have really brought him on the game before when we were 3-0 up late on, but you want to get the other outfield players on.

“I just thought it would be a good opportunity on Saturday as we were playing against 10 men and I didn't think he'd have too much to do.

“I didn't think he'd knock the centre half out either!”

He continued: “It is nerve-racking making your first start. But it's out the way now and he has got to move on from it.

“The one thing he didn't do was concede a goal which is very important as well.

“He did just about everything else, but he didn't concede which is very important for a goalkeeper.”


Mal Benning departure is best move for both parties says boss
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough wished Mal Benning all the best for the future, but said the defender's summer departure was the best decision for both parties.

Benning is the club's longest serving player after six seasons, and Clough said: “I had a chat with Mal and asked him what were his feelings and he said he was ready for a fresh challenge and that's the best for everybody.

“He certainly goes with everybody's best wishes and thanks for the six years service that he's had at the club.

“He's been a very good servant. We wish him all the best for the future.”


Clough added: “He will be missed, but we have been playing Steve McLaughlin there as a left back and we'll be bringing in some good players in the summer.

“You'll always miss that sort of reliability and ability that Mal provides. But I think it's the right decision for everybody.”


James Perch agrees to stay at Mansfield Town for another season
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 28th April 2021

Mansfield Town have agreed an extended deal to tie down veteran star James Perch for another season.

And manager Nigel Clough said the 35-year-old former Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United defender/midfielder was a model professional for the younger players at the club to look up to.

Mansfield-born Perch has turned in consistent displays at both full back and centre half this season and, after sorting contracts for his young stars of the future, Clough was very happy to offer Perch another season.

“It was good to get the youngsters tied down at the club for the immediate future,” said Clough


“But James Perch is 35 and he is certainly still playing like a youngster at the moment.

“I think he has been outstanding in the last few months.

“Over the extra year I don't think he will change physically.

“I still think he will be the player he has been this season and we're delighted that he's going to be with us again and part of what we're trying to do.”

Clough spoke of the example Perch sets, saying: “He is a brilliant influence.

“We talk about the importance of senior players. But you need good senior players who can set a good example on and off the pitch - and he is an absolutely perfect example of that.

“All the young players should be looking up to him and Stephen Quinn, and Jake Wright, who's been with us the last few months.

“That is how to be a professional footballer. That is why they have played at the highest level. It's no surprise.”

Perch has also had long spells at Wigan, QPR and Scunthorpe in a career that has taken in over 500 EFL games


Nigel Clough desperate to welcome back Stags supporters to One Call Stadium
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Nigel Clough is hoping for a home game for the first day of next season with Mansfield Town desperate to welcome back supporters to the One Call Stadium.

Clough said it had been a strange experience without them.

“Everybody's looking forward to fans coming back,” he said.

“I hope we're at home first day of the season. That would be nice if the fixtures were kind to us.


“We have only been here for the last five months and it has certainly been surreal without them in that time.

“The only danger is that we're all getting used to it which is a very sad state of affairs.

“But I think if we can just finish this season, everyone wants to get it out of the way and done with for lots of reasons, everybody can start next season with a whole raft of optimism.

“If we get supporters back in, which is the main thing, they are the absolute lifeblood of the game and it's been nowhere near the same without them.”

He added: “It's two sets of fans that make an atmosphere as well, not just home.

“It's about two sets of opposing fans. You get a good away following and I think it makes a great atmosphere within the ground.”


Nigel Clough backs social media boycott against discrimination
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Nigel Clough said he was fully backing this weekend's social media boycott by a coalition of English football's largest governing bodies and organisations, including the Football Association, Premier League, EFL, Women's Super League and Kick It, in a show of solidarity against racism and discrimination.

But Clough did not feel it should only be football doing it and called upon everyone who uses social media to avoid it this weekend in helping hammer home the message after a season of vile online trolling.

Clough admitted the boycott wouldn't affect him and he smiled: “Some of us have been doing it for the last 10 years anyway!

“I think it's not before time. I don't know why everybody doesn't just come off it for a week.


“And I don't think it should just be football people. I think it should be everybody that is concerned about the level of abuse, particularly the kind it is, on social media.

“We can live for a week without social media can't we?”

Clough hopes the social media companies can step up their controls to weed out the problem.“I don't know enough about it to know what social media companies can do about it. But I am aware of people saying they can do more,” he said.

“They have a certain responsibility, as everyone does in society, to do what they can to combat it.”


Clough congratulations for promoted Cheltenham Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was quick to congratulate Cheltenham Town as the first League Two side to gain promotion this season.

Clough now hopes his own side can grown and develop like the Robins have in recent years to put this season's relegation fight behind them and compete at the other end of the table.

“Cheltenham have been building to this point for a season or two,” he said.

“They got pretty close in the play-offs last year and have since been a bit more consistent.


“When you are in that top six or seven for a season or two you keep improving one or two players each time and the belief grows that you can do it. They were very worthy winners of promotion.”

Now Clough wants Stags to follow in Cheltenham's footsteps.

“That's our hope,” he said. “That is stage one completed in terms of staying up.

“We no longer have that spectre of relegation hanging over us, which it has for most of the season.

“If you don't win any of your first 14 games there is a chance you're going to go down.

“From that run of five straight wins, from that point on, I think we felt we were going to stay up which was very important.

“So it's stage one completed and now we start building for stage two and competing and challenging next year.”