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CLOUGH PRESS CONF / QUINN BANNED FOR 6 GAMES
19th September 2021 19:23


Manager places emphasis on unity
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 14th September 2021

Boss Nigel Clough says the Stags ‘need everybody to stick together’ on Saturday, when Rochdale visit One Call Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.

After two wins from two to start the season, Stags’ campaign has taken a turn in recent weeks, leaving them on seven points from seven matches in the standings.

The manager has placed an emphasis on his side keeping a clean sheet this weekend, and says the Stags will need unity within the team and around the stadium to do so.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2021/september/nigel-clough-pre-rochdale/

“When everything is going against us as it is, we have to rally around,” he told iFollow Stags. “We have to start fighting and scrapping for everything that we can.

“It’s glaringly obvious the problems that we have and what we need to [do to] fix them. When you miss a few players and everything’s against you, you need everybody - the crowd included - to stick with us.

“We look back at the first two wins and they’re absolutely brilliant. I’d say it [turn in form] all started in the 93rd minute at Colchester. We’re on the cusp of three wins and then we concede that penalty, which we’re very unhappy about.

“There has been setback after setback. I don’t think we’ve been able to stop the rot since Colchester. We need to get a clean sheet and that’s everybody in the team who has to work for that.

“We’ll always create chances, we’ll always score goals. But we have to concentrate more on the other end.

“Whatever happens, we need everybody to stick together on Saturday. We’re going to try and get a goal [first], but if we don’t and we go behind, that will be a real acid test for us.”

Looking ahead to the weekend’s fixture against Robbie Stockdale’s side, the boss added: “I think we’ve played a lot of teams in good form and caught them at probably the wrong time, but we have to deal with that. Rochdale certainly fall into that bracket.

“They had a good, late win on Saturday. They’re lively and probably as confident as anyone at the moment.

“They have some lively strikers so it will be hard to keep that clean sheet.”

Nigel Clough also discussed the possibility of moving frontman Oliver Hawkins into the centre of defence, a position he impressed in during his time with Portsmouth.

“He [Hawkins] is probably as good as we’ve got at centre-half, although we haven’t seen him play there, we know from past things that he’s done [that he can play there],” the boss explained.

“But he’s also our best centre-forward at the moment. If we can do without moving him, we’ll try and do that.

“The ones who are playing have to do better than they’ve done to try and keep goals out. That’s the bottom line.

“Yes, we’re missing James Perch, yes we’re missing Will Forrester, yes we missed out on three or four in the window, but the ones who are playing have to do better.”

There was also an injury update on defender James Perch and on-loan Stoke City man Will Forrester.

“No, not yet [timescale on Perch injury]. He’s seeing a specialist this afternoon in Birmingham. We hope to know a bit more by then.

“He [Forrester] had a setback last week. He hasn’t joined in [training] yet. He slipped doing some work and has had a setback. It’s probably going to be another couple of weeks until we see him.

“We had one or two knocks from Saturday, so we’ll have to wait and see who makes it [this weekend].”

The boss then discussed a six-game ban for midfielder Stephen Quinn following his red card against Harrogate Town at One Call Stadium.

“He [Quinn] got done for two separate incidents and it was a bit confusing, the way it came out. But he has got six games [ban], so five more to go.

“He can play in our Papa John’s Trophy game against Sheffield Wednesday next month, but he misses the next five league games.

“We were very disappointed. We thought it [punishment] was excessive. He’s been banned for six games and he’s hardly touched anybody, so we’re disappointed. He’s been disciplined accordingly and will be a big miss for us.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

Tickets are available to purchase online for this weekend’s match against Rochdale by heading to stagstickets.co.uk.

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Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham (interview on iFollow):
"I had a chat with Elliott Hewitt yesterday and said what was up with you in the first half? He said I don't know, I just had a bad 45 minutes. He said I'd have brought me off at half time.
"With hindsight, I made a mistake, I should have brought both centre halves off, brought Burkey on, and put Rawson and McLaughlin at centre half. It was an error that we made at half time.
"It's a collective thing, everybody's got to do better. Even Bish in the 88th minute against Bradford should have done better. And I include us in that.
"We need to do the basic things well. That starts with the centre halves, just do your jobs, get back to head it and kick it, and then we'll go from there."

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Mansfield Town disappointed as FA extend Stephen Quinn ban to six games
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 14th September 2021

Mansfield Town have today confirmed that veteran international midfielder Stephen Quinn's initial three game ban was doubled to six games by the FA.

Quinn was sent off against Harrogate for kicking out at an opponent, but the FA have studied footage and spotted a second offence and decided to up their punishment.

The 35-year-old Irishman missed Saturday's defeat at Walsall and now faces a longer lay-off as Stags struggle to halt a five-game losing streak.

“It is a huge blow for us and we feel a bit aggrieved. But we have to accept it and move on,” said boss Noigel Clough.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-disappointed-as-fa-extend-stephen-quinn-ban-to-six-games-3382342

“It was a bit confusing the way it came out from the FA, but he got done for two separate incidents and he has been given six games - five more to go.

“The fourth official told me he had seen the incident at the time and we get told they can't review things if the officials have seen them.

“He can play in the EFL Trophy game, but misses the next five league games.

“We were very disappointed with the decision but he has been disciplined accordingly.

“We thought it was an excessive punishment. He has been banned for six games and he's hardly touched anybody. He will be a big miss for us.”

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As Mansfield Town problems mount, boss Nigel Clough orders current defence to up their game
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 14th September 2021

Mansfield Town could be missing defender James Perch for some time with his head injury and have now seen loanee Will Forrester suffer a setback in his fitness battle.

So boss Nigel Clough has ordered his current struggling defence to up their games and simply do their jobs properly after five defeats in a row.

Perch has been sidelined after a worrying bang to the head in training and Clough said: “He is seeing a specialist in Birmingham today, so we hope to know a bit more - but there is now way he will be available for Saturday.

“No matter what, we will not be taking any chances with him until someone gives us the go-ahead.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/as-mansfield-town-problems-mount-boss-nigel-clough-orders-current-defence-to-up-their-game-3382466

“You cannot take a risk with a head injury no matter how many games we lose him for. There are more important things and a player's welfare is one of them.

“He will get the best care possible. He is frustrated already as he feels fine, but we are in other people's hands with this.”

On Forrester, he added: “Will has had a setback last week. He was training - he hasn't joined in yet - and he slipped while doing some work.

“So it will probably be another couple of weeks before we get to see him.

“The good news just keeps coming. It's pouring at the moment! Every little thing it seems is going against us on and off the pitch, but we've go to deal with it.

“The ones who are playing, whether it's Elliott Hewitt, Richard Nartey or Faz Rawson, they have to do better than they have done to keep goals out, That's the bottom line.

“The responsibility lies with them and it's difficult when it's down to individual errors.

“I asked Elliott Hewitt what was wrong with him first half at Walsall and he said he's had a bad 45 minutes. He said he would have brought himself off at half-time which is lovely honesty.

“Yes, we are missing James Perch, yes, we've not got Will Forester, yes, we missed out on three or four in the transfer window, but the ones who are playing have to do better.”

He added: “It is glaringly obvious to everyone the problems we have and what we need to do to try to fix them.

“But when you are missing a few players and things are going against you, we need everyone on Saturday - including the crowd - to stick with us.

“Our form is not that bad in terms of the way we are playing, it's the goals we are giving away.”

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Manager Nigel Clough hoping to avoid using Oli Hawkins at centre half as Mansfield Town try to stop the rot.
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough will try to avoid pulling giant forward Oli Hawkins back to centre half in a bid to solve their defensive frailties ahead of Saturday's visit of Rochdale.

Stags have lost five games in a row and not had a clean sheet all season and Clough admitted: “Oli is probably as good as we've got at centre half, though we have not actually seen him play there yet. We know from past things he has done.

“But he is also our best centre forward at the moment.

“So if we can do without moving him we will leave him where he is. I wish we'd got two of him.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/manager-nigel-clough-hoping-to-avoid-using-oli-hawkins-at-centre-half-as-mansfield-town-try-to-stop-the-rot-3385291

“But he is perfectly happy to go and do a job for the team and, after four straight league defeats, everything is on the table in terms of personnel and people coming back into the team who have not been in it so far this season.

“We have one or two other knocks from last Saturday so we will have to wait and see who makes it.”

Clough added: “With everything going against us as it is, we have to rally round, close ranks a little bit and start fighting and scrapping for everything we can.”

With central defence proving such a problem, Clough did suggest, with the transfer window closed, he may now make a move for an out of contract player to boost his squad.

However, he said this week: “We have had a look at free agents but we don't really see anybody out there who will massively improve the situation.

“It may depend on injuries as well as we have one or two more after last week.”

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First clean sheet so crucial says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Nigel Clough believes just a first clean sheet of the season could get their campaign back on course as they prepare for Saturday's visit of in-form Rochdale.

Stags have now lost five games in a row, four in the league, after a flying start to the season, but manager Clough knows the margins are small.

“This all started in the 93rd minute at Colchester when we were on the cusp of three wins and then conceded that penalty,” he said.

“We have not been able to stop the rot since that. It's been little setback after setback since then.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/first-clean-sheet-so-crucial-says-mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-3385287

“I think it will get easier. Most teams go through these sorts of runs - I hope we are getting ours out of the way early and we learn from it. But we've got to stop the rot quickly.

“You don't want to lose back to backs as before you know it you've lost three, then four. You have to nip it in the bud early.”

Stags have certainly conceded far too many goals - 13 in the last five games.

“When you get to this stage you need a clean sheet,” admitted Clough.

“We have been saying that all season - but none more so than this Saturday.

“Everybody in the team has got to work to get a clean sheet. We will always create chances and we will always score goals. We have to concentrate more on the other end of the pitch.

“We don't have to be fantastic and play brilliant football, though some of our football this season has been very good indeed.

“We just need to do the basic things well - and that starts with the centre halves doing their jobs, getting back to heading and kicking and take it from there.”

Rochdale have hit form after a slow start and sit sixth with 11 points.

“We have played a lot of teams in good form and caught them at probably the wrong time but we have to deal with that - and Rochdale fall into that bracket,” said Clough.

“They had a good late win on Saturday, they are lively, and are probably as confident as anyone at the moment.

“They will be good technically. Being a League One side last year they still have good League One players.

“They play two up top and one behind and they have got some lively strikers. So it will be doubly hard to keep that clean sheet.

“Whatever happens we need everyone to stick together on Saturday.

“We want to try to get a goal, but if we go behind it's going to be a real acid test for us.”

Despite having veteran Stephen Quinn suspended, Stags at least welcome back skipper Ollie Clarke from his one game ban.

“Having Ollie back is the one bit of good news. He only got the one game,” said Clough.

“We looked back at it and he was unlucky to get a red card for it, especially when you see Danny Johnson going through the middle at Walsall on Saturday when he was pushed in the back and it wasn't even given a foul.

“That's indicative of the things that are happening at the moment.

“We missed Ollie's leadership and physicality on Saturday.”

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Skipper highlights importance of clean sheet
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 14th September 2021

Captain Ollie Clarke says a clean sheet against Rochdale this weekend would give the Stags ‘something to build on’ in Sky Bet League Two.

The skipper was suspended for Saturday’s defeat at Walsall following a red card against Harrogate Town, but is available for selection this weekend.

The former Bristol Rovers man says that, as captain, he has looked to ‘get everyone going again’ in training this week, during the current poor run of form.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2021/september/ollie-clarke-pre-rochdale/

“Obviously we hit the ground running as we wanted to, but unfortunately we’ve come away from it in the last few weeks,” he told iFollow Stags.

“We’ve got some indifferent results due to luck and individual errors. We’re not keeping the ball out of our net at the moment and it’s highly frustrating for everyone.

“In recent games, we’ve not had the decisions go our way at times, and we have made individual errors all over the pitch.

“We haven’t really started that badly in terms of our performances at times, but we haven’t managed to keep the ball out of our net [well enough]. Once we get a clean sheet, that will build confidence throughout the team.

“A clean sheet will build confidence in ourselves, whether that is a 0-0 draw or whether we can keep a clean sheet and score a couple of goals ourselves.

“We desperately need a clean sheet for everyone’s sake, just to solidify us at the back and give us something to build on.

“In the games we’ve conceded, it has been quite early on, which has been frustrating. It puts pressure on us early on and that’s what’s killing us at the moment.

“You have to dig deep and work as hard as you possibly can. We’re not a million miles away and we’re creating a lot of chances. But at this moment, if we can’t keep a clean sheet, we are going to struggle to win games.

“I always pride myself on trying to do as much as I can for the team. I came in yesterday and tried to get everyone going again by lifting the spirits to go again on Saturday.

“We know we’re capable of going on a run. There are a lot of good characters in there [squad] and the boys do work their socks off day-to-day. Training is always of a high standard and we don’t have any passengers.”

The midfielder then looked ahead to the weekend’s fixture against Robbie Stockdale’s Rochdale.

“They [Rochdale] have made a tidy start to the season. They started a bit slow [but have picked up form]. We expect them to be a bit more possession-based than most sides in this division.

“They’ve come down [from Sky Bet League One], and I can remember playing against them previously. They knocked the ball around nicely.

“I’m not too sure what to expect from their players as they’ve changed quite a few, but it’s something we’ll be looking at over the next couple of days.”

Clarke analysed his season so far in amber and blue, whilst also emphasising the Stags’ desire to score more goals from midfield.

“It [my season] has been up and down really. I’ve got a goal, got an assist and I enjoyed the first couple of games.

“We had Lapo [George Lapslie] contribute nine or 10 goals last year, and me and [George] Maris have got one each this year. So, we’ll be looking to get more goals from midfield.

“At the same time, you look back at the last three or four games, and you always analyse it to see how I could do better.

“I know that I’ve made a couple of errors for goals in terms of marking and against Preston I slipped and gave the ball away.

“It’s one of those where I can’t be too pleased with my performances when results haven’t gone our way. You have to analyse yourself first and foremost.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Ollie’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.

Tickets are available to purchase online for this weekend’s match against Rochdale by heading to stagstickets.co.uk.

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No doom and gloom yet insists Mansfield Town captain Ollie Clarke
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Despite a run of five straight defeats Mansfield Town skipper Ollie Clarke believes the Stags can still go on to have a season of success.

Clarke pointed out it was early days yet and spirit in the camp remains high ahead of Saturday's home clash with Rochdale.

“It's not doom and gloom,” he said. “You have seen it before how quickly it can turn for other teams. They go on and have successful seasons.

“It's nothing to worry about where we are at the moment. It's just something we need to put a stop to fairly quickly.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/no-doom-and-gloom-yet-insists-mansfield-town-captain-ollie-clarke-3385309

“Once we do that we will look a much better outfit.

“You have to dig deep, work as hard as you possibly can Monday to Friday and hope that you get that bit of luck on a Saturday to turn things round.

“We are not a million miles away. We are giving teams good games and creating a lot of chances. We are probably playing a lot more attacking football than most teams.

“But at this moment in time if you are not going to keep a clean sheet then you are going to struggle to win games.

“We are now trying to raise spirits and go again on Saturday. It's one of those where the tide will turn and we knew we are capable of going on a run.

“It's only six or seven games into the season so we're not worrying too much yet. We've just got to keep working away at it and it will change.

“We have a lot of good characters in there - a lot of boys who work their socks off day to day and training is always of a high standard.

“It's not like we've got any passengers in our team. Everyone is trying to do the right things to get us where we want to be come the end of the season.”

He continued: “We knew that we had a tough start against teams that were probably more favoured in the league.

“Unfortunately in the last two or three weeks we've had some indifferent results, down to luck and individual errors.

“I don't think the performances have been too bad at times. We are creating chances and we're not shy in front of goal.

“It's just we are not keeping the ball out of our net at the moment and it's highly frustrating for everyone.

“In recent games we have probably not had the decisions go our way at times either and we have made individual errors all over the pitch, not just pinpointed to one person. It's costing us.”

Clarke knows how important a first clean sheet of the season would be on Saturday.

“It's quite easily seen from outside - we need that clean sheet,” he said.

“That would build confidence in ourselves whether that's a 0-0 draw or whether we can keep a clean sheet and score a couple of goals ourselves to get ourselves back in winning form.

“We desperately need a clean sheet for everyone's sake just to solidify us at the back and give us something to build on.

“In the games we have conceded, we have conceded quite early on in the last few. That's frustrating as you have got to go and score another goal.

“It puts pressure on you for the rest of the game and that's probably what is killing us at the minute. We are giving ourselves mountains to climb.

“A clean sheet would be massive and help us settle down into the season a little bit.

“Once we get one we'll probably go on a nice little run, turn a corner and hopefully kick ourselves back up the league to where we want to be.”

Clarke returns to the side on Saturday from a one game ban for his red card against Harrogate Town and admits the controversial dismissal may have been justified, the midfielder being ruled as the last man as he went in.

“In real time I knew I had given him a little tug,” he said.

“But I felt I had got my leg across to actually win the ball in terms of the tackle that I made. So I was a bit surprised to see the red card come out.

“I thought someone might have been covering round, but when you watch it back it is one of those that can go either way.

“It looks worse from one angle to another. So when you analyse it it's probably one of those that might have been justified and that's probably why we didn't appeal it in the end.”

On his overall season so far, he said: “I have been okay - a bit up and down really. I have got a goal and an assist.

“I enjoyed the first couple of games. Everyone was on a high because we'd won two and drew one. You now look back on the last three or four and analyse it as to how you can do better.

“I know I have made a couple of errors for goals in terms of marking and against Preston I slipped and gave the ball away. You can't be too pleased with your performances when the results are not going your way.”

Despite Clarke's return, Stags will still be without their two most experienced players on Saturday with James Perch injured and Stephen Quinn suspended.

“They will be a massive loss,” said Clarke.

“You look at their careers previously and they have played at the highest level and done well there.

“To have their experience and nous in the positions they play on the pitch is quite important to us.

“It was probably the nucleus of our team down the middle of the pitch that was missing at Walsall.

“It is frustrating to miss these players but it is an opportunity for other players now to step up and make their mark on the team. Over the next couple of weeks we need that to happen.”

On opponents Rochdale, Clarke said: “They have made a tidy start to the season after starting a bit slow.

“We expect them to be a bit more possession-based than most in this division.

“They've just come down and, I can remember playing against them previously, they knock the ball around nicely.

“I am not too sure what to expect in terms of their players as they have obviously changed quite a few.

“Over the next couple of days we will look how we can impose ourselves on them and play our game. If we do that we are more than a match for anyone in this division.

“But at this moment in time for us we need to work solely on keeping a clean sheet and hopefully the match will then take care of itself from there.”

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Gaffer On Mansfield Town
https://www.rochdaleafc.co.uk/news/2021/september/stockdale_premansfieldhome_2021-22/

Manager Robbie Stockdale looks ahead to Dale’s Sky Bet League Two fixture away at Mansfield Town…

“We’ve got lots of players on the training pitch, which is always a positive,” said the Gaffer.

“We go into a big week with the three games in that period, so making sure everyone is up to speed. It was also nice to have had a free week in preparation for the game at Mansfield.

“It gives you more time to work on the tactical side of things and it also gives you an opportunity to maybe not work the players as physically like they might have if they had a game on a Tuesday, so that’s always a bonus as well.

“I know everybody will be looking forward to the exciting tie that we’ve got coming up on Tuesday [against Burnley], the sole focus, which we’ve hammered home to the players all week, is Mansfield - that’s the most important game because it’s the next one.”

On the game at the One Call Stadium, the Boss commented: “[I’m expecting] a tough game.

“I think they, from the games I’ve seen on video, have been better than what their position suggests.

“I know they’ve struggled with a few key players being out injured, so it’ll be a really, really tough game and another one that we’ll have to be at our best for to get a result. I think that’s the same for any team in this division - if we’re not at it, then it doesn’t give us our best chance to win.”

Dale head into the unbeaten in the last six but Stockdale says he’s looking for momentum to continue.

“It’s confidence building. It’s emphasising the messages we’re giving to the players that at this moment in time it’s working. We’ve done nothing - we’ve literally done nothing yet.

“Of course it’s nice to build that momentum but we want to carry that on, we want to improve and we want to get better so that’s the sole focus like I say.

“Complacency is a killer - I don’t see it in the squad and there’s no reason to have that, so I’m demanding the very best again from them.”

And the Gaffer confirmed that Corey O’Keeffe, on loan at Dale from the Stags, is ineligible for the game.

“We’ll obviously miss Corey because he can’t play against his parent team, but, other than that, it’s a clean bill of health.”

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