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7th November 2021 11:57

Boss sets sights on cup upset
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Stags’ manager Nigel Clough has called for his team to cause an upset against League One Sunderland when they head to The Stadium of Light this Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup first round.

The tie will mark the gaffer’s one-year anniversary in charge of the club.

The weekend's match will see Stags face the Black Cats away from home for the second season in succession, following a dramatic 1-0 victory for Mansfield last year.


“I think we’re encountering a different Sunderland side [compared to last year],” the manager said, speaking to iFollow Stags.

“I think they’ve improved immensely over the last 12 months under Lee [Johnson] and they have a better squad.

“They took half a team down to [Championship side] QPR last week and got through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. For a League One side that is an incredible achievement.”

Stags face a Sunderland side who sit in fifth place in Sky Bet League One, however, the manager said he is determined last year's triumph.

“We won’t be putting half a team out. We will be going there to win.

“We just need to keep playing as we have in recent weeks. [In] Our last three performances we deserved to have seven points rather than four from nine.”

The Stags head to the north east following an impressive 2-0 victory at home to Tranmere last weekend.

“Hopefully we can relax and play off the back of a victory. Seeing the likes of [George] Maris and [Stephen] Quinn playing together helps.

“We want to continue playing well, not just for the FA Cup but after that as well.”

Reflecting on his impending one year anniversary as Stags’ boss, Nigel said: “It’s gone quick. It’s been enjoyable. The last few weeks have been challenging but there are so many great people at the club; the owners, the chief executive and now we need to make sure the team performs to the supporters’ aspirations.”

When asked about injury news ahead of the weekend, the gaffer explained: “I would say he [Stephen McLaughlin] is a doubt. As much as the team will be full strength, we don’t want to risk him in the FA Cup.

“Ryan Stirk will be the next one back [that has not featured recently]. Nartey isn’t too far away and Lapslie will be back for Saturday.

Despite limping off against Tranmere at the weekend, the manager revealed Rhys Oates was taken off as a precaution and should feature at Sunderland.

“He [Oates] should be fine, it was lovely to see him score and win a penalty. People forget that it takes a long time to settle and there is definitely more to come [from him].”

To watch the manager's full interview login to iFollow Stags


Nigel Clough confirms to iFollow Stags that Will Forrester is pencilled in for the Newcastle U21 EFL Trophy game next Tuesday.

Nigel Clough tells Radio Nottingham:
"Elliott Hewitt is a doubt for the Sunderland game. He is carrying a foot injury at the moment.
"Ryan Stirk is back in at the club at the end of this week. If all goes well, he'll play in the EFL Trophy next week (against Newcastle U21).
"James Gale is cup-tied (having played for Long Eaton in an earier round).


Nigel Clough wants Mansfield Town to relax against Sunderland in FA Cup
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Nigel Clough wants Stags to go out and relax when they face Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday.

It will be the second successive season Mansfield have contested an FA Cup first round clash at the Stadium of Light.

And while Clough would love to see a repeat of last year’s 1-0 win, he knows Sunderland will be a tougher nut to crack this time out.

“It was an eerie Stadium of Light with no fans and no noise last year,” said Clough, who watched from the stands after being installed as manager days before.


“I saw an honest Mansfield give everything and deservedly get the win.

“It lifted everyone, people were low and the result lifted things.

“We are encountering a different Sunderland, they have improved tremendously over the last 12 months.

“They have a much better squad, as shown by them beating QPR to get to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals despite resting players.

“The league remains their priority and they will pick a team that reflects that. I’m sure they would like to win but not at the price of risking players.”

Clough is now keen to see his players relax and show what they can do.

And he hopes they will feel the pressure has been lifted after snapping their long win-less run last time out.

“I hope we can relax and play on the back of the win over Tranmere and three good performances in our last three games,” he said.

“We want to just continue to play well and relax and hopefully some pressure has been lifted going forward.

“We want to keep that up and hopefully we will see performances improve as players come back.

“Ryan Stirk is the next one that we need back. We are getting defenders fit now and that helped us get the clean sheet on Saturday.

“George Lapslie is back from suspension so we are getting there and you see that reflected in the performances.”


Nigel Clough reflects on one year in charge of Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Nigel Clough has described the last two months at Mansfield Town as some of the most challenging he has ever faced.

Stags went 12 games without victory and plummeted into the League Two relegation places after injuries, controversial decisions and bad luck hit hard.

The former Forest and Liverpool star will marked 12 months at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.


“It has gone very quick,” reflected Clough. “It’s been interesting and enjoyable for the most part.

“The last 6-8 weeks has been as challenging as anything we have had in the last 23 years, but generally it has been enjoyable.

“We thought COVID and the pandemic were challenging, and it was. It was very difficult for a lot of people in football, without fans in the ground, and obviously difficult for the fans to deal with as well.

“What's struck us is just how many good people there are at the club. The potential of the club struck us, we have great owners and a great chief executive.

“There are so many good things in pace at the club to give us a chance to go forward.”

And Clough has his attention fully on providing a team to match that potential and the faith of the supporters.

“We just need a settled good team on the pitch that matches the supporters aspirations and emotions.

“I always think they want to see a team one the pitch that mirrors how they would play if they had the chance, that is one that gives their all as well as playing good football.

“I hope they have seen enough over the last 12 months to see how we want to play.”

Asked to pick out his top moments, Clough was quick to remember his first win as Stags boss at Forest Green and the final day win at Port Vale last season.

“The first win at Forest Green was an important milestone,” he added. “I think we have had many enjoyable moments with some good performances such as the win at Port Vale on the last day of last season.

“Going into pre-season and the early season was a real highlight.

“We started so well and with such optimism, even in the defeats we were still playing well and to lose as many players as we did is still a major blow.”


Lapslie: 'We can't let it be comfortable for them'
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Mansfield Town midfielder George Lapslie hopes the Stags can disrupt Sunderland by ‘getting in their faces’ when the two teams meet in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.

The 24-year-old is eligible for the fixture after missing Saturday’s impressive 2-0 home victory against Tranmere due to suspension.

Lapslie was the match-winner when the Stags beat the Black Cats 1-0 at The Stadium of Light during the same stage of last year’s competition.

Speaking to iFollow Stags, he said: “It [the game against Sunderland last season] was a great team performance from the boys. We managed to keep a clean sheet and got the win.


“I got the goal but it was good team build-up to get to that point. The ball from Kellan [Gordon] almost made the header [easier] because he whipped it in with quite a lot of pace. I just had to direct [the effort] goal-bound.

The former Charlton man wants a repeat of last year’s display as Stags again look to cause an upset against the high-flying League One side.

“Getting in their [Sunderland’s] faces is the last thing they want. Once we stop them playing, we can start focussing on how we can affect the game.

“We’ve got players that will be able to control the game.”

When asked if there is less pressure on the Stags due to the gulf in league positions, he said: “We’re not going there [to The Stadium of Light] as a free-hit. We’re going there for a result, and we’ll see how it pans out.”

Lapslie was a spectator for Mansfield’s last outing. The midfielder watched from the stands due to accumulating five bookings which resulted in a one-match ban. He was, however, pleased with the performance he saw from the Stags.

“I thought it was an unbelievable performance from the boys [last Saturday]. Everyone put a shift in and we thoroughly deserved it [the win]. It was a joy to watch to be honest.

“The boys were all over them [Tranmere] in every aspect, in my opinion. Hopefully we can kick on now.”

Lapslie was encouraged to hear of a large number of the Stags’ faithful expected to be in attendance this weekend,

“That doesn’t surprise me [that over 1000 away tickets have been sold for the game]. They [the Stags’ fans] have backed us well in the away days so far so as players we are grateful.

“We want to get a win for the fans. They’re going to travel in their numbers so they deserve us to put in a good performance and get a good result on Saturday.

“[In recent weeks] I’ve been surprised at how well they’ve backed us. They’ve been right with us. It would be easy as a fan to turn [on the team] with us going as long as we did without a win but as players we are thankful and hopefully we will put it right.”

To watch the midfielder's full interview login to iFollow Stags


George Lapslie wants Mansfield Town to get in Sunderland's faces
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 2nd November 2021

George Lapslie wants to see Mansfield Town get in the faces of Sunderland as they plot another FA Cup shock.

The midfielder hit the winner at the Stadium of Light last year as Stags dumped Sunderland out of the FA Cup at the first round stage.

And Lapslie knows they will need the same type of performance of they are to get the same type of result.

“It was a great team performance from the boys last year,” he said. “We got into their faces early doors.


“You wouldn't have noticed they were a higher level team. We didn't let them play or settle and we defended really well in the last 10 minutes. The win meant a lot to the boys.

“As a player and a team we still have pressure on us. We are not going as a free hit, we are going for a result and to get to the third round.

“First of all we have to get in their faces, that is the last thing that they will want.

“Once we have stopped them playing we can focus on how we can control the game, but we have to stop them first.”

Lapslie, who watched from the stands as Stags beat Tranmere at the weekend, is also keen to reward the large travelling support for their stand-out loyalty.

Mansfield will be backed by well over 1,000 fans as they look for another cup day to remember.

“Hopefully we can get a good performance in for the fans,” he added. They will travel in their numbers and deserve a good performance.

“The Mansfield fans have backed us well on most away days so far and we appreciate it. “They are due an away result and Saturday is hopefully the day.

“I've been surprised just how much they have backed us during the poor spell. They have been right with us.

“It would be easier for the fans to turn on us, but as players we are very thankful for how they have stuck by us and we are trying to put things right.”