CLOUGH ON INJURIES / PLUS HEWITT INTERVIEW
Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags, Tues 16 Nov 2021:
"Rhys Oates has a groin injury, so he's a doubt for Saturday, but we'll see how he is later in the week.
"George Lapslie has got a shoulder strain we think. We'll get that looked at and I would think he's a major doubt for Saturday.
"George Maris opened his knee up in a tackle. He's probably the least serious of the three. We're hoping he'll be alright for Saturday."
"Kellan Gordon is coming on. He's had an injection last week which has helped settle this irritation in his knee. We're looking for him to get some training in this week with a view to being available for Saturday."
Q: who do you see as your first choice right back?
Clough: "Whoever's in form and fit. Elliott's got the berth at the moment and with us having other centre halves who are fit, he'll stay there for now."
Clough on the Leeds U23 game:
"It was a funny game. We had so many opportunities, especially in the second half. Tyrese (Sinclair) could have had a hat-trick, similar to the Newcastle game last week. "We went 2-0 down ... two poor goals ... got one back late on. But we'd missed numerous opportunities and should not have lost the game."
Stags target five wins on the spin
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 16 Nov 2021
Mansfield Town will be aiming to record a fifth successive victory this Saturday when they face Scunthorpe United at One Call Stadium.
The Stags acquired an important 2-0 win against Tranmere last month and have maintained a 100% record in November with victories against Sunderland, Newcastle under-21s and Stevenage.
Speaking to iFollow Stags at a news conference this morning, manager Nigel Clough said: “We know how hard we’re having to work for our points. That will be no different on Saturday.
"Last Saturday against Stevenage [for example] we got the victory but it's not as if we are getting carried away and winning three or four nil.
read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2021/november/stags-target-five-wins-on-the-spin/
“It [The Scunthorpe game] will be about us being on the front foot like we were in recent games [against Port Vale and Tranmere]."
Stags will assess midfielders George Maris and George Lapslie, along with forward Rhys Oates, after the trio were substituted in last Saturday’s win.
The gaffer said: “All three [Oates, Maris and Lapslie] that came off injured on Saturday are a doubt [for this weekend’s home match against Scunthorpe].
"Rhys Oates' [injury] was a groin injury but we will see how he is later on in the week. George Maris opened his knee up in a tackle and he is probably the least serious out of the three.
"George Lapslie has a shoulder strain which was causing him a lot of discomfort during and after the game. We'll get that [his shoulder] looked at and see [the extent of the injury]."
With a further update on two other players, the boss said: “Danny Johnson is out with a foot injury. It was very innocuous last week when the goalkeeper from Newcastle caught him and he twisted an ankle ligament.
"[Kellan Gordon] Is coming on. Hes had an injection on his knee which has helped settle the irritation. We're looking at getting him some training in this week with the view to being available for Saturday.”
Last weekend’s well-fought victory away at Stevenage was the first league away win for Mansfield this season.
“We should have achieved that [the first away league victory] before now. It shouldn’t have taken us this long.
“When you think how well we finished last season as well with a victory away at Port Vale.
"[On Saturday at Stevenage] We played with an awful lot of endeavour and work rate, there wasn't a lot of thought with that but hopefully that will settle down when we get some more victories."
Watch the manager's full interview on iFollow Stags here.
Stags hoping for better news on injured stars
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town are hoping for better news on key injured players ahead of Saturday's home clash with bottom side Scunthorpe United when revitalised Stags will try to make it five wins in a row.
Striker Danny Johnson is already ruled out for three weeks with a foot injury and Stags' awful luck with injuries this season flared again as they lost three more stars in Saturday's first away win of the campaign at Stevenage.
“Rhys Oates was a groin injury so he is a doubt for Saturday - we will have to see how he is later in the week,” said manager Nigel Clough.
“George Maris opened his knee up in a tackle and is probably the least serious of the three. We're hoping he will be all right for Saturday.
“George Lapslie has a shoulder strain which was causing him a lot of discomfort. You saw him wince during the game and after the game.
“I don't think he got much sleep on Saturday night, which you don't with those sorts of injuries. We will get it looked at but he must be a major doubt for Saturday.”
On Johnson, he added: “Danny is out with a foot injury, we will just keep an eye on him and get him back as soon as we can. It was very innocuous against Newcastle last week.
“The goalkeeper just caught him and he twisted it a little bit and nicked an ankle ligament. Then he put his penalty in and was feeling it more after that. He was coming off anyway when he got his hat-trick.
“He was coming off on the hour mark. When he scored his second we said we'll give you five minutes to get your hat-trick. He was delighted to get it, but we wish we'd brought him off.
“We hope we can get some of the injured lads on the pitch that we lost last week and stick as close to that same team as we can, though inevitably there will be one or two changes. That is the key to it now - consistency.”
Right back Kellan Gordon could be fit for selection after his spell out.
“Kellan is coming on,” said the manager.
“He had an injection last week which has helped settle this irritation in his knee. “So we are looking for him to get some training in with a view to being ready for Saturday, It would be good to get him back.
“Getting the players back, having had so many out a month ago, is coinciding with improved results. The last thing we want to do is start losing four or five again.
“After the game on Saturday we were without six, including Perchy, arguably all who could be starters.”
However, if fit, Gordon is unlikely to walk straight back into the team as Clough said he does not have a No.1 right back in his mind.
“It's whichever one is in form and fit.” he said.
“I don't think we've had too many opportunities when they've both been fit and we've had to make a choice so far this season.
“Elliot (Hewitt) has the berth at the moment and, with us having other centre halves, he will stay there for now.”
Bottom club Scunthorpe United clash is a potential banana skin for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town are aware of the potential banana skin bottom club Scunthorpe United pose in Saturday's clash at the One Call Stadium now Keith Hill has taken charge as the new manager.
After a 1-0 FA Cup defeat in his opening game, following Neil Cox's sacking, Hill led them to a decent 1-1 home draw with Salford City last weekend.
Despite four win on the bounce, Stags boss Nigel Clough said they would take nothing for granted.
“I don't think we have been that good that we would get carried away,” he said.
“We got the victory at Stevenage but it's not as if we've not been winning three and four nil.
“We know how hard we're having to work for our points and it will be no different on Saturday.
“They have had a change of manager which will have an effect. Keith has been there two or three weeks now working with them.
“It will start having an impact and they had a good draw at home to Salford last week. I am sure they will see us as a game they can get something from.”
He added: “I was very disappointed Neil Cox left as I thought he did a magnificent job keeping them up last season against the odds. He should probably have been given more time.
“But we saw after Saturday, Alex Revell leaving Stevenage, which I thought was even harsher.
“I saw a good Stevenage side on Saturday who, bar the width of the post, they would have got a point or maybe all three on Saturday.”
“They had a good finish to last season then lost their best player, midfielder Tom Pett, who is now running the show for Port Vale, and I saw a good team working their socks off for their manager on Saturday.
“They lost an awful lot of players last summer and it's very difficult to replace that amount.
“Looking from the outside I think some things were maybe cut back a little bit. So a team that already had a tough season last season were not able to replace players that went in the summer.”
Clough said Stags needed to start well against Scunthorpe and ride the wave of confidence that comes from winning games.
“You get that little edge in games that go from losing to drawing and drawing to winning,” he said.
“Saturday will be about us being on the front foot like were against Port Vale and Tranmere to a certain degree.
“It's all about the experienced players. I thought Stephen Quinn was very good at Stevenage on Saturday as was John-Joe O'Toole. They were probably the pick of our players and both over 30 years old.
“They get you through games like Saturday where you're under the cosh at times.
“We realise we got away with a couple when Reidy hit the post, then you get a talented midfielder like Ryan Stirk who comes on and put the winner in.
“But it's about the mix and the variety. You need the experienced players but you also need the young players like Ryan Stirk with that ability.”
Visiting Scunthorpe have not won in four and only once in 14, have the worst goal difference, are on one of the lowest budgets and are operating under a transfer embargo.
Their chairman Peter Swann has also sacked eight managers in as many years.
But the bottom two are both still only one point adrift of safety with everything to play for.
The Stevenage win brought Stags' first away league victory of the season, and Clough added: “It's taken too long to get to that point - mid-November. We should have achieved that before now.
“You think how well we finished last season with a victory at Port Vale on the last day, it should not have taken us this long.
“Like getting that win against Tranmere, everyone is a bit nervous and so desperate to get the win, as we were on Saturday. I think that probably took away a little bit from our performance.
“We played with an awful lot of endeavour and work rate, but there wasn't a lot of thought applied to that. Hopefully that will come when we settle down and get some more victories.”
Elliott Hewitt finally hitting form for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
After early season criticism over his performances, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is delighted to see Elliott Hewitt now starting to hit form at last.
“He has just settled in. New players always settle in at varying times and I think Elliott is really settling in now,” he said.
“He is great for us as he can play right back, centre half, even midfield as well. His versatility was one of the reasons we signed him.
“He is a Mr Steady Eddie - seven or eight out of 10 each week.
“He had a couple of bad games towards the start of the season, certainly the Bradford one at home, but since then he's been very good indeed.
Hewitt admitted: “I struggled a bit at the start. I was injured in pre-season, then came back and had a few games that were not my best.
“Hopefully the last few weeks I have turned it round and can keep on going on from there.
“It's just about consistency and playing games. Obviously everyone plays better when the team is winning too.”
Hewitt is currently at right back and said: “I spoke to the manager before I signed and I wasn't signed to play centre half, I was signed to play wherever he needed me to. That's been the case and we will continue like that - wherever I'm needed I will play.
“Right back is where I've played most of my career to be fair.
“I had a season at Notts County where I played centre midfield and then the back end of last season at Grimsby I played centre half and played really well.
“So I will just play wherever I need to.”
On the campaign so far as a whole, he added: “Collectively the season has been up and down, personally as well really.
“The team got off to a good start that first few games then went on a dip in form. Hopefully we have now turned it around and we can just keep looking onwards.
“I think it was coming a long time before the first win against Tranmere. We deserved to beat Port Vale and with some of the performances before that we had been unlucky.
“We had a bit of luck on Saturday when Reidy (Stevenage striker Jamie Reid) hit the post twice and I think that has been missing a bit.
“We should now go into the next game full of confidence. We've won four in a row so we just have to keep performing how we are.
“We need to take the game to Scunthorpe on Saturday, play how we have been playing and hopefully the result will take care of itself.”
Defender encouraged by recent form
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 16 Nov 2021
Mansfield Town defender Elliott Hewitt is pleased with his and the team’s upturn in form in recent weeks.
Speaking to iFollow Stags, the defender admitted to ‘struggling’ in the early part of his Stags’ career after an injury in pre-season but is encouraged by performances of late.
“At the start [of the season] I struggled a bit. [I was] Injured in pre-season and I had one or two [matches] that weren’t my best games,“ he said.
“Hopefully in the last few weeks I have turned it round and I can go from here.
“I think it [his recent good form] is just down to consistency. I think it’s just [about] playing games.”
The full-back’s impressive displays recently have coincided with the Stags’ run of four consecutive victories.
“Obviously the team’s winning. I think everyone plays better when the team is winning."
When asked about his positional versatility, he said: “I spoke to the manager before I signed and it [the conversation] wasn’t ‘you’re signing to play centre-half.’ I was signed to play wherever he [the manager] has needed me to," he said.
“I’m trying to continue like that. Wherever I am needed I’ll play.
“Right-back is where I have played most of my career. I had a season at Notts County where I played central midfield and at the back end of last season at Grimsby I played centre-half and played really well.”
The Stags’ number four hasn't been surprised by the team's recent revival.
“I think it was coming a long time before that first win [for 14 games] against Tranmere.
“We deserved to win with our performance against Port Vale and in some of the games before then we were unlucky.
“I think a little bit of luck had been missing.
“Going into the next game we need to be full of confidence. We’ve won four [games] in a row so we need to take each game as it comes and keep performing how we have been performing [in recent weeks].”
Watch the defender's interview in full on iFollow Stags here.
Hill talks preparations for Mansfield away fixture
by Media Staff, @SUFCOfficial, 18 Nov 2021
First team manager Keith Hill has spoken about preparations for Saturday's League Two away game against Mansfield Town.
United head to the One Call Stadium looking to build on the performance and result against Salford City last weekend, where they drew 1-1.
Hill told iFollow Iron: "We've had a lot of intensity in the training and the players have certainly adapted to the messages and the way I want to train. Obviously there's got to be a continuation of learning, developing as a group and forming the identity that I'm trying to create.
"The next two days moves onto the matchday preparation but there's got to be an element of fitness in there as well, so the way we train has to reflect the way we want to play.
"We have to respect the opponent, but again I'm trying to focus as much as I can and as quickly as I can on the way we want to play."
Mansfield head into the match having won their last four games in all competitions, and Hill is aware it will be a tough test against Nigel Clough's men.
He added: "A couple of weeks ago, (Port Vale manager) Darrell Clarke said he expected Mansfield to be promotion contenders and if you look at the squad and the recent results that's a true reflection of their capabilities.
"We're going there as probable underdogs but are going to go there with a fighter's chance. We're going to be organised and ready for the opponents, and trying to show that identity which I keep speaking about and is important so that we can go to places like Mansfield and pick up three points."
Over 350 Iron fans have bought tickets for the match so far, and with pay on the day available there too, even more are expected to snap up tickets as United go looking for their first away win of the season.
Hill continued: "The supporters are the heartbeat of every football club and we're trying to create an identity that represents those supporters and that they can buy into, understand and appreciate. The appreciation will certainly be fed back to them by the players and the staff. We're working on their behalf and whether it's 2,000 who turn up or 20 every single one of those fans is equally important."