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Archived News from December 2021

17th December 2021 0:00

Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags, Tuesday 14th December 2021

On positive Covid tests:

“Like most businesses, and especially in football, we have to still do our work and take as many precautions as we can.

“We are back to testing twice a week with the lateral flows, and we've had a couple of positive tests with those, we send them off for a PCR.

“We have had three members of staff this morning and we are waiting on the PCR results.

(On the Sunderland U23 game: "Jason Law returned a positive lateral flow test just before they got on the bus yesterday (to go to Sunderland), so he missed out on the game.")

“We cancelled breakfast this morning. We just try to limit them being indoors together as much as we can.

“They are in the building for the least amount of time they can be. They come in and get changed and they've got to have a shower in these conditions, they have a bit of lunch and they are away for home.

“We've still got to prepare for the game and do our training, but take all the necessary precautions.”

“You can have a little plan at the back of your mind but, the way we are with injury and illness, I don't think you can do too much as you may well have to change.

“We lost JJ O'Toole at 11.30 on Saturday morning having lost another player a few hours before kick-off the Saturday before. You can have one plan but you need two or three others up your sleeve as well. We need to be flexible.”

"Danny Johnson might be available for the Christmas period.

"Ollie Clarke should be available for the three games over Christmas if he doesn't make Saturday.

"Kellan's not going to be ready any time soon.

"JJ has a chance for Saturday, if not next week.

"It was always our intention to renew his (Forrester) loan deal in January, so as long as his injury is ok (in January), we'll look to do that."

"Tyrese Sinclair is ok. He's walking around this morning. It was just an impact injury, knee on knee (last night at Sunderland)."


This is the biggest test of the season - manager

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough believes Saturday’s match at league leaders Forest Green Rovers will be the Stags’ toughest game of the season.

Table toppers Rovers are without defeat in the league since October.

Mansfield’s current run of nine wins from ten games in all competitions makes for an exciting clash between two of the division’s form sides and the boss expects the match to be his side’s greatest challenge of the season.


“They are the outstanding team in the division,” he said.

“[They had a] Freak result at the weekend, 5-5 at Oldham when they were 4-1 ahead but that would have, not that they needed it, given them a kick up the backside.

“[The game was] One of those freak results really but they score bags of goals, they’re full of confidence and they’re top of the league for good reason.

“They mix it up like all good teams.

“They play it out a little bit but they’ll [also] hit the big lad Jamille Matt upfront. They get it wide, they play little through balls - so it’s difficult to stop every avenue.”

Despite Forest Green’s form this season and their four point lead at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table, the Stags approach the fixture in magnificent form also, winning nine from the last ten games.

“The remarkable thing [about our current form] is to actually win nine games, no draws,” he said.

“To win nine out of ten is incredible.

“We felt as though we weren’t too far away even when we couldn’t win. We knew we weren’t the worst team in the league.

“On our day we are capable of competing [towards the top of the division] and we know we are capable of challenging for the top seven, which was our aim at the start of the season.”

Speaking about the run-up to Christmas, he said: “We’re not even halfway through the season yet.

“There’s three points at stake. Win, lose or draw on Saturday, we’re still in a good position going forward.

“It would be lovely to keep the run going.

“[After the Forest Green match] Those three games over Christmas, nine points [up for grabs] in a week, I think they’ll go a long way to dictating where we’re going to be [come the end of the season].”

In team news, the manager confirmed several players will be absent from the match at The Fully Charged New Lawn.

“We had seven out on Saturday, quite a few of those being defenders.

“We hope that Danny Johnson won’t be too far off, a couple of weeks and then he might be available for the Christmas period.

“Ollie Clarke [should return around a similar time] even if he doesn’t make Saturday, he could be available for the three games over the Christmas period [Hartlepool, Harrogate and Rochdale].

“Kellan [Gordon] is not going to be ready [to play] anytime soon. Will Forrester [will be out] until January.

“JJ [O’Toole] has got a chance for Saturday, if not then [he will return] next week.”

Watch the manager's interview in full at: mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.


Fight is on for Mansfield Town to keep John-Joe O’Toole as competition mounts
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 14th December 2021

Mansfield Town are suddenly facing stern competition to sign utility player John-Joe O'Toole.

Signed on a short term deal as a free agent, O'Toole has impressed and boss Nigel Clough said: “Negotiations are ongoing. We hope to try to do something with him.

“The only problem is his form has attracted other clubs which is always the way.

“We gave him a chance and then one or two people who didn't fancy him before are saying he's doing all right.

read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/fight-is-on-for-mansfield-town-to-keep-john-joe-otoole-as-competition-mounts-3494584

“So we have a bit of competition. But we're hoping he will stay with us.

“I think we have one club from higher up and the others in our league after him.”

O’Toole missed last weekend’s game and Clough added: “We will monitor JJ this week and see how he is towards the weekend. It's very much how he feels and if he feels he can do any training or not.

“But anyone who has had this flu that lingers for two or three weeks will understand it is quite debilitating.”


Mansfield Town to keep faith with injury-hit Will Forester and extend loan as injuries mount once again
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 14th December 2021

Despite a new injury lay-off of up to six weeks, Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough is keeping faith with young Stoke City defender Will Forrester and intends to extend his loan in January.

Forrester, 20, has been desperately unlucky since signing for Stags in the last window, arriving with an injured ankle and, having finally shaken that off, now injuring his other ankle.

However, he briefly showed fans what he could do and Clough said: “Will has damaged ankle ligaments and we're looking at maybe the first or second week in January with him.

“His loan deal was only until January, but it was always our intention to renew it. So as long as his injury is okay we'll look to do that.


“It was unfortunate as he was due to be with us a few weeks before he was, but he had a setback with his ankle and this time it's his other ankle.

“It was so innocuous. There was no one near him. He just passed the ball and then felt something pop. We hope he won't be too long.”

Having cleared up most of the injuries that had seen them go 14 games without a win, Stags have now seen the injury list numbers creeping up again, despite a superb run of nine wins in 10 games.

“We were seven out on Saturday again, with quite a few of those being defenders,” said Clough.

“John-Joe O'Toole has had an illness and he may be available for Saturday, but if not then next week.

“We're hoping Danny Johnson won't be too far off - a couple of weeks and he might be available for the Christmas period.

“If he doesn't make Saturday then Ollie Clarke should also be available for the three games over Christmas. That will certainly help us.

“James Perch is out for the season, Kellan Gordon won't be available any time soon and Will Forrester into January.”

He added: “We had 10 outfield players train this morning after the Sunderland U23s game.

“Over the next two weeks it's all about getting the balance right between the training and rest.”

The next transfer window opens soon, but Clough said: “I don't think there will be too many changes in January. It will depend on the loan situations - who we keep and if any clubs ask for their players back.

“Otherwise it will depend on injuries short-term or long term as to what we do.

“The squad is coping pretty well at the moment. We need a little bit of cover in one or two positions, but there won't be wholesale changes.”

At least Stags look like getting Burnley loanee Richard Nartey back soon, making his return in an FA Premier league Cup U23 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Monday night.

“It was good to get people a game who needed one,” said Clough.

“Richard Nartey was the main one. He hadn't played for 10 and a half weeks. So to get him on the pitch and get him 90 minutes was very important.

“James Gale had 65 minutes but got a knock and Tyrese Sinclair got nearly 90 minutes in, Ryan Burke as well.

“So, apart from Harry Charsley, all those from the bench on Saturday played.

“Jason Law returned a positive lateral flow test just before they got on the bus yesterday so he missed out.

“But we had some good youngsters from the academy playing as well and it was a good experience for them against a pretty strong Sunderland team.

“Tyrese did get hurt near the end but he is walking round okay this morning. It was just an impact injury - a sort of knee on knee clash. But he should be okay.”


In-form Mansfield Town facing the ultimate test at leaders Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town's golden run of form faces the ultimate test on Saturday when they head south to play free-scoring League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers.

“They are the outstanding team in the division so far,” admitted Stags boss Nigel Clough as his side aim to make it 10 wins in 11 games.

“They had a freak result at the weekend with that 5-5 draw at Oldham, having been 4-1 ahead. Not that they needed it, but I think that will have probably given them a kick up the backside if they needed one.

“They score bags of goals, they're full of confidence and they're top of the league for a good reason.”


Strikers Matt Stevens and Jamille Matt sit in the division's top three scorers with 13 apiece and Clough said: “We've had them watched the last two games and we are well aware of their goalscoring abilities, but also we look at the service and where those chances are coming from.

“I think the two lads out wide have provided an awful lot of their situations and chances that they have put away.

“Kane Wilson bombs down that right hand side and they mix it up as well like all good teams.

“They play it out a bit but they also hit the big lad up front and get it out wide. It's hard to stop every avenue.”

Rovers have twice come close to promotion in the last three seasons after losing in the play-offs and Clough said: “I think Mark Cooper has laid the foundations over many seasons for them and if he'd stayed it was only a matter of time before they went up.

“I think they would have gone up last season had they not lost their big centre forward with a terrible arm injury that put him out for three or four months.

“Mark laid a lot of the foundations and they have just taken it on to a different level this season.”

Stags' 2-1 win over Salford City last weekend edged them to within just four points of the play-offs and only six off the top three automatic promotion spots.

Clough said: “That's how quickly the league table can turn around. But we're not even halfway yet so we're not looking at it too closely.

“You always look after Christmas - there are another 12 points at stake in the next couple of weeks. Let's see where we are in the New Year and we will hopefully be a bit closer than that.

“The remarkable thing is to win nine games - no draws - nine out of 10 is incredible. But we felt we were not too far away, even when we couldn't win.

“We tried to be as even and level headed about it as we could. We knew we weren't the worst team in the league and we're probably not the best team, as good as Forest Green.

“But we know that on our day we are capable of competing and challenging for the top seven, which was our aim at the start of the season.

“We didn't get carried away either way. We just needed some players back and when we got Stephen Quinn back that was a catalyst for us.

“Now we are playing with a level of confidence we certainly didn't have two or three months ago.

“But another three points at stake is all Saturday is about. Win, lose or draw on Saturday we're still in a good position going forward.

“It would be lovely to keep the run going but win or draw, anything we get down there will be a bonus.

“But the three games over Christmas - those nine points in a week - I think they will dictate a lot more where we are going to be.


Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough hoping current rich form will attract fans to buy half season tickets
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough is hoping his side's magnificent form will draw supporters into buying the new half-season tickets the club have offered.

Stags have battled from the relegation zone to just four points off the play-offs and Clough said: “I understand that times are tough and if people are not sure, I hope they've seen enough in the first three or four months of the season to convince them.

“Come and give us a chance, even if you only come down for the odd game before you decide, and see if you enjoy it.

“I hope, even in some of the defeats where we played well, people can see how we are trying to play. It doesn't always pan out.


“But if you watched the first 15-20 minutes after half-time on Saturday - that's how we're trying to play. Some of the goals we've scored have been excellent like the team goal at Doncaster, and we hope we can do more in the second half of the season.”

Clough had high praise for supporters' backing so far as a barren run of 14 games without a win was followed by nine victories in the next 10 games.

“The fans have been outstanding,” he said.

“We know when we're winning everybody gets behind you, but we really appreciated them when we were losing.

“They showed a level of understanding that a lot of football supporters don't.

“We kept saying we were without players and they are not daft.

“They see Stephen Quinn and know he's one of our best players as well as James Perch. To lose two players like that is very difficult to cope with.

“We also had quite a few decisions went against us. We don't want to moan too much about them, but we have not had any major decisions go against us in the last few weeks in the current run.

“In the run we couldn't win there were result-defining errors by officials, which you're always going to get.”


We must show them what Mansfield are all about - Rawson

Mansfield Town defender Farrend Rawson insists that despite the ‘tough test’ of facing league leaders Forest Green Rovers this Saturday, the incentive will be on the Stags to ‘bring the game to them’.

The mouth-watering fixture sees the division’s two form teams go head-to-head.

Stags have earned five victories from their last six in the league, while League Two’s pace-setters Forest Green have earned four wins from six.

The 25-year-old, who formerly played for Rovers, was in buoyant mood when speaking at this week’s pre-match news conference at RH Academy.


“It’s going to be a tough test but we’re looking forward to it,” said Rawson.

“Defensively, we’re going to have to be on it. We’re going to have to marshal them well.

“They’ve [Forest Green] been scoring a lot of goals [but] it’s nothing to fear at all.”

Nigel Clough’s men have enjoyed a remarkable revival in the last six weeks, winning nine out of the last ten matches in all competitions.

“We go there in good form. We’re full of confidence with the run we’ve been on.

“We’ll go there with our chests out and [will] bring the game to them.

“We’re working extremely hard; I think everyone can see that.

“We’ve got people who were injured back [in the squad] and the team spirit is at an all-time high.

“We’ll approach it like every other game and show Forest Green what Mansfield are all about.

“We’re all ready to go.”

The Nottingham-born centre-half is confident that the team can continue the current run of form.

“The sky is the limit. When you have amazing owners like we’ve got, a good gaffer and good players - [then] it’s just a matter of time I’d say [before we get towards the top end of the table].

“In this league it’s about working hard and scrapping for your teammates.

“It [Saturday’s game] will be a tough test but it’s nothing to shy away from [given the playing squad and staff.]”

After two home victories last week, the defender praised the lift that the Mansfield supporters have given the team.

“When you make a tackle, sometimes you get more of a cheer than when you play good football, that’s how much it means [to the fans].

“You’re putting your body on the line, you’re making tackles and making blocks.

“They let you know about it [the supporters’ passion] and that makes you feel ten feet taller.

“It drives the team on and it pushes you on. You might have been lacking [energy] in the last ten minutes but that cheering brings it [a good performance] out of you.”

Watch Faz’s interview in full now at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/ifollow


Nothing to fear says Farrend Rawson on return to Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Former Forest Green Rovers defender Farrend Rawson returns to the New Lawn with Mansfield Town on Saturday with his old club top of the table, but says Stags have nothing to fear.

“They are on fire at the moment, flying at the top of the league,” he said.

“It's going to be a tough test but we're all looking forward to it.

“They have been scoring a lot of goals this season, but it's nothing to fear.


“We go there in good form, full of confidence with the run we've been on, and we will go there with our chests stuck out and take the game to them.”

Rovers let a 4-1 lead slip in last week's shock 5-5 draw at struggling Oldham, but Rawson said: “I don't think they will change much as what they have been doing has been working.

“But we won't be shying away from it. We will approach it like every other game, go out there and show Forest Green what Mansfield are about and why we're are on the run we've been on. The lads are all ready to go.”

With players registering positive Covid tests this week, routines have been disrupted and players encouraged to mix as little as possible indoors.

But Rawson said: “That's the world we live in at the moment.

“These are the things you have to deal with. But we have shown with the squad we have that when we have players missing, others have filled in and we have adapted.

“We have an unbelievable squad in that anyone can come in and do the job.”


Glory at Mansfield Town only a matter of time says Farrend Rawson
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Big defender Farrend Rawson believes it is only a matter of time before Mansfield Town achieve success.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to his former club, leaders Forest Green Rovers, he said: “I am a big believer in one step at a time, but the sky is the limit here.

“When you've got amazing owners like we have and a good gaffer with good players and the facilities, I would say it's only a matter of time.

“When I first joined I was shown around the training ground and the stadium and everything and it was amazing.


“It blew my mind for the level. The facilities, the stands at the ground and the fans are definitely leagues above where we are.”

Stags are currently only four points off the play-offs after nine wins out of 10 and Rawson put the recent upsurge in results simply down to hard work.

“It's all about work effort. I think everyone can see we are all working extremely hard and putting in all the hard yards on and off the pitch,” he said.

“We have some of the injured players back now which has helped a lot and the team spirit is at an all-time high and that's most of the battle.

“At this level in this league it's about working hard and scrapping for your team mates and every second ball, getting on the end of things and making block tackles. You can see from our results that's what we're doing.

“They have not all been amazing performances but they have been gritty and we've come out on the right side of them.”

Rawson said that despite a run of 14 games without a win their belief never wavered that this season could be a glorious one.

“We never doubted what we had. It was just fine margins and we just needed that bit of luck or one result to kickstart the season - and that happened.

“I said from the start with the squad we've got and everything around it, it is just a matter of time.

“I feel like we got a bit unlucky, didn't get the rub of the green, made some mistakes and some performances weren't where they should be.

“But we all had an understanding that if we get this right we will be looking up and not down. But it's one step at a time.

“We've put ourselves into an amazing position to go on and hopefully do something this season.

“But we've got to stick to what we are good at and what we've been doing which is working hard and doing the basics properly.

“It's been tough having different players in defence every week but it's no one's fault. You can't help injuries and illness. It just shows how good the squad is. There are players waiting to step in and do the job.

Almost two years ago Rawson netted twice for Forest Green in a 4-3 victory at the One Call Stadium.

But the big centre half has been delighted by his switch to the Stags.

“That was a while back so it's been put to bed and you move on. They are a completely different team now and we are a completely different team,” he smiled.

“I am actually from Nottingham and most of my family live in Nottingham, so it was actually moving back home.

“Me, my missus and my kids lived in Bristol when I was at Forest Green so it was a big journey to come back home.

“But we've settled in perfectly now. We are now around family.”

He added: “It was tough in Bristol as we were going through Covid. My little girl, who is now nearly two, didn't see her grandparents until she was nearly one.

“We were isolated with a young one. We've had another one now, a little boy, so it's been nice to make up for missed time and catch up. It's been lovely.

“Mansfield were always spoken of highly when I was growing up so it's strange to be back at home and playing for this big club.”

Rawson has loved playing in front of Mansfield Town' s noisy supporters.

“You make a tackle and sometimes you get more of a cheer than when you play good football - that's how much it means to them,” he smiled.

“You're putting your body on the line, making tackles and blocks, and they let you know about it.

“It makes you 10ft taller and drives the team on, pushes you on, and gives you that bit of energy that you may have been lacking in the last 10 minutes.

“The cheering brings it out of you.”

He added: “I think my own form has been okay. It's been a bit hit and miss.

“Obviously I have been out a little while with my missus giving birth. I missed a game and the lads were doing well so I had to bide my time again.

“Then I got ill. So everything came at the wrong time. But I feel I have been putting in some good performances, and there is more to come and I want to improve.”



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