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CLOUGH ON TRANSFERS/O'TOOLE,O'KEEFFE,SWINDON
15th January 2022 0:00



Up to four new faces in January as Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough steps up hunt for players
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10th January 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough said the Stags could bring in as many as four new faces in January, depending on who goes out on loan or permanent deals.

A striker and a left back are on his list as well as a centre half if they are unable to persuade John-Joe O'Toole to sign a new contract.

“As you've seen over the last few weeks, the squad we've got is a good one and we don't need massive wholesale changes to it,” said Clough.

“We just need to get the young lads out playing football, that may be loans.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/up-to-four-new-faces-in-january-as-mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-steps-up-hunt-for-players-3521696

“We are very happy generally with the foundation of the squad and there won't be six or seven coming in or anything like that.

“It might be three or four hopefully, but just to complement the squad more than anything else, certainly not to come in and make wholesale changes to it.

“It is just to give us that flexibility over the remaining 23 games.”

Clough said there were some irons in the fire but the hunt would be stepped up this week.

“We have been mainly concentrating on preparing for the FA Cup game and it will depend on outs,” said Clough.

“We have made a few calls, but most players were cup-tied for the weekend. We will now step up our efforts this week in order to try to do some business.

“I think we need cover all over the pitch, but not just as cover, we want those players to challenge for a first team place.

“We want another striker to complement what we've got.

“You need that when you are playing Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday. You need to be able to change them.

“We have a few names but it has to be someone who fits into the mould and fits into the strikers we've got to work with them.

“I think we need a defender. It will depend on who goes out with the young lads.

“We have a situation with Ryan Burke where we haven't seen enough of him to reach a decision. So if we can bring in some cover in at left back for Stephen McLaughlin then Ryan could maybe go out and play some games.”

He added: “Keaton Ward also needs to go out and play some games.

“If we can keep JJ then we don't need another centre half coming in.

“We are still waiting on Will Forrester as well. We'd like to re-do that but Stoke are saying they want to see what business they do in the next 10 days as to whether they will let him back out or not.

“So everyone is spinning plates and waiting on each other.”

Defender Corey O'Keeffe could be the first one to leave after a successful loan at Rochdale.

“I think his loan is officially up now and he will either be going to Rochdale on a permanent deal or somewhere else,” said Clough.

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Mansfield Town could be without five players for crucial visit of play-off rivals Swindon Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10th January 2022

Mansfield Town could be without five players for tomorrow night's crucial home clash with fellow play-off hopefuls Swindon Town.

Stephen McLaughlin, Ryan Stirk and George Lapslie are all nursing knocks from Saturday's titanic 3-2 FA Cup home defeat by Middlesbrough while Tyrese Sinclair and Farrend Rawson still have Covid.

“We have at least three main doubts,” said boss Nigel Clough.

“Stephen McLaughlin has a sore calf, Ryan Stirk, the ball hit him on the end of his toe and he's a doubt, and George Lapslie felt his thigh and he's a doubt for tomorrow night too.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-could-be-without-five-players-for-crucial-visit-of-play-off-rivals-swindon-town-3521676

“The ball hit Ryan right on the end of his toe. Anyone who plays will know it's very painful at the time and it jars your knee area as well. “He is up and around walking but I'd say he was 50-50, as is Stephen McLaughlin.

“We are not too bad with Covid now. Tyrese Sinclair is still off with it and Farrend Rawson is still testing positive. But we'd hope to have him for Saturday.”

Swindon have three players in the division's top 10 scorers, Harry McKirdy putting four past Northampton in their last league outing.

“They do score a lot of goals and are very strong away from home,” said Clough.

“I think they've had 10 wins this season and seven of them have been on the road.

“That's the way they play - with pace on the break.

“It's that quality in the final third. We can play like that and if you have strikers that are finishing a good ratio and percentage of your chances then you don't need to create that many.

“They have attacking threats all over the pitch.”

Clough has stressed to his players that the Swindon game is far more important than the FA Cup.

“It will be a completely different game, playing Swindon at home rather than the glamour of the third round of the FA Cup,” he said.

“But it is more important this one and that was said very early on in the dressing room after the game on Saturday.

“It's been brilliant - we've had a good cup run but we now move on - we have to do everything we can to be right for the 24 remaining league games. Nothing else.”

With Walsall the visitors on Saturday, Clough said Stags had to make these games count with so many away games to come next month.

“We have been brilliant at home and we have a chance this week with two home games,” said the manager.

“Looking at the fixtures after them, they are so heavily weighted away from home, these will be the last two home games in a row for a while and we have to get some points on the board to try to get into those play-off places.

“After all the effort that went in on Saturday a clear week would not have gone amiss, especially as Swindon got an extra night's sleep after their effort on Friday night against Manchester City.

“But I think we are in good enough spirits to recover from that.”

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Mansfield Town battle on to try to keep John-Joe O’Toole
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10th January 2022

Mansfield Town have not yet resigned themselves to losing John-Joe O'Toole, even though he has a better offer on the table from a League One club.

“It's all very amicable. We're just trying to get a deal that is acceptable,” said manager Nigel Clough.

“But he has a very, very good offer from a team in the league above. So it's going to be difficult for us to match that deal, but we are still talking and we're still trying.

“He is officially on contract with us until the 22nd January I think, so he has almost two more weeks with us in which we hope he will keep playing and we can keep working on things. But I think a decision has got to be made in the next few days.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-battle-on-to-try-to-keep-john-joe-otoole-3523005

“We do have targets going out and targets coming in.”

Clough continued: “We are trying to bridge the gap between the deal that's been put on the table, which is a very good deal both in terms of finance and length of contract.

“He is enjoying it here but first and foremost he is married with two children. As a footballer at 33 years old you have to look at the bigger picture and we completely understand his thinking at the moment.

“We're not 100 per cent out of it yet and we will keep working on it as long as we can.”

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Display in Middlesborough defeat gives encouragament to Mansfield Town as they continue promotion bid
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10th January 2022

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said his side's valiant fightback in Saturday's thrilling 3-2 home FA Cup third round defeat to Middlesbrough has given the club much encouragement ahead of tonight’s home clash with Swindon Town.

Stags fought back from 2-0 down inside 14 minutes to their Championship visitors to level five minutes from time.

But, just as the game looked to be slipping into extra-time, an cruel own goal settled it and halted the run of 10 wins in 11 games.

But Clough said the performance had reinforced just how good this side can be as they chase promotion.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/display-in-middlesborough-defeat-gives-encouragament-to-mansfield-town-as-they-continue-promotion-bid-3523036

“It was an unbelievably good cup tie and how well we played for 60-70 minutes of the game. It gives us a lot of encouragement,” he said.

“It takes 48 hours at least to sit back and look at it and think 'we played well on Saturday - really, really well at times'.

“We need to make more of the situations we are creating. Some of our play deserves more - more shots on target. We have to concentrate more on hitting the target.

“I think we had 15 shots on Saturday but only three on target. That tells its own story.

“But we are still averaging about two goals a game recently which is a very good sign. We're certainly trying to be as positive as we can with our play. Not too many teams have as much of an attacking intent as we have.”

He added: “Losing in the last minute like that is galling and heartbreaking.

“So much effort has gone into that 100 minutes we played. When you think you should get something from the game it's difficult to take.

“Chris Wilder said any Championship club would have struggled against us on Saturday and I think that's a good testament to how we played. He knew it wasn't going to be easy.

“It was just small margins that stopped us winning the game.”

A packed One Call Stadium made for a superb atmosphere and the home fans were delighted with their side's efforts.

“For the supporters to stay and give us an ovation, usually teams only get that when they win,” said Clough.

“But they recognised the credible effort that went in from the players and how close we were. They are enjoying the way we're trying to play.

“The worst feeling is not losing, it's not really having a go as a footballer, coming off the pitch thinking you could have done more.

“I don't think we could have done much more on Saturday in terms of effort.”

Painfully, Middlesbrough's reward was an away tie at Manchester United or Aston Villa but Clough wasn't sure if that meant Stags had missed out.

“I am never sure if it works like that,” he said.

“I don't know if we'd have been a different number or whatever.

“It would have been lovely to go to one of those grounds. But it wasn't to be.

“It wasn't through lack of effort. We were just a bit short on the day against Middlesbrough, but there were so many good things too.”

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Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough issues challenge to Jason Law
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

After a loss of form left him out of the picture, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough has challenged utility man Jason Law to win a regular first team starting shirt.

Law, 22, put in some outstanding displays last season as he finally began to fulfil his potential at the club.

But he has been on the fringes this season until recently when he has again started to make an impact.

“I think, not intentionally or consciously, he took three months off,” said Clough.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-issues-challenge-to-jason-law-3525535

“Since the start of the season he hasn't been anywhere near where he was at the end of last season or where he is now, which is why he hasn't been in the team.

“I said to him this week - stay on it now, keep your performance at that level and you will stay in the squad and in and around the team coming on or staying.

“He can be an important player for us for the rest of this season.

“When we are putting the squad together this month for the rest of the season, he is in it.”

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Fit-again Danny Johnson faces battle to win back Mansfield Town shirt
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas

Fit-again Mansfield Town forward Danny Johnson now faces a battle to win back his first team place.

Johnson was sidelined with injury for two months but returned to the bench on Saturday and was unlucky to have a goal disallowed for a contentious offside.

But Clough said Johnson's instinctive finish was his forte.

“The goal he scored that was chalked off - that's a Danny Johnson goal,” he said.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/fit-again-danny-johnson-faces-battle-to-win-back-mansfield-town-shirt-3525600

“He's in there for the rebound and tapping it in from a yard. You need someone like that in your squad.

“I though he was onside. It was so close. When they give those they are usually a yard or two.

“But I saw the reaction of the Middlesbrough goalkeeper and defender and no one appealed for offside. They didn't think it was. It may have influenced the result of the game, we don't know.”

He added: “Danny's challenge now is to get in the team.

“He's been out for eight weeks and has only had 45 minutes in the friendly at Derby and then half an hour or so on Saturday and Tuesday.

“So it's going to be a building-up process for him over the next few weeks of getting that sharpness and that fitness back.

“He knows as well as anyone when the strikers are playing and scoring, he has got to work hard to get back into the team.

“Rhys Oates and Jordan Bowery are doing well at the moment.

“But it's brilliant to have Danny back on the pitch.”

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Manager gives update on Stags’ January business
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 10th January 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough discussed the club’s prospective incomings and outgoings in the January transfer window in his latest news conference.

The boss expects additions, including a potential new striker, but insists players brought in to the club must ‘complement’ the current group.

Speaking to iFollow Stags, the manager provided an update on the future of John-Joe O’Toole as the 33-year-old approaches the expiration of his current deal.

“It’s very amicable,” the gaffer revealed

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/january/manager-gives-update-on-stags-january-business/

“We’re trying to get a deal that is acceptable but he has a very, very good offer from a team in the league above.

“It’s going to be very difficult for us to match that deal but we’re still talking and we’re still trying.

“He’s officially still in contract with us until the 22nd of January so he’s got another two weeks with us which we hope [in which time] he’ll keep playing and then we can keep working on things.

“We said at the weekend, a decision has got to be made in the next few days.”

In terms of further incomings, the Stags’ chief says a new striker is an area Mansfield are targeting.

“We want another striker if we can [get one],” he said.

“That’s an area where you need to be able to change them [the strikers] and give them a breather.

“We want somebody who complements what we’ve got. We’ve got a few names but it has to be someone who fits the mould and add to what we’ve got as we’re very happy with the foundation of our squad.

“We’re not panicking as the squad we’ve got, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, is a good squad.

“We don’t need to make wholesale changes to it, it’s not a thing where six or seven will be coming in or anything like that.”

In more general business, the manager said: “In the next couple of weeks, if we can get two or three new faces in and balance it up - there’ll be more players going out than coming in - I hope we can get a squad in place to keep competing for the next four months.”

On-loan defender Will Forrester’s loan at the club ended on 09 January. The 20-year-old defender is someone the manager hopes to be reunited with come the end of the window.

“We’re still waiting on Will Forrester as well.

“We’d like to re-do that loan. Stoke are saying that they want to see what business they do in the next ten days as to whether they’ll let him back out or not.

“Everybody is sort of spinning plates and waiting on each other.”

Mansfield face Swindon Town tomorrow evening at One Call Stadium. The boss’ side will be hoping to gain 24 points out of a possible 27.

“They’re very strong away from home,” he said.

“I think they’ve had ten wins this season and seven of them have been on the road.

“The way they play is with pace on the break and when you have quality in the final third [then] you can play like that.

“If you’re finishing a good ratio and percentage of your chances, then you don’t need to create that many.

“They have attacking threats all over the pitch.”

The gaffer discussed potential absentees for the game against the Robins.

“We’ve got three main doubts.

“Stephen McLaughlin was a bit sore with his calf on Saturday.

“Ryan Stirk; a ball hit him on the end of the toe, he’s a doubt.

“George Lapslie felt his thigh so he’s a doubt also for tomorrow night.

“[In terms of illness in the squad] We’ve only got Tyrese Sinclair off with it and Faz Rawson is still testing positive but we hope to have him for Saturday. “

The manager was keen to praise the support of the One Call Stadium crowd after the narrow loss to Championship side Middlesbrough in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.

“You have your best chance of success when it’s like that. For the supporters to stay and applaud [was fantastic].

“Usually teams only get that when they win but they recognised the incredible effort that went in by the players.

“I hope they’re enjoying the way we’re trying to play, we’re trying to be positive and attack.”

Watch the boss’ interview in full now on iFollow Stags by clicking here.

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Further bits and pieces from Nigel Clough interview with iFollow Stags

"O'Toole is officially on contract with us until 22nd January.
"We're not 100% out of it yet. We'll keep on working on it as long as we can."

Owen Mason is on a 24 hour recall at Guiseley.

"Jason Law not intentionally or consciously took 3 months off! And he hasn't quite from the start of the season been anywhere near where he was last season or where he is now which is why he hasn't been in the team.
"I've just said to him this morning: stay on it now, keep your performances at that level and you'll stay in the squad and in the team. He can be an important player for us in the next 24 games.

Q: what sort of striker do you want?
"A good one!"
“We want another striker to complement what we've got.
“You need that when you are playing Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday. You need to be able to change them.
“We have a few names but it has to be someone who fits into the mould and fits into the strikers we've got to work with them.
"Just to say, the squad we've got is a good one. We don't need massive wholesale changes. We're very happy with the foundation of the squad."

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