CLOUGH & McLAUGHLIN PREVIEW NEW SEASON
We can’t wait to get going - gaffer
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 26 July 2022
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he and his squad ‘can’t wait to get going’ ahead of Saturday’s 2022/23 season opener away at Salford.
With the boss’ side taking part in the Play-Off Final last term, and the new season starting earlier than usual, the gaffer believes his squad are prepared for a successful Sky Bet League Two campaign despite the club’s shorter off-season.
Speaking to the local media at his news conference at RH Academy today, Nigel said: “We’ve picked up niggles throughout. It’s been quite a disruptive one [pre-season] in terms of injury.
read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/july/we-cant-wait-to-get-going--gaffer/
"I think we'll probably find this for the next few months ... where players will pick up little injuries just because of the reduced amount of rest they had in the summer."
“After last season’s exploits [, however,] we’re excited and full of optimism [heading into the new campaign] and there’s no reason not to.
“We fell at the final hurdle [at Wembley] but that doesn’t change the season that we had and the achievements within it.
“We can’t wait to get going. It’s been a short break and off-season but we’re here now - let’s get cracking.”
The Stags’ chief has signed five new players so far in the summer transfer window. Goalkeepers Scott Flinders and Christy Pym join outfield trio Hiram Boateng, Will Swan and Riley Harbottle in putting pen to paper for Mansfield ahead of the new season.
“I think they’ve [the new signings] all improved us and that’s the major aim when you’re bringing in new players.
“They have to be better or different than what you already have.
“We’re delighted with the two [goalkeepers] that we’ve got [Flinders and Pym].
“With Owen Mason as back-up, it’s a good balance [in the goalkeeping department].
“I think [Boateng] has been the outstanding performer in pre-season.
“He’s settled in well and he looks a good player.
“He looks very comfortable on the ball. He’s got settled in the area with his girlfriend which is important as well and we’re looking forward to what he’s going to do this season.
“I’m grateful to Forest for letting them [Swan and Harbottle] come to us [on loan] and I think the fact that they’re local will help them settle in quicker.”
Over 4,450 season tickets have been sold at One Call Stadium for the 2022/23 season, beating last campaign’s previous record of 2,838 in recent times.
“It’s absolutely remarkable to sell that many season tickets [over 4,450],” said the boss.
“Someone was telling me that the previous best was around 2,700.
“We haven’t just beaten it by a little bit, we’re getting close to nearly doubling it [the record].
“I hope that we can start the season well and a few more people might be persuaded [to purchase a season ticket].”
One player that won’t feature at Salford this Saturday is Danny Johnson. The striker joined Walsall on loan until January on Saturday with the deal potentially becoming permanent in the winter transfer window.
“Danny was made available. I think that [his move becoming permanent] will happen in January.”
The club are looking to find someone to take Johnson’s place in the squad. Nigel said: “We’re trying to get a loan in now just to bolster our [forward] options.
“It’s difficult getting one [in] because when you look at our three main strikers that we have, we’ve got [Rhys] Oates, [Lucas] Akins and we’ve got [Will] Swan, if you add to that [Jordan] Bowery and if you add to that [Oli] Hawkins, if you add to that [George] Lapslie who can go upfront, if you add to that James Gale who’s in the squad - we’re not too badly off in that area.
“They have to be a good one [forward].
“We’ll go with a squad of 19. We’ve got 18 at the moment so there’s a space opened up there.
“It might not even be a striker [that’s brought in] it might just be a good player that you bring in to improve [the team].
“That will be the biggest test - bringing somebody in to improve the squad.”
The manager also revealed that there has been an enquiry for one of his squad members from another side.
“We’ve had an enquiry for one [player], yes.
“We’ll just see if anything develops with that.”
Nigel provided an update on his squad’s availability for the 2022/23 season opener this Saturday.
“Kieran Wallace, definitely [won’t be available].
“We’ve got a few other doubts after that: James Perch, Jason Law - who came off on Saturday - George Lapslie missed the game [and] Stephen Quinn missed the game, so we’ll check on them this week.”
Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town 'spurred on by horrible feeling' of play-off defeat
Boss Nigel Clough says Mansfield Town will use the "horrible feeling" of their League Two play-off final defeat in May to motivate them in another tilt at promotion this season.
The Stags were beaten 3-0 by Port Vale in Wembley's promotion showdown, denying them a return to League One after a 19-year absence.
"You want to put what happened in that final game right," Clough said.
"We fell at the final hurdle but that doesn't change the season we had."
It took a club-record 11 consecutive home league wins between 30 October and 2 April to catapult the Stags to what had previously seemed an unfathomable promotion bid.
A 14-match winless run - spanning more than two months - saw them languishing in the relegation places in mid-October.
Clough said the remarkable turnaround - which eventually saw them finish seventh in the table, qualify for the play-offs and reach their first play-off final for 18 years - is something the Stags are still looking to thrive on now.
"After last season's exploits I certainly think we go into the season excited and optimistic," he told BBC Radio Nottingham. "We have no reason not to."
Asked if the defeat by Port Vale at the national stadium had increased the Stags' hunger for success, Clough replied: "It's even more. You have to use the disappointment of what happened in the play-off final to further motivate you, further spur you on to make sure you go one better this season.
"The motivation is that feeling at Wembley, at the final whistle and the days after - the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that doesn't go away - to put that right and have a different feeling in nine months' time."
Mansfield start their season at Salford City on Saturday.
Mansfield Town seeking one more new face after allowing Danny Johnson out on loan to Walsall
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th July 2022
Mansfield Town are continuing their search for one more player after allowing striker Danny Johnson to head out to Walsall on loan with a view to a permanent move in January.
But after having bids turned down, manager Nigel Clough said options were currently limited and, with good choices up front already in the club, the new player could end up not being a striker as long as they improved the squad.
Although Stags kick off the new season at Salford City on Saturday, Clough is in no rush to bring anyone in for the sake of it.
“There are not many out there. We have bid for a couple of strikers unsuccessfully,” he said.
“We are trying to get a loan in now if we can just to bolster our options.
“But it is difficult getting one and if you look at our main three strikers - we have Rhys Oates, Lucas Akins and Will Swan - you can add to that Jordan Bowery and Oli Hawkins, George Lapslie can go up front, you add to that James Gale is also in the squad, we are not too badly off in that area.
“So they have to be a good one, the same as the other players we have brought in. They have to be better or different to what we have.
“The player could be young or experienced - we are looking at all options at the moment.”
He continued: “We will go with a squad of 19 outfield players - we have 18 at the moment, so there is a space there.
“It might not even be a striker. It might just be a good player that we bring in to improve us.
"That will be the biggest test, just getting someone to improve the squad.
“It will be just one more now unless somebody went. We have an enquiry for one so we will just see if anything develops with that.
“The plan is still to let young pros James Gale and George Cooper go out on loan once we have sufficient bodies.”
Walsall wanted to give Johnson a two-year contract but say Stags changed their minds and have only loaned him until January.
But he is still not part of Clough's future plans and he said: “Danny was made available and I think that will happen in January.
“It has been done initially as a loan, but I think that is open to change in January.”
Boss Nigel Clough delighted with Mansfield Town’s new-look goalkeeping department for new season
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th July 2022
Nigel Clough is delighted with his new-look goalkeeping department as the new season looms large with Saturday's big kick-off at Salford City.
The Mansfield Town manager moved quickly after being told Manchester United loanee Nathan Bishop would not be back.
“We needed to sort the goalkeeping department. Bish was brilliant for us last season, but he wasn't coming back, so we did well to get the two we've got with Owen Mason as back-up in third. It is a good balance,” he said.
“We have Scott Flinders at 35 years old, we have Christy Pym at 27 in his prime and then we've got young Owen Mason at just 18 who can learn a lot from those two.
“Their experience will matter. They have settled in, Christy especially.
“He has only been in a week or two with us but already I think he feels part of it.
“Scott was our first summer signing so he's been here a bit longer with us.”
He added: “You have to have a good goalkeeping department as they are separate at times. Seamus (goalkeeping coach McDonagh) takes them off and does work with them separate from the outfield players. So you have to have a unified goalkeeping department - and I think they are.”
Lack of summer rest will continue to cause Mansfield Town players injury problems admits boss Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th July 2022
Mansfield Town's rushed pre-season has already left the Stags nursing more than their fair share of niggling injuries.
And boss Nigel Clough has warned that could continue for a while yet as players pay the price for lack of rest due to playing an extended season for the Wembley play-off final and then starting back for the new campaign earlier than ever due to the World Cup in Qatar.
“It has come round very quickly,” said Clough. “We didn't finish the season until the 28th May and we are starting again on 30th July.
“It feels very strange starting a new league season in July for a start. I have never experienced that before. It's always been the first week of August at least.
“It's not been ideal as we have picked up niggles throughout. It has been quite disruptive in terms of injury. I don't think there are many players, if any, that have done the complete shortened pre-season.
“So we will probably find over the next few months players will continue to pick up little injuries just because of the reduced amount of time they had to rest this summer.”
He added: “We don't want to lose players through injury and already it's been disruptive in pre-season.
“It will probably take us a month or two to really get up to speed because of the whole set of circumstances.
“So I think the new five subs rule is absolutely vital for us this season to be able to change half the outfield at any point - provided we've got enough players.”
Mansfield Town hungrier than ever to succeed after Wembley hearbreak as new campaign kicks off
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th July 2022
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said his players are hungrier than ever to succeed after last season's Wembley heartbreak as they kick off the new campaign at Salford City on Saturday.
Stags were beaten 3-0 by Port Vale in the play-off final and Clough said: “After last season's exploits I think we go into the new one excited and full of optimism. There is no reason not to.
“We fell at the final hurdle. But that doesn't change the season we had and the achievements within it.
“I think we have even more hunger this season. That's the way you have to use the disappointment of what happened in the play-off final to further motivate you and spur you on to go one better this season.
“I think quite a few of the players would just have continued straight on without the short break we had. You have a week or so then you want to get back at it and put right what happened in the final game.
“You could curl up and feel sorry for yourself that we blew it, or you can look at it over the course of a season in which we did so many good things and say let's pick ourselves up, go again, do it a little bit better and improve on what we did.
“There is no better motivation than the feeling we had at the final whistle at Wembley and the days after - it was a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that doesn't go away. We want to put that right and have a different feeling in nine months time.
“We can't wait to get going. It has been a short break but now let's get cracking.”
Clough could give debuts to any of his new signings with Hiram Boateng, Christy Pym, Scott Flinders, Will Swan and Ryan Harbottle in the frame.
“The new lads have all settled in very well indeed and they have all improved us,” said Clough.
“ That's the major aim of bringing in new players. They have to be better or different to what you already have.
“I think Hiram has been the outstanding performer we've seen during the pre-season. He has settled in well and he looks a good player.
“We needed somebody that we thought was above the standard we already had and he provides great competition. He is very comfortable on the ball.
“He has got settled in the area with his girlfriend which is very important as well and I am looking forward to what he's going to do this season.
“Will Swan and Riley Harbottle have both come here to play games and both will play quite a few games this season.
“The fact that they are local as well will help them settle in even quicker and I am very grateful to Forest for letting them come to us.
“Our squad is very welcoming - they are all good characters. That helps new players settle in. There are no factions or dissent within the squad.
“They are very unified which we will need over the next nine or 10 months. I am sure we will have some low points again but hopefully a lot more high points.
“You saw last season the strength of that unity and camaraderie came through, more so when they stuck together through the bad time we had. We saw the fruits of it when we got going and got onto the incredible run we had.”
Clough is delighted to see a club record of around 4,500 season tickets sold.
He said: “I hope it's a reflection on not just how we did in terms of results but how we went about it - that people actually want to come and watch us play week in, week out. It is absolutely remarkable to sell that many season tickets.
“We haven't just beaten the previous record by a little bit, we are close to doubling it. And I hope that if we start the season well a few more people might be persuaded.
“We are trying to build something with some foundation that is not just a fleeting moment or a fleeting season or half a season. You want it to go on and have sustained success.
“One of the teams promoted last season was Exeter and I believe they have been in the play-offs five times or something and lost three times at Wembley. But they eventually made it.
“That is a club that has been building for quite a few seasons for the success to get to League One. I think that's the way to do it.
“If we could have gone up it would have been great. But let's build a platform for the club to be successful in the next few seasons.”
On opponents Salford, Clough said: “We got a 2-2 draw there second to last game of the regular season. It really killed off our chances of automatic promotion that day.
“It was ironic the referee missed a decision. There should have been a red card and that player went on to score the equalising goal.
“They have changed their manager now so they will be a different proposition on Saturday.
“The main lesson we can learn from last season is that, even if we do have a bad run of games, we can come back from it. We did it in spectacular fashion last year.
“I hope, if we do lose a few games, it's certainly not going to extend to the amount it did during September and October. There were reasons for that and we saw that once we got the players back we were a different team.”
Kieran Wallace will definitely miss the opener through injury and Clough will also be checking on knocks for James Perch, Jason Law, George Lapslie, and Stephen Quinn.
Stags will also be without Oli Hawkins as he serves a suspension for his red card in the Wembley play-off final defeat by Port Vale.
Salford are now managed by former Manchester United U23s coach Neil Wood and have made six summer signings.
Their latest is former Stags loanee defender Richard Nartey from Burnley.
But they have also brought in winger Elliot Simoes on a one-year deal from French side AS Nancy for an undisclosed fee, defender Ryan Leak from League One club Burton Albion for an undisclosed fee, midfielder Stevie Mallan on a two-year deal following a spell with Turkish Super Lig side Yeni Malatyaspor, Bradford City midfielder Elliot Watt for an undisclosed fee and forward Callum Hendry on a two-year deal, following his exit from Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone.
It’s good to be back - Macca
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 26 July 2022
Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin says ‘it’s good to be back’ as Saturday’s 2022/23 season opener away at Salford edges closer.
The Stags had a shorter pre-season than usual due to the earlier start date of the new campaign and the club’s involvement in May’s Play-Off Final but the club’s 2021/22 Player of the Season says that the squad are ‘ready to go again’.
The Irishman, and his teammates, will look to kick-off the 2022/23 season in positive fashion at The Peninsula Stadium this weekend.
Speaking to the local media at a news conference yesterday at RH Academy, the 31-year-old said: “Yeah it [the season] has [come around quickly] but it’s good to be back [and I’m] ready to go again.
“[The mood in camp has been] Good, it’s been positive. Obviously, the back end of last season [was a disappointing finish] but it’s gone now.
“Everybody is looking forward to Saturday now.”
The former Nottingham Forest man signed a new two-year deal at the Stags earlier this month.
“Yeah [I’m] very happy. I’m very happy to get it done,” he said.
“It took a couple of weeks [to finalise] but, yeah, I’m very excited and looking forward to the next couple of years to see what it holds for me.
“[It was a] No brainer.
“This club is unbelievable.
“It’s a joy to come into work.
“You look at the training ground, the facilities we have - it [was] a no brainer really [to sign a new deal].”
McLaughlin is optimistic about the new campaign and recognises the challenges of such a competitive division.
“It does feel like that [next season will be a great success] but you have to show it on a Saturday, and we know that as a team,” said the defender.
“It’s not going to come easy. This year is going to be a lot harder than last year with the teams that have come down.
“We have to stick to what we know and play well and hopefully that will see us through.
“We’ve been building [something] for the last two years and hopefully if we put on the pitch what we’re doing on the training ground, then we’ll have a good season.”
Mansfield have used a 3-5-2 formation for much of pre-season, a system McLaughlin feels suits his skillset.
“I really enjoy it. You’re higher up the pitch and you get more chances [and] you can create more chances.
“But as the gaffer said, nothing is set in stone really.
“I feel quite comfortable, and a lot of people can play in different positions with that formation.
“It’s exciting, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on Saturday.”
The club have made five new additions in the summer transfer window. McLaughlin has been impressed with the Stags’ recruitment of Scott Flinders, Christy Pym, Hiram Boateng, Will Swan and Riley Harbottle.
“[They’ve settled in] Easy. They’re all good lads,” he said.
“[I’ve] Not got a bad word to say about them.
“Pym has good kicking as you saw the other day, he’s very active.
“H [Hiram Boateng] as well, he’s a very good player on the ball.
“It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see them again playing.”
Mansfield will be backed by over 4,447 season ticket holders at One Call Stadium this season, a club record in recent times.
“That’s incredible,” said McLaughlin.
“It’s such a raise and you don’t see that at any other club, really.
“We’ve got a hell of a lot of fans and season ticket holders.
“It’s great and Saturday can’t come quick enough now because we know from last year [that] they will travel.
“They travel all over the country and every time we go out on to the pitch, we try to send them home happy.
“Hopefully on Saturday we do that as well.”
The creative full-back scored twice in the Stags’ last visit to Salford in May.
“[It was the] Last away game of the [regular] season last year and the first away game of the season this year.
“It’s a weird one that, but I scored two and if I could do that again I’d be happy.”
Signing new deal was ‘no-brainer’, now let’s get the season started says excited Mansfield Town wing back Stephen McLaughlin
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th July 2022
Mansfield Town's player of the year Stephen McLaughlin said it was a ‘no-brainer’ for him to sign a new two-year deal and he now can't wait for the new campaign to kick off this Saturday.
“I was very happy to get it done. It took a couple of weeks, but I am very excited and looking forward to the next couple of years and seeing what it holds for me,” said the Irish defender.
“This club is unbelievable from the top to the bottom. It is a joy coming to work.
“You look at the training ground and facilities we have, it was a no-brainer really.”
He continued: “It's good to be back and ready to go again.
“The mood in the camp has been positive on the back of last season. That's gone now and everyone is just looking forward to Saturday now.
“From where we were at one point last season some said we didn't even have the right to be at Wembley. It was remarkable what we did.
“So we just have to take that into the new season and try to kick on and go one better.
“I have enjoyed pre-season. We only had a couple of weeks off but it was good to get back again. You want to get back on the pitch and work hard again.
“It was very important to keep the nucleus of the squad together from last season, especially the more experienced lads. And the additions the gaffer has made are very exciting.”
McLaughlin said Stags need to to stick their guns in a season when it could be tougher than ever to gain promotion.
“It feels like it could be another great season - but you have to show it on Saturday. We know that as a team,” he said.
“It's not going to come easy. This year is going to be a lot harder than last year with the teams that have come down.
“We are ready and we just need to stick to what we know and play well. Hopefully that will see us through.
“There are teams that come down and think they shouldn't have come down, hoping to go straight back up.
“But we have been building the last two years and hopefully if we put on the pitch what we are doing on the training ground, we can have a good season.
“Every club that comes to us, because of what we did last season, they are going to be switched on and up for the game.
“But that's what we are in the game for - to play the hardest game and come through. There is no better feeling than a team proper up for it against you and you come out the other side with the three points. There's no better feeling.”
As a full back that enjoys getting forward, McLaughlin is perfectly suited to Clough's plan of using wing backs this season.
“I really enjoy getting higher up the pitch as you get more chances and create more chances,” he said.
“As the gaffer says, there is nothing set in stone really. But in that formation I feel quite comfortable, and a lot of people can play in different positions with that formation. So we will have to wait and see what happens.”
Stags have a handful of new faces already well integrated to the set-up.
“It has been easy for them - they have all settled in and are all good lads. I can't wait to see them playing,” he smiled.
“I think they are enjoying it as well. Anyone that comes in here can settle in well.
“It has come round quick but we're looking forward to it. We have put in a lot of work on the training ground and can't wait to take it onto the pitch.
“I have my own personal targets which I will keep to myself. But I am just looking to do as well as I can and better than last year and see where it takes the club.
McLaughlin is delighted to see the sale of a record number of around 4,500 season tickets.
“It is incredible. It's such a rise,” he said.
“You don't see that about any other club. Usually it's the same ones all the time. But now we've got a hell of a lot of fans and Saturday can't come quickly enough.
“We know from last year that they will travel all over the country and every time we go out onto the pitch we try to send them home happy - and we hope we can do that on Saturday.
“We know what we need to do. They are an added bonus as when we are at home and maybe up against it, to have those fans there is perfect for us. It's an extra incentive to get over the line.”
McLaughlin was Stags' hero with a brace in a 2-2 draw at Salford in the last away game of the regular season just gone and said: “It's crazy. It was our last away game of the season last year and first game of the season this time so it's a weird one.
“I scored two then and if I could do that again I would be happy.
“We are desperate to get out there. We looked forward to the couple of weeks break, which was good as I got to go home and see my family.
“But after a couple of weeks you want to get the football out and go again and do better than last season. There is a real hunger about the team. We are looking forward to Saturday and the season ahead.”
Latest | July 2022