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27th September 2022 22:41

It was important to give some a game tonight - boss
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 20th September 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough highlighted the importance of getting match minutes into some of his squad following tonight’s Papa Johns Trophy loss away at Grimsby.

The Stags’ chief made eight changes to the side that superbly beat Gillingham 2-0 on Saturday.

Injury and illness had halted the game time for some of Nigel’s squad, but the manager says providing them with a game was the ‘most important’ thing about this evening.


Speaking to the local media post-match at Blundell Park, the boss said: “That was the most important thing [giving players minutes].

“You saw Kieran Wallace and Quinny [Stephen Quinn] needing games, they were a little bit short [of match practice], Will [Swan] at times too - they needed that game.

“JJ [O’Toole] and Perchy [James Perch] haven’t started in the last couple of weeks.

“It was great from that point of view; the only nightmare of the evening is Anthony Hartigan.”

Midfielder Anthony Hartigan had impressed in recent weeks but was withdrawn on 30 minutes after getting injured in a challenge on halfway.

“He’s dislocated his shoulder for the second time,” said the gaffer.

“We’ll have to see how it settles down, but I thought it was the only bad tackle in the game.

“It wasn’t even given as a foul.

“We’ve lost one of our best players for a few weeks. We'll have to have it scanned and looked at. He said it's less painful than the first time he did it, I'm not sure if that's good news or not.

“It’ll be [a] huge [miss], especially with Hiram Boateng also being out at the same time.

"Boateng is coming on. He won't be ready for Saturday. If all goes well, he might be involved against Hartlepool, we'll have to see how he is in the next 10 days.

“It puts a little bit more responsibility on the other midfielders we have.

“It was good to get Jason Law back on the pitch tonight, but Anthony Hartigan was just settling in.

“He [Hartigan] was improving game by game and his pass for the second goal on Saturday was outstanding.”

This evening’s result, a 2-0 loss, sees the Stags hold a victory and a defeat after the two opening Papa Johns Trophy matches of the 2022/23 season.

“I don’t think we started quickly enough in the first-half,” said Nigel, assessing the tie.

“They were brighter and sharper than us.

“They got a two-goal lead and then in the second-half it was a different game completely.

“I’m not sure how we haven’t scored. Numerous corners, chances.”

"Swan and Gale didn't make enough of the situations in the frst half. But when we changed formation at half time, we looked a bit more of a threat and played some good stuff.

"Perchy hit one, it took about two deflections and the goalkeeper grabbed it on the line.

Versatile performer Jordan Bowery began the game in the middle of a back three before being switched to left wing in the second-half.

“We’ve played Jordan back there before,” said Nigel.

“We wanted to stick with the formation that played so well on Saturday.”

"I thought Scott Flinders did well, no chances with the goals, and made an outstanding save from a corner.

Academy goalkeeping coach Adam Collin was on the bench. Clough said "Adam only finished playing a year or two ago. We've registered him with Owen Mason out on loan at Farsley. You never know with the goalkeepers ... somebody gets injured in the warm-up or gets ill ... you need another goalkeeper to go on the bench."

"Good to have Jason Law back on the pitch, that's a bonus. I think the way the team's playing at the moment, he can certainly fit into that."


Clough told BBC Radio Nottm:
"John-Joe O'Toole having got booked early on. Then his defending in the second half was outstanding not to commit a foul. He stood up, got a toe in and defended well."


Paul Hurst's honest take on Papa John's Trophy as Grimsby Town keep progression hopes alive
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Grimsby Town Reporter, Tuesday 20th September 2022

After Grimsby Town kept their chances of progressing from the group phase of the Papa John’s Trophy alive by defeating Mansfield Town 2-0 on Tuesday night, Paul Hurst made his thoughts on the role the competition could play in the Mariners' season clear.

The Trophy in its current format is admittedly not popular with most supporters of clubs at Town’s level. With less than 1,000 fans present at Blundell Park on Tuesday night, it is clear that the majority of the Mariners faithful retain a similar viewpoint to the masses.

However, from Hurst’s point of view, with plenty of rotation options chomping at the bit for their chance and others needing the minutes to help them ease back into the team coming back from injury, the extra games are useful in mitigating those issues.


It is not just about that for the Grimsby manager, who, with memories of his own success in this competition as a player in the back of his mind, sees a genuine chance at glory for this team.

“I thought we were handed a very tough group,” Hurst said. “However, to progress from it was always the aim. We got some good reports on Manchester City when they went to Mansfield, and luckily that game won’t be a dead rubber.

“We’ve got a decent-sized squad, as we have touched on in the past, so I don’t see the extra games this competition provides as an issue. I was fortunate enough to win this competition a long time ago as a player, and we want to keep that little dream alive of reaching the Wembley final.

“Things have changed with the Premier League youth teams being introduced, but it is still the same in the sense that at the start, not many are interested in it, but you get out of the groups and win a couple of knockouts, and that changes.

“The reality is that we were never going to win the League Cup, and we’re not going to win the FA Cup, so this is a real opportunity for a team like us. Sutton [United] had it last year; they didn’t win the final but went very close and enjoyed their run along the way.

“I don’t see why we can’t be one of those teams aiming to emulate that, and playing in this competition are far better than training ground games because it still has more riding on it.”


Paul Hurst on 'valuable' minutes for Grimsby Town squad players in Mansfield Town win
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Grimsby Town Reporter, Tuesday 20th September 2022

Paul Hurst admitted that Grimsby Town’s 2-0 victory over Mansfield Town in the Papa John’s Trophy leaves him with plenty of “food for thought” in terms of his team selection moving forward.

Otis Khan scored on his competitive debut for the Mariners, and Danilo Orsi also scored his first goal for the club as Town flexed their attacking muscles in a match that showcased the strength in depth they now have in forward positions.

Hurst made eight changes overall from the side that claimed victory away at Colchester United at the weekend and now has a couple of decisions to make as to who gets in from the start for the Swindon Town game on Saturday.

While confessing that it is “difficult” to leave players out with the way the team are playing, Hurst recognised that he finds himself in a preferable position with the squad firing on all cylinders.

“These games can sometimes be non-events, so we were saying to the players at the start not to make it one of those where they were just hoping for the final whistle.


“There were some valuable minutes given to some players, and I’ll have some decisions to make moving forward. [Otis Khan] could’ve played a bit longer, but I didn’t want to take that risk as he has been out for some time.

“He was lively, probably should’ve scored before he did, he showed some quality on the ball and showed what he is about, and I’m sure he enjoyed putting the Grimsby Town shirt on and getting his first minutes with us.

“We’ve got options up top, and we tried [Lewis Richardson] out wide as that is something he said he could do and something we could use moving forward. There is no doubt that comes Saturday, we’ll have to leave some players out, but it is justified to have the numbers we do when we can’t bring anyone else in on loan.

“There is certainly food for thought, and it might come down to who is better in training which dictates who starts in the games, which is a nicer dilemma to have rather than scratching around wondering who we can pick.”


Otis Khan's Grimsby Town debut performance analysed as goal caps off strong start
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Grimsby Town Reporter, Tuesday 20th September 2022

Otis Khan’s long-awaited competitive debut came on Tuesday night in Grimsby Town’s 2-0 Papa John’s Trophy victory over Mansfield Town, and while it only lasted 45 minutes, there was plenty in his performance to get supporters excited about the future.

By the 15th minute, the 27-year-old had two one-on-one opportunities with the Mansfield ‘keeper, keeping his composure on the second occasion to round Scott Flinders and slot the ball into an empty net.

A first goal so soon into his debut was a great moment for Khan, who would have been frustrated to go down with injury so early into pre-season with his new club. Most would have expected him to take some time in the game to get back to speed, but he played as if he had never been gone.

Playing on the left side of the midfield, he took up some great positions early in the game to pick up the ball and drive at defenders. Also, he was picked out by some great passes, but half of being able to get those early chances was his awareness to know when to break through the lines and trigger the pass from the player in possession.

It is something that Harry Clifton has done so well at from the wide positions this season, and in Khan, they now have another player willing to make those runs in behind consistently, knowing they might not always receive the ball.


His on-the-ball work was just as tidy as what he was able to do out of possession as well, and it is clear that Town boss Paul Hurst recognises the level of quality he possesses and can add to the team moving forward, hence why he did not want to risk him past half-time.

Hurst said after the game: “There were some valuable minutes given to some players, and I’ll have some decisions to make moving forward. [Otis Khan] could’ve played a bit longer, but I didn’t want to take that risk as he has been out for some time.

“He was lively, probably should’ve scored before he did, he showed some quality on the ball and showed what he is about, and I’m sure he enjoyed putting the Grimsby Town shirt on and getting his first minutes with us.”

Overall, the question on everyone’s mind at the moment is how the manager fits all these new pieces coming into the fray together to keep the positive results coming and the squad happy. While based on a very small sample size of game time in a Grimsby shirt, Khan has to be in the mix to start in the league when fully fit for the dynamism he brings to the attack.