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21st November 2022 23:08

Boss keen to build on fine away form
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his players feel ‘confident’ away from home as the Stags prepare for a second successive away match in Sky Bet League Two, this Saturday at Harrogate Town.

The gaffer’s squad have won five from the previous six matches on the road.

Mansfield’s latest victory, 1-0 away at Rochdale at the weekend, ended a spell of four league games without a win.


With a schedule packed full of upcoming fixtures away from One Call Stadium, the boss feels his players have a great opportunity to build on the form that has provided the club with the sixth best away record in the division.

Speaking at a news conference at RH Academy today, Nigel said: “I think we’ve won five out of the last six away from home in the league.

“It’s strange the way it works in football to have this incredible home form for so long, the best part of a year. All of a sudden, we’re winning on the road more than we are at home.

“It works out [that way] in football sometimes, its [down to] confidence as well.

“The players are confident away from home at the moment. That’s not a bad thing, the next five [games] could be away from home.”

When asked what his squad will take away from their latest win on the road away at Rochdale on Saturday, he said: “[We take] Confidence [from the game].

“Having struggled in the previous three or four league games, we needed to get a result [at Crown Oil Arena]. It was a positive one.

“[I’m] Very very pleased with how we approached the game.

“The previous league game against Bradford was disappointing but also, we were too frantic and anxious. I thought and we rushed and hurried things. It’s born out of good intentions; we want to please the crowd. We want to get back in the game, but there’s a more measured way of doing it. We didn’t do it against Bradford.

“Then on Saturday we talked about ‘just relax a little bit we’re in a good position.’ We took that on board. We controlled large parts of the game [at Rochdale] and looked good, got our goal and looked after it [the lead].”

This weekend’s hosts, Harrogate, have proven to be a tough test for Mansfield in recent seasons.

“They’re a good team,” Nigel said. “Them and Sutton are the two teams we’ve struggled most against in the last couple of seasons. It would be nice to change that on Saturday.

“It’s a difficult place to go.

“The last thing you want to do is go 1-0 down against them.”

The boss provided the latest update on injury news.

“[There are] A few knocks from Saturday unfortunately.

“Oli Hawkins got another knock having missed the Bradford game, or most of it. He just about made Saturday; he’s got a knock from there.

“Ollie Clarke came off just after half-time injured.

“Riley Harbottle is still being treated, as is Stephen McLaughlin.

“Rhys Oates is hopefully nearing a return to joining in training. Not full contact yet but [he’s] getting close to it so that will be a big boost having him back involved.

“Harbottle and McLaughlin are the two that won’t be ready [for Saturday].

“This week should sort out it out [Will Swan’s hand injury] and hopefully he’ll be back involved [on Saturday].”


Can Mansfield Town finally end the hoodoo and see off bogey side Harrogate Town on Saturday?
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Mansfield Town will be looking to finally end their Harrogate Town hoodoo when they head into Yorkshire on Saturday.

Since the Sulphurites were promoted into the EFL, Stags have failed to beat them, losing four and drawing one of their five league and cup meetings.

Nigel Clough's men will be boosted by last weekend's 1-0 win at Rochdale that lifted them back into the play-offs places - and Harrogate have had a poor season so far and are struggling at the wrong end of the table.

But the manager warned: “Harrogate are a good team, despite their league form, and on their day they are very difficult to play against and break down.


“They are a bogey team for us. Them and Sutton are the teams we've struggled most against the last couple of seasons and it would be nice to change that on Saturday.

“They have been a bit up and down so far this season but they still possess some very good players.

“It is a difficult place to go. Even at home they are pretty solid and difficult to break down. So the last thing you need to do is go 1-0 down against them.

“We've certainly not had a break against them in the five games.

“They went up to Bradford and won in the FA Cup but then lost at home on Saturday, so they're striving for consistency like us all.

“With the three clean sheets we've kept recently, one thing that stood out was that there were no individual mistakes that led to goals. We defended properly.”

He added: “We will take confidence from Saturday's win, having struggled in the previous three or four league games. We needed to get a result and I am very pleased how we approached the game.

“The players looked a bit more relaxed and we controlled large parts of the game. We looked good, got our goal and looked after it.

“We now need to be more consistent as when we do defend well and properly, teams struggle to create chances against us.

“It is another away trip, but it’s not too bad when we've won five out of six away from home in the league.

“It is just strange and bizarre how it works in football sometimes - to have this incredible home record for the best part of a year then all of a sudden we're winning on the road more than we are at home.

“It is about confidence and players are pretty confident going away from home at the moment which is not a bad thing when you think the next five games could all be away from home.

“We are back in the top seven and not far off the top three and, considering we had lost three out of four I don't think we're in too bad a position and I can't wait to get everyone back fit.

“You can see the difference with Hiram Boateng back on the pitch. We have missed him for two months and all of a sudden you see his quality.

“He puts a brilliant ball in on Saturday and we win the game.

“That is the difference sometimes and it is the difference Rhys Oates can make.

“To lose those two for a combined five months has been a massive blow.

“I look at the teams up there and I don't see them losing their leading scorer for three months or losing one of their most influential midfielders.

“Hiram was our marquee signing in the summer. We still have plenty of games left, which is good. But we have missed him for sizeable portion of the season already.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Boatend is now nursing stitches in a cut above the eye from Rochdale and Stags do have plenty of other injury worries for Saturday with Riley Harbottle and Stephen McLaughlin all but ruled out along with Rhys Oates and checks to be made on Ollie Clarke, George Lapslie, Will Swan and Oli Hawkins.

Clough said: “Oli Hawkins got another knock. He missed most of the Bradford game and just about made Saturday and then got another knock.

“Oli has played a lot of football and when you look at his style of play in both penalty areas you get a lot of physical contact and you get whacks and kicks, so we have got to be careful.

“Ollie Clarke came off just after half-time injured and George Lapslie also came off with a strained hamstring. He was scheduled to have a breather on Saturday before Will Swan's withdrawal.

“You have to be careful with these lads playing every minute of every game. Now he has a hamstring strain. It's always trying to second guess it a bit.

"Laps is not exactly jogging around the pitch, His energy is incredible and he sprint all around the place. You can only do that for so long.

“Riley Harbottle is still being treated, as is Stephen McLaughlin. I don't think either will be ready for Saturday.”

He added: “Will Swan's hand is just uncomfortable and sore. He did have it X-rayed and there is no break in there.

“But you be amazed as a footballer how many times you use it and how much contact you actually have with the opposition with your hands. This week should sort it out to a degree where he can play and hopefully he will be back involved.”


First and last trip to Everton's iconic Goodison Park for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Mansfield Town look set to play at Everton's iconic Goodison Park for the first and last time in their history.

Stags and the Toffees' U21s have been drawn to play in the next round of the Papa Johns Trophy and Everton have pencilled it in for Goodison on Wednesday, 30th November.

With Everton set to leave for a new stadium in the next 18 months or so, many Stags fans may see this as a rare chance to sample the Goodison atmosphere.

But, if confirmed, it will mean finding a new date for the Notts FA County Cup clash at Notts County.


“We have a bit of a fixture problem as we have put Notts County in for November 28th at Meadow Lane,” said boss Nigel Clough.

“But Everton have now said they can only play on Wednesday, 30th but we don't really want to play Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Saturday - that would be too much. So something's got to give with those.”

He added: “I think the Goodison one will probably go ahead on Wednesday, 30th and we will try to move the Notts County one. I believe Mansfield have never played at Goodison before. So it will be a good opportunity, especially with them moving grounds, for a few Stags fans, if they can, to get up there.

“Everton have proposed Goodison and they are the home team. They are in the driving seat with that. But it will be another lovely stadium on the back of Hillsborough for us to go to and the players to enjoy playing at.

“It’s incredible Mansfield have never played there and we won't get another opportunity.”


Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is paying little attention to the World Cup in Qatar as Stags battle on
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Former England international Nigel Clough admitted he won't be paying too much attention to Qatar's winter World Cup and hopes action-starved fans of the Premier League and Championship will use their blank weekends to watch other local football live.

With controversy raging over the host nation's human rights records, Mansfield Town boss Clough said: “I don't agree with the venue or the time of year to play a Word Cup. I think it is a highly inappropriate venue.

“When you look at the state of the world at the moment and look where the last two World Cups have been given I think that says an awful lot.

“I know you have to play it at this time of year over there which fits in with it being an inappropriate venue, aside of the moral issues that have arisen.


“I think the World Cup should be reserved for a special time in the summer when all the other football leagues are having a break.

“You associate it with being a summer competition with people watching the games outside on screens at pubs - and here we are in what feels like the depths of winter this morning, so it won't feel the same.”

He added: “I don't even know when the England games are at the moment so if they're on, they're on. I am not an avid World Cup watcher.

“I understand the enthusiasm from the country but I think even that is not quite the same as when it is in other parts of the world.

“You do get good games, but a lot of them are not that good when you think about it.

“I think we have more than enough to be concentrating on than watching the World Cup.

“That is why it's not ideal - never mind all the moral issues.

“It is not ideal that League One and League Two are still going and I hope people don't sit and home and watch it on TV. I hope they get out and watch a League One, League Two or a non-league game game.

“There is no Premier League or Championship so I hope people get out and see their local sides and watch live football that way if they can afford it.

“England or Wales could play on the Saturday we play Colchester but it looks as though our game will stay on the Saturday, which is good as I do think our league games should take priority over the World Cup.”


World Cup 2022: Ex-England player Nigel Clough says Qatar 'inappropriate' hosts

Qatar is an "inappropriate" Word Cup host country and the tournament "won't feel the same" because of it, says former England forward Nigel Clough.

Starting on Sunday, 20 November, it is the first event in the competition's 92-year history not to take place in the northern hemisphere summer months.

Clough says human rights issues around the tournament and its host nation have also diminished the World Cup.

"I certainly don't agree with the venue and the timing," Clough said.

"I know it has to be played at this time because of the climate, but that all fits in with it being inappropriate as well as all the other moral issues that have arisen."

The Gulf state has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights record and treatment of migrant workers.

Amnesty International says that since 2010, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have faced human rights abuses while employed to build the wider infrastructure necessary to host the tournament.

In February 2021, the Guardian said 6,500 workers had died in Qatar since its World Cup bid was successful, using data supplied by embassies in Qatar.

However, the Qatar government said the total was misleading.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter recently said awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a "mistake".

Clough, who manages Mansfield Town in League Two, said the decision to award the tournament to a country unable to host it during its traditional timeslot has robbed the event of the usual excitement.

Had the competition been held in June and July, as is usual, matches would have been played in temperatures exceeding 40C, and possibly reaching 50C.

"I think the World Cup should be like the FA Cup, and reserved for a special time in the summer when all the football leagues are having a break," Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"You associate it with a summer competition. Even in England, people are watching it outside on screens and in pubs and here we are in the depths of winter.

"It won't feel the same, because you don't associate it with that."

Clough, who won 14 England caps but never played at a major tournament, hopes his Mansfield side see some benefits from the Premier League and Championship being put on hold during the World Cup.

"I hope people get out to see their League One, League Two or non-league team, watch live football that way, if they are are missing the Premier League and Championship," he added.


I’m getting back to my best - Boateng
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Mansfield Town midfielder Hiram Boateng says ‘I’m getting back to my best’, after impressing in his first back-to-back 90-minute games in a Stags’ shirt.

The 26-year-old has had a self-confessed ‘frustrating’ time with injury and suspension but provided a delightful match-winning assist for George Maris in Saturday’s win at Rochdale.

Already a fans’ favourite, Hiram hopes to build on his superb recent performances as Stags head to Harrogate Town on Saturday.


Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference today, he said: “I think it’s been frustrating at times for me [after] being injured for a while.

“Now I’m back it’s a case of looking forward. I think I started off [my season] quite well and feel like since I’ve returned to the side, I’m getting back to my best again.”

On his own personal start to the campaign, the midfielder said: “It’s been on and off.

“There’s been some frustrating displays personally like the red card in the Swindon game.

“I feel like I’m someone who’s quite tough mentally and I always know I can’t get too high or low so I’m always willing to put in all my effort and bounce back from bad times and keep looking forward.”

Hiram and the Mansfield squad were backed by over 1,100 Stags’ supporters at Rochdale on Saturday and will continue to be supported in large numbers in the coming weeks. This weekend’s away allocation at Harrogate has sold out.

“The support we had at the weekend was brilliant. It made such a massive difference for us.

“Since I’ve come here, the fans have been great with me. They’ve been great with the boys as well and we just want to repay the fans every time we get on the pitch and do well for the club.”

Despite his undeniable quality, the former MK Dons man has had to fend off some strong competition in the Stags’ midfield.

“We’ve got some great players in the midfield,” he said.

“I think there is a lot of good competition for places which helps to keep the work ethic high.

“You’ve got the likes of Laps [George Lapslie] who isn’t even playing in the midfield at the moment and he's another one who can do really well in there and he’s playing up top doing a good job for us.”

The squad will travel to Harrogate on Saturday aiming to take all three points from a side that have caused Mansfield problems in recent seasons.

“I think it’ll be a tough game,” said Hiram.

“When you play on the road it’s always tough. Teams can sometimes have more control or sit in.”


Star summer signing Hiram Boateng ready to dazzle for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 15 Nov 2022

Mansfield's Town's marquee summer signing Hiram Boateng is hoping he can finally get a good run of games and show Stags fans what he can do.

Back from a hamstring injury, the 26-year-old midfielder laid on Saturday's winning goal at Rochdale with a high quality cross and said: “It has been frustrating at times with me being injured for a while, but now I'm back it's a case of just looking forwards. You can't control the past.

“I think I started quite well and since I got back in the side I am getting back to my best again. I just need to keep working hard and repay the manager for the faith he showed in getting me into the club.

“It was frustrating to be out but at the same time when your team is picking up points while you are out injured, is not a bad thing at the end of the day as it's about the team first. That is the mentality I have.


“It wasn't the longest injury - I have been out for longer periods of time. It was just about controlling myself and knowing all the hard work in the gym you're doing in the gym is going to get you back on the pitch.”

He added: “Touch wood now I don't have any more injuries this season and get a clean run.

“I think my best is still to come. I have only started four or five games in the league. That is not enough to showcase my best abilities.

“The more game time I get - I have played 90 minutes the last couple of games - I think you will start seeing me getting to my best football.”

On boss Nigel Clough he said: “I have loved my time here so far.

“Credit to the manager, he tells you how it is and I feel he is someone who gives you licence to play the game freely which I have enjoyed.

“He is someone I have really thoroughly enjoyed working under.

“You have licence to be creative in his team and there are a lot of good players here playing a good brand of football. Those are the key things to me that allow me to enjoy my football even more.”

But, despite his class, Boateng knows competition is high in the Stags' midfield department.

“We have some great midfield players here and good competition for places which keeps the work ethic high and people are driven to keep their place when they are given the chance.

“There are some clever players. We have the likes of Quinny (Stephen Quinn) who I can still learn off.

“We have the likes of Laps (George Lapslie), who isn't even playing in the midfield at the minute, that can do really well in there as well but is playing up top and doing a good job for us. He is a real threat and his versatility does not go unnoticed.

“There is an abundance in quality which bodes well for us as the season goes on as there is real depth in there. We all have to push ourselves which is what you need if you're going to be successful.”

He continued: “It has been up and down for me perosnally - I have had injury and I got the red card in the Swindon game, but I feel like I am someone who is tough mentally and I always know I can't get too high or too low.

“I am always willing to give it my all and bounce back from bad times and keep looking forward.

“If I can keep on putting in performances like I did at the weekend I am looking at a good season.”

Boateng has tasted promotion glory at Cambridge United and made the play-off final at Wembley with Plymouth Argyle and the semi-finals with MK Dons.

“It is a different side here to those teams,” he said.

“I have been in sides where there is maybe less football played. But this side play pretty good stuff a lot of the time.

“That is probably the difference I am seeing where we have a lot more control in games. We need to make the most of that and be clinical at the right times.

“I think we have a really good team. I don't want to speak too soon as we are not even halfway through the season.

“But if we keep up these performances and try to get back to the form we were showing earlier in the season I think we will be alright.”

Boateng was delighted to lay on George Maris' winner at Rochdale last weekend.

“During the game we were probing quite well and looked like we'd find a winner. We had quite a lot of control,” he said.

“It's always good to help your team with an assist or contribute to a goal. It didn't matter how we did it - the main thing is we got three points on the board on the road.

“Once I had cut inside on my left I knew George would be making that run as he knows that's what I like to do - put the ball in when I have cut in. It's that understanding you work at in training and bringing it into games.

“It can be difficult on the road to break teams down, especially if they sit back a bit as well. But I had a good feeling that if we kept going on the way we were we would get a chance. We showed real quality and composure throughout and stuck to the task the manager set us to be calmer on the ball.”

Stags head for Harrogate Town on Saturday and Boateng believes another big away following could be key.

“It will be a tough game,” he said.

“But the support we had at the weekend was brilliant and made such a massive difference to us. If we have that again that will help the boys massively. I was buzzing.

“Since I have come in the fans have been great with me and the boys and we just want to repay them every time we get on the pitch and do well for the club.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Harrogate Town v Mansfield Town: George Thomson expected to return from injury lay-off, while Max Wright is progressing
harrogateadvertiser.co.uk, By Rhys Howell

George Thomson should be available for selection when Harrogate Town entertain Mansfield Town on Saturday (3pm).

The versatile midfielder has missed the Sulphurites’ last six matches due to a hamstring injury sustained in the final seconds of his second game back following a spell on the sidelines with a similar problem in the same part of his leg.

Initially crocked during Town’s 1-0 loss away at Barrow on August 20, the 30-year-old was ruled out for the best part of eight weeks, managing one substitute appearance and one start before pulling up again.

But, having been back in training for a couple of weeks now, Thomson is expected to be fit enough to take his place on the bench for this weekend’s League Two showdown with the Stags.


"Thommo has trained really well this week, he’s been brilliant and it will be heartening for us to have him back available,” Town boss Simon Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"I think that Saturday would be too soon for him to be starting a game, but he should be okay for a place in the squad and we’ll take it from there.”

Meanwhile, winger Max Wright is also said to be progressing well as he recovers from ankle surgery.

"Max obviously required another operation on his ankle a few weeks ago to clear up an infection in there which antibiotics couldn’t shift,” Weaver added.

"But he’s been back in with the lads this week and is making some progress.

"He’s only jogging at this stage and doing some strengthening exercises, but it’s been good to see him with the group.”

Striker Dior Angus (ankle) and centre-half Will Smith (knee) remain on Town’s long-term casualty list.

Mansfield will arrive at Wetherby Road this weekend seventh in the League Two standings having won nine and drawn three of their first 18 League Two games this term.

Nigel Clough’s team saw off Rochdale time out, but were without a victory in four league matches prior to that 1-0 success.

Last season, the Stags drew 0-0 at Wetherby Road, ending a run of four consecutive league and cup defeats to Weaver’s men, who currently occupy 21st position.


Harrogate Town v Mansfield Town: Sulphurites must continue trying to play to their strengths
harrogateadvertiser.co.uk, By Rhys Howell

Simon Weaver has stressed that Harrogate Town must continue trying to play to their strengths if they want to pull clear of the League Two relegation zone.

The Sulphurites head into Saturday afternoon’s home showdown with Mansfield 21st in the table and only a single point clear of the bottom two having managed just the one victory in their last 14 league outings.

They have undoubtedly passed the ball more fluently of late, but although they won 1-0 at Bradford in the FA Cup earlier this month, improved performances have not been converted into league points.

Town have taken just two from the last 15 on offer, however Weaver is confident that his side will start to reap their rewards sooner rather than later if they continue to show “bravery in possession” and follow the game-plan.


“We are looking forward to every game at the minute because we feel like we are playing pretty well and are so close,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Although I don’t go on social media so I’m not sure what’s being said there, it’s very evident to me from the way the crowd have been that the general feeling from the fans is appreciation that we are trying to play.

“My job as the manager is to ensure that we’re picking up points, that’s the most important thing, and I know what I want to see from the players.

"We are trying to really reinforce that message that we have to pass the ball to bring the best out of ourselves. We are not the biggest team in the land, so playing the ball on the deck is us playing to our strengths. We don’t want to see the lads just shelling it forwards.

"There hasn’t been a dramatic shift in terms of what we have been doing in training, it’s been more about making sure the lads are full of belief, and showing them that the best way forwards is by passing the ball as much as we possibly can.”

Mansfield travel to Wetherby Road this weekend seventh in the League Two standings having won nine and drawn three of their first 18 League Two games this term.

Nigel Clough’s team saw off Rochdale time out, but were without a victory in four league matches prior to that 1-0 success.

Last season, the Stags drew 0-0 at Wetherby Road, ending a run of four consecutive league and cup defeats to Weaver’s men.