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27th January 2023 23:53

Gaffer encouraged by trio’s return to training
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 23 Jan 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough is encouraged by the return to training of Ollie Clarke, Riley Harbottle and Lucas Akins ahead of Stags’ league clash at home to Doncaster this weekend.

Mansfield host Rovers following the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled fixture at promotion rivals Northampton Town.

The Stags’ chief hopes the added boost of three first team players edging towards contention for the club’s return to One Call Stadium will help fire his side to a first victory of 2023.

When asked on the injury latest, Nigel said: “Kellan Gordon is still on it [the treatment table] but he’s got a chance of training this week as well.

“Anthony Hartigan has had his operation on Friday [and] everything has gone well. [It was] Successful, just the three months now of rehab for him.

read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2023/january/gaffer-encouraged-by-trios-return-to-training/

“We’ll see how they [Riley Harbottle, Ollie Clarke and Lucas Akins] train this week and if they come through okay.

“They’re different sorts of injuries: Riley’s knee, Ollie Clarke’s calf and Lucas’ ankle.”

Saturday’s battle with Doncaster comes after a test against League One opposition, Barnsley. The two sides arranged a friendly for last Wednesday with Stags winning 4-1.

“We arranged it to try and give a few people a game who needed 90 minutes and those coming back from injury,” the gaffer said.

“Most of the first team squad went.

“We got a good game in on Oakwell’s surface.

“Danny [Johnson] played the first 45 and then Will [Swan] came on for the second 45 and scored a hat-trick in quite a short space of time.

“Alfie Kilgour played 70 odd minutes. We got another 70 into Kieran Wallace and a few others played 90 who needed it.”

The gaffer then provided the latest on the transfer front.

“It’s been a quiet few days.

“We’ll just wait and see now in terms of outs to see if there are any offers for any of our players.

“I think getting the three in that we’ve got in and Danny returning it’s four new players really.

“We’re quite happy with that. If there’s a wildcard one that crops up, then we’ll look at that.”

When asked about this weekend’s opponents, the boss said: “A new manager came in midway through the season, and they’ve signed two or three good players in the window as well so it’s a bit difficult to know what to expect from them.

“We’ve taken the lead in the last three home games; we’ve scored in them, and we haven’t got the victories.

“It’ll be pretty much the same approach, but we’ll be trying to eradicate the mistakes and going forward, be as positive as we can.

“Both penalty areas is where it’ll be decided - especially in the next 20 games.”

Following a meeting with returning forward Danny Johnson, the gaffer added: “It [the meeting] was fine. Danny understands that we’ve got 20 games to go. If nothing is agreed with another club then he’ll be with us.

“With a week or so to go until the window [closes] it’s a little bit up in the air and out of my hands certainly.”


Nigel Clough told Mark Stevenson for iFollow Stags on the transfer front:

“It has been a quiet few days - it always is over the weekend.

“We are just waiting now in terms of the outs if there is any interest or offers for any of our players.

“I think getting the three in we have and Danny returning, it's like four new players and we are quite happy with that.

“If there is a wild card one that crops up we will look at that.

Mark Stevenson: "So you might just be looking at one (potential incoming)?"

Clough: “I think so yes. If the squad gets healthy in terms of injuries then I think just one.

“But if it isn't one then that's just fine too. We think we have three good players in and Danny coming back.

“Obviously we will have to see what happens with Danny as well but I don't think there is anything immediate with him at the moment. As far as we're concerned he is back in the squad.”

Mark Stevenson asks about Clough's meeting with Danny Johnson.

“The meeting went fine. Danny understands there are 20 games to go. If nothing is agreed with another club then he will be with us.

Mark Stevenson asks "are you expecting him to stay"?

“You never know what might happen with a week still to go in the window. It's a little bit up in the air and out of my hands certainly.

"But as things stand he will be in the squad on Saturday."

Nigel Clough told John Lomas for the CHAD and BBC Radio Nottingham:

“It is difficult as he (Danny Johnson) has had such a good first half of the season at Walsall. But Danny just wants to play football and have an opportunity of scoring goals.

“Obviously he's had a good time at Walsall, but if the clubs don't agree then he will stay with us.

“Either way he is professional enough to know it is out of his hands as well to a large degree.

“If Danny comes and says I definitely want to go then it's a different ball game.”

On the first week with the new signings, Clough said: “It's been very good so far and I am very pleased with the three of them and the way they are settling in.

“It's early days and they need a bit of time to settle, but I have been very pleased with the quality they bring.

“At their age, mid 20s, they are approaching their peak, so it's all positive from that point of view.”

On the postponement, Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags, 23Jan2023

"Yes it (a feeling of disappointment). And when it comes on the day of the game as well. I'm not sure why everyone leaves it so late when the weather forecast is minus five, and if your pitch is frozen on the Friday, it's more than likely going to be frozen on the Saturday as well."

"George Maris is upset, because he's got another week being suspended."


No change in approach as Mansfield Town aim to end poor home run with visit of Doncaster Rovers
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 23 Jan 2023

Mansfield Town will not be changing their approach as they aim to end a poor run of one win in seven homes games when Doncaster Rovers visit on Saturday.

Stags, in ninth, are a single point outside the play-offs places and looking to complete a double over their South Yorkshire neighbours, but victory for Rovers would see them leapfrog Nigel Clough's men.

“Our approach will be just the same as recent home games,” said boss Clough.

“We have taken the lead in the last three home games and haven't got the victories.

“So we just need to try to eradicate the mistakes, go forward and be as positive as we can. That has been our strength in the last 18 months.

“Both penalty areas is where it will be decided, especially in the last 20 games.”

He added: “We need to create more chances and finish them off. We created four or five excellent chances against Crewe last time.

“A couple were denied by the goalkeeper and Rhys Oates put his one on one over the bar. We need to put a higher percentage of those away. And it does at the moment seem to be that every time we make half a mistake it ends up in the back of our net.”

On Rovers, he said: “A new manager (Danny Schofield) came in midway through the season and they have signed I think two or three good players in the window as well so it's a bit difficult to know what to expect from them.”

Stags' trip to Northampton last weekend was frozen off and Clough said: “The only good thing about the postponement is that it's given the injured players - Lucas Akins, Riley Harbottle and Ollie Clarke - another week. All of them should train now this week.

“We will see how they go this week and see if they come through. They are all different types of injuries, Riley with his knee, Ollie his calf and Lucas ankle, which is why we have to be careful with surfaces with the grass still being solid.

“We have no choice but to train on the artificial until the grass pitches thaw later in the week.

“Kellan Gordon is still having treatment but he should train this week as well.”

Clough continued: “Anthony Hartigan had his operation on Friday and all went well. It was successful so it's just the three months rehab for him now. But the surgeon was happy - there was no major damage. It was pretty straightforward which is good news.

“I think Lewis Page is down to train this week for the first time. But he has been out quite a while now so we will see how he goes.”


Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough unhappy with late postponement of Northampton Town game​​​​​​​
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 23 Jan 2023

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough was disappointed it was left until the morning of the game to call off Saturday's trip to Northampton Town.

The Sixfields pitch was deemed unplayable due to the frost, but Clough said: “It is always disappointing when it comes on the day of the game rather than when they are postponed early on the Friday, which the Grimsby one was and most of them that week.

“I am not sure why everybody leaves it so late when the weather forecast is that it's going to be minus five.

“If the pitch is frozen on the Friday afternoon then it's more than likely going to be frozen on the Saturday as well.”


The cancellation at least gave the three new players more time to integrate.

“It didn't do them any harm. The only one upset is George Maris as he has another week being suspended,” said Clough.

“Apart from that, the injured lads were not too disappointed and the new lads as well.”

But it did leave Stags with a blank weekend. “We couldn't do anything,” he said. “We trained on the artificial pitch on Thursday and Friday. But some players with injury history are not able to train on that surface.

“So it wasn't ideal. It was a weekend off and then back to work on Monday, albeit again on the artificial pitch.”

Stags at least got some midweek action into their legs in a 4-1 away friendly win at Barnsley with Will Swan bagging a hat-trick and George Maris the other.

“We had arranged it to give a game to players who needed minutes and those coming back from injury,” said Clough.

“Most of the first team squad went. It was actually due to be on their training ground, which is next to Oakwell, but that was frozen so Michael Duff arranged for us to go on the main pitch which was in great condition.

“We were very grateful and we got a good game in on a good surface.

“Danny Johnson played the first 45 minutes, then Will Swan came on for the second 45 and scored a hat-trick in quite a short space of time.

“Alfie Kilgour played 70-odd minutes, the same for Kieran Wallace and those who needed it played the full 90.”


Latest signing: Nigel Clough gets the best out of me
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 23 Jan 2023

Newest acquisition Louis Reed says Nigel Clough is a manager who gets the best out of him as he looks forward to playing under the boss who gave him his first team debut as a 16-year-old at Sheffield United.

The central midfielder recently joined Mansfield Town on an 18-month contract for an undisclosed fee from Swindon Town.

Reed was named the Robins’ player of the season by his teammates at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Speaking at a news conference at RH Academy earlier this week about Nigel Clough, Louis said: “[He gave me my debut against] Rotherham at home. I think we won 1-0 with a penalty in the last minute. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s someone I enjoy working with.

“Every day he wants the best out of you. We can have a laugh when we need to but when it comes to the business side of things he’s someone I’ve admired for a long time.


“I’ve been in touch with the gaffer here for probably the last couple of years. We've had conversations here and there and then at Swindon they told me that I wasn't needed there anymore. As soon as that happened the manager got in touch and it went from there really.

“I want to be playing regular football so it seemed the right time to move away.”

The all-action midfielder completed his move from the Robins on 15 January and already settled well: “[It’s been] really enjoyable, [they’re a] great group of lads and obviously I’m meeting back up with the manager that I’ve worked with before.

“It’s been really good, [I’m] just disappointed that we didn't get to play on Saturday but I’m looking forward to this weekend [against Doncaster Rovers at One Call Stadium].

“The facilities are top notch. It’s nice only being 40 minutes from home as well. I’ve been really impressed with everything from the facilities to the pitches. Obviously we’ve struggled this week because the grass has been frozen but there is the astro turf as well. The chefs, the kit men, all of the staff and the players have been brilliant as well.”

When asked what we can expect from him on the pitch, the midfielder said: “[When I’m on the ball] I like to dictate play and the tempo of the game, getting moves started from back to front as well. I know I’m not the biggest but I do like to get stuck in and break up play if teams try to counterattack against us. I think I have a balance of both starting attacks and stopping the opposition as well.”


New boy Louis Reed happy to link up again with first manager Nigel Clough at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 23 Jan 2023

Midfield ace Louis Reed is delighted to be back working under Nigel Clough at Mansfield Town and inside his first week at the club believes he has already seen enough to know Stags have a great chance of glory this season.

Barnsley-based Reed moved to Mansfield from promotion rivals Swindon Town at the end of last week to sign for Clough, who gave him his debut as a 16-year-old at Sheffield United.

His hopes of a debut were dashed at the weekend when the trip to Northampton Town was postponed, but he said: “It's been a really enjoyable first week. They are a great group of lads.

“Obviously I am back with a manager I have worked with before and the only disappointment has been not being able to play on Saturday, so I am looking forward to the weekend.

read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/new-boy-louis-reed-happy-to-link-up-again-with-first-manager-nigel-clough-at-mansfield-town-3998233

“The facilities here are top notch. It is nice only being 40 minutes away from home as well.

“It wasn't a factor in me coming here. It was more coming here to play football and it was the club itself. But being 40 minutes down the road was an added bonus for me. Everything kind of worked out nicely.

“I have been really impressed with everything here from the pitches down to the chefs, the kit room, all the staff, and the players have been brilliant as well.”

On his relationship with Clough, he said: “I have been in touch with the gaffer here for the last couple of years. We have had conversations here and there.

“Then it was just a case of Swindon telling me I wasn't needed any more. As soon as that happened the manager got in touch with me and it went from there really.

“I have known him for a long time and he is someone I really enjoy working with.

“It was a long time ago now - it's coming up to 10 years he gave me my debut. I was only 16 and it was against Rotherham at home. I think we won 1-0 with a last minute penalty so that was an added bonus.

“Every day he wants the best out of you. He can have a laugh when he needs to as well. But when it comes to the business side of things he is someone I have admired for a long time.

“He can definitely get the best out of me. Obviously he knows me and he knows my family. Man-management wise it is perfect. On the pitch he knows my strengths and I am hoping we are going to try to play to those.”

Reed was Swindon's Players' Plyer of the Year last season and he added: “It was a bit of a strange one to leave, but they have brought in some really good players there so it was increased competition for places and I just want to be playing regular football. It seemed the right time to move away.

“My season has been a bit up and down, in and out of the team in the last two or three months as they tried to rotate the team around.”

Reed was part of the Swindon squad that won 5-2 at the One Call Stadium in a thriller back in October which saw the visitors pull away after Hiram Boateng was sent off after 59 minutes.

“I came on as a sub for the last 25 minutes and I think it was just a really good game of football and two good footballing siudes going at each other,” he said. “I think the sending-off changed things a lot.”

Reed sees himself as a holding midfielder, but can play further forward in midfield too.

“At Swindon I was playing the holding midfielder role,” he said.

“When I first played under the manager here I think I played a bit further forward, but I have moved deeper and that is my strongest position and one I really enjoy playing. But if I am needed to play higher then I can do that as well. On the ball I like to dictate play and the tempo of the game. I like to get moves started from back to front.

“I know I am not the biggest, but I do like to get stuck in as well. I will try to break up play if teams try to counter-attack against us. I have a balance of both trying to start attacks and stopping the opposition as well”

He added: “My ambition here is promotion - it's as simple as that. Obviously Swindon are a team fighting for that as well, but having trained here this week I have seen it's something we are more than capable of.”

Stevenage and Leyton Orient have gone clear in the top two places and Reed said: “There have been a lot of shock results, almost to the point where anyone can go and beat anyone.

“You have got your two sides that are away from the rest of the pack, then everyone else is kind of around the same area. So it's going to be interesting and I think we can get the job done.”

Not all of the Mansfield squad were strangers on his arrival.

“I know Christy Pym, having spent two years at Peterborough with him, and I was at Sheffield United with Kieran Wallace under the manager,” he said.

“I also know George Maris a little bit from playing against him in academy football. We always seemed to come up against each other and have a good battle.”

Reed, who also had a season on loan at Chesterfield, now hopes to make his debut in front of the Stags' noisy home support having missed out with the Northampton postponement.

“It has given me that little bit of extra time to get to know everyone which will definitely come in handy,” he said. “Playing in front of the home crowd will be great. I was at the last home game and the fans were great throughout.”

And being from Barnsley, a debut against Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers on Saturday would be one he would relish. “It is a game that, if I am playing in it, I will definitely be getting stuck into,” he smiled.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Schofield raring to go for Rovers' return to action against Mansfield

Danny Schofield is champing at the bit for match action after Rovers’ enforced break from play.

Rovers are set for their first game in three weeks as they visit Mansfield Town on Saturday, following the postponement of fixtures with Crawley Town and Tranmere Rovers over successive weekends.


Schofield on facing Mansfield:

“We’re really looking forward to it. I think we’re close to selling out our allocation of tickets. We did the same at Grimsby, which was a fantastic day with a good performance and result. If we can get anywhere near that performance, we’ll be competitive and hopefully we’ll get a positive result out of it.

“It’s been a long time since we last played a football game so to play something of a local derby, it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“We try to approach every game the same, with it being of utmost importance. But with it being fairly local, us not having played for a while, playing a team around in the table, it adds to the importance without mentioning it. We know it’s an important game and we’ll be well prepared to perform.”

On the disruption of having games postponed:

“It’s not easy. You train all week to prepare for games - that’s what training is, preparing for a specific game. All the reflection and learning is done after games. It has been a but frustrating but we’ve tried to utilise the weeks the best we can.

“We always try to train at a high intensity and prepare for match demands in training so that’s what we’ve continued to do. Hopefully the lads will be champing at the bit, which I think they are.

“We had an outstanding session on Wednesday in terms of the intensity and what they put into it and they gave the impression they’re ready to play on Saturday.

“We spoke about not having games to play in our meeting on Wednesday, that we need to continue the momentum we had at the start of the month. Although it feels like a year since the last game, we need to be able to reflect on that game and carry the positives into the game against Mansfield.”

On the health of the squad:

“Definitely Joseph Olowu is probably available for Mansfield. Tommy Rowe and Ollie Younger, not yet.

“Potentially Tommy will be ready for the Hartlepool game. Ollie Younger will be a few weeks after that.

“It’s been one of the positives of the games being postponed that those players will be available for more games and it’s give us time to work with the new players, get them up to speed and more aligned with what we do.”

On attacking options available following Caolan Lavery’s arrival:

“I think it gives us a different option now. He can play with George [Miller], he can play instead of George. I’m not hell-bent on formations, I’m more more based on defensive and attacking principles. I can adapt in terms of that. I think he gives us more options in the attacking line.”


Mansfield Town v Doncaster Rovers: Postponements could level form book says boss
doncasterfreepress.co.uk, By Steve Jones

Doncaster’s first league defeat of the season back in September at the hands of this weekend’s opponents, Mansfield Town, was where it all started to go wrong for Gary McSheffrey and his assistant Steve Eyre.

The 3-1 loss was the first of three on the bounce. By the time Rovers recovered their form with a 4-1 win over Crawley Town later that month, the calls for change had begun and continued to grow louder until McSheffrey and his right-hand man were relieved of their duties just over three weeks later.

McSheffrey had been nominated for League Two’s Manager of the Month award for August after overseeing four wins from six in the opening month.

Doncaster were third in the table - their highest position all season - when they welcomed Nigel Clough’s Mansfield to the Eco-Power Stadium, but head into Saturday’s clash twelfth and four points off the play-offs.


The Stags are three places and two points above them, yet have just one win in their last seven home games and six overall.

Rovers have won two of their last three, although they won’t have played for 21 days by the time the game kicks off due to back-to-back postponements.

“With it being a local game, with us not playing for a while and with it being against a team in and around us in the league, I think it adds its own importance,” Doncaster head coach Danny Schofield said.

"We will be well prepared to perform."

On the impact of those pesky postponements, Schofield said: “It’s a bit of a leveller when you have not played consistent games.

"The more consistently you are playing the better you become. Mansfield are in a similar position to us.”

Mansfield’s trip to Northampton Town last weekend was also called off due to the cold snap.

"You can train all you like but you need to play games,” said Schofield.

"We feel as though we are well prepared, we’re coming off the back of a good Christmas period.

"It's one we are looking forward to and we feel we can put a good performance in.”

Doncaster will be backed by around 1,700 travelling fans at the One Call Stadium.