CLOUGH AND BOWERY REFLECT FURTHER ON SALFORD GAME
Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags, Tues 28 Feb 2023
"If we'd have everybody fit on Saturday, a couple wouldn't have played ... Quinny with his ankle and groin, and Alfie Kilgour was struggling with his heal, he didn't train all week and you could see he was struggling to get off the ground and win his headers.
"So we've got to be careful with them this week."
Nigel Clough told Radio Nottingham, 28 Feb
"I would think it will be between 4 and 6 weeks on Will Swan (before he is back)."
Nigel Clough on the injuries to McLaughlin, Oates and Reed:
"Will be out for next 3 or 4 games. We're aiming to get them back with 10 games to go. If we can get McLaughlin, Oates and Reed back on the pitch then, it will give us more options."
Nigel Clough: Depleted Mansfield Town have to 'take chances' with injuries
bbc.co.uk, Tues 28 Feb 2023
Boss Nigel Clough says he will not let the injury crisis that has left Mansfield Town with just 12 fit first-team players affect the Stags' approach to training again.
With eight players out, Clough admitted they "toned down" preparations for their home game against Salford City, which ended in a heavy 5-2 defeat.
"We only have 12 first-teamers and we were so frightened of getting more injuries," Clough said.
"But we have to take our chances now."
Defeat saw the Stags drop below Salford in the League Two table to seventh, and slip five points adrift of the automatic promotion spots.
read more at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/64801507
Midfielder George Maris is the only one of Mansfield's eight injured first-team players expected to return for their trip to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Clough said the message after the defeat - which ended a three-match winning run that included three clean sheets - was to "move on as soon as possible".
"You just have to take it and lick your wounds," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.
"After the game, in the dressing room, I had a quiet chat with the lads - there was no ranting and raving.
"It's sort of one of those where they can't wait to get back on the pitch again to get playing.
"It's not necessarily about showing more character, they have shown that all season. When you have had that defeat, you really need people to stand up and get back to doing what we did before."
Gaffer: Stags set for Wimbledon encounter
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 28 Feb 2023
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side can’t wait to get back on the pitch this weekend following last Saturday’s defeat to Salford City.
The Stags were unbeaten in six games going into their clash with Salford in a spell which saw them pick up impressive results against promotion rivals Carlisle as well as Tranmere Rovers on the road.
Mansfield produced a dominant display against this weekend's opponents Wimbledon earlier on in the campaign as they came out as 5-2 winners at One Call Stadium.
The Stags currently sit eight in Sky Bet League Two whilst this weekend's hosts find themselves in 15th.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference ahead of Saturday’s clash, Nigel said: “In the dressing room [last weekend] we had a quiet chat with the lads, there was no ranting and raving. They can’t wait to get on the pitch again and get playing. I think if we had a midweek game, it wouldn’t have been a bad thing apart from the injuries this week. [We want] to get back out there as soon as we can.
“We’ll be as positive as we’ve been in recent weeks, which we tried to do even with the defeat on Saturday.
“[Wimbledon have been] a little bit up and down but they’ve improved of late and we played very well against them even when they went down to ten men earlier on in the season.
“I think it’s been a sort of transitional adjustment season for them and I think it’s one of those where Johnnie [Jackson] will get them together ready to go next season.”
Assessing Stags’ recent defeat to Salford City, Nigel said: “Yeah [it was] a bad day but you’ve also got to put into context how good Salford were on the day. I thought they were exceptionally good and it felt very similar to the Carlisle game a couple of weeks ago. We did to Carlisle what they did to us.
“We’ve had an incredible run before that and if you would’ve offered us 13 out of 18 points, we would have snapped your hand off.”
Ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Dons the gaffer provided an injury update.
“There is nobody who is [set to return] imminently apart from George Maris. Then we’ll need to make sure the knocks and everything we picked up on Saturday [are okay ahead of our next fixture].
“I think if we had everyone fit on Saturday, I’m not sure [that] Quinny (Stephen Quinn) would’ve played [due to knocks on his] ankle and groin.
“Alfie Kilgour was struggling with his heel [which meant that] he didn’t train all week and you could see he was struggling to get off the ground and win his headers.
“We didn’t have the normal week of intensive training that we would’ve had with a clear week (without a midweek fixture). [That was] purely because we were frightened of injuries.”
Crunch time for injury-hit Mansfield Town with tough start to March
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 28 Feb 2023
Mansfield Town start a very tough March at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday aiming to bounce straight back from Saturday's shock home setback to rivals Salford City.
With eight players out injured and on the back of Saturday's 5-2 home loss, Nigel Clough's men begin a spell of four games, three away from home, and three of the games against top seven rivals.
It is a spell that could make or break their season and Clough said the most important thing was to stay with the pack while some of the key players try to get fit again for the final push.
“The next four games are crucial, without a doubt, and what we want to be is in contention when we get the players back in two or three weeks time,” he said.
“There will still be 10 games to go in the season and plenty of points to go for.
“Hopefully if we can then get Macca (Stephen McLaughlin), Oatesy (Rhys Oates) and Louis Reed back, then to be there or thereabouts in contention still, we'll settle for that.”
George Maris is the only one of the injured players who might be available by the weekend with striker Will Swan now ruled out for four to six weeks.
“George is the only one who has a chance. And we need to keep an eye on the knocks and everything we picked up on Saturday,” said Clough.
“If we'd had everyone fit I don't think Stephen Quinn would have played on Saturday with his ankle and groin.
“Alfie Kilgour was struggling with his heel and didn't train all week. You could see he was struggling to get off the ground for his headers.
“Riley Harbottle had flu-like symptoms and I shouldn't have started him.
“Two or three might not have played on Saturday so we have just got to be careful with them this week.
“We didn't have the normal intensive week's training we'd have had on a clear week, purely because we were frightened of injuries and we only had 12 players training.
“We had to tone it down, but we will have to take our chances now this week, especially with the injured players being a week closer to returning.
“But Saturday was one of our highest volume running games, the stats were right up there - probably because we were chasing the ball much of the time. But there was no lack of effort.”
Clough again insisted the home capitulation to Salford should be quickly put behind them.
“It was a bad day for us but you also have to put it in context how good Salford were on the day. We were not at our best but I thought they were exceptionally good,” he said.
“It's not a nice feeling being 5-1 down at home. But it happens and you just have to take it, lick your wounds and move. There is nothing else you can do.
“It felt very similar to the Carlisle game a couple of weeks ago. What we did to Carlisle, Salford did to us.
“They were clinical, yet we ended up having more shots than them on Saturday. We didn't finish ours. We had opportunities at key points in the game and didn't take them.
“That was one of the best performances I have seen this season, but not necessarily the best team I've seen.
“If they were the best team they would be 10 points clear at the top of the league, which Orient are at the moment. So Orient are the best side we've played this season.
“We watch a lot of League Two games and I would say two or three times this season we have copped for people turning in extremely good performances.
“There was Bradford at home, Swindon at home - they were very good but we went down to 10 men so that clouded that one a little bit - and then Saturday.
“According to the Salford directors that was by far the best they have played.”
He continued: “You just have to take it that your backsides have been kicked on your own patch and move on.
“We had an incredible run before that and if you'd offered us 13 points out of 18 we'd have snapped your hand off six games in.
“We were not getting carried away, even though we'd won three in a week without conceding, it's always fragile. You're always one game away from a defeat - it's always round the corner and it came on Saturday for us.
“Now it's about the character to bounce back and respond.”
On opponents Wimbledon, Clough said: “They have been a bit up and down, which you sometimes expect when you've been relegated, but they have improved in recent months.
“We played very well against them, even when they went down to 10 men, earlier in the season.
“But they are one of those teams that are more than capable on the day, especially at home, and we are looking forward to going to their new ground.
“It has been a sort of transitional adjustment season for them after relegation and Johnny will get them ready to go next season.
“We will be as positive as we can, despite the defeat on Saturday.
“The lads can't wait to get back on the pitch again and playing. If we'd had a midweek game it wouldn't have been a bad thing, apart from the injuries. They will have their opportunity to put things right on Saturday.”
Clough stressed that he would not now be searching for a free agent to boost his injury-hit squad.
“The problem is that most of the lads will hopefully be back in two or three weeks,” he said. “And it would take you that time to get anyone up to speed.
“The free agents have probably not played football for two months, so they will be at the same stage as our injured players.”
Stags eager for Wimbledon clash - Bowery
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 28 Feb 2023
Mansfield Town’s Jordan Bowery says Stags are determined to get back on the winning track this Saturday when they take on AFC Wimbledon in south-west London.
Prior to Saturday’s loss at home to Salford, Mansfield had won three successive matches - keeping a clean sheet against Gillingham, Carlisle and Tranmere.
The 29-year-old, who has been playing recently at left wing-back, has made 26 league appearances this season.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy on Tuesday morning, Jordan said: “It [the Salford result] was a tough one to take, especially after the week we had before, but we’ve got to hold our hands up and say we got beaten by the better team.
“They utilised what they had. I think conceding the two [goals] so quickly after half-time killed the game a bit.
“We weren’t at it; we all know that as a team, but we have to move onto the next one.
“Whether we lose 1-0 or 5-2 it’s still three points lost so we just need to move on to the next one.”
The next challenge comes in the form of an away trip to AFC Wimbledon this Saturday.
“We know it’s not going to be an easy game by any means, no game in this league is,” said Jordan.
“They went 2-0 up against us [in August] and got a quick start last time so we need to do that down there and continue what we’ve been doing recently, try and keep a clean sheet and go for it.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we just need to go put things right.”
Following a string of injuries in the squad, the versatile performer has operated at wing-back - away from his natural position of a forward.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.
“It’s been a good test for me to try different positions.
“It [the position change] has been needed as we are down to the bare bones at the minute with a lot of injuries, so I’ll play wherever I have to.”
Jordan Bowery ‘already over’ bad afternoon for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 28 Feb 2023
Forward Jordan Bowery is enjoying his role as a makeshift left wing back for Mansfield Town but admits he had no answer to the pace of winger Luke Bolton as Salford ran riot in Saturday's 5-2 defeat.
Bowery had a torrid afternoon and said: “They maybe saw some places where we were weaker and utilised what they had, especially that right winger.
“I am a forward and being up against him was tough. I didn't realise he was that quick. Credit to him - he's a good player.
“I couldn't keep up with his pace. Maybe I gave him too much space in behind. Maybe I could have stood off him a bit more and let him have it to his feet.
“But when someone has pace like that it's hard to mark. You can't mark pace.
“For me, it's gone now. It was a blip. Games come too quick and we have a lot of games to put things right. You can't dwell on it.
“It was a tough one to take, especially after the positive week we'd just had before.
“But we just have to forget about it. They were a good team and we have to hold up our hands and say we were beaten by the better team.
“We know as a team we were not at it. It is what it is.
“After three games without conceding, having five goals against us was a shock.
“But they were good and they were at it.”
On his current role, he added: “I am enjoying it and it's been a good test for me. I prefer playing on the left more than the right as I feel I can cut in more and get more involved.
“But I have always said I will play anywhere.
“It's been needed as we are down to the bare bones with so many injuries. I will go wherever I have to.”
Johnnie: I’ve learnt a lot since the summer
Johnnie Jackson is expecting a very different encounter to our last against Mansfield Town, with the Dons out to show how far we’ve come since August tomorrow afternoon.
As well as looking back to our previous meeting with the Stags, our manager pinpoints how we’re aiming to get the best out of several players and highlights the importance of our Head of Performance and Recruitment Analysis, Tom Daws.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR SATURDAY
It’s not too late for you to be the twelfth man, with tickets still available via our ONLINE SHOP. Book now to take advantage of our Kids for a Quid offer and help us to build another bouncing atmosphere at Plough Lane.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS YOU’VE LEARNT AS A MANAGER SINCE THE LAST TIME WE PLAYED MANSFIELD?
I remember feeling a bit hard done by on that night. We started the match well, took the lead and they got back into it because they’re a good side. The red card cost us the game - in the end it got rescinded, so you wonder what might have been had we had 11.
A lot has gone on since then, it feels like a lifetime ago. We’ve changed a lot of personnel since then, we’ve changed our style and our formation. We’re a very different team and for that reason I expect a very different game. I’ve learnt a lot about this league, about my own squad and about how best to approach games.
DO YOU THINK PLAYING IN A FRONT TWO AGAIN IS HELPING JOSH DAVISON?
I believe so. It’s easy to forget how much football he’s played this season. I think he’s played one of the highest amounts of minutes in the league. That’s something we’re well aware of but Josh wants to play every game, which is something we’d never discourage.
Up to now he’s not had a natural strike partner and we haven’t had the luxury of potentially taking him out of the starting 11. It’s given us that flexibility. As a front two they’ve looked good together, they’re dangerous and they like playing together.
KASEY MCATEER HAS MADE A GOOD IMPRESSION ON THE FANS SO FAR. WHAT DO YOU FEEL HIS BEST POSITION IS?
One of the things we like about him the most are the capabilities that he has to play in numerous midfield positions. I think he’s naturally an eight, an attacking midfield player. But equally he can play that role on the right - he can run, he can go past people.
I feel he could do it off the left hand side as well. Leicester City have used him at wing-back and full-back as well. He’s one of those players who managers love to have because of his versatility.
AARON PIERRE HASN’T PLAYED A LOT OF FOOTBALL THIS SEASON. WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE BEEN TO HIM SINCE HE JOINED US?
It’s been difficult for him. We had a good chat with him today. As long as he trains hard and keeps himself in top condition there will be opportunities to play. Injuries, suspensions and rotations - all those things come into it.
Alex Pearce and Jack Currie are touch and go. We hope to have them available but we will make late calls on both. Huseyin Biler is still a few weeks away - he’s one of the longer term ones along with Diallang Jaiyesimi and Harry Pell.