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12th March 2023 10:09

First team coach commends forward fire power
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 7 Mar 2023

Mansfield Town first team coach Andy Garner has commended the role the club’s forwards have played in recent weeks as Stags aim to build on a period of fine form at home to league leaders Leyton Orient this Saturday.

The division’s second highest scorers, Mansfield have recorded just one defeat in eight matches.

A former striker in his playing days, Andy has been encouraged by the form of Lucas Akins, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Danny Johnson’s recent goalscoring cameo as Stags prepare for battles against three promotion contenders in a week in Leyton Orient, Northampton Town and Stockport County.

Speaking to iFollow Stags this morning, the first team coach said: “Lucas [Akins] is battling away up there for us and doing well.

“Davis [Keillor-Dunn] is playing really well at the minute, when he gets a little bit fitter as well, I think he’ll be even better for us.


“We’re scoring goals which is always a nice thing.

“Danny [Johnson] comes on on Saturday and gets a goal so everything is going alright at the minute.”

When asked about the season on a whole, Andy said: “[The season so far has been] very very good, especially the last five games.

“Four out of five we’ve won. At the minute we’re going very nicely.

“We had a hiccup against Salford but overall, in terms of availability of players that we’ve got, we’re doing alright at the minute.

“I think the [January] signings have been absolutely massive.

“I think [Alfie] Kilgour has been massive and I think Davis [Keillor-Dunn] has been massive as well.

“They’re two very good players; a proper defender, we’re defending properly, and I think on Saturday you saw the quality of Davis as well.

“The togetherness [in the group] has brought us all together.”

The coach confirmed that forward Will Swan will be ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. Andy provided the further clarity on Stags’ injury situation.

“We’re down to the bare bones. It’s difficult at the moment,” he said.

“Players are contributing. They’re working extremely hard but like we all say, you need a little bit of luck.

“[Callum Johnson is] Injured. Yeah, [his] groin [which is] another one [out].

“We just can’t get over the injuries at the minute. We’ve got two kids on the bench.

“Danny [Johnson] goes straight on [at the weekend in place of Callum Johnson].

“That’s [versatility] the great thing with Lucas [Akins]. Not many forwards can go straight into that wing-back position. That’s him all over.

“We’re unfortunate with Callum Johnson, we don’t know how long he’s going to be out.

“It’s another one injured for us. I would assume [he misses Saturday’s match].

“He’s [Christy Pym] in [training] today. We’ll assess him and see how he goes.

“They’ve [all] got to be right. We can’t be taking any chances.

“We daren’t have a five-a-side at the moment because people are getting injured in that.

“We’re doing more possession than anything else.

“We just have to be very very careful with the players coming in [to training].

“[Elliott Hewitt’s calf is] very sore. I had a word with him this morning and he said he’s still very sore.

“Coming away from the Wimbledon game we were thinking we’ll have Elliott back, we’ll hopefully have Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] back, we’ll have Oatesy [Rhys Oates] back but it’s not looking like that at all.

“Elliott is looking 50/50, if that, [for the weekend].

“Oatesy might be on the bench, it’s a possibility, but apart from that it’s not looking great.

“Today I think we’ve got about 12 [training] and that’s with a couple of kids in as well.

“Quinny [Stephen Quinn] will have a little rest because the efforts he’s putting in are unbelievable.

“I think it gets to a point where you leave it [training or not] down to him.

“Some of the play he’s playing is fantastic. He knows his own body and we don’t want to take any risks with him.”

Top of the table Orient have been League Two’s leaders for the majority of the campaign.

“They had a fantastic start winning virtually week-in-week-out,” Andy added.

“All of a sudden, the points tally up and they find themselves with quite a lot of points more than anybody else.

“Over the last couple of weeks, they haven’t won as many as they would’ve liked. They’ve drawn a few and lost a few.

“They’re a good side, they’ve got a good manager and they score goals.

“They’re very hard to beat. Teams like us are trying to catch them up and it becomes very difficult when they keep winning most weeks.

“It’ll be a very good battle, no doubt about that.”


Massive week ahead as Mansfield Town injury list hits double figures
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 7 Mar 2023

Injury-ravaged Mansfield Town look unlikely to get any of their 10 missing players back for the start of one of their most crucial weeks of the season.

Callum Johnson took their injury list to double figures when he limped off in Saturday's 3-1 win at AFC Wimbledon.

Now Stags, sat outside the top seven on goal difference, enter a possible season-defining week as they welcome leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday followed by trips to fourth-placed Northampton Town on Tuesday and seventh-placed Stockport County the following Saturday.

“We are doing all right at the minute considering the availability of players,” said first team coach Andy Garner.

“The effort they're all putting in is incredible and we have to look after them as much as the physio is looking after the injured ones.

“We are getting through it, but it's down to the bare bones. Players are contributing and working hard and you do need a little bit of luck, which I think we had at times last week.


“The injured players are all frustrated - they're all fed up. But they just have to try to keep a smile on their faces and hopefully recover a bit quicker. But they have to be 100 per cent.

“Callum is another one now with his groin. We don't know how long he will be out. He seemed to be in quite a bit of pain at half-time so he has to be a doubt for Saturday.

“Christy Pym is coming in but I am not sure he will train. He has had a few stomach problems. It will be up to him but he has to be right - we can't take any chances.

“We daren't even have a five-a-side in training at the moment as people are getting injured. We're doing more possession than anything else.”

Garner said striker Will Swan's ankle injury has prematurely ended the young Forest loanee's season but added there was an outside chance of Rhys Oates (shoulder) making the bench for Saturday.

“Swanny was just a little tackle in a five-a-side game and he's out for the rest of the season. It's a nightmare and the games are coming thick and fast,” he said.

“So we have to be very careful with the players coming in and get the others back as soon as we can.

“At the moment at best we might have Oatesy on the bench on Saturday. It's a possibility. He is down for light training on Wednesday so that's good news.

“But we don't want any contact with him with his arm. And if he is available for the bench on Saturday everything has to be right in his mind and his arm has to be right or, if there is any contact, he may have problems again.

“Elliott Hewitt still has a very sore calf so he is 50-50, if that. There's no use playing him Saturday if he ends up being out for the rest of the season.

“Apart from that it's not looking great.

“We have about 12 training including a couple of kids. And we have to look after those 12 as it doesn't look like the others are coming back any time soon.

“We are giving Quinny (Stephen Quinn) a rest as the effort he is putting in are unbelievable.

“It gets to a point where you leave it down to him - train whenever you want.

“He is getting on and knows his own body and we don't want to take any risks with him.

“Also, Alfie Kilgour has a sore ankle, but he will battle through anything.”

Runaway leaders Orient are seven unbeaten, but Stags have only lost once in eight.

“Orient have been very consistent,” said Garner.

“They had a fantastic start winning virtually week in, week out. Those points tally up and they suddenly found themselves well ahead of everyone else.

“Over the last couple of weeks they have probably not won as many as they would have liked, drawing a few.

“But they had such a brilliant start and they are a good side with a good manager. They score goals and are very hard to beat.

“Teams like us are always trying to catch them up and it becomes difficult when they are winning most weeks.

“It will be a very good battle and we are looking forward to it now. We'd play it tonight if we could.

“Playing top of the league we'll have a good crowd and it's a fantastic test for us.

“They've been top of the league all season so let's have a go and see what they've got. We don't fear anyone, that's for sure.”

He added: “It is a difficult week ahead - we know that. All we can do is take each game as it comes.

“The first one is at home and the next two away. But we've been doing all right away from home.

“It's a big week, but one we're totally looking forward to and hopefully we can carry on performing as we are at the moment.”

Danny Johnson, who had a prolific loan spell at Walsall before Christmas, netted his first goal back for the Stags last weekend.

And if Callum Johnson and Elliott Hewitt both miss out and Lucas Akins has to play right wing back on Saturday, Danny Johnson could be in line for a first Stags start of the season.

“We will have to see what we've got and we will pick the best formation for Orient,” said Garner.

“Hopefully his goal has given him a massive lift. All he can do is do what he does.

“We tell all the subs to make sure they are ready. They play a massive part.

“If he is on the bench and he gets on then it's up to Danny Johnson. We have no problems with him.

“At the minute we are picking a team we think should start and if he's not in that, he's not.

“The only way they can get a place in the starting side is by producing - and Danny has done that.

“If there is no availability on the right side and Akins has to go in there, who's going to go up front? It might be Danny Johnson, so he has to be ready.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Will Swan: Mansfield Town striker's season ended by ankle injury
bbc.co.uk, Tues 7 Mar 2023

Mansfield Town striker Will Swan has been ruled out the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

The 22-year-old has scored nine goals in 31 games since joining the Stags on loan from Nottingham Forest in July.

He has missed three games already after suffering the ankle injury during training in late February.

Swan's season-ending problem adds to Mansfield's injury crisis, with boss Nigel Clough only able to call on 12 fit first-team players in recent weeks.

While ravaged by injury, eighth-placed Mansfield have maintained their bid for promotion with five wins in an eight-game run that includes just one defeat.

After Saturday's 3-1 win at AFC Wimbledon, they are only outside the League Two play-off spots on goal difference and are just five points adrift of the automatic promotion spots.

While Clough has previously said the Stags "have to take chances" with their approach to training despite being short of players, first-team coach Andy Garner says the Stags are being cautious with managing the players that are sidelined and those who are still available.

"We have to look after the 11, 12 or 13 players that we have got because the the other ones are not looking like they are coming back very soon," Garner told BBC Radio Nottingham.


"What we can't do is brings players back too quickly so they are out for the next game.

"We certainly don't want to take chance with players, that's for sure.

"They are all frustrated and fed up, but they have to just keep going and hopefully recover quickly."

Garner said midfielder Elliott Hewitt would be treated as a "50-50" chance being available for Saturday's home game against League Two leaders Leyton Orient after being ruled out with a calf injury.

Rhys Oates, who has not featured since Mansfield's 1-1 draw at Bradford on 4 February, is expected to return to light training this week and could feature this weekend.

"That is some good news, but everything has to be right," Garner said.


Midfielder ready for big week
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 7 Mar 2023

Mansfield Town midfielder Kieran Wallace says Stags’ next three league fixtures could be ‘vital’ in the club’s fight for promotion.

Nigel Clough’s men face league leaders Leyton Orient at home this weekend, followed by trips to promotion rivals Northampton next Tuesday and then Stockport County four days later.

The 28-year-old, who has made 26 appearances this term - on the left side of defence as well as in midfield - said at a news conference today: “The next three games are going to be very important to where we end up [in the league table]. It’s going to be vital.

“[We’re happy with our form at the moment]. Especially at an important time of the season. We’re coming into the run in now and we’re in the mix.”


Wallace has enjoyed an extended run in the team recently, becoming one of Nigel Clough’s most consistent performers.

“I’m enjoying it. It’s been a long time waiting for me to get a bit of a run in the side.

“It’s probably my longest spell, the most amount of games I’ve probably played for a couple of years.

“It’s not a lot of games that I’ve played recently but I was thinking about it the other day and since January I’ve probably played eight or nine games. I think it’s the most I've played since my injury a couple of years ago.”

Wallace has shown his versatility this term, featuring at left-back in the absence of Stephen McLaughlin, and in defensive midfield, more recently.

Speaking about playing in front of the defence, he said: “I think that position suits my attributes a bit more, obviously I don’t need to run around as much. [I’m able to] protect the back three or four and that suits my game really.

Nigel Clough’s side have been hit with an array of injuries recently, leading to Academy players Taylor Anderson (defender) and McKeal Abdullah (forward) feature on the bench for the first team at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

“There’s not many people training,” said Wallace. “I think it hits you when you go out to warm up and jog around the pitch and you see [the low amount of players] who we’ve got training today. A few of the younger lads are coming up to train with us and you look around and think we’re really down to the bare bones.

“I think you're just under a bit more pressure to stay fit really. You want to be playing, you want to keep yourself fit.”


Kieran Wallace enjoying run of games at last in injury-hit Mansfield Town side
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 7 Mar 2023

Mansfield Town utility man Kieran Wallace is enjoying his first lengthy run in the side since joining the club.

With so many players out injured, Wallace has been used in various roles and is currently the holding midfielder.

“I am enjoying it. It's been a long time coming for me to get a run in the side,” he smiled.

“It's probably the longest run of games I have played for a couple of years since my injury to be honest.


“I hadn't played a lot of football but since January I have played about eight or nine games in a row.

“Injuries to other players have probably played a part in me getting this run.

“At the start when we played a few games in a week I was finding it tough with the travelling and that, and the last couple of games I have not been quite happy with my performances.

“I think there has been a bit of a drop off due to the volume of games I've played.

“But the position does suit my attributes a bit more where I don't have to run around as much and maybe use my voice to get other players to run around while I protect the back three or four. It suits my game.

“I don't quite have the attacking power of a midfielder and I am maybe not big or physical enough to be a defender. So I have ended up there as a bit of an inbetweener.”

Despite the injuries, Stags continue to challenge for promotion and Wallace said: “I don't think our football has been as good recently but we have been grinding out results, which is probably the most important thing coming towards the run-in of the season. We're in the mix.

“The next three games are going to be very important as to whether we stay with the pack or go ahead of them. They could be vital.

“I can remember last season being in a similar situation.

“The fans were up for it and we were up for it. We didn't quite get there in the end but they were very exciting times.

“You'd rather be in the fight than have nothing to play for.”

On the injury crisis, he said: “We don't have many training. It hits you when you go out to warm up and see we are really down to the bare bones.

“It puts you under a bit more pressure to stay fit.

“We're told by the coaches to be a bit more careful. But the way I play and the way I train, I want to be as at it in training as I am in games as I need the practice and the fitness.

“I can't just relax and turn it on on a Saturday. I can't afford to do that.”

Wallace said the big week ahead, starting with Saturday's clash against table-topping Leyton Orient, will decide how much work Stags face in their final 10 game run-in.

“It will be a tough game on Saturday,” he said.

“Orient have been at the top since game one really and stayed there. So they are obviously the best team in the league.

“Then you have your automatic contenders as well in Northampton and Stockport that we are going to come up against.

“So it will be a tester for us, being the small group that we are.

“The next three games will set us up nicely for the final 10 games.

“By then we'll know if we have a bit of catching up to do or if we're right in the mix and other teams need to catch us up.”