CLOUGH AND McLAUGHLIN PREVIEW NORTHAMPTON GAME
Summary of injury news from Nigel Clough to iFollow Stags:
Pym back in training, available for tomorrow
Hewitt, 50/50 at best for tomorrow
Callum Johnson, out for a few weeks
Oates back in training. Will take it cautiously with him
Reed, no return imminent, hoping running this week with a view to back in training within a couple of weeks
Maris, we'll see day to day, can't do explosive sprinting
McLaughlin, back running, back in training this week
Swan, under Forest care, maybe a chance of being back for the last few games
Clough adds to BBC Radio Nottingham:
Hewitt, Oates and Maris are the closest of the outfield players, to returning. Whether close enough for Northampton, not sure.
Gaffer provides injury latest ahead of Cobblers clash
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 13 March 2023
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has issued an update on the fitness of Stags’ absentees ahead of tomorrow evening’s battle at promotion rivals Northampton Town.
Stags have won four of the previous five matches - an impressive sequence of form for a side that has tackled the challenge of up to ten sidelined first-team players in recent weeks.
Last weekend’s scheduled home encounter against Leyton Orient was postponed due to the weather allowing for extra rest for the gaffer’s squad.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference this morning at RH Academy, Nigel said: “We didn’t want the game off having won four out of [our last] five but [there was] nothing we can do with the amount of snow that came down.
“It was a couple of days’ unexpected rest.”
When asked about Mansfield’s injury list, the boss said: “He [Christy Pym] trained last week so he hopefully will be available [for tomorrow night].
“Not sure [on Elliott Hewitt’s likelihood of a return], not sure if he’s going to train this morning [Monday] or not. We’ll see how he is.
“[He is] 50/50 at best I would say.
“[Callum Johnson] is going to be out a few weeks with the calf injury he picked up down at Wimbledon.
“Rhys [Oates] is doing a bit of training at the moment. It’s just whether he can sustain any contact really. We’ll take it cautiously with him but he is back in light training. We’ll see how he is this week.
“He’s [Louis Reed] coming on well but no return imminent. We’re looking at him running hopefully this week with a view to joining in [training] in the next couple of weeks.
“He [George Maris] can do a certain amount but he just can’t do that final sort of explosive sprinting. We’ll see how he is, it’s almost day-to-day.
“They’re not far away now, the majority of them, it’s just that final little bit and with 13 games to go, what we don’t want to do is push them and then if they’re out for four or five games they’re out for the season.
“He’s [Stephen McLaughlin] back running and he may well join in some time this week.
“It’s a huge blow [Will Swan’s ankle injury]. He’s been to see a specialist and he’s under Forest’s care.
“There’s a chance of him coming back maybe later on in the season but with him being a young player and somebody else’s player, we’ll certainly take our time with it.
“He wants to get to double figures [in goals] I think he’s on nine so that will give him an incentive to get back for the last few games maybe.”
Nigel has been impressed with tomorrow evening’s opponents so far this campaign.
“I think to come back from the disappointment that they had on the last day of last season, and then losing in the play-off semi-finals, speaks volumes of the character and the team.”
Two huge tests ahead against rivals as Mansfield Town return to action
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 13 March 2023
After a blank weekend due to snow, Mansfield Town are back in action with a bang with successive games against promotion rivals this week.
Tomorrow night (Tuesday) they head for Northampton Town before another huge test at Stockport County on Saturday and boss Nigel Clough admitted: “The last 13 games are all big games and all significant, but we are playing somebody who is up there with us this week.
“Northampton got a great point at Hartlepool on Saturday and we know from our tussles with them over the last couple of years how difficult it will be.
“To come back from the disappointment they had on the last day of last season and then losing a play-off semi-final I think speaks volumes of the character of the manager and the team.
“I am sure they will be thinking about us beating them there in the play-offs last season and using it as an incentive. We were brilliant on the night in doing what we had to do and getting the job done.
“We got the goal and defended it superbly. Hopefully we can have a similar feeling after this Tuesday's game.
“Obviously with Saturday's postponement we now have three consecutive away games, but it will mean we have a good balance of home games coming up in the last 11.
“But these are two big ones against sides on contention with us for promotion or play-offs. So they will be two tough games for us.”
He added: “It is so tight up there. You watch the results coming in on Saturday, but there is not much you can do about anybody else.
“The only concern is we have played the least number of games in the league now, along with maybe one or two other teams. So we've got to make those games in hand count when they come up.
“Initially these two games will be a battle. You will get the odd freakish game like Carlisle away where you score four goals in the first 35 minutes which only happens once a season maybe.
“Mostly it's about the first 30 minutes, staying in the game and battling, and if you get a goal then brilliant. But try not to concede. I don't think it's a bad thing if you can get to 0-0 away from home at half-time. Then the onus is more on the home side to go out and get a goal.”
With 10 players missing last week, Stags had some good news this week with keeper Christy Pym fit again and defender Stephen McLaughlin back in training with an outside chance of facing Stockport.
“It's almost a day to day thing - the majority of them are not far away now. Anyone back would be a help,” said Clough.
“It's just that final little bit and, with 13 games to go, what we don't want to do is push them and all of a sudden they're out for four or five games which is a big chunk of the remaining season.
“But at some point they will have to come back in. It is just judging the right time. They're all at different stages with different injuries as well.
“Christy Pym trained last week so he should be available providing there's been no reaction.
“Otherwise, Elliott Hewitt, Rhys Oates and George Maris are the closest.
“Elliott is probably 50-50 for Northampton at best.
“Rhys is doing a bit of training at the moment. It's just whether he can sustain any contact really. We are being cautious with him and we'll see how he is this week.
“George can do a certain amount but can't just do that explosive sprinting.
“He is back running and may well join in some time this week.
“Louis Reed is coming on well but no return imminent. We hope he will start running this week with a view to joining in over the next couple of weeks. He's not too far away.
“Callum Johnson will be a few weeks though.”
On his side's amazing run of bad luck with injuries, Clough said: “You look for patterns with injuries so you can address it.
“Are they hamstrings? Do you have groin injuries? Then you can say are we doing this in training or is it the surfaces?“But there has been absolutely no pattern to it whatsoever. We have had two players both have two shoulder injuries in the same season and you'd perhaps expect one every couple of years.
“The knocks we've had have been contact injuries and almost freakish at times. There is nothing we can do about them.
“I have never known anything this sustained, having eight or nine out for a number of weeks. So it's credit to the squad that we're still in contention.
“You look at teams that are successful and they maybe make two or three changes but it's usually the same team out most weeks. We would love to be able to do that.”
Frustration for Mansfield Town as snow leads to postponement of big clash with table-topping Leyton Orient
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 13 March 2023
Mansfield Town were left with a blank weekend after the early postponement of their big home clash with League Two leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday.
But manager Nigel Clough said the club were helpless to do anything about it as it became the only fixture to be called off in the top four divisions. Heavy snow on Thursday left the stadium and its surrounds under a heavy blanket on Thursday and a Friday morning inspection, coupled with sub-zero temperatures forecast for Friday night saw the game called off.
“There was nothing we could do here - we were totally under snow at the training ground too,” said Clough.
“Having won four out of five we didn't really want the game off, but there was nothing we could do about the amount of snow that came down in such a short period of time and the temperatures that were forecast for Friday night.
“It made it almost impossible for us to get it on, even though everybody else seemed to.
“So the players got a couple of unexpected days of rest.
“It was a good opportunity for the injured players to get a few more days towards their return and everybody else to get a rest before the next four games which are incredibly important.”
He added: “We had a Premier League referee in to have a look at it. We have a responsibility to the travelling supporters and the safety of the public as well with the state of large areas of the car park and everything.”
But the game adds to a hectic run-in with most weeks now seeing Stags having a midweek fixture. A new date has yet to be agreed
Macca eager to return to action
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 13 March 2023
Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin is ‘itching to get back’ after a six-week spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
The 32-year-old last featured in Stags’ 4-1 win at home to Doncaster Rovers at the end of January, in which he was withdrawn due to his current injury on seven minutes, being replaced by Kieran Wallace.
The Irish born left-back has appeared on 28 occasions this term for Nigel Clough’s men.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy this morning on his injury, Stephen said: “It’s not too bad, I’m training today so we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s my first day back in so we’ll just have to assess it (my injury) after training.
“Hopefully I’ll get a full week of training under my belt and be available for the weekend [when we visit Stockport County].
“[The games since I’ve been out injured], I’ve watched them all, [the lads], they’ve been good, very good. Credit to the boys, as we’ve said all season, the depth in our squad is showing up in the last few weeks.”
McLaughlin is one of a number of players receiving treatment recently from physio Tom Whittamore.
Speaking about the business of the treatment room, he said: “It’s difficult to get everybody seen. You’re just in earlier and leave later. We’ve all got our time and we’ve been working very hard to get back. Unfortunately the gym is full but we’re all striving to get back as quick as we can.
“I am [very eager to get back on the pitch], I’ve missed it. After watching the boys, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for them [and] you can see it in their legs and I just want to get back and help them out.
“It’s taken longer than I expected, which is even more frustrating for me, but I’m hoping now that it’s behind me and I can get a good session in today and I can come through it well.”
Speaking on Mansfield’s squad in his absence, the defender said: “Jordan [Bowery] and Kieran [Wallace] have done unbelievable in my position so I will have to fight for my position.”
Stephen McLaughlin lift for threadbare Mansfield Town?
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 13 March 2023
Mansfield Town's promotion aspirations could be given a huge boost this week with Stephen McLaughlin hoping to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday's trip to rivals Stockport County.
Last season's Player of the Year has been out since injuring his ankle early in the win over Doncaster Rovers on 28th January and is the club's only left back with others having to fill in for him since.
But McLaughlin was back in training on Monday this week and said: “It is not too bad now. This is my first week back training so we'll see how it goes.
“It has been a tough time. It has taken longer than I thought it would, which is even more frustrating for me.
“I am hoping now it is behind me and I can come through this week.
“With the nature of the injury and the work I've been doing some days have been great and others not. It is what it is but I am itching to get back.
“It's been six weeks but it feels longer.
“I will know more throughout the week. It all depends on how the ankle reacts and if it swells up again.”
He added: “I know I can't rush it and I have to take the steps the physio has set out for me.
“I don't want to go into training and then have to come back out again.
“I have missed quite a few games now and if I have to miss one or two more to be right then so be it.
“If it becomes painful I might need to take a step back again, but I am hoping I can get a full week's training under my belt and maybe be available for the weekend.”
McLaughlin admitted it had been tough to see Stags so threadbare - with 10 players out this week - and battle on to stay on contention.
“I have watched all the games since I have been out and they have been very good, so credit to the boys,” he said.
“The depth in our squad and the quality we have, it's all showed up in the last few weeks.
“It has been difficult watching. Mentally it's been very tough. There were a couple of weeks when I didn't see when I was going to get back. But it feels easier now that I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“You just have to lose yourself in the gym, work as hard as you can and try not to think about it too much. You can't rush it. You have to accept it.
“I have missed it. Watching the boys it's been a tough couple of weeks for them. You can see it in their legs and you just want to get back and help them out.”
He continued: “We need the numbers but I am not saying I will come back and go straight in as Jordan Bowery and Kieran Wallace have done unbelievably well in my position. So I know I will have to fight for my place.
“It's just about getting bodies back so some lads can get some rest. Their work rate has been phenomenal.
“The league is crazy and everybody has an opportunity to get into the play-offs and even the third spot could be up for grabs as well. Even teams below us will be thinking they can still get in there too still. It's exciting and I can't wait to get back and be a part of it.”
JON BRADY - 'IT'S ALWAYS A BIG GAME WHEN WE PLAY MANSFIELD'
ntfc.co.uk, Mon 13 March 2023
Jon Brady is looking forward to Tuesday night’s re-arranged fixture with Mansfield Town at Sixfields.
“It’s always a big game when we play Mansfield, they are one of the bigger clubs in the division and with the manager and the squad they have they are tipped to do well every year,” he said.
“That’s why it’s always a big game and both teams know first-hand that these games are always strong affairs.
“I have always had the highest respect for Nigel Clough for everything he has done in the game, both teams are there or thereabouts, we’ve had some good battles and I expect nothing less on Tuesday.
“It’s good to be back at home under the lights and if the crowd get right behind us it will be a great atmosphere.
“We wanted the win on Saturday and that was our aim, we started in a 4-4-2 and found ourselves a little open but we created some good chances too. It was an exciting game but when you look back at the video neither goals should have stood and it should have been 0-0.
“The inconsistency in decision making from officials has been difficult to take but we hope in some way it will even itself out. Referees are only human and we understand that there can be errors made but we do hope the standard can be improved.
“We can only control what we can control and we have to take matters into our own hands on Tuesday night.”