CLOUGH ON RUN-IN
Mansfield Town: Nigel Clough wary of 'surprise' results during promotion run-in
bbc.co.uk, 12 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town must avoid any "surprise" results if they are to maintain their promotion push in League Two, says boss Nigel Clough.
The eighth-placed Stags are unbeaten in six games and are one point outside the play-off places with six games to go.
They face back-to-back trips to 14th-placed Grimsby and Newport County, in 18th, in their next two matches.
"We should have more points, a couple more would've put us in that top seven, but we still have time," Clough said.
"It is what it is. I think at this stage of the season, you'll see some surprising results - teams getting results out of nowhere - so we've got to be careful of that in the last six games."
Mansfield have defied a potentially ruinous run of injuries, called "freakish" by Clough, to stay in the promotion race for the second season running.
After losing in the play-off final to Port Vale last term, Clough has steered the Stags back into the shake-up for a top-seven finish thanks to a run of only two defeats in their last 15 games.
"On the last game of last season, we went into the game against Forest Green knowing we could've got automatic [promotion], we could've got in the play-offs, or we could've missed out altogether," Clough told BBC East Midlands Today.
"It may well be the same scenario in a few weeks time - it's that tight."
The Stags do have a game in hand on Salford, who occupy the final play-off spot, and, after their next two away trips, face Stevenage - in fifth - and runaway leaders Leyton Orient at home before finishing the season against relegation-threatened clubs Harrogate and Colchester.
"I think the two crucial ones as well are the ones against Stevenage and Orient here - two of the best teams in the league, so we can't afford to lose those.
"I hope it's not that tight when we go to Colchester - I hope we're in it - and just to be in it at this stage of the season is good. But we know where we should be."
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