CLOUGH & PYM ON STEVENAGE & LEYTON ORIENT
Nigel Clough updates on injuries, Mon 24 Apr 2023:
James Gale was a little bit groggy over the weekend and doubtful for the game tomorrow. He did get a whack on the side of his head. We won't take any chances if there's any problem.
Jordan Bowery will do a little bit this morning and we'll see how he is.
Stephen McLaughlin is on crutches. He got a nasty whack on his knee at Newport. I don't think we'll be seeing him again this season (including the play-offs if we got there).
Ollie Clarke is coming along. Again it was an impact injury on his knee. He's outside today doing a bit of work on his own so he's not too far away.
Anthony Hartigan has got to pass all the tests on the strength of his shoulder, he's been working relentessly on the grass, no contact stuff obviously, and he's not too far away. He's due to join in training on Friday, maybe, we'll see.
Will Swan has just come back from Forest and they want us to be cautious with him which we will be.
George Maris did 10 minutes on Saturday, that was probably his maximum.
Louis Reed hasn't actually joined in training yet, so we've got to be careful with him as well.
Boss hails Stags’ ‘outstanding effort’ ahead of champions test
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 24 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has hailed his side’s ‘outstanding effort’ in recent matches as Stags prepare for an eagerly-anticipated battle with Sky Bet League Two champions Leyton Orient tomorrow night.
The O’s visit One Call Stadium after wrapping up the league title on Saturday with a 2-0 win at home to Crewe.
Nigel Clough’s Stags are in electric form also, extending an unbeaten run to nine matches at the weekend by beating fellow promotion-hopefuls Stevenage 1-0 at One Call Stadium.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy this afternoon, the boss said: “[Saturday was an] Outstanding effort by the players.
“It wasn’t the silkiest game of football but against Stevenage you have to stand up and be counted and deal with the aerial balls; I thought we did that brilliantly on Saturday.
“I think [away] at Newport in the last fifteen to twenty minutes got us into that mode as well. [It was] similar in what we had to deal with there.
“Teams put a lot of balls in your box when they’re chasing the game, so we knew what was coming but I thought the two centre-halves especially (James Perch and Alfie Kilgour) [were excellent] - the whole back five [were] - but the two centre-halves were outstanding.”
The gaffer has called for an equally impressive performance against Leyton Orient tomorrow evening.
“We need the same again,” he said.
“There are only three games to go, that’s the incentive for them.
“[There are] Only three matches [left] where we need the same effort and the same sort of qualities that we’ve shown in the last couple of games to get something because we’re playing against the league champions.
“They are the best team in the league by far. They’ve won it [the league] with two or three games to go - deservedly so.
“When we played them early season we played really well down there [and] missed a penalty after a minute. It could’ve gone differently, there’s results like that in your season that can really help your confidence and consistency.”
The boss went on to provide an injury update.
“He [James Gale] was a little bit groggy over the weekend,” said the gaffer.
“He’s probably doubtful for the game against Orient, he did get a whack on the side of his head.
“With these situations we won’t take any chances at all.
“He [Jordan Bowery] came off at Newport with a tight hamstring and it was just too sore for him to go on the bench, but he’ll do a little bit this morning (Monday) and we’ll see how he is.
“He’s [Stephen McLaughlin] had scans and stuff, he got quite a nasty whack on his knee, this time, when he came on against Newport last week. I don’t think we’ll be seeing him again this season.
“He’s [Ollie Clarke] coming on [well], it was an impact injury on his knee but he’s coming on and is outside today doing a little bit of work on his own. He’s not too far away.
“Anthony Hartigan has just got to pass all the tests now on the strength of his shoulder. He’s been working relentlessly on the grass, no contact stuff obviously, but he’s not too far away.
“Will Swan has just come back from Forest, and they want us, rightly so, to be cautious with him which we will be.
“George Maris did ten minutes, something like that, [on Saturday] that was probably his maximum.
“Louis Reed hasn’t actually joined in training yet, so we’ve got to be careful with him as well.”
With three regular season fixtures remaining, Nigel hopes the Stags will remain in contention for a top seven finish before the final game of the campaign at Colchester United on Monday 08 May.
“I hope we’re still in with a chance come the last game.
“[We have] Two big home games this week then an eight or nine-day break [before Colchester].
“We’ve got a nice little unbeaten run going and it would be nice to stay unbeaten until the end of the season and if we do that [then] we’re pretty much going to be in with a shout.”
Ultimate test for promotion-chasing Mansfield Town as champions Leyton Orient come to town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 24 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough knows how huge a task his injury-hit side face tomorrow night when newly-crowned League Two champions Leyton Orient visit the One Call Stadium.
With three games left and Stags only outside the play-offs on goal difference - and only four points off the top three automatic places - it's all to play for.
“It is important to win as it's our game in hand tomorrow, albeit it's against the champions,” said Clough.
“We knew it would be that way when the game was postponed due to the snow a few weeks back.”
Orient clinched the title on Saturday, but despite whatever celebrations they enjoyed, Clough does not expect any drop-off in performance from the visitors.
“With three games left I think you want to complete and finish the season as you have played the previous 43 games. I expect nothing below that from them on Tuesday night,” he said.
“I hope they had a good night on Saturday and enjoyed it - they are entitled to, but the professionalism kicks in once you have another game of football.
“Even if he makes two or three changes we still expect them to play like champions.
“They are by far the best team in the league - they have won it with two or three games to go, and deservedly so.
“They have been consistent home and away. They had one little dip of a few games but were already well ahead by then, similar to Forest Green last season.
“When we played them early season we played really well down there and missed a penalty after a minute, so it could have gone differently.
“We are not too far off the top three again ourselves, but with the players Orient have and the experience they have with Darren Pratley in there and Paul Smyth lively up front, they have deservedly won the league. They have good players.”
He added: “It is very similar to last season and I think it will go to the last game as it's so tight up there. We have won our last two games and managed to drop a place. That is how tight it is.
“We were only three points off automatic promotion last season and we are not too far away at the moment.
“But there have been so many points we could and should have picked up.
“The ones that spring to mind for me are Hartlepool at home, when we were 2-0 up, Barrow at home when we were 2-0 up, and Rochdale when we were ahead and drew 1-1. That's seven points dropped. Those sort of games have made the difference.
“But we are embracing the pressure as we'd sooner be up there with something to fight for at the right end of the table. You have to thrive on it and hopefully get over the line.
“You can see the players' efforts. To be nine games unbeaten at this stage of the season with eight or nine injuries, one thing no one can accuse them of is not embracing it or really having a go. That's all we ask and I think the supporters do too.
“I think everyone is sensing it's going to go to the last game. In some ways I hope we are still in with a chance by the last game. After Saturday there would be a nine day break so it would be a nerve-racking week if we do go down to the last match.
“We have a nice little unbeaten run going and it would be nice to stay unbeaten until the end of the season. If we do that we are pretty much going to be in with a shout.”
Stags are now nine games unbeaten after Saturday's gritty 1-0 home win over Stevenage.
“It was an outstanding effort by the players,” said Clough.
“It wasn't the silkiest game of football, but against Stevenage you have to to stand up and be counted and deal with the aerial balls. I thought we did that brilliantly on Saturday, especially late on.
“We knew what was coming and I thought the whole back four - and the two centre halves especially - were outstanding.
“The players are tired but we need the same again tomorrow as we only have three games to go. That's the incentive for the players.
“We only have three matches where we need the same effort and same sort of qualities we've shown in the last couple of games to get something. And tomorrow we're playing against the champions.”
On the injury front, Clough said James Gale was ruled out with concussion and Stephen McLaughlin is now ruled out for the season.
“James Gale was a little bit groggy over the weekend after that whack on the side of his head, and with these situations we don't take any chances at all,” said Clough.
“Stephen McLaughlin is in a knee brace and on crutches and has had scans. He got quite a nasty whack on his knee, which I think opened up his medial ligament when he came on against Newport last week and I don't think we'll be seeing him again this season.
“We are probably looking towards pre-season and maybe beyond for him.
“It's a major disappointment for him and for us as he was one of those players we were hoping to have for the last few games of the season and beyond if necessary.
“Jordan Bowery came off at Newport with a tight hamstring and it was too sore for him to be on the bench on Saturday. We will see how he is for tomorrow.
“Ollie Clarke is doing a bit of work outside on his own, so he's not too far away.
“Anthony Hartigan has just got to pass all the tests on the strength of his shoulder. He has been working relentlessly on the grass but with no contact - just one to one stuff. But he's not far away.
“We hope they will figure before the end of the season.
“Anthony is due maybe to join in Friday training and Ollie is back on the grass and is the sort of character that, even if he is carrying a knock, will do everything he can to be out there.”
He continued: “Will Swan has literally just returned from Forest who have very kindly allowed us to have him back for the bench but said, rightly so, to be cautious with him, which we will be.
“George Maris did 10 minutes on Saturday, which is probably his maximum and Louis Reed has not yet joined in training, so we have to be careful with him as well.
“We didn't want to use Rhys Oates for more than about 15-20 minutes on Saturday but when James Gale came off with the head injury we had to take a chance.
“We said to him 'give us until half-time', but because of the sort of lad he is he kept going until late on in the game and played a key role in the victory.
“If there were 15-20 games to go we wouldn't even be asking these players to go out there. But with so few games left it's worth a gamble.”
Stephen McLaughlin: Mansfield Town defender out for rest of season with knee injury
bbc.co.uk, Mon 24 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin will miss the rest of the season and part of pre-season because of a knee ligament injury, manager Nigel Clough has said.
The 32-year-old came on as a substitute in the League Two win over Newport on 18 April, but had to be replaced.
"He got a nasty whack and we're looking towards pre-season and maybe beyond," Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham.
"It's a major disappointment for him and for us."
Pym salutes Stags' fans
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 24 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town goalkeeper Christy Pym has thanked fans for their ‘excellent’ support towards him and the players so far this season.
The 28-year-old joined the club on loan from Peterborough United in the last summer and has made 42 appearances for Nigel Clough’s side so far this term.
Speaking on his spell at the Stags, Christy said at a news conference this afternoon: “I’ve enjoyed playing [here].
“I’ve enjoyed being with the lads and the staff and the fans have been excellent as well with me, which is good.
“It’ll be a disappointing season if we don’t get over the line.”
Stags’ first-choice ‘keeper, who turned 28-years-old today, was in buoyant mood when asked about our pivotal 1-0 victory over Stevenage on Saturday: “[It’s been a] very good [weekend].
“[We got the] three points [which] was the main thing and a clean sheet.
“I think Steve Evans’ teams are known for being that sort of way [that they played]. You know what’s going to come and I think this time in the season it’s all about results.
“It’s not about pretty football, it's about winning games and putting your body on the line and the lads did that really well on Saturday.
“The centre-halves and all the lads in front of me dealt with it [the pressure] really well.”
The Stags made two January defensive acquisitions, right-back Callum Johnson and centre-back Alfie Kilgour.
And speaking about the newest faces to his defensive line, he said: “I haven’t had a lot of time with Cal but he’s been brilliant. He’s a great lad as well. He’s been a nice addition.
“Alfie [Kilgour] is a proper defender who wants to get his body in the way. He just wants to defend and keep clean sheets so that’s nice.”
Mansfield Town may try to sign on loan Peterborough United keeper Christy Pym this summer
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 24 Apr 2023
Mansfield Town could make a move to sign keeper Christy Pym on a full-time basis in the summer if he becomes available.
But the 28-year-old Peterborough United loanee has performed well for Stags and could also attract the attention of clubs in higher divisions.
“I am not sure what my situation is but I don't think Darren Ferguson is going to want me back at Peterborough, so I think I will be looking for a new club for sure,” he said.
“Once the season finishes and it all dies down then I am sure we'll know a bit more then.
“But I have loved it here at Mansfield, so that could be a very good option. I get on well with everyone and it's a good club. It's a nice place to come to work.
“I have enjoyed playing and being here with the lads and the staff. The fans have been excellent with me as well, so that's been good.
“But it will end up a disappointing season if we don't get over the line.”
With Stags still in the promotion chase with only three games to go, Pym is excited to try to complete the job.
“It is the best time of year and you want to be up this side of the table fighting rather than the other side. You just have to enjoy it. The big games are the ones you want to play in,” he said.
“We have a lot of experience here - people who have been there and done it. I am 28 now and been around as well so we know how to handle these situations. These final games are cup finals.
“I have been quite lucky to have probably only six months last year fighting at the bottom end.
“Most seasons of my career I have been fighting for promotions and play-offs.
“I think I have only had one season where I have not been playing for anything with a few weeks left and it's not a nice feeling as you want to be playing to win something and get promoted.
“It's been a very good run with the injuries we've got. We are in the habit of playing games and winning games which is a good habit to have.
On Saturday in only had one real save to make to deny Jamie Reid as Stags edged out Stevenage and survived some intense late pressure.
“It's all about winning games now, not pretty football. We knew it was going to be a tough game on Saturday.
“I played with Reidy in the youth team back in our Exeter days, so it was nice to keep him out, otherwise the two headers I faced were pretty standard saves.
“But the defence have been putting their bodies on the line in front of me most game and kept things down to a minimum for me, which is nice as a goalkeeper.”
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