{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from May 2023

11th May 2023 22:12

Gaffer: We'll give it everything at Colchester
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 4 May 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says that his side will give ‘everything’ ahead of Monday’s end-of-season clash at Colchester United.

The club sit three points outside the play-off positions, needing a minimum of a victory and a three-goal swing to gate-crash the running for promotion.

Over 1,400 Mansfield supporters will be in attendance at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy this afternoon, when the gaffer was asked to issue a message to the Stags’ faithful, he said: “It’s great that we’re in with a chance.

“I’m sorry that we’re not in with a better chance because three points in one of the two home games last week would’ve made it a little bit more possible.


“We’ve still got a fighting chance and whilst that’s still the case, we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”

Mansfield’s hopes of a top seven finish were given a marginal boost last night with Crewe Alexandra dramatically defeating promotion-chasing Bradford 3-2 in stoppage time.

“Another door slightly opened last night with Crewe’s late victory. It gives us a couple of opportunities maybe, but it is still out of our hands.

“I still think when it is out of your hands and it’s a three point and three goal swing, it doesn’t happen too often in football.

“It will be unlikely, but it is possible and that’s the main thing. Going into the last game it is still possible.”

On who will miss the trip to Essex, Nigel said: “Elliott [Hewitt], obviously.

“Stephen McLaughlin [is ruled out] and then we’ll see how two or three more are.

“It’s just those two [that are] definite at the moment.

“Louis Reed played 90 minutes [against Harrogate], his first one [game] back and hasn’t trained since.

“There are one or two carrying knocks as well in the last game it doesn’t really matter. We’ll get them out there if we can.”

The U’s safety in Sky Bet League Two has been confirmed for another season but the boss says he’ll be under no illusions of how difficult the encounter will be.

“They [Colchester] were struggling down there and now Ben Garner has gone in and they’re obviously safe,” he added.

“They’ll be looking to build for next season. They’ll play with that freedom that the last two teams that we’ve played, Orient and Harrogate, have played with.

“They invested heavily in January to get away [from relegation danger].

“You go away to Colchester and there’s no easy game down there.”


Boss Nigel Clough in talks over new deal at Mansfield Town and pledges squad will give their all while faint play-off hopes remains
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thu 4 May 2023

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said his players would give everything at Colchester United on Monday (12.30pm) as their faint play-off hopes remain alive.

He also revealed he is close to signing a new contract to remain at the club with his current deal ending this summer.

Stags need to win on Monday and hope Bradford City or Salford City lose and that there is also a three-goal swing in Mansfield's favour on goal difference.

Two home defeats in a week have left Stags marooned outside the top seven, but Crewe's win over Bradford last night gave more hope of a late miracle.

“Players are a little subdued still after Saturday. Another door slightly opened last night with Crewe's late victory and gives us a couple of opportunities maybe - but it's still out of our hands,” said Clough.

“When it's a three point gap and a three goal swing needed, it doesn't happen too often in football. So it's unlikely, though it's possible. That's the main thing going into the last game.

read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/boss-nigel-clough-in-talks-over-new-deal-at-mansfield-town-and-pledges-squad-will-give-their-all-while-faint-play-off-hopes-remains-4130758?fbclid=IwAR3lckFbmAR6SkpmTSQU5UIjJPS9CguI_M7nhQst_yrAUcmZulCeE5iVNNU

“We still have a fighting chance and while we have that we will give it everything we've got.

“There are two teams we can catch but I would much rather be in their positions now than ours.”

On the opposition Clough said: “Colchester have been a bit up and down. They were struggling down there, but Ben Garner has gone in there and they're obviously safe now and starting to build for next season.

“They will play with that freedom that the last two teams we've played - Orient and Harrogate - have played with, which is nice for some teams to be able to do at this time of the season.

“They are a very good side with some good players, having invested very heavily in January to get away from the bottom. It is never an easy game at Colchester.

“But we have a good away record this season and we need to win the game just to stand any chance at all. All we can do is do our bit and rely on the others.

“Last season it was all about our home form. This season we have had some outstanding victories on the road - not just 1-0s, we've scored four a couple of times.”

Indeed, a win for Stags would set a new record for them in the Football League of 12 away wins in a season.

“The goal difference is tantalisingly close,” added Clough.

“But you look back at the last few weeks - that goal we conceded at home to Crawley, which we were not happy about when we were 4-0 up, the one we conceded when we were 4-1 up at Swindon and cruising and conceded again there - goals like that some people don't think anything of them at the time. But they are very important goals.

“Every single goal counts, for and against.”

Clough admitted that any player who could be patched up and sent out for any part of the game from his list of walking wounded would be utilised.

“Elliott Hewitt and Stephen McLaughlin are obviously definitely out and we will see how two or three more are,” he said.

“Louis Reed played 90-odd minutes, his first game back, and he hasn't trained since. There are one or two carrying knocks as well.

“But it's the last game so it doesn't matter. We will get them out there if we can.

“Anthony Hartigan is back in training after his lengthy absence with his shoulder injury and John-Joe O'Toole has just trained for the first time today but he probably won't be involved on Monday.”

On his own future, Clough said he had begun talks with the club.

“We are having a chat and hopefully things aren't far away. We are just planning as normal and putting pre-season into place,” he said.

“I think we have a very good chance for next season if we don't make it on Monday.

“I think the squad we have in place have proved themselves over the last 12 months and without the injuries we would certainly be in the top seven and maybe closer to the top three.

“If we can stay clear of injuries there is no reason why we can't take that forward next season - and I hope we get the opportunity.”


Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town boss discussing new deal with League Two club
bbc.co.uk, By Andrew Aloia, Thu 4 May 2023

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough says he is discussing a new contract with the League Two club.

The 57-year-old's existing deal expires in the summer and he says he is already working on pre-season plans.

Clough's Stags can still reach the play-offs if they beat Colchester in their final game on Monday and results elsewhere go their way.

"We are having a good chat and hopefully things aren't far away," Clough said of his contract talks.

"We just carry on and plan as normal and put pre-season in place."

read more at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/65483324

Clough is looking to lead the Stags into the play-offs for the second time in as many seasons, having taken the East Midlands club all the way to the play-off final 12 months ago where they lost to Port Vale at Wembley.

The former Sheffield United, Derby County and Burton boss has already said the Stags would need "a miracle" to again finish in the top seven, with his side three points adrift of Salford, Carlisle and Bradford - who all have a superior goal difference.

Stags count cost of injuries
Injury woes, which at times left Clough with just 12 first-team players available to him, have hampered Mansfield this season.

Clough says being in with a chance of reaching the play-offs with a game to go after such setbacks gives him high hopes for the future.

"I think we have a very good chance for next season if we don't make it on Monday," he told BBC Sport.

"I think the squad we have in place has proven themselves over the past nine months. Without the injuries we'd certainly be in the top seven and maybe closer to the top three.

"If we can stay clear of injuries there is no reason why we can't take that forward next season. I hope we get the opportunity."

One of the players that Mansfield will be without on Monday will be Elliott Hewitt - who collected a number of player of the season honours at the club's award ceremony at the weekend - after the defender was ruled our for the next 10 months with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old confirmed that he is due to undergo surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in "about five weeks".

"I just need to get swelling down in the knee and some strength into it before they operate and that will help me after the operation," he said.

"A few of the lads have done it [ACL injuries] before and are back playing fine so I just have to look to them.

"I've got good team-mates here, good staff and a good family at home so I'm sure I'll be alright."


Preview: Colchester v Stags
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 4 May 2023

The Stags are set for the Sky Bet League Two regular season finale on Monday (08 May) away at Colchester United (12.30pm kick-off). Here’s all you need to know…

Defender Elliott Hewitt will be out of action for the majority of next season after suffering an ACL injury at home to Leyton Orient last month.


Full-back Stephen McLaughlin will miss the rest of the campaign also (knee).

Midfielders Louis Reed and Ollie Clarke will be assessed ahead of the trip to Colchester.

John-Joe O'Toole trained for the first time this week since sustaining a foot injury, but Monday is likely to come too soon for the centre-back.


Heartbroken Hewitt offers thanks for support
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 4 May 2023

Stags’ defender Elliott Hewitt has expressed his gratitude to the management, staff and players at One Call Stadium - as well as his family - for their personal support following news of an ACL injury which will sideline the 28-year-old for at least nine months.

The versatile player - who scooped four Player of the Season trophies at the club’s annual awards dinner on Monday - sustained the injury last month in Stags’ 2-1 defeat at home to League Two champions Leyton Orient.

Hewitt was given the news of his serious injury last Friday, on the eve of Mansfield’s match at home to Harrogate, and told iFollow Stags: “It was obviously a big blow. I had an idea it could be that [an ACL injury] but I didn’t want to think the worst. I got told the news and it’s heart-breaking, but it is what it is, that’s football.

“Everyone’s ‘got round me’. A few of the lads rung me on Friday when they found out. They’ve been really good to me.”


Speaking about the first steps in his rehabilitation, he said: “I have to get my leg as straight as I can, get the swelling down and then it’ll be all right to operate on.

“I’m looking about five weeks to get the operation. I’ll get a holiday in before then, rest up and ‘crack on’ with the rehabilitation afterwards. There’ll be bumps in the road, I expect that. But I have good people round me and a good family.”

The ex-Notts County defender has been Stags’ standout performer this season after performing consistently to a high standard in numerous defensive positions throughout the campaign.

When asked about the highlights of the season, he said: “The last-minute equalisers at Stockport and Bradford, four-nil away at Carlisle, the win at Swindon. There have been a few good days.

“I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed playing games and I just need to concentrate now on getting fit, towards the back end of next season I hope.”

Hewitt says he’ll be watching from home on Monday when Stags travel to Colchester for the final game of the season, needing to win and relying on other results to stand any chance of a top seven finish.

“It’s a big game on Monday,” he said. “I’d love to be out there and help the lads. We’ve just got to do our bit and win the game. We just have to do what we can do and hope other results fall into place.”


Mansfield Town Player of the Year Elliott Hewitt ready for long road to recovery from serious knee injury
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thu 4 May 2023

Elliott Hewitt believes he has all the support he needs around him as he faces a lonely 10-11 months fighting to come back from a serious knee injury.

Hewitt picked up eight Player of the Year awards on crutches last weekend after tearing his ACL against Leyton Orient and said: “Everyone has got round me and been good to me.

“A few lads rang me Friday night when they found out. I am sure everyone will support me through my rehab and get me back on the pitch.

“All the trophies I won meant a lot. It was bittersweet collecting them on crutches and I would probably rather someone else had won them and not been injured.

“But it was nice to win them and I am thankful for everyone that voted for me.

“It's always nice for the fans to back you and give you recognition. But as an individual award there's no better than one from your team mates.


“Obviously my season has come to an early end and I just need to concentrate on getting back fit as quick as I can for the back end of next season.”

Now the hard graft begins for the star defender and he knows it is going to be mentally as well as physically draining.

“I was out for quite a while when I was 17 or 18 when I had two hip injuries and two operations on them. But the older you get the more you're playing so it's more frustrating now,” he said.

“I think I will be okay mentally. There will obviously be bumps in the road, but I expect that and I have good lads and staff around me here and good family at home that will help me through it.

“A few of the lads have done it before and they are back playing fine.

“I was told how bad the injury was Friday night before Saturday's game. It was obviously a big blow.

“I had an idea it could be that but I didn't want to think the worst. Then when you told the news, it's heartbreaking. But it is what it is. That's football.

“I have got to get my leg as straight as I can and get the swelling down and then it will be ready to operate on, so we're looking at about five weeks.

“If I can get some strength in it before the operation it will help me afterwards.

“I will get a holiday in before then, rest up and then I am ready to crack on with the rehab after which will be about nine months, but hopefully sooner.”

Recalling the incident, he said: “I went into the tackle, probably with my wrong foot as I went across my body with my right foot. He went to try to get his body in the way of me and the ball and just sort of fell on my knee.

“I knew it was bad. It was quite sore when I did it. But I stood up and heard people say you feel like your knee is collapsing when you've done it. Mine didn't feel like that so I tried to get back on the pitch to see if it would ease up a bit.

“I wanted to give myself a few minutes. But straight away the ball came towards me for a header and when I landed I thought it's not good and sat down again and went off.

“Maybe the new contract curse struck me as Rhys Oates signed his and got injured, George Maris signed his and got injured and I signed mine and got injured.

“I have never seen an injury list for any club anywhere like this season before. Everyone that has been injured could easily have played 40+ games this season - they're all really good players.”

Hewitt believes the strength of the squad is what has helped him perform to such a high standard.

“It has been a good season,” he said. “I have enjoyed playing games and been consistent.

“I am not skilful or exciting to watch but I just do my job and the fans have obviously appreciated that this season.

“I think the competition for places has helped me play so well. We have a great squad here when everyone is fit.

“I didn't start the season playing so when you get your chance you have to try to keep your place which thankfully I did for the rest of the season.

“I have played in different positions - it's been needed this season. But I am not the only one, other lads have done it too.”

On Monday's big game at Colchester where Stags could make the play-offs if they win and other results go their way, he added: “Obviously it's a big game on Monday for us and I would love to be out there helping the lads.

“But we have a good enough squad and hopefully we will go down there and get three points and do our bit. We have the players to do that.

“If we could pip Salford or Bradford it would be amazing.

“The most nervous I have been all season was watching the Harrogate game. It's a lot harder watching than playing.

“It has been tough but we still have a small chance on Monday. The lads are positive.”



Latest | May 2023