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Archived News from August 2023

18th August 2023 23:28

Boss: We should’ve taken all three points despite injuries
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 15 Aug 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says last night's point at Doncaster is a ‘good result’ but feels Stags ‘should’ve had the three points’ despite injuries to four players.

Alfie Kilgour, Callum Johnson, Aaron Lewis and Hiram Boateng were all forced to be replaced in Mansfield’s 2-2 draw at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Despite the injuries, Stags came from behind twice to salvage a result thanks to goals from midfield duo Louis Reed and George Maris.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, the boss said: “I think a point is a good result but when you see the game and the way it went tonight, we still should’ve had the three points, despite all those things going against us.”

“[I’m] Very pleased [with the performance].


“I thought in the first twenty minutes we weren’t quite as fluent as we have been in the first three games.

“Once we settled down, despite losing the two players [in the first-half in Alfie Kilgour and Callum Johnson], I thought we played very well.

“[In the] Second-half it was one-way traffic.”

The gaffer provided the latest on the four injuries sustained this.

“Alfie is the most significant and serious. He’s snapped his Achilles so I’m not sure what they are lengthwise but it’s a considerable amount of time he’ll be out.

“Callum Johnson [has a] hamstring strain.

“Aaron Lewis [has a] calf strain.

“Hiram Boateng [has a] groin strain.

“We’re absolutely devastated for Alfie.

“We’ve got Calum Macdonald back from suspension on Saturday so that will help.

“George Williams isn’t far away but I’m not sure any of the four that came off, certainly Alfie won’t be, will be making it for Saturday.”

The manager was impressed with Rhys Oates’ performance this evening.

“He [Oates] was a threat,” said Nigel.

“He frustrates us at times when the ball bounces away from him but he is a threat and it was lovely to get Will Swan back on the pitch as well because we’re going to need him.”

Despite not taking all three points the gaffer has been encouraged by Stags’ early season displays.

“We kept going forward, that’s how we’re going to play for the next eight-and-half months we hope,” he said.

“We’ve scored nine goals in our first four games; we could’ve had nineteen.

“We just want a little bit of a break and better finishing at times.”


Alfie Kilgour set for lengthy lay-off as Mansfield Town overcome injuries rush to earn point in game they should have won at Doncaster Rovers
chad.co.uk, Tues 15 Aug 2023

Mansfield Town captain Alfie Kilgour looks unlikely to play again for 'some considerable time' as Stags were rocked by four injuries in tonight's well deserved 2-2 draw at Doncaster Rovers.

Stags twice had to fight back from behind in a game they dominated and suffered a recurrence of last season's injury hoodoo with two of the back four lost within the first 22 minutes.

Kilgour, Callum Johnson, Aaron Lewis and Hiram Boateng were all injured.

Kilgour left the field in pain on a stretcher and boss Nigel Clough said: “The news is not good at all. We think he has snapped his Achilles tendon so that will be a considerable amount of time out.


“Callum Johnson has a hamstring strain, Aaron Lewis a calf strain and Hiram Boateng a groin strain - so we have one of each!

“We started afresh this season, though we had a couple of long term ones out in Elliott Hewitt and Stephen McLaughlin. But tonight to lose four tonight - and Alfie for a considerable amount of time is a big, big blow.

“Without Aiden Flint we would really be struggling and we only got him in 10 days or so ago. It shows how important he is going to be for us.

“We thought things hadn't been bad the first few games then all of a sudden it was deja vu tonight - here we go again.

“We had lost two players after 20-odd minutes, then gone 1-0 down to a screamer, though we should have been ahead as Alfie should have scored with a very good chance and he hit the post. That would have been a different game.”

Despite their dominance and twice coming from behind away from home, Clough said his side were disappointed not to win.

“I thought we scored two excellent goals, both from good build-ups,” he said.

“And we twice came back from behind for a point away from home in a game we should have won.

“But there is still an air of disappointment in there.

“We just can't seem to finish our chances - and we had plenty - and we seem to be getting punished a bit harshly at the moment. They had three shots and scored from two of them, one a goal of the season contender.

“For their second Jordan Bowery and Baily Cargill were messing about with the ball and should have cleared their lines and the ball should have been cleared up the pitch.

“I also thought Christy should have done better with the save. He should have held it or pushed it aside.

“First 20 minutes I thought we went too long too early. But once we settled down we played very well. The second half was an onslaught at times.

“We had to move Lucas Akins to right back at half-time. We didn't want to but we have three right backs and they are all injured now.

“George Williams won't be long thankfully. Aaron Lewis fills in there no problem but we lost him at half-time. Lucas played more like a right winger than a full back second half and put some very good balls in.”

Clough continued: “I think we're seeing a few teams wary of us because of the way we play both home and away.

“It was like a home performance at times in the second half kicking towards our supporters. We couldn't do any more attacking than that.

“I was delighted with the intent and we could do with a break in the six yard box.

“The four games we've had so far, if they're all like that this season, we will be done about January.

“Entertainment wise they have all been cracking game and we have scored nine goals in four games - it could have been 19.

“You can see the way we're trying to play and we are going to keep on doing that.”


Nigel Clough on the second goal:

“We don’t clear our lines between Jordan (Bowery) and Baily (Cargill) near the corner flag from our throw-in, they are trying to play out, wrong decision, wrong time. It should have been cleared up the pitch to Rhys Oates and Will Swan to challenge for it. I thought Christy should have done better with the save, he should have either held it or pushed it to the side.”

Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags on Anthony Hartigan (after the Stags had four players injured at Grimsby, 15 Aug 2023):

"Good timing!" (sarcastic)
"Anthony wanted to go and play games. He's been ever so unlucky with his injuries.
"When he came in he played so well for us last season at times, then he got the two shoulder injuries that set him back,
"And with us, prior to tonight, having such a strong midfield available, he wanted an opportunity to go and play."


Stags’ display merited maximum points - Midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 15 Aug 2023

Goalscoring hero George Maris says Stags were the better side in an all-action contest at Doncaster last night as Mansfield twice roared back to earn a point.

The midfielder climbed off the bench in the second-half shortly before the hour mark and found the bottom left hand corner to earn Mansfield a point.

Stags at least deserved a draw on a night where they suffered four injuries to players.


And speaking after the game to iFollow Stags, Maris summed up the encounter, saying: “It was end to end. Both teams contributed to a good game. I thought we were the better team who had the better chances and were unfortunate not to come away with the three points tonight.

“There were a few scrambles in the box and they just wouldn’t fall our way. On another day we score three, four or five, but the amount of chances we’re creating will only stand us in good stead.

“All the lads just said, ‘keep on going and we’ll get something’. Luckily, I’ve put one in the back of the net but many of the lads could have done the same. “

Maris’ reflected on his equalising goal, saying: “[It was] On the left foot, I just hit it. I didn’t see it because there was a guy in front of me, but I just tried to get a good contact with my left foot and luckily saw it roll into the bottom left hand corner.”

And the ex Cambridge man praised the character of the squad to twice come from behind to salvage a valuable point.

“The squad’s good,” he said. “You look at the bench and the players not in the squad, it’s so good. We have competition for places everywhere and I know we’ve lost four bodies tonight but the lads who came on I don’ think made us weaker. I hope the injuries aren’t too bad because we don’t want to lose the key players but we have enough in the tank to win games.”

The goal and point caps off a special week for the midfielder, whose partner gave birth to their first child, a girl, at the weekend. “It's been tiring,” Maris added. I’ve not had much sleep. But I’m happy to get out the house and get a goal. We went into hospital on Saturday and came out on Monday afternoon so like I say I’ve not had much sleep, but she’s here and healthy and I can now enjoy my football.”


Grant McCann told the Doncaster youtube channel:
"We have seven or eight of them injured at the moment.
"You can see tonight Mansfield had some lads go down injured, I think all managers are expecting this this season, with the amount of minutes etc. And how quickly the games come, particularly the early part of the season.
"It was always the worry from my point of view that the amount of games and the amount of minutes that's being played in these games, that this could happen."


Doncaster Rovers launch investigation into ongoing injury issues amid more casualties
doncasterfreepress.co.uk, By Steve Jones

Doncaster Rovers have launched an investigation into their ongoing injury issues.

Boss Grant McCann had eight players unavailable to him for Tuesday's 2-2 draw against Mansfield Town.

Rovers also lost Tom Anderson to injury in the first half after he collided with teammate Owen Bailey.

Injuries have plagued Doncaster in recent seasons and contributed to their relegation from League One in 2021/22.

They struck again last term and coincided with the team's slide down the table in the final part of the campaign, ultimately leading to an 18th-placed finish in League Two.

Both Caolan Lavery and Jon Taylor have suffered a recurrence of injuries that required surgery, with McCann confirming the circumstances behind those are being investigated.

He told The Free Press: "It’s something the physios and the club are looking into because we seem to have things cropping up from operations previously."

McCann made it one of his missions to build more 'robustness' in his players upon his return to the club after an injury-interrupted few seasons for several of them.

Asked whether the injury situation could be bad luck, or symptomatic of a bigger problem, McCann said: "I know the football club is doing a lot of internal investigation into that.”

With no senior options available in reserve, McCann named 16-year-old first-year scholar Sam Straughan-Brown, a central midfielder, on the bench against the Stags.

Rovers have paid the price for a hectic opening fortnight, which has seen them play four games in 11 days with a combined total of 59 minutes' worth of stoppage time due to EFL rule changes.

Tuesday's opponents Mansfield also picked up four injuries during the match.

McCann said: "I think all managers are expecting it this season with the amount of minutes and how quickly the games come, particularly in the early part of the season.

"If you win the (Carabao) Cup game, you have got one spare week next week then you are back into the Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday again.

"It was always the worry from my point of view, with the amount of games and minutes that's being played in these games, this could happen."

Doncaster's progress in the Carabao Cup means they will play at least 52 games this season.

McCann has warned the cumulative extra time totals will increase that number even further.



Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann demands more from his players after Mansfield Town point
doncasterfreepress.co.uk, By Steve Jones, 15th Aug 2023

Rovers drew 2-2 against Nigel Clough’s side at the Eco-Power Stadium to put Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Newport County behind them, but were pegged back twice.

The hosts took the lead through Tom Nixon and Joe Ironside’s first goals for Doncaster in either half, but Louis Reed and George Maris responded for Mansfield respectively.

Many inside the stadium thought it was a point gained for Rovers after the visitors finished the match in the ascendancy, but McCann was not in agreement - and revealed his conversation with the players at full time.


He said: "I heard a couple of 'well done's' and I said 'I don't know why you are saying well done, we have drawn 2-2 at home'.

"I know we were playing against a very good Mansfield team but we need to get into the mindset that we need to be winning at home.

"That is something we need to be building on. I am sure it will come in time.

"I think the group will just get stronger and better week by week.

"There will be downs, there will be defeats, don't get me wrong. But we will continue to improve as they understand how we want to work and how we want to play."

A first league win of the season of the season may have proved elusive but Doncaster did score their first goals of the campaign and pick up their first point.

On the reaction of his players, McCann, who made six changes to his starting XI from the weekend, said: “I thought we got the fight, the determination, that part of it right.

"You need that in any league, it doesn’t matter if it’s a League Two or a Premier League game.

"You need that energy, you need that fight. You need that willingness to defend. We didn’t see that at Newport.

"I apologised to the players for changing the shape after 21 minutes, because it was something we hadn’t worked on.

"But I think if I had left it like that we could have been five or six down in the first half.

"It was a really disappointing day but it’s gone and we have shown a reaction tonight.”


McCann convinced over Rovers' improvement

Grant McCann does not doubt that Rovers will continue to improve after seeing positive signs in the draw with Mansfield Town.

Having been disappointed with the performances in the first two league outings of the season, McCann was pleased with the grit and determination demonstrated by Rovers in the 2-2 draw, while insisting that much better is to come from his side.

“There were some positives for us in that I liked the workrate and energy of the team,” the Rovers boss said. “There’s obviously loads for us to work on in terms of what we do in possession.

“But that will come and I’ve no doubt this group will get stronger and stronger.”


McCann was delighted for the two goalscorers on the night against the Stags, with Tom Nixon marking his EFL debut with a stunning volley while striker Joe Ironside also got off the mark for the club.

But he expressed frustration at the goals conceded which twice allowed Mansfield to draw level in the game.

“It was a really good goal from Tom Nixon on his debut,” McCann said. “The kid is some player and he’s going to be top.

“He tired a little bit towards the end with his lack of football given to his suspension in the first game and not being able to play against Hull.

“It was a fantastic strike, just to catch it so sweetly like that on the volley.

“It was great to see Joe get off the mark. I thought he was excellent. It’s never easy playing against dominant centre backs but I thought he held his own and gave them a tough ride and got his goal.

“The goals we’ve conceded, it’s just disappointing for us again. Another mistake that has led to a counterattack and a ball to the back post and then a carbon copy of Newport’s fourth goal on Saturday. It was a great strike from the boy but it’s something we’ve got to look at because it’s the same goal being scored in the last two games.”


Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann on whether League Two club will re-enter transfer market plus updates on Tom Anderson, George Miller, Harrison Biggins, Ben Close and Kyle Hurst

DONCASTER ROVERS manager Grant McCann says he has no plans to dip back into the transfer market despite the League Two club's injury count reaching worrying early-season levels.

Rovers are sweating over the fitness of defender Tom Anderson, who came off with a facial injury in his first league start of the campaign in Tuesday's 2-2 home draw with Mansfield Town, which saw the South Yorkshire outfit pick up their first point of the season.

Meanwhile, last season's top-scorer George Miller is to go under the knife to correct an ongoing knee problem, while midfielder Harrison Biggins is likely out until mid-September with a quad injury.

With the likes of Caolan Lavery and Liam Ravenhill also on the sidelines, Rovers' squad options are being tested, although better news could see Ben Close and Kyle Hurst return later this month.

McCann, whose side welcome Notts County on Saturday, said: "I am quite relaxed and we are happy with the squad.


"I cannot keep going (and) asking for more money every time somebody gets injured. We have a big squad and unfortunately, we have seven or eight of them injured at the moment.

"But they will be back and it's a long season. We have what we have at the minute and we are pleased with the group. There's going to be opportunities for others.

"If there's the worst case scenario for Tom, you will see the likes of Longy (Adam Long) and Bobby Faulkner coming back into the group and you have seen young Sam Brown on the bench (against Mansfield); a 16-year-old who we think really highly of. I have no problems in putting him in.

"So there's going to be opportunities for others and younger players with the people we have unavailable at the minute."

On the issues regarding Anderson and Miller, he continued: "It looks like he (Anderson) has broken his nose. I am hoping that is all it is and we are not going to miss him regarding concussion or something like that.

"I think he's gone to the hospital with maybe something fractured on his cheekbone or a broken nose. We are hoping the best case scenario is a broken nose.

"George is going to have an operation, so he will be out for six to eight weeks.

"He has been carrying an ongoing knee problem for a bit and it's something he had from last season and not improved. He's had it from day one (when) we have reported to the football club.

"It is what it is and unfortunate for us - hence why you have seen Modou Faal come in.

"Ben Close is not too far away.

"Kyle Hurst has got a follow-up appointment with the specialist (on Wednesday) and we are hoping for good news from that.

"Harrison Biggins has had a scan on his quad and it looks like he'll miss three to four weeks. I am hoping that Ben and Kyle will be the next to retur, hopefully in the next week to ten days."



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