CLOUGH ON INJURIES, + BOWERY INTERVIEW
Stags' boss previews 'big week'
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 22 Aug 2023
Manager Nigel Clough says he’s looking forward to a ‘big week’ as Stags prepare for three games in eight days, starting with Saturday’s visit of Stockport County to One Call Stadium.
The amber and blue will then travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night to face the Championship side in the second round of the Carabao Cup, before returning to One Call Stadium four days later to host promotion hopefuls Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two.
Stags are unbeaten so far this season, having earned two wins and three draws in league and cup.
Previewing the week ahead at a news conference this morning, the manager told iFollow Stags: “We’re playing well and have three great games to look forward to.
“I wish we had a couple more bodies. When you lose the likes of Hiram Boateng and Aaron Lewis, they give you great options in midfield and it starts to bite, but the three games are great for us.
“Two wins, two clean sheets [at home], let’s see if we can continue it, [the good form, including] the cup game in between at Sheffield Wednesday. Even this early in the season it can be a big week for us.”
The manager’s men have recorded the most shots at goal so far this season out of any team in the division, over 100, and Nigel said: “We’ve played with an attacking intent from the first whistle to the last.
“Saturday [in the 1-1 draw at Grimsby] we weren’t probably as fluent as we were in the previous four games but still ended up with over twenty shots on goal and sixty percent possession away from home.
“Generally speaking, the stats suggest that the performances have been good as well as being backed up by watching them.
“We know how good we are and without doing too much differently we could have won all five games easily.”
Defender Baily Cargill (hamstring) and midfielder Stephen Quinn (knee) have ‘an outside chance’ of returning to the squad for Saturday’s encounter against Stockport.
On other updates, Nigel said: “James Gale, if all goes well, could be a couple of weeks, something like that, and John-Joe O’Toole has been out since this freak injury in a warm-up in pre-season. He’ll be a little bit longer but it’s just good to see them out again running.”
Stags are looking to sign a defensive loan following the news that defender Alfie Kilgour will be out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
“We’re negotiating with a club,” said Nigel. “Things aren’t quite right from our point of view so we’ll revisit it this week and see if we can tweak it. We’ll keep working on it.”
Last season’s League Two play-off finalists Stockport County head to Mansfield on Saturday after a first win of the season last weekend against Barrow.
“When you lose in the play-off final, as we know, there can be a little bit of a hangover,” said Nigel, when asked about Stockport’s start to the season.
“It was an important victory for them on Saturday but without a doubt when you come back from only four weeks there’s a lot of hurdle to overcome in terms of mentally being tired and the disappointment of losing in a play-off final.”
He added: “They still have a very good team and have improved on last season, bringing Nick Powell in. They have a couple of injuries but are still a strong outfit.”
Mansfield Town chase loan defender as early injury list hits double figures
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tues 22 Aug 2023
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is working hard to get in a loan defender as his early injury list reached double figures last weekend.
Baily Cargill and Stephen Quinn both limped off in the 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town and join Aaron Lewis, Hiram Boateng, Callum Johnson, James Gale and John-Joe O'Toole in the treatment room on top of long term injured trio Alfie Kilgour, Elliott Hewitt and Stephen McLaughlin.
Stags have three big games ahead this week with League Two visits by Stockport County and Bradford City sandwiching a Carabao Cup second round tie at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday with the transfer window closing next Friday just before the Bradford game.
“We are looking at youth rather than experience and the lad is at a Championship club,” said Clough of his target.
“We are negotiating with a club but things aren't quite right from our point of view.
“We will revisit it this week and see if we can tweak it a little bit so it's a bit fairer.
“It is difficult with loans and recalls in January and so on. But we will keep working on it.
“It's too early to tell if we can get him in by Saturday, but the plan is to get one in. We are getting low on numbers.
“If Baily and Stephen Quinn don't make it for Saturday then we're into double figures. It is very difficult to deal with those sorts of numbers as we found last season.
“The good thing is we are playing well and we have three great games to look forward to next week.
“I wish we had a couple more bodies. It starts to bite. We have 10 outfield players training today. We have to do work but try to minimise the contact.”
Clough is hoping Cargill and Quinn can face Stockport.
“Both of them have an outside chance. Baily came off at half-time as he'd felt his hamstring and Stephen Quinn his knee. We will see how they go this week,” he said.
“James Gale, if all goes well, may be a couple of weeks.
“John-Joe has been out since that freak injury pre-season in the warm-up. I think he will be a bit longer but it's just good to see them out there running.
He added: “Aaron Lewis, Hiram Boateng and Callum Johnson will all be out for four to six weeks with varying muscle injuries.
“It is very difficult to establish a pattern. You always look for things if you get a few calves or Achilles or hamstrings. You can then look for something in training.
“But with them all being so varied it's very difficult to do that. Some are contact and some aren't. There is no rhyme or reason with them.”
Ollie Clarke was the only player named in the reserve side for the Central League opener at Derby County on Tuesday.
“Ollie needs some minutes having missed the majority of pre-season after picking up a calf after about a week or so. He has come on a couple of times but looks a bit rusty. But we have to be careful as we don't have many bodies for Saturday.
Clough is also hoping George Williams will soon be fully fit and available.
“George played the first half at Matlock and felt his thigh. He has only trained very briefly on Friday morning before the Grimsby game. He is down to train this week and we will see how he goes,” he said.
"Stephen McLaughlin is going to get tested this week, if all goes well, then he'll start outside and it will be probably 6-8 weeks from there.
Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham, on the Sheffield Wednesday cup game:
"I wish we had a couple more bodies to freshen things up from Saturday to Saturday, but it might well be the same lads playing all week."
"It's the not the most important game of the season for us, in terms of the two league games either side, but it's one where you can go and enjoy it."
Manager’s trust provides defensive confidence boost - Bowery
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 22 Aug 2023
Mansfield Town’s Jordan Bowery says that the ‘trust’ given to him by manager Nigel Clough to play in each position across the backline has filled him with confidence in matches so far in 2023/24.
Stags’ number nine, who is a forward by trade, played the first-half at Grimsby on Saturday at right-back before moving to centre-back after the break - winning Man of the Match for his display.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference yesterday, Jordan said: “I never know where I’m going to play so that’s a challenge in itself but I’m always up for it.
“It’s happened ever since the gaffer has been here and he’s done it [move a forward player into defence] with Lucas [Akins] when he was at Burton, so he’s used to doing that.
“I’m guessing that he trusts me in those positions to put me there - it’s a good confidence boost.
“I’m happy to play anywhere and I’ll give everything.
“I do enjoy it.”
The 32-year-old had previously played at full-back in games he had featured in so far this campaign but was moved infield following an injury to Baily Cargill at Blundell Park.
“I didn’t mind it, to be fair. I’ve played there a few times in previous years.
“I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do; I get put there because we’re down to the bare bones at the minute.
“[With] Baily [Cargill] coming off I had to go centre-back. I don’t mind it but it’s a challenge at times.”
The former MK Dons man was provider for Rhys Oates’ equaliser on Saturday with a fine lofted through ball.
“We had a bit of a telling off at half-time, then we changed a few things because we had to through injuries,” he said.
“Rhys [Oates] came on and he changed the game. You know what you’re going to get with Rhys, he’s electric, exciting to watch and if you put the ball in behind, he’ll chase anything, so it was a big difference having him on.
“Luckily [the assist] stayed just outside the box because it [the pitch] was dry so it just held up a bit so he could nick it in front of the ‘keeper.
“There was two up there and I knew one of them was going to be running and I had seen Rhys just peeling off so I thought ‘I’ll put it in there’.”
Summer signing Aden Flint has shone so far this campaign. Bowery went on to praise the 34-year-old’s impact since joining the club.
“When you’ve got Flinty next to you, I haven’t got to challenge for anything,” said Jordan.
“He’ll win every ball; he’s been fantastic since he’s been here so having him next to me has been good.
“Obviously, I’m not a natural defender but having people like him and Lucas [Akins] slotting in [at right-back] and people talking - it just helps. It makes it easy for me.
“[There’s] No surprise he’s [Flint] been playing in the Championship for pretty much all of his career.
“He’s a good player. He’s a good addition to have.”
On this weekend’s opponents, Stockport County, the versatile performer said: “They’re a top side.
“I would say that out of all the teams we played last season, them and Salford probably gave us the toughest time even though they never beat us, Stockport.
“Off the ball, it was a tough time. They had a lot of possession and they’ve made some new additions - they’ve got some top-quality players.
“They’ll definitely be up there.”
Latest | August 2023