CLOUGH LATEST ON INJURIES + REED INTERVIEW
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough hopes 'incredible' injury jinx is over after two more players bite the dust
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 4 Sep 2023
Despite new injuries for two key players and 11 players not fit enough to start last weekend, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is expecting his injury jinx to begin easing over the next month.
Rhys Oates and Stephen Quinn had picked up knocks but were expected to play last weekend.
So Stags were shocked when scans showed ruptured ankle ligaments for Oates and a two to three month lay-off plus a knee ligament injury for Quinn that will sideline him for three to four months.
After last season's injury nightmares, Clough can scarcely believe his eyes.
He said: “It is actually incredible. I am not sure what we've done to deserve this - to have eight or nine missing and no two injuries the same.
“That says everything about how random they are and how unlucky it is.
read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-hopes-incredible-injury-jinx-is-over-after-two-more-players-bite-the-dust-4280279
“Rhys and Quinny will be two huge misses on the back of potentially our back four with Elliott Hewitt, Steve McLaughlin, Alfie Kilgour and Callum Johnson.
“We missed them on Saturday with Rhys' dynamism and Quinny's creativity. But we are going to have to battle on without them.
“Our aim now is obviously to stay in contention for the next two or three months until they are back and a few of the others back as well.
“The good thing is is I don't think I have to explain it to supporters as we have been through it all for the last year or so. They understand. They get it and we are going to do everything we can to stay there or thereabouts while we wait for the players to come back.
“It is rotten luck. They are all just contact injuries, football injuries, muscle injuries or whatever.
“Sometimes you have runs of bad luck like this in football and we just seem to be in an extended one.
“We had it last season but usually it stops at the end of a season and you get everybody fit pre-season if you can.
“Squads are designed to deal with two, three, four injuries but it is very difficult when you're missing eight, nine, 10.”
Stags were unable to conclude a loan deal for a striker on deadline day but still have the free agent market to utilise if needed.
“We did try for a loan but had one or two problems with the club we were trying to get him from and just couldn't quite get it through. So we didn't pursue that one,” said Clough.
“There are still one or two free agents out there we talked to before the window closed, so we can pick up on those.
“One or two we spoke to were waiting to see if they got any better offers as they are in a position now where they can sign for anybody.
“But the good news is Aaron Lewis isn't far away. Him and Hiram Boateng will hopefully be the next two back, then Callum Johnson and hopefully Stephen McLaughlin. Before you know it, it will soon be Christmas we we will have Oatsey and Quinny back.
“Aaron Lewis is the best out of the muscle injuries at the moment. He is looking to train later this week with a view to being back involved with the squad on Saturday.
“Hiram Boateng will probably be the week after and, if all goes well, Callum Johnson the week after that.
“That is why we didn't majorly pursue people coming in before the deadline as we knew we'd got these players coming back.
“With James Gale getting back on the pitch on Saturday and doing well it is not an absolute must to bring anyone in at this stage.
“Once we get people back defensively, it will free Jordan Bowery to go back up top from his 'more familiar defensive role' these days. He has been brilliant in the first eight games for us.
“If a really good one comes along we will have a look at it. But as long as other lads are not far away - and we don't get any more injuries - then we should be okay.”
Clough said, with their situation, he was delighted to stay unbeaten and be in the top seven.
“Despite the disruption we've had and changes with injury, generally we have defended well and been unlucky with a few of the goals we've conceded, which have been wonder goals,” he said.
“But our all-round play, resilience and character in coming back from being behind on a number of occasions builds up confidence and enables you to build an unbeaten run at this stage.
“Despite the injuries we have been getting results and that is the pleasing thing - even the clean sheet on Saturday. We have only conceded in one of the four games at home, which is good, despite probably having a different back four in every game, never mind every half game.
“Some of the football we played on Saturday was a bit flat and tired but some of the football we have played has been exceptional.
“I am very pleased in the circumstances.”
He added: “It is a tough start to the season for all clubs with eight games in the first four weeks. It tests the squad early on as you're not into the swing of things or routine of playing Saturday/Tuesday. Everyone is at different levels.
“On Saturday we had players who have played every minute of every game and then we had Ollie Clarke playing his first game as was Lewis Brunt. I think there are only one or two of the starting XI you'd say would be in good nick at the moment with the game time they have had.”
Stags finally have a blank week ahead of Saturday's trip to Accrington Stanley.
“We can now take stock a little bit and assess where we are,” said Clough.
“Taking everything into perspective I think we are in a pretty good place as a team and as a club.
“To be three points off the top of the league, unbeaten and should have another couple of points on the board at least - and through to the third round of the Carabao Cup - I don't think it's been a bad start, especially when you consider having eight, nine, 10 people out most weeks.
“The next week will be down to what individual players need. Some won't need to do much this week and others will need to get some work in that they have missed in the last few weeks.
“With eight games in four weeks it's difficult to push the players in training with the injuries we've got. We have to get them through the games.
“With September looking a lighter month we can get some more work into those who didn't do or missed some pre-season.”
On Saturday's trip he said: “We have been to Accrington in the Northern Premier with Burton, all the way up into the league, and I have never, ever had an easy game there.
“Gary Crosby went to watch them at Notts County on Saturday and they were very unlucky not to get something.
“They will be 4-4-2 and they will be competitive. They play a little bit as well.
“I would put it down as one of our toughest away games.”
Peterborough United cup tie perfect says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 4 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town may have missed out on a big glamour Carabao Cup tie in last week's draw - but boss Nigel Clough sees a home game against League One Peterborough United as a potential route to round four.
Keeper Christy Pym made two saves to help Stags win a penalty shoot-out after a superb 1-1 draw away at Championship neighbours Sheffield Wednesday last week to reach round three for the first time since 2005.
Now they face Posh - the last pairing drawn out the hat - and Clough said: “I am delighted with it.
“I didn't see the draw as we were at the pub quiz and hadn't got any phone signal. But someone told me afterwards that there were six teams left in the hat - Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle, us and Peterborough.
“So I would have taken Peterborough at home any day of the week, as tough as it's going to be.
“I know it's not as glamorous as Newcastle or Liverpool or someone like that, but we have an opportunity to get through.”
The tie will be played the week commencing Monday, 25th September.
Another one at the club delighted by the draw is former Peterborough United midfielder Louis Reed.
“It's always good to play against your old club and a chance to go through to the next round,” he said.
“Everyone is looking for the big ties but no one really wants to get run around by Manchester City. It is definitely one we can win and we will be looking to do that.”
Boss pleased with start to season
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he’s ‘very pleased in the circumstances’ at how Stags have started 2023/24, having ended the first month of the new campaign unbeaten.
The gaffer’s side travel to Accrington Stanley this Saturday and occupy a place in the top seven of Sky Bet League Two - despite injuries to key players and a relentless fixture schedule.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy, Nigel said: “[I’m] Very pleased in the circumstances.
“It’s a tough start to the season for all clubs, eight games in the first month of the season - four weeks.
“It tests the squad early on because you’re not into the swing of things. You’re not in the routine of playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.
“Everybody is at differing levels.”
Mansfield have managed matches well, regardless.
“We’ve only conceded in one of the four games at home which is good,” said the boss.
“I think we must’ve had a different back four in every game.
“We’re getting results. I think some of the football we’ve played has been exceptional.”
Stags remain unbeaten, which included progression to the third round of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2005.
“Despite the disruptions we’ve had and the changes with injury, I think generally we’ve defended well.
“We’ve been unlucky with a few of the goals we’ve conceded being wonder goals.
“I think generally our all-round play, resilience and character - coming back from being behind - all those sorts of things enable you to build up an unbeaten run at this stage.”
Nigel confirmed after Saturday’s home draw with Bradford that midfielder Stephen Quinn (knee) and forward Rhys Oates (ankle) will miss three to four and two to three months, respectively.
“It is actually incredible when you have eight or nine missing, and no two injuries are the same,” the gaffer added.
“It says everything about how random they are and how unlucky it is.
“They [Stephen Quinn and Rhys Oates] are going to be two huge misses.
“It’s a big, big blow. I thought we missed them on Saturday.
“Rhys’ dynamism to create something or score something and Quinny’s creativity [will be missed] so we’re going to have to battle on without them.”
Several members of the squad are nearing a return, however.
“The good news is Aaron Lewis isn’t too far away [from returning] and Hiram Boateng [they’ll be] hopefully the next two back.
“Then you’re looking at Callum Johnson and hopefully Stephen McLaughlin and before you know it, it’ll soon be Christmas and we’ll have Oatesy and Quinny back.
“Aaron Lewis is the best out of the muscle injuries at the moment. He’s looking to train later this week with a view to being back in the squad on Saturday.
“Hiram Boateng will probably be the week after.
“If all goes well, Callum Johnson will be the week after that.”
On Saturday’s opponents, the manager said: “Accrington, we’ve been there in the Northern Prem with Burton all the way up into the league, we’ve never had an easy game at Accrington.
“They’re back to the Accrington Stanley of 4-4-2. They’re competitive.
“They play a little bit - well, more than a little bit.
“I put it down as one of our toughest away games.”
Stags must continue early season standards: Midfielder
Midfielder Louis Reed says Stags have ‘set the standard’ on how Mansfield should play this season and now have ‘got to maintain that’.
The former Sheffield United man has been one of many standout performers so far in 2023/24, occupying a pivotal role at the base of Stags’ midfield.
Ahead of Saturday’s match away at Accrington Stanley, Louis said: “It’s been a really enjoyable start.
“The team is playing some good stuff at the minute and it’s really enjoyable to be a part of that.
“Playing out from the back, we do that really well. Then, mixing it up as well, knowing when we have to go a bit longer.
“I think the balance that we’ve found at the start of the season is really good.
“The manager’s input is huge. He wants us to go forward at every opportunity that we can.
“So far we have set the standard and [now] we’ve just got to maintain that.”
An integral part of the side’s spine, Mansfield’s number 25 praised the structure of the squad.
“I think we’re well organised,” he said.
“Flinty [Aden Flint] coming in at the back added that little bit of experience.
“We look solid all the way through [the side].
“With the way the team has gelled so far things can only get better as well.”
Manager Nigel Clough gave Reed his debut at Sheffield United, aged 16. On the boss, the midfielder said: “He’s very demanding.
“He rewards you when you’ve done well but he’ll let you know if you’re not quite doing what you should be doing.
“For me, that’s how it should be, and I think the rest of the lads enjoy that as well.
“He’s someone I liked working under when I was at Sheffield United and Andy Garner and Gary Crosby.”
Mansfield have been drawn against one of Reed’s former sides, Peterborough United, in round three of the Carabao Cup.
“When the draw was done there were four teams that would’ve been really good ties for us,” he joked.
“But it’s always nice to have an old club come and play here.
“[It’s] A chance to go through to the next round as well.
“Everybody is looking for the big ties, but no one really wants to go and get the runaround by Man City so it’s definitely one we can win.”
Louis Reed so happy to be back working with manager Nigel Clough again at Mansfield
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 4 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town midfielder Louis Reed is enjoying working again with Nigel Clough - the manager who gave him his debut at 16 at Sheffield United.
“It has been a really enjoyable start to the season,” he said.
“The team are playing some good stuff at the minute and it's really enjoyable to be a part of.
“We have a lot of confidence at the minute, playing out from the back. We do that really well. Then we can mix it up as well when we have to go a bit longer.
“I think the balance that we've found at the start of the season has been really good.
“The manager's input is huge. He wants us to go forward at every opportunity and be on the front foot, so far we have done that and we have set a standard. Now we have to maintain that. The way the team has gelled I think things can only get better too.”
He added: “You won't get many better front threes in this division with Davis in behind them - he has had a great start to the season.
“We are well organised and Flinty coming in at the back has added that bit of experience. He has been brilliant and we look solid all the way through.”
Reed is operating at the base of a diamond and said: “I like getting on the ball a lot more than I do trying to win it back.
“Teams are most vulnerable when they have just given the ball away and have players out of position. We try to hurt them as soon as possible.”
On Clough, Reed said: “He is very demanding. He rewards you when you've done well but he will let you know if you are not dong what you should be doing. For me that's how it should be and the rest of the lads enjoy that as well.
“He doesn't beat around the bush and that can only help us demand more from each other. It is good going forward.
“I enjoyed working under him at Sheffield United - and Andy Garner and Gary Crosby - they are up there as well. Familiar faces are always nice.
“No game is perfect and there are always things you can work on. But we have done the basics right so far so I don't think we should be changing too much.”