CLOUGH ON INJURIES, + MARIS INTERVIEW
Gaffer: Resilience key to unbeaten streak
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Manager Nigel Clough says Stags’ unbeaten start to the season displays ‘an element of resilience’ with Mansfield remaining the only EFL club yet to taste defeat in all competitions.
Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Accrington Stanley ensured the boss’ side climbed into the top three.
Speaking to iFollow Stags ahead of the weekend’s trip to Colchester United, the gaffer said: “It [the impressive start] means that we’ve got an element of resilience about us because we’ve gone behind in a few of those games, come back, and either got draws or wins.
“That’s a good sign.
“It also says it’s very, very early days, seven league games and a couple of cup games.
“I think it [the unbeaten record] will be tested on Saturday at Colchester as much as in any game so far.”
Saturday’s win at Accrington was the club’s first on the road this season.
“It was important to get that first away win,” Nigel said.
“[It was] Probably not our best performance on the road.
“Elements of the performance we have to improve upon but [it was] good to get that first away win and get us into the top three.
“I don’t think we had the control in the game that we’ve had in previous ones away from home, probably down to the way Accrington stopped us as well.
“We didn’t play early enough and simple enough and the few times that we did; we saw some good moves and we created some chances.
“The goals, obviously, make it a standout result - the manner of the goals with two bits of individual brilliance and then a good team goal in between.”
The boss then provided the latest on the injury front.
“After Saturday there was four [knocks] mainly,” he added.
“Calum Macdonald, a reoccurrence of the ankle injury. He got another whack on it on Saturday [so] I don’t think he’ll be doing much training this week.
“We’ll see how he is towards the weekend.
“Jordan Bowery felt his groin late on. He won’t train either until later in the week.
“Ollie Clarke took a whack with a late tackle and the referee played a very good advantage and we got a good chance from it, but he took a whack on the shin.
“Probably the worst out of the four of them is George Maris who. when he got booked. injured himself in the incident.
“He’s caught his knee and so we’ll probably need a scan on that, we’re not sure on that one yet.”
Mansfield Town under-21s will host Notts County in a Central League Cup encounter at One Call Stadium tomorrow (2pm kick-off). Several first-teamers are set to feature in an aim to gain further match fitness.
“It will be mainly the under-19s - those that are fit,” said the manager.
“I think John-Joe O’Toole needs a game, George Williams needs a game, George Cooper certainly [will be] playing.
“After that, I’m not sure who we can risk because if those players [with knocks] are a doubt for Saturday then we might have given Hiram [Boateng] a game or Baily Cargill.
“Unless they especially want 60 minutes or 45 minutes, then we probably won’t risk them.”
On Saturday’s opponents, Colchester United, Nigel said: “They survived relegation [last season]. They’ll be looking to do much better than that this year.
“They invested heavily last January and a little bit in the summer and they’ve just had an outstanding display at home to Tranmere.
“I think they had 27 shots on Saturday, so I think it’ll be a different proposition than it was a few months ago.”
Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town boss says resilience of Stags has helped confidence
bbc.co.uk, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough says the resilience his side has shown so far this season has helped instil a new sense of belief in the squad.
The Stags beat Accrington Stanley 3-0 on Saturday, with two wonder goals sealing three points to move them up to third in the League Two table.
They remain the only English Football League team yet to suffer any kind of defeat in all competition this season.
"We have more confidence than we have done before," Clough said.
The result at Accrington was the Stags' first away victory and first away clean sheet of the season.
"I think we've been better this season," Clough said of his side's performance against Accrington.
"I thought we played better at Doncaster and at Crewe and at times at Grimsby. We didn't have the control of the game that we've had in previous ones.
"A few times we did get into our stride and show that rhythm and we were very good. And of course the goals, to score three goals of that standard, all in one game is very very unusual.
"Normally you'd maybe get one outstanding goal, but all three of them, two flashes of individual brilliance and then a great team goal."
Clough was pleased to take four points from their previous two games - which included a goalless draw against Bradford - and that his side's ability to come back from losing positions has been an important factor to keeping their unbeaten status.
It took a late Rhys Oates equaliser against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in late August to help the Stags edge past the Owls on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
"You need that resilience, especially going behind in numerous games, which has been too many," Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham. "It's a very important basis going forward.
"It is one of the reasons we have stayed unbeaten, we weren't at our best at home against Bradford and managed to get a draw.
"The result at Accrington makes that a better draw because anyone would have taken a win at home to Bradford and draw at Accrington."
Mansfield's solid start to the season has been all the more impressive considering the injuries that have decimated the squad, which includes losing Oates and Stephen Quinn for months while Alfie Kilgour is out for the rest of the season.
"We've got to keep it going," Clough said.
"The next three games are going to be as big of a test than any.
"Two tough away games, with Barrow sandwiched in between it who have had a great start, so the next three will tell us how far along the road we are."
Boss Nigel Clough delighted as Mansfield Town remain last unbeaten EFL club after away victory at Accrington Stanley
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is delighted to be the last of the 72 EFL sides to be unbeaten in league and cup this season after Saturday's 3-0 away win at Accrington Stanley sent them third in the table.
That made it nine games without loss, despite a crippling injury list, and Clough said: “It means we have an element of resilience about us as we've gone behind in a few of those games and come back for draws or wins, which is a good sign. We should have won more of our away games really. But it is very early days yet still.
“It is a good basis to go ahead and considering the players we have had missing, the squad is better equipped to deal with it.
“I think we will be tested at Colchester this Saturday as much as any game so far.
“They will be very different to the last game of last season. They survived the relegation battle and will need to do much better than that this year.
“They invested heavily in January and a little bit again in the summer.
“They have just had an outstanding home display and win against Tranmere - they had 27 shots on Saturday. They will be a different proposition to a few months ago.”
Stags' win at Accrington was their first in 15 league clashes with Stanley and Clough said: “It was important to get that first away win of the season on Saturday. It was probably not our best performance on the road - some aspects we have to improve upon - but it was certainly our best result.
“The goals obviously make it a stand-out result, two from individual brilliance and a good team goal in between.
“We needed that away win sooner than later, especially with the next two out of three coming up being down at Colchester then down at Gillingham. We go there with a bit more confidence.
“We have to keep it going and the next three are going to be as big a test as anything with Barrow sandwiched between the two away games and having made a great start. The next three will tell us a bit more about how far on the road we are.”
Stags have four new injury worries ahead of Colchester, though could welcome back Callum Johnson from injury.
“Calum Macdonald (ankle) and Jordan Bowery (groin) won't train until late in the week and we will see how they are,” said Clough.
“And Ollie Clarke took a whack on the shin with a late tackle,
“Probably the worst out the four was George Maris who, because he's not very good at tackling, actually injured himself when he committed the foul and got booked. He caught his knee and we probably need a scan on that as a precaution. We will see how it settles down.
“But Callum Johnson is down to train this week and if we lose one we will put him on the bench. With a hamstring we will err on the side of caution. He is the last one who is close - the other six are all longer term.”
Stags host NottsCounty tomorrow (Wednesday) in a reserves clash and Clough said: “It will be mostly the U19s who are fit. John-Joe O'Toole needs a game as do George Williams and George Cooper. After that I am not sure who I can risk.”
Mansfield Town door open for coaching return for James Perch after move to Ilkeston Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough says the door remains open for James Perch to do some youth coaching at the club if he wants to after the veteran defender signed for Northern Premier League neighbours Ilkeston Town.
Perch had stalled on accepting a coaching role at Mansfield and, at 37, has elected to continue his playing career under former Stags keeper Ian Deakin, who has recently taken over the Robins after two successive promotions with Long Eaton United.
“Perchy has been absolutely brilliant on and off the pitch,” said Clough.
“In his situation at the moment he can still do a couple of nights a week to tick over and he is also doing scouting work for a Premier League club.
“So I think with everything he has going on at the moment it is perfect for him.
“In the three years we've been here he has been incredible, especially to suffer the injury he did (a fractured skull) and come back early and play a major part.
“I didn't know him before he came here but when you get to work with him you appreciate what a good professional he is.
“That is why he has played at the top level and had the career he's had - and is still playing at 37. He is a great model professional and a great person as well.
“He has been great helping the young lads here and the door is still not closed if he wants to come and help us with this U19 group as well. We will see how that goes once he settles in at Ilkeston. But he will probably have enough on.”
A delighted Deakin said: “James is a significant signing for the football club, he is a constant professional in everything he does.
“From an early age we were at Forest together, his attitude and application since then is a credit to himself.
“He’s been a wonderful player over a long time and his longevity is frightening.
“We’re really looking forward to have him at the club, he will add experience, quality and steel to our side. His leadership skills are something that we will need going forward, especially in a league as tough as this
“We’re delighted to have James on board, it’s a really big signing for us and I’m sure he’ll settle in with the lads well.”
Deakin has also taken promising young Stags midfielder Jakub Kruszynski on a month's loan.
Both players made their debuts in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Worksop Town with Kruszynski coming off injured just before the break.
Mansfield Town in best form in all my time here says midfielder George Maris.
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Midfielder George Maris is in his fourth season at Mansfield Town and after an unbeaten first nine games said: “For me this is the best we have played since I have been here.
“I know we have shown snippets in previous years that we can play like this, but this year it all seems to have clicked together and the confidence throughout the squad is the best I've seen it.
“It all seems to have come together in these last few weeks and people are playing their hearts out in training to get a shirt. That can only stand the team in good stead.
“If you look at the stats we are always up there in terms of goalscoring chances and chances against us - we're not conceding too many.
“We go into every game thinking positively that we can win and are a better team than the team we are playing - we have that sort of arrogance about us this season which could take us over the line to get promoted.
“To have no defeat so far is good. We are the only ones in the EFL to do that so we have to take it as a big compliment. I think we could possibly have won more of those games too.
“We've had a lot of injuries but it shows we have a good squad with the results we're still getting.
“It's not nice seeing your main players go down and it leaves the rest of you filling in roles.
“But when you see a full squad and the bench as strong as it is it only fills you with confidence to go on and get stronger.
“To see the players we have coming off the bench now will frighten any team.”
Maris was on target in Saturday's 3-0 win at Accrington Stanley but knows it was hugely overshadowed by Aaron's Lewis' long ranger wonder goal.
“I thought it was a very professional performance on Saturday,” he said.
“We didn't start very well but once we settled into the game and Davo (Davis Keillor-Dunn) scored his overhead kick it was only going to be us that won the game.
“I think Aaron's goal was the best I have ever seen live in my career. To do that on the volley and put it into the top corner was just amazing. He has that ability in him.
“Taking a ball like that, it could go anywhere. But it was the way he took it on his sidefoot.
“He said afterwards he would have taken a touch had he not been so tired, but he just thought why not? It paid off and went top corner and sealed the game for us in the end.
Maris has now scored three goals in eight games and he said: “Obviously I am playing further forward this year as I usually play a deeper role.
“I am enjoying it and I feel every time I am on the pitch I get some sort of shot or chance away.
“If I keep chipping in with goals and assists that would be brilliant.
“Throughout my career I have always been an attacking sort of player. It gives me licence to get involved more.
“I don't think since I have been here I have scored the goals I potentially should have, so hopefully I can make up some sort of goal deficit this year!”
Stags head to Colchester United on Saturday and Maris added: “It will be a tough game. It's never easy to go down there and they won on Saturday. We just have to focus on ourselves.
“Teams will look at our record and want to be the first to beat us.
“With the teams in the league this year this is probably the toughest I've ever seen it.
“We have a lot of big clubs and if you look at the table it's hard to see who is going to be up there. But I think we can beat anyone on our day.
“We would love to go al the way after threatening to do so the last two years. Maybe it's time with the squad we have to go and give it a good go this season.”
Midfielder commends Stags' playing style
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 12 Sep 2023
Mansfield Town midfielder George Maris believes the Stags are currently playing the best football since he arrived at the club over three years ago.
The 27-year-old has been a part of the squad which is enjoying an unbeaten start to the season in all competitions - the only side to do so in the EFL.
And speaking at a news conference today at RH Academy, the ex-Cambridge United man says the Stags are playing with style.
“For me it’s the best we’ve played since I’ve been here,” said Maris.
“I know we’ve showed snippets in previous years that we can play like this but this year it all seems to have clicked together. The confidence in the squad is the best I’ve seen it.
“You see it on the training pitch. Everyone is playing their hearts out in training to get a shirt and it can only stand the team in good stead.
“To have no defeats at this point is good. We’re the only club in the EFL to do that so we have to take it as a big compliment and we could have possibly won more of those games.
“We have a good squad. We’ve had a lot of injuries but the squad’s good enough. It shows with the results we’ve had.
“We’ve played very well. If you look at the stats we’re always up there in terms of goalscoring chances and chances against us, we’re not conceding too many.”
Maris was impressed with Stags’ latest victory, a 3-0 win at Accrington as Mansfield earned a first away win of the season.
“It was very professional. I don’t think we started the best but once we settled into the game and Davo [Davis Keillor-Dunn] scored his overhead kick, it was only going to be us who won the game. Azza’s [Aaron Lewis] brilliance sealed it off really. It was one of the best goals I’ve seen live in my career.”
The Sheffield-born midfielder has scored three goals this season in eight appearances, an early feat which he believes has been helped by him playing in a slightly more advanced role.
“I’m playing further forward this year,” he said. “[In the] First three years at Mansfield I was playing in a deeper role.
“Since Reedy has come in it’s allowed me to go further forward and I’m enjoying it. I feel like every time I’m on the pitch I can get some sort of chance or shot away.
“Throughout my career I’ve always been an attacking player. In the last four or five seasons I’ve played a bit deeper and not got those chances that I have this season.
“If I’m required to play further forward this season that’s what I want to do, provide the team with goals and assists.”