CLOUGH & MARIS PREVIEW HARROGATE GAME
Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags, Mon 23 Oct 2023:
"Stephen McLaughlin has had a couple of training sessions. And with Baily being out, we might even throw him on the bench tomorrow. He's not quite ready but could do 10 or 15 minutes, although we are aware we said that at Northampton and Newport, and he didn't actually see the 10 or 15 minutes through!! But he's looking good and strong.
"Rhys Oates is coming along, and we're still aiming for the Everton U21 game on 7th Nov."
Boss wants ‘front foot’ performance ahead of Sulphurites clash
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 23 Oct 2023
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has called for Stags to ‘pick up where we left off’ and be ‘on the front foot’ as his side return to action tomorrow evening away at Harrogate Town.
The club’s scheduled home fixture with Forest Green Rovers was postponed on Saturday morning following heavy rain in the local area.
Tomorrow evening’s game provides Mansfield with a chance to build on an impressive 17-match unbeaten streak.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference today, Nigel said: “I want to see us looking fresh and on the front foot as we were at Notts County and pick up where we left off really.
“That’s the only thing with having a ten-day break.
“It’s a good rest and everything but sometimes it can break your rhythm.”
On Saturday’s postponement, the gaffer added: “You can understand [the decision] with travelling supporters and things like that.
“The last thing we wanted was the game off with 17 games unbeaten.
“You want to play.”
Nigel recently celebrated 25 years in management and when asked about his longevity, he said: “[I have found it]Mostly enjoyable and I’m very privileged to have worked at some very good clubs with some very good people.
“It has its challenges on the way and the ups and downs that you have in that period are out of proportion with everyday life but I think you learn to deal with them over a period of time.
“I hope the [biggest highlight of my career] is still to come with Mansfield.”
Stags have struggled against Harrogate previously, not beating the North Yorkshire outfit in seven attempts.
“They’re one of our bogey teams,” said the boss.
“We’re yet to beat them in three years.
“It will be a good time to get a positive result there tomorrow night.
“We know how difficult it is, every time we’ve played them - irrespective of their league position - we’ve failed to win.
“We’re more than aware of the threats that they pose.”
The manager went on to provide the injury latest.
“Stephen McLaughlin is closer [to a return].
“He’s had a couple of training sessions now. With Baily [Cargill] being out [through suspension] we might even throw him on the bench tomorrow night, we’ll see.
“He’s not quite ready but he could do ten or fifteen minutes.
“He’s looking good and strong so he might well be in the squad.
“Rhys Oates is coming along. We’re still aiming I think for the Everton game at home in the EFL Trophy.”
Frustrated Mansfield Town aiming to beat bogey side Harrogate Town for the first time
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 23 Oct 2023
Mansfield Town will look to put their weekend postponement frustration behind them and try to pick up a first ever win against bogey side Harrogate Town tomorrow night.
The Stags' home game with Forest Green Rovers was postponed due to the heavy rain on Saturday and now Nigel Clough's men head into Yorkshire to try to extend their unbeaten start to the season to 18 games against a side they have never beaten, losing six and drawing one of their seven clashes.
“We are glad of the Tuesday night game as we didn't want to go two weeks without a game,” said Clough.
“Harrogate are one of our bogey teams and we are yet to beat them in three years.
“We have lost six out of the seven games against them so it's about time we got a result.
“It would be a good time to get a positive result there tomorrow night.
“But we know how difficult it is. Every time we have played them, irrespective of their league position, we have failed to win. So we're more than aware of the threats they pose and how difficult they are to break down at times.
“They had a morale-boosting victory at Colchester on Saturday too.
“It is very difficult to put your finger on one particular thing as to why we have not beaten them.
“It's funny how certain teams just cause you problems - and they have. You try to analyse it and it drives you mad at times.
“I think we have played okay against them at times but not had a break.
“We had one game where we had two sent off, so that didn't help.
“We defended incredibly poorly against them there last season and were 3-0 down at half-time - three shots and three goals. We certainly have to defend better than that.
“The EFL Trophy game against them a couple of seasons ago probably summed it up when we were 1-0 down and got a penalty.
“Jordan Bowery hit the bar and they actually broke away and scored from the rebound. That sums up the luck we have had against Harrogate so far and I hope that now changes.
“We need to concentrate more on ourselves and say if we are at it and doing what we can do well then it shouldn't matter too much what they can do.”
He added: “I want to see us looking fresh and on the front foot as we were at Notts County.
“We need to pick up where we left off. That's the only thing about having a 10 day break, yes it's a good rest but sometimes it can break your rhythm.
“I think Harrogate play slightly differently to the way they have played in previous seasons and still have some very good and dangerous players.
“Away there on a late October evening on a Tuesday night I don't think it will be particularly pretty at times. It's certainly one in which you have to win your battles and not give anything away.”
Saturday's game was called off after an early morning pitch inspection following heavy rain from Storm Babet.
It left Stags unable even to train.
“The rainfall was pretty bad and the training ground was all flooded,” said Clough.
“I was a little bit disappointed it was called off so early, but you can understand that taking into consideration the travelling supporters.
“Locally, even getting our own supporters to the game may have been a problem as well. All in all it was a sensible decision but a disappointing one.
“The last thing we wanted was the game off. After 17 games unbeaten you want to play.
“The groundsman thought it was going to be on, but the referee thought there was a problem area and the sky was still full of rain.
“There was nowhere we could train - everywhere was flooded - and we didn't want to risk going on the artificial surface with them. So players were sent programmes to do at home.
“Even travelling around was a problem in certain areas so sending them programmes was the best option.
“So we just had a quiet weekend - we don't get too many opportunities for that. It was a chance for players to sit back and have a little break.
“We've then had a good session on Monday morning ready for Harrogate.”
He continued: “Forest Green is now just another one we have to rearrange somewhere down the line.
“I would think it depends on how we and they do in the cups. Obviously we will have a free Saturday for the second round of the FA Cup if we were out and they were out. That would be ideal to put it in then.”
There could be an early return from long-term injury for left back Stephen McLaughlin on the bench tomorrow after improving quicker than expected.
“Stephen McLaughlin is a bit closer,” said Clough.
“He has had a couple of training sessions now and with Baily Cargill being out we might even throw him on the bench tomorrow night, we will see.
“He is not quite ready but he could do 10 or 15 minutes, though we are aware we said that at both Northampton and Newport and he didn't actually see the 15 minutes through!
“But he is looking good and strong, so he may be in the squad.”
However, Cargill misses the game through suspension and is expected to be replaced in central defence by Lewis Brunt.
Maris: This is the best squad I’ve been in
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 23 Oct 2023
Midfielder George Maris says Mansfield’s current squad is the best he’s been in during his time at the club.
Stags’ number ten - who signed in July 2020 - has been in fine form this campaign in a side that are currently 17 matches unbeaten.
Mansfield will aim to make it 18 matches without defeat this evening away at a Harrogate outfit that the club are yet to beat in seven attempts.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference yesterday, George said: “I think with what has been built this season, the players that we’ve got now are the best squad I’ve been in by a mile.
“It would be nice if we could finally get that job done this season.
“This is my fourth year and I’d love nothing more than to be part of a promotion winning season at this club.
“This is the best chance that I’ve had with this group of players, at this stage of the season.”
The midfielder offered his thoughts following the postponement of Saturday’s fixture at home to Forest Green.
“It was disappointing because we had the chance to go and get three points on the board,” he said.
“It would’ve been a good week if we could’ve won on Saturday and then gone into the Tuesday [Harrogate] and Saturday [Walsall] games [with six points].
“We’ve still got two left this week and hopefully we can get maximum points from both.”
This evening, Mansfield face Harrogate Town at the EnviroVent Stadium.
“Since I have been here, we’ve not beaten them,” the midfielder said.
“You come up against different teams and they’re tricky to beat.
“We’ve gone there a lot of times and we just couldn’t get over the line.
Stags have progressed to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup - a fixture that will take place at home to Port Vale next Tuesday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get through to the quarters.
“People might have wanted a nice away draw but Port Vale at home is a great chance to go and win.
“We’re good at home and I think it’s a really good chance to beat a side above us.”
On the busy fixture schedule, with Mansfield still in every competition, George said: “You’ve got to do everything you can off the pitch to keep yourself ready to go on the pitch.
“I know there’s not enough rest period between games so it’s just about what you do at home and what you do in the gym to prepare yourself and to be ready for a Saturday and Tuesday.
“You’ve got to tailor your week to be ready for kick-offs now.”
Latest | October 2023