CLOUGH PREVIEWS BURTON GAME
Boss reveals first team players to feature at Burton
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 20 Nov 2023
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has confirmed some of the first team players who will start at Burton Albion tomorrow evening in the final match in Group H of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.
The Stags’ boss returns to the club which he propelled up the football pyramid in an illustrious spell over 16 years.
And the manager is set to field a strong Stags’ side as he targets a win over the League One outfit, which would see Mansfield book their passage into the next round of the competition.
“We were working on it over the weekend, trying to get the right amount of minutes for the right players,” said the manager, when asked about his starting lineup considerations. “Certainly all the subs [from Saturday’s win over Newport] will start.
“Stephen Qunn will start the game. Lucas Akins, Will Swan, James Gale, George Williams, Calum Macdonald will also start as well a couple of first teamers, and then the others will be on the bench and do 45 [minutes] each.
“George Maris and Aaron Lewis can do 45 each, that sort of thing, just to share the load. [We want to make sure] Those who need 90 minutes get it and those who need 45 towards Saturday will get that time as well.
“We want to try and win and go through to the next round.
“[Getting minutes into the players] Is secondary. When you come to the last game of a qualifying stage and you need to win to go through, that’s what you want to do.
“In an ideal world, we tried to beat Everton [U21, in the previous fixture of the competition] and might have gone through and this would have been a dead rubber. And then we could have maybe played a few of the under-19s [in the game against Burton], but we’d like to get through if we can.”
The manager was asked about his best moments whilst boss at Burton and said: “There were many highlights over that time. Our first promotion from the Unibond was incredibly special. Our aim at the time was, could we become a solid Conference side?
“Then we got into the Conference and in the new stadium. Then we stayed in the conference, got the Manchester United game [in the FA Cup] and the replay which paid off the debt on the stadium and gave the club the platform moving forward.
“Leaving them, I think we were about 13-14 points clear at the top of the Conference in the January when we went to Derby. They got over the line and into the Football League.
“We go back and it’s gone on again to a different level, on the verge of the Championship, and we managed to get them in there.
“Staying in the Championship was certainly a highlight of the 14-15 years. No one gave us a cat in hell’s chance of staying in there. We made it with a game to spare and were so close to doing it the season after as well.”
Burton Albion return for Nigel Clough as Mansfield Town plan strong side for Trophy progress
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 20 Nov 2023
Nigel Clough returns to the club where he had so much success tomorrow night vowing to play a strong side that can win at League One Burton Albion (7pm) and progress into the Bristol Street Motors Trophy knockout stages.
A win for either side, either in 90 minutes or on penalties, would carry them out of the group and Clough intends to play a stronger side than he would have used had they already qualified.
“We have been working on our line-up over the weekend, trying to get the right amount of minutes for the right players,” he said.
“Certainly all of Saturday's subs will start. Stephen Quinn is going to start the game as are Lucas Akins, Will Swan, James Gale, George Williams, Hiram Boateng and Calum Macdonald.
“A couple of first teamers will start and others will be on the bench and do 45 minutes each. George Maris and Aaron Lewis can do 45 minutes each just to share the load.
“We must make sure those who need 90 minutes get it and those who need 45 towards Saturday get that time as well.”
He continued: “We want to win and get through to the next round.
“When you come to the last game of a qualifying stage and you need to win to go through, that's what we want to do. That's why we will put a few first teamers out there.
“In an ideal world we wanted to beat Everton U21s, which we tried, and we might have been through and this game a dead rubber. Then we could have maybe played a few of the U19s. But we'd like to get through if we can.”
Clough enjoyed huge glory in two spells at Burton and said: “I think this is my first time back there in a competitive game though I have been back for pre-season friendlies with Derby.
“There were many highlights there over my 14-15 years. I think we improved our league position every year bar one. So we were always making progress.
“Promotion from the Unibond was incredibly special to get us into the Conference. That was the aim at the time - becoming a solid Conference side.
“Then we had a new stadium and the Manchester United game and replay which headed off the debut on the stadium, and gave us a platform moving forward.
“I think they were 13-14 points clear at the top of the Conference when we left them, and they got over the line to get into the Football League.
“Then we went back and it had gone on to a different level. We managed to get them into the Championship - and staying in the Championship was certainly a highlight of the 14-15 years as no one gave us a cat in hell's chance of staying in there - and rightly so.
“We were playing Villa, Newcastle, Wolves, Forest and the like in league games. And we had not long come from the Unibond and the Dr Martens.
“It was surreal, but we made it with a game to spare and were so close to doing it the season after as well.”
Loanee Lewis Brunt adapting well to the physical side of League Two for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 20 Nov 2023
Leicester City loanee defender Lewis Brunt has adapted well to the physicality of League Two believes Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough.
The 23-year-old has established himself in the meanest defence in the division and impressed and Clough said: “The partnership between Aden Flint and Lewis Brunt has been very good indeed. When you have such a good defensive record there won't be too many changes.
“We knew he was a good footballer. He was a converted midfield player - he was a central midfield player at Aston Villa. Leicester took him and made him into a centre half.
“We watched him play for the U23s but it's impossible to predict how they are going to deal with the physicality of League Two.
“We could see his spring was fantastic going for headers and that he could play a bit. It was whether he could deal with the physical side and I think he is getting more used to that and better at it. He has got better as the season has gone on.
“He played some magnificent passes on Saturday and I think he is a good partner and foil for Aden Flint.
“Both compete in the air, which you have to do at this level. But I think Lewis is more composed with the ball at his feet, which helps.
“Neither of them are naturally left-footed but Lewis is happy on the left hand side as he is a bit two-footed. They complement each other.”
Brunt's success has meant frustration for rivals Bailey Cargill and George Williams.
“We have one of the best defensive records in the league, which suggests we are doing very well defensively,” said Clough.
“It starts with the goalkeeper who, when called upon, has made important saves at important times.
“The back four has been largely settled in terms of the two centre halves, who have done very well.
“It's been very harsh on Bailey Cargill, who has had a couple of knocks and niggles. He has had games at left back but he is a centre half.
“You also feel sorry for George Williams, who has played well in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy games. We just can't get him involved at the moment as everyone is playing so well.”
Two huge games looming for unbeaten Mansfield Town ahead of 10-day break
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Unbeaten Mansfield Town are preparing for two huge games in four days ahead of a 10 day break from action.
Saturday's trip to Swindon Town, who have only won once in 11 games, and then at home to third from bottom Tranmere Rovers, who have only won once in 10 games, on Tuesday night suggest potential rich pickings for Nigel Clough's side.
A 2-0 home win over Newport on Saturady made it 17 league games unbeaten, five wins on the bounce, and pushed Stags up to second.
“It would be huge to get six points - you would probably take four in some ways, though we will be going for six,” said Clough.
“Stockport have won something like 14 out of 15. You look at the table and we are six points behind them with a game in hand. That suggests we are doing okay as well.
“But we have to keep winning if we want to stand any chance at all when the other teams are going so well.
“When Stockport are putting down the sort of numbers they are, Notts County have just scored another four, Wrexham had their first defeat in 11 and Crewe and Morecambe are not far behind, you have to keep winning -especially our home games.
"We are not going to play absolutely fantastic every week with sparkling stuff - three points is all that matters.
“We are over a third of the way through the season now and we want to keep it going as long as we can.
"But we still have 30-odd games to go and we are only in the middle of November, so anyone who thinks the job is done or even half-done is slightly delusional as we've got a long way to go.
“We have another five and a half months to go and we have to keep doing and improving on what we have been doing in the first 17 games.”
Swindon have faded recently after a bright start and Clough said: “Away from home we have had varying success at Swindon over the years.
“It is one of those grounds where they play a certain way, and have done for many years now - very open.
“It's home games where we really have to do our stuff like against Tranmere next Tuesday, but we have to get something from Swindon first.
“The reports we've had back on Swindon say they can score four or five goals in any game but they could also concede four or five goals.
“You look at some of their scorelines and they are never out of the game.
“They lost 4-2 at home to Stockport but it could have been 4-4 or 5-5.
“They play this open way so I think we will get chances. I am more concerned about restricting them at the other end.
“They have plenty of time to climb back up the table. It's happened with one or two teams. They have this little blip for a month to six weeks but they have the players and the ability to come back and challenge.
“They are not too far away and I think they will still fancy their chances.
“With Charlie Austin up front they have got some very good forward players.”
Last season Stags won 5-2 at the County Ground and Clough said: “I thought our finishing that day was excellent. We conceded early on, came back with five goals and then conceded again late on.
“We need to eradicate those sort of things when we are ahead. We mustn't switch off and concede.
“But it was a good performance that day and we will need something similar.
“Mike Flynn has gone in and they had an unbelievably good start. They have dipped a little bit now. But when you've had that good start you have something to fall back on.”
Clough knows other clubs will be geed up to become the first side to beat them in League Two this season.
“With this unbeaten run we have become a bit of a target in the right way, which is good but something else you have to to deal with,” he said,
“Successful teams over the years have these great runs and they deal with it at home and away from home.
“It's like when we went 1-0 down at Notts County - you deal with it. You keep your head, keep playing and you get back into the game. I think we have dealt with it very well so far this season.”
MAAMRIA WANTS PLAYERS REFRESHED AND READY FOR A TOUGH RUN OF FIXTURES
burtonalbionfc.co.uk, Mon 20 Nov 2023
BREWERS manager Dino Maamria hopes the international break gave his squad the chance to grab a few days rest to recharge batteries ahead of a very tough run of games leading up to Christmas.
Albion return to action against Mansfield Town in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy tomorrow at the Pirelli Stadium (kick off 7pm). The game sees the return of our former manager Nigel Clough with the winners going into the last 32 of the competition. The Stags remain unbeaten in League Two this season.
After that Albion face four teams in the League Two top five in succession starting with Peterborough away on Saturday with league leaders Portsmouth at home on November 28, Stevenage at home on December 9 and Oxford away on December 16.
Maamria said: “The players have used this break to recharge, to rest and recover after a hectic schedule. The injured players have been working really hard to try and get back for this difficult run of games we have got.
“After Mansfield it’s all teams in the top six so it’s going to be a tough period and the players needed this short break to get ready to go again.
“We always try to do the right thing for the group and rest seemed the best thing at this moment.
“We try not to dwell too much on results and make sure we prepare the best way possible for the next game and if that means giving them a couple of days rest then they will get that.”
Albion may be boosted tomorrow by the return of Kwadwo Baah.
Maamria said: “Hopefully KB will be OK to play some part tomorrow. It has been a hamstring injury, so we need to be careful but he’s getting there.
“John Brayford and Sam Hughes have had slight setbacks with their recovery so won’t play and Jasper Moon had concussion against Port Vale so can’t play tomorrow.
“We have to ride these injury waves and get everyone fit as we know the shapes we want and the players who can get results for us.
“We will pick the best team to beat Mansfield. Nigel has assembled a very good squad there. I’m not surprised they are doing well. and I expect them to be promoted this season. But the focus is on us tomorrow and about us doing the things we have done well in the past and all our thoughts are about winning tomorrow night.”