CLOUGH PREVIEWS FOREST GREEN GAME
Let's get back to winning ways says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough ahead of bottom club Forest Green Rovers visit
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 15 Jan 2024
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough wants to see his promotion-chasing side get back on track at home to bottom side Forest Green Rovers tomorrow night.
Stags have faltered a little with only one point from the last two games, though have still only lost twice all season and sit in the top three.
Clough is wary of Rovers' players having a reaction to scathing criticism from their player-manager Troy Deeney after the weekend 2-0 home defeat by Harrogate Town.
“It is very difficult to judge them,” said Clough.
“Only 18 months or so ago they were the best team in this league and went off into League One.
“Now they find themselves back in League Two again and struggling at the wrong end. It just shows how quickly things can change in football.
“They have had a lot of upheaval off the pitch in terms of managers and coaches and changes.
“We are a little bit fearful they will have a reaction after Saturday when their manager had a little go at them publicly about some of their characters. So we will see what that does.
“But the opposition tomorrow is irrelevant. We need to win. Since winning at Stockport we should have got something at home to Crewe and we should have won at Morecambe on Saturday.
“So we got one point out of six instead of the four we should have had. It's about time we won.”
With Rovers having a small away following, Stags will allow a limited number of home fans back into their 'traditional home' of the North Stand, segregated fromn the opposition fans, for the first time in many year.
“To have supporters behind both goals is brilliant and a major bonus,” said Clough
“If we get to the stage where the opposition are not bringing many fans then we can use that.”
With the game already postponed once, Stags will be hoping the forecast freezing temperatures do not cast the game in doubt once more tomorrow.
Boss on Stags’ search for striker acquisition
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 15 Jan 2024
Manager Nigel Clough has provided an update on the club’s search for a striker in the January transfer window.
The boss previously stated that the Stags had identified a number one target and made a loan enquiry to the player’s current club.
Speaking in a news conference ahead of tomorrow’s match at home to Forest Green, Nigel said: “We’re still making enquiries.
“There’s still the main one that we’re waiting for a definitive answer on. That’s the problem.
“At some point, we’ll have to move on from that number one target but at the moment we’re still pursuing it.
“There are a few clubs in for the player and it’s the other club making the decision on where they want him to go.
“Just one striker will be enough - a good one.
“We’ve got 19, 20 games left.
“I think if it was any more than that, if we were looking at 30 games left, then we would need a bit more.
“With Lucas [Akins], with Swanny [Will Swan], if we can get one in, we have Davis [Keillor-Dunn] to go up there as well, Jordan [Bowery] can also do it as well.
“I think we’re okay with one. If two came up, then we’d certainly look at it.
“One very good one is what we need.”
The gaffer went on to provide the injury latest, including the extent of Rhys Oates’ knee injury.
“He [Calum Macdonald] has got a slight calf problem. It cramped up very tight.
“He’s unlikely to be available.
“He’s [Rhys Oates] had scans and seen specialists and he’s going in for an operation tomorrow which will see him out for the next nine months.
“It’s devastating for Rhys, first of all, and then for us.
“We miss him every time he’s not available on the bench or starting. We miss that sort of player.
“It’s very difficult to replace them.
“That’s the third major one [injury] in the last 12 months which is higher than average.”
Elsewhere, defender Alfie Kilgour has extended his contract until the summer of 2025. The centre-back remains sidelined until the end of the season with a ruptured Achilles’.
“Alfie was up [out of contract] in the summer and we had the option on him [to extend],” the boss said.
“It was a similar sort of scenario [to Aden Flint’s contract extension] where it was [set to be triggered] on games which he’s not going to play this season.
“Having spent most of this season getting fit - we want him available for next season and with us.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him back [for] pre-season.”
On tomorrow’s visitors, Forest Green, the boss said: “It’s very difficult to judge them.
“Only 18 months ago - or so - they were the best team in the league and went off into League One.
“Now, they find themselves at the wrong end, back into League Two again.
“I think the manager [Troy Deeney] had a little go at them afterwards publicly about some of their characters so we’ll see what that does.”
Rhys Oates blow for Mansfield Town raises urgency for new striker
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 15 Jan 2024
Mansfield Town are staying patient over their number one January transfer target, despite devastating news over the injury to striker Rhys Oates.
Stags' need for another striker deepened this week when they learned Oates' knee injury will sideline him for nine months.
Nigel Clough had hoped to bring a striker in last week but the deal is still in the air - and he admitted he can only wait so long.
“We are still making enquiries and there is still the main one we are waiting for a definitive answer on,” he said.
“That is the problem and at some point we will have to move on from that number one target.
“But at the moment we are still pursuing him.
“There are a few clubs in for the player and it's the other club making the decision on where they want him to go.
“It's very difficult to judge how long we wait. We get responses from the club and we are trying to weight it up all the time.
“The last thing we want to do is move on and bring someone else in, and then they say you can have him now. We are only halfway through the window as well.
“So we do have to be a little more patient and maybe give it another week or so.”
Clough said they would probably only bring one striker in, though did not rule out two if the right ones became available.
“With 19-20 games left I think one striker will be enough - a good one,” he said.
“If we were looking at 30-odd games left then I think we'd need a bit more.
“Despite one or two going down with injuries I think with Lucas (Akins), Swanny (Will Swan) and we can get one in, plus we have Davis (Keillor-Dunn) to go up there and Jordan (Bowery) can also do it as well, we're okay with one.
“But if two came up then we would certainly look at it. But one very good one is what we need.”
Stags this week got the news they had feared on the Oates injury.
“He has had the scans and seen a specialist and he is actually going in for an operation this week which will see him out for probably the next nine months,” said Clough.
“He has done his cruciate ligament and a bit of his miniscus as well which is a side issue.
“It is a huge blow - as a big a blow as Alfie Kilgour's injury was to us.
“It is devastating - for Rhys first of all and then for us. We miss him. Every time he is not available on the bench or starting we miss that sort of player.
“It's very difficult to go and replace them.
“It was a bit of an innocious one against Stockport where he has just fallen awkwardly and that is the third major long term injury for him in the last 12 months which I think is higher than average.
“He was scoring goals, making goals and just being the threat that he is.
“Every time he is on the pitch he has an effect, there are not many players out there like that.
“He will be a big miss, not just for this season but for the start of next season as well. We'd love to sign another Rhys Oates - even on loan - for the next three months. But they are not out there.”
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