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11th February 2024 23:14

Boss: Resolute defence will be crucial in remaining fixtures
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough hopes Stags can take inspiration from Saturday’s clean sheet at home to Notts County into the remaining 17 matches of the campaign.

Stags head to Forest Green this weekend following a memorable 1-0 victory in the Nottinghamshire Derby.

When asked if he hopes his side can use that display of defensive solidity as a boost, Nigel said: "I hope so, heading into the last 17 games of the season.


“We kept our first clean sheet since Stockport [on New Year’s Day] for one reason and one reason only; we didn’t give any silly goals away which we had been doing with too much regularity in the last few weeks.

“We made it very difficult. Notts had some situations and chances in the first-half without a doubt - I didn’t think we played very well in the first-half but in the second-half we were a bit more like it.

“We created chances ourselves and made it much more difficult for them.”

The gaffer, the players, and coaching staff were at Derby’s Willows indoor cricket and five-a-side centre.

“[We’re here for] A bit of indoor cricket and five-a-side also,” said the boss.

“It’s somewhere that we’ve always come over the years.

“We brought the Burton lads a few times and Derby and I think we even came with Sheffield United as well.

“It’s something that they enjoy for a change of scenery, a change of activity but it’s still training.

“One team will be playing five-a-side whilst one team attempts to take on the staff team.

“I don’t hold out too much hope for them [against the staff team]..

“[I want to see] A little bit of team bonding, different skills and no matter what, if you’re good or not, everybody trying their absolute best to try and win.”

On his side’s fitness, Nigel said: “Baily Cargill is the only one who is ill.

“Flinty [Aden Flint] has come down [to Derby] but I’m not sure if he’ll be doing any batting or bowling with his shoulder.

“The injured lads aren’t here: Elliott Hewitt, Callum Johnson and Calum Macdonald and Baily has got this virus that has been going round for the last few weeks.

“I think he was pretty rough yesterday but you just hope with a few days’ rest he might be okay [for Saturday].

“I think [George Maris will be okay following breathing difficulties on Saturday] we’ll see when he’s been bowling a little bit how he is.

“Tom [Whittamore, head physiotherapist] checked him over and said he was okay to train.”

Midfielder Stephen Quinn and Jordan Bowery will be available after serving a one-match suspension.

“It’ll be good to have them back on the bench or back in the squad but the team played very well so we’ll have a good think about it and a chat this week and see the best team to get a result at Forest Green,” he said.

“Bearing in mind, we’ve got a midweek one at home as well on Tuesday [Harrogate] so that will be in our thoughts as well.”

The gaffer went on to assess this weekend’s opposition.

“It wasn’t so long ago that they were the outstanding side under Rob Edwards. They were promoted and I think everybody thought that they would survive.

“Having got relegated, they’ve really struggled this season and find themselves at the wrong end of the table.

“When you look at the squad on paper, they’re still very capable plus with Steve Cotterill going in it gives them the best possible chance [of survival].”


Mansfield Town facing as tough a week as they have left believes boss Nigel Clough
chad.co,uk, By John Lomas, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town head into what boss Nigel Clough believes will be as tough a week as they will face with renewed confidence after Saturday's 1-0 home derby win over Notts County.

A perfectly-timed first win five for the Stags kept them in second place ahead of Saturday's game at bottom side Forest Green Rovers before play-off chasing Harrogate Town arrive on Tuesday followed by a game at mid-table Walsall.

“The next week will be as tough as anything - the two away games against Forest Green and Walsall plus Harrogate at home,” said boss Nigel Clough


“I know it's only nine points at stake but it's going to be a very important time.

“Forest Green have had quite a few changes of coaches and so on this season.

“It doesn't seem that long ago when we played them and they were the outstanding team in League Two, and if there was any team you thought was going to survive it was them.

“Unfortunately they came back down and are struggling at the wrong end again.

“So I think they made the most sensible appointment they could have done in their situation with Steve Cotterill. I think he will improve their chances.

“It is a potential banana skin without a doubt. They were 2-0 up at Colchester on Saturday and it ended 3-3.

“With Steve coming in they will have a sense of optimism they haven't had for a few months that they can stay up.

“Certainly they will be looking for a home win on Saturday, irrespective of the opposition.”

On Tuesday's visitors Harrogate, he added: “I think almost since our victory there they have done extremely well.

“I thought we probably copped for them on a very below-par evening that night and we played extremely well.

“But we know from our past two or three seasons how difficult they are.

“They drew at Stockport on Saturday and are unbeaten on the road in quite some time.

“They signed a couple of good players on deadline day as well, so that will be as tough as anything.”

Baily Cargill is the latest player to catch the virus that has recently hit the camp.

It forced George Maris off with breathing problems last weekend. But Clough is hoping both players will be fit for the weekend.

Stags will also have Jordan Bowery and Stephen Quinn available again after one-game suspensions.


Mansfield Town worry over skipper Aden Flint playing on with injury
chad.co,uk, By John Lomas, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town expect skipper Aden Flint to play on for the rest of the season with his injured shoulder, but know further damage to it could see them lose their giant talisman centre back for the big promotion push.

Flint suffered a painful partial dislocation of his shoulder at AFC Wimbledon two weekends ago but he confounded everyone by bravely strapping up the injury and gritting his teeth to help Stags to a clean sheet in Saturday's 1-0 local derby win over Notts County.

Boss Nigel Clough said: “He walked around the first half of the week in a sling and didn't do anything until Friday morning and it was then just about how much pain he could tolerate on the day.

“But we got him strapped up and out there.


“Fortunately he didn't have any major incident where he fell on it or anything like that.

“The biggest worry was that he tumbled awkwardly.

“He cleared a ball from under his own crossbar in the second half and stayed down for a second and we were a bit concerned. But he said he just needed a breather!”

Clough continued: “He has no sling this week, but I think the pain will be there until the end of the season.

“He should be all right as long as we look after him in training, and we know there is always that chance of a freak incident that he just falls on it.

“We've had it with Anthony Hartigan and Rhys Oates with shoulder injuries and know if you fall on it again then it could be a problem.”


Mansfield Town taking care over match minutes for top scorer Davis Keillor-Dunn
chad.co,uk, By John Lomas, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Davis Keillor-Dunn is on target to net 20 goals this season for Mansfield Town, but boss Nigel Clough said it was impossible to field the energetic hitman every minute of every game.

With 17 huge games to go in the promotion chase and Keillor-Dunn now on 15 goals after his winner against Notts County last weekend, Clough acknowledged how important a role the 26-year-old former Oldham Athletic star will play.

But Clough also wants to avoid any burn-out, saying: “Davis is always liable to get you a goal. But you can't play a player like that every minute of every single game.


“So it's all about picking and choosing and thinking over the last 17 games when he is going to be most effective.

“I think his success is also down to the other players and the opportunities they create for him. The way we play gives him a free role in order to express himself.

“But you saw the individual brilliance he showed on Saturday for the winning goal.

“He has done that on numerous occasions right from the first day at Crewe when he scored a couple and could have had three or four on that day.”


Boss believes revitalised Mansfield Town striker Will Swan is like a new signing
chad.co,uk, By John Lomas, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Revitalised striker Will Swan is like a new signing says Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough.

After a fine season on loan from Nottingham Forest, Swan signed full time in the summer but has endured a difficult campaign so far with injuries, restricted game time, and a single league goal.

However, since he doubled that tally at AFC Wimbledon two weeks ago, Swan has come alive again and a delighted Clough said: “Someone said to me that we have signed Tom Nicols but Will Swan is like two new strikers on deadline day.


“The form he has shown in the last week is more representative of what he showed last season and why we paid money for him in the summer.

“Young players are always going to be hit and miss and you have to be patient with them.

“But his standards in training have never dropped and I think he will play an important role between now and May.

“Scoring a goal at Wimbledon helped him, despite the defeat, but the main thing we look for is maintaining standards in training.

“When he has come on he has not always had the effect and impact we have wanted him to, as he did last season, but the effort has still been there.”


Mansfield Town enjoy cricket bonding day after vital win over Notts County
chad.co,uk, By John Lomas, Tues 6 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough took his promotion-chasing squad for a day of team bonding playing indoor cricket at Derby today (Tuesday) which was a great chance to integrate new signing Tom Nichols.

Two teams of players and a team of staff took on each other in a three team tournament with the other team playing five-a-side next door when not in action.

Striker Nichols signed on Thursday and Clough said: “This is ideal for Tom.


“He has slotted straight in, but it helps when you know the players.

“He has played with Christy Pym and knows Ollie Clarke and Alfie Kilgour as well. I am looking forward to working with him in the next few months.

“After a victory like Saturday the cricket just keeps things bubbling along.

“We needed that win against Notts. We weren't brilliant, especially first half, but our effort, desire and endeavour saw us through with the help of the crowd, and puts us in a good frame of mind towards Forest Green on Saturday.

“The big difference was we didn't give a silly goal away. We went back to the principles of let's not give anything on a plate to the opposition and we got three points and clean sheet.

“With seven players out, and we lost George Maris during the game, it puts that in perspective it was a wonderful result.”

He added: “I think there will be a few nervy ones between now and the end of the season in the last 17 games.

“You win by the odd goal and lose by the odd goal. The three games we have lost this season have all been by the odd goal. Two of them in stoppage time as well - that's how tight the matches are.”