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CLOUGH PREVIEWS HARROGATE GAME,+ NICHOLS INTERVIEW
15th February 2024 22:09


Timely boost for Mansfield Town as star defender Elliott Hewitt set for return from injury nightmare
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 12 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town defensive star Elliott Hewitt could be back in full training this week after a nine month nightmare with a serious knee injury.

The 29-year-old, who can play full back or centre back, suffered an ACL injury when in impressive form last season.

But with Stags eyeing up a top three finish, sat second after Saturday's fine 4-0 win at Forest Green Rovers, Hewitt could be a fine addition for the final push.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Walsall, manager Nigel Clough said: “We are working on some test results for Elliott Hewitt this week and if all goes well he might be back in full contact training by Wednesday.

“It will be great to have him back as we have missed him for nearly nine months now.

“We have just got to be careful to ease him back in gently.

“But it will be great just to have him around again.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/timely-boost-for-mansfield-town-as-star-defender-elliott-hewitt-set-for-return-from-injury-nightmare-4515271

“He has trained with us as a floater in non-contact, but to get him back in full training will be a great boost, then seeing him on matchdays if he is in the 18 as well.

“But Elliott might have to wait for his opportunity for an injury or something to get back involved.

“George Williams might have something to say about that as he has not featured much this season, but has started the last two games and we have kept clean sheets.

"That is the sort of strength you need in the squad and we have had this season.

“Someone like George can come in and play as well as he has done the last two games.”

Clough felt Saturday's bench was one of the strongest he has had since joining the club and said: “It was the challenge after all the injuries we've had in the last couple of years to get a stronger squad in place at the start of the season that could cope if we did lose six or seven players or whatever, and I think generally it's done that very well.

“We still have five out with long term problems, so it is important everyone else steps up and I think we are capable of doing that.

“So when we do make changes like we did on Saturday, leaving players out like Lucas Akins and Stephen Quinn does not weaken us as a side too much.

“The 18 players are very even in terms of their ability.”

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In-form Harrogate Town on revenge mission at Mansfield Town tomorrow
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 12 Feb 2024

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough expects bang-in-form promotion rivals Harrogate Town to be on a revenge mission when they visit the One Call Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday).

Stags secured their first ever win over previous bogey side Harrogate in style when they triumphed 4-1 there in October.

But the Sulphurites have just won four and drawn two of their last five games to edge into the play-off places.

They have also taken 11 out of their last 15 points available from five away games, including a 1-1 draw at leaders Stockport County.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/in-form-harrogate-town-on-revenge-mission-at-mansfield-town-tomorrow-4515192

“They will be a completely different outfit in the run of form they're in at the moment,” said Clough.

“They have got themselves into the play-off positions and will be looking to cement that.

“We have never beaten them at the One Call and they will be very tough opposition for us.

“At their place we started well and got early goals which made it a bit more comfortable.

“But it's a bit like the Notts County one the other week. When you have beaten someone by four goals, they will be looking to do something about it this time around.”

Just five points separate seventh-place Harrogate from 13th-placed Accrington Stanley and Clough added: “You can't rule any of them out and I think it's going to be a very interesting last two or three months of the season with so many teams competing.

“What we we want to try to do is keep clear of the chasing pack as much as we can, and that is going to be the challenge over the next few weeks.”

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Mansfield Town new boy Tom Nicols delighted to get first goal out the way on full debut
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Mon 12 Feb 2024

New Mansfield Town signing Tom Nicols was delighted to score his first goal for the club on his full debut in Saturday's 4-0 win at Forest Green Rovers.

Striker Nicols, who arrived on January Window deadline day on an 18-month deal from Gillingham, said: “It was nice to get a goal early on in my career here. It was also a really good 4-0 win so it's been a good start.

“It was at a good time in the game really as Forest Green were starting to throw bodies forward and get a bit of a foothold in the game.

“We kicked on from there really. It almost broke their hearts and we scored two more and saw it out pretty comfortably in the end.”

The goal was carved out by fellow striker Will Swan and Nicols said: “I was pleased with the goal - it was an instinctive one really.

“Swanny did really well down the side and cut it back to me and I had a good first touch and then put it in the corner.

“It's a good feeling to score your first goal for a club and good to get it out of the way.”

Nicols said there was one clear aim in joining Mansfield.

“I just want to get promoted - that is my number one goal for me and everyone else and I am going to do everything I can to help,” he said.

“I'm here to score as many goals as I can and get this team promoted, so it's a good start.

“We've got a good team here. We've got a lot of really good players. I enjoyed playing with Swanny and Davo (Davis Kiellor-Dunn).

“Swanny scored and set up a goal and Lucas (Akins) came on and set up two goals. Davo won us the game last week so it's been a good couple of weeks for the front players.”

He added: “It has been really good. They are a really welcoming group of lads and a very settled team.

“I know players here already so that helps. I have settled in pretty well.

“It helps that the side are doing well of course and I am here to add to what they've already got.

“They have done really well this season and are high up in the table. Hopefully I can add to that and improve us.

“It is going to bring the best out of me playing with all these good players in a good system.”

On new boss Nigel Clough he said: “He is obviously a really good manager and my game is suited to the way this team play. So he's not had to tell me to do too much.

“The team suits me and I feel I suit the team. It's been quite a good transition.

“He gives you a lot of freedom out there to go and play as long as you work hard - and I always tend to do that.

“And with the side creating so many chances, it allows me to stay higher up the pitch and stay in the box and be on the end of those chances rather than trying to be the one to maybe create them as much.”

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