{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from April 2021

11th April 2021 10:58

Good end to season ‘psychologically important’ - boss
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 8th April 2021

Boss Nigel Clough has challenged his side to ‘finish the season well,’ with just six games remaining in the 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two campaign.

The Stags’ boss says that, as well as ‘getting safe,’ a strong end to the season is ‘psychologically’ important heading into the next term.

Speaking in Thursday morning’s news conference, the manager previewed Friday’s clash with Newport County at One Call Stadium, as well as placing importance on Stags’ ‘home form’ in the season’s run-in.

“All the teams that are up there have adapted and adjusted, and have the capabilities of playing different ways with whatever’s needed,” he began.

“Newport have been building for a few seasons and I think they’re at this stage now where they have a very good chance of going up. They just keep building and knocking on the door.

“I think when we’ve scrapped it out with teams at the bottom, for example Grimsby was a battle, we’re maybe not that sort of team. That’s where we have to be more adaptable, to deal with those sorts of teams.


“But I want us to play and have an identity of our own. Even though we haven’t won in the last few weeks, the pattern of play and the shape, you can see what we’re trying to do.

“We just need someone to grab us a goal and [for the team to make] no daft mistakes. We’ve lost two out of the last eight and they [losses] are both self-inflicted.

“We turn a few of those draws into wins [as well] and we’ll find ourselves at the other end of the table.

“We have played well at home, and I think it’s important to go into the summer playing well at home.

“If you finish the season well, you can’t wait to start the season again on 07 August. It’s important psychologically as well as getting safe.

“We just need to get that win and two draws or whatever might be needed. These draws, as frustrating as they are when we’re trying to win the games, they just keep those points ticking over.”

"I don't study the league table. It frustrates me that we're not in a better position than we are."

Looking back on Monday’s encouraging draw away at play-off hopefuls Exeter City, the manager discussed the strike partnership of Jordan Bowery and Tyrese Sinclair, the first time the pair have led the line for Mansfield this season.

“We just needed to make a few changes to try and solidify things and get that clean sheet, but without sacrificing going forward. I thought we did that.

“We didn’t want to be negative or invite Exeter on. We dealt with their direct play and we looked a threat going forward ourselves.

“I thought they [Jordan Bowery and Tyrese Sinclair] did very well. It was probably Jordan’s best game for a few weeks, as he really put himself about and won his headers.

“He [Bowery] upset the centre-halves, which is something he should do more of with his pace and his strength.

“The contrast with Ty, playing in little pockets as well as running beyond, it was a good partnership.

“He got two yellow cards [given] to defenders for fouls against him. He looked a threat and I thought he had a very, very strong shout for a penalty.”

"We also had a couple at Tranmere where at least we should have got one. "We could do with a little break with athe decisions. I can't remember ... probably Port Vale the last time we had a penalty? We haven't had many"

On Wednesday, it was announced that season ticket holders for the current campaign will receive a free, complimentary 2021/22 third shirt, as a token of thanks for their unwavering support in an unprecedented season. Mark Stevenson said: "I believe it's costing the owners a five figure sum. What a gesture of generosity from the Radfords."

The boss offered his thoughts on the gesture from owners John and Carolyn Radford, adding: “I think it [third shirt gesture] is brilliant. It’s a fitting thank you to the supporters who did buy season tickets in these circumstances.

“It’s great that every season ticket holder is going to have their name on it - it’s something they can keep and look back on.

“It also hopefully hails the start of happier times.”

There was also an injury update from the boss ahead of Friday’s clash with Newport, as well as an update on defender Joe Riley, who has been sidelined since pre-season with an ACL injury.

“Just Oli Sarkic [is unavailable]. Everyone else should be fit, so it’s a fully fit squad apart from that. Everyone seems to have come through the Easter games unscathed.

“He [Riley] has had a little clean out operation of his knee about 10 days ago. That’s cleared up with a simple op and hopefully he’s back on schedule for pre-season, which he’ll be invited back to do.

“But it’s important he gets it right. Whenever we come back in early July, that’s a target for him, but that’s all it is. He has to make sure he gets it right before he starts training.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.


Stags to go 'toe to toe' with promotion-chasing Newport County
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough insists his side will go toe to toe with promotion-chasing Newport County tomorrow (6pm).

Without a win in seven games, the Stags are desperate for points to reach mathematical safety while the Exiles' victory over Bolton on Easter Monday ended a run of three defeats that saw them slide down into the seventh and final play-off spot, though still only four points off the top three with a game in hand.

“We are expecting another game the same as the other top teams we've played - they are tough games,” said Clough.

“But we want to go toe to toe with them as we have with those other top teams in the last few weeks.


“That has been the most encouraging thing. We haven't been outplayed by them.

“We have been beaten by one of them - Cambridge - when we still played pretty well. On our day we think we are a match for the top teams. But we have to play very well and do our jobs.”

The race at the top is certainly hotting up and Clough added: “Newport do have pressure on and the league is so even.

“We are seeing a lot of the top teams drawing at the moment which is down to a bit of pressure as everyone is so desperate to try to get into the play-offs or automatic promotion.

“Morecambe had a chance to get into the automatics the other night but were held to a draw at home by Southend, who are second from bottom. That's how even the league is.

“We have found we have fared just as well against the top teams as we have the bottom.”

History is on Mansfield's side with seven successive home league wins over Newport under their belt.

Stags then get to have a breather after the recent hectic schedule.

“It will be nice to have the eight days after Newport before the last five games,” said Clough.

“Having this weekend off is important but it's important to go into it with a result as well.

“I know we haven't won for a few games but we've only lost the two, both self-inflicted, so we just want to go into the weekend on a good, positive result if we can.

“It's about time we won one, though if we can't win then don't lose.

“We should have turned some of our draws into wins but it's just as important we turn some of our defeats into draws.

“We know from the levels of performance when we've played the top teams that we're not a million miles away from them.”

Stags comfortably held Exeter 0-0 away from home on Monday and Clough added: “It was similar to draws we've had recently - a good performance and good point and we probably could and should have won. “We had enough chances throughout the game.”


Mansfield Town seeking older players to help young talent blossom
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

With promising young talent coming through the ranks, Mansfield Town's summer recruitment will focus on bringing in experience.

Stags have seen full league debuts and outings for Jason Law and Tyrese Sinclair in recent weeks and boss Nigel Clough said: “What it highlights is we have got some good young players coming through at the club generally.

“But I think looking forward at targets for next season we need some good, solid, experienced players.

“I think when you look through the league at the moment the best players are the experienced ones - the Hoolahans, your Mullins. At Tranmere I think Clarke, the centre half, is 39.


“Even in our own ranks I would say that (James) Perch and (Stephen) Quinn have been our two most consistent players.

“It is absolutely vital to get that nucleus of good, solid experienced professionals. That's what all the best teams in this league have got and that's what we will be trying to achieve in our recruitment in the summer.”

Sinclair made a lively full EFL debut at Exeter and now waits to see if he did enough to retain his place against Newport tomorrow.

“It went well,” said Clough. “We wanted a bit of pace and something a bit different and Tyrese ran a little bit beyond, causing problems, and also came off and got into little pockets.

“I thought for his first start it was very encouraging.

“We are not yet safe and we are still fighting relegation it's still very important we give the young lads a chance as well and try to get them some game time for next season.

“Jason Law's had a good run. Now Tyrese has made his full debut and it will stand them in good stead for next season.

“You never know, whether he stays in against Newport we will see. But I think it's given him a lot of confidence just getting that first start , playing well and doing 80-odd minutes.

“He had showed glimpses coming on, sometimes good and sometimes not so good, but young players are like that.”


Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham about Jimmy Knowles, Thursday 8th April 2021:
"We had a good chat in January about whether to bring him back or not, and we thought it was best for his development to leave him at Notts County.
"We're looking forward to seeing him in pre-season. All the young players will come back in pre-season and we'll assess things from there. Let's see if he's grown, got a bit stronger playing Conference football, and we'll assess him over the 5 weeks and see is he going to be part of the first team squad or go back out on loan."


Stags to decide on young striker's future in pre-season
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is delighted to see new Notts County boss Ian Birchnall playing on-loan striker Jimmy Knowles and being rewarded with a hat-trick from the youngster last weekend.

But Clough said plans for Knowles next season will be formulated on what they see from the 19-year-old in pre-season.

“We were in touch with the old manager, Neal Ardley, and Greg Abbott, and I have spoken to the new manager since he's come in,” said Clough.

“It's great that Jimmy's got on and he's playing and he scored a hat-trick which will do wonders for his confidence.


“We had a good chat in January about whether we thought it was right to bring him back or not but we honestly thought for his development it was best to leave him there.

“They said he would get some game time, he is getting that and we are looking forward to seeing him pre-season.”

Clough continued: “Everybody will come back pre-season, all the young players, everyone will be together and we will assess things from there.

“We can go and watch him in the Conference when he comes on but pre-season is the one. Let's see if he's grown, got stronger, playing confidence football.

“Then we will assess him over the five weeks and see if he's going to be part of the first team squad or does he need to go back out on loan. We will see what the best path is for him from there.”


Setback, but Stags hoping Joe Riley can recover to stake a claim
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

Despite a setback in his rehabilitation, Mansfield Town are hoping long term injury victim Joe Riley can still recover in time to push for a place next season.

Riley suffered a serious knee injury when he damaged anterior cruciate ligaments in pre-season training in August 2020 and has yet to have a chance to impress new manager Nigel Clough.

“Joe is doing okay but he's had a little setback and he's had an operation to clean out his knee a week or so ago,” said Clough.

“He was back in this morning for the first time in a week or 10 days and it feels much better.


“Hopefully he will be available to come and do some pre-season with us and we will see how he goes over the summer.”

Clough admitted: “He is not a player I know an awful lot about. I just know a bit of his history.

“But he will be invited back to do pre-season with us if he wishes.

“I hope he gets fit and his knee is up to it. He got a pretty bad injury, so one thing he mustn't do is rush back.

“Even if he misses the first couple of weeks of pre-season he must make sure his knee is right before he starts training.”


Enquiries begin as Nigel Clough plots his Stags squad for next season
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

Mansfield Town's early summer transfer enquiries have been promising but boss Nigel Clough said he expected he would have to stay patient for it all to come together.

“In an ideal world you would like everyone in for the first day of pre-season,” said Clough as Stags prepared to enter the final month of the season at home to Newport tonight.

“Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that and you've got this balancing act of how long do you wait for your number one targets?

“I have four or five prime targets and we work backwards from there. It's how long you wait. Is it realistic you're going to get them?


“It's always difficult, especially if one or two are loans as clubs tend to hang onto them to use them through pre-season.”

He added; “We will get as much as we can done early. But I think we will have to patient with two or three as well.

“We have made an enquiry and we have identified the people that we'd like. Whether we get them or not for whatever reason though is a different matter.”

However, he warned: “We are still conscious we are not safe and as much as we are talking about this and what we are trying to do, all our concentration is on the next few games to try to get a win or two to make sure we are safe.”


Time we were awarded a penalty says Mansfield Town boss
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 8th April 2021

Mansfield Town are well overdue a penalty decision going in their favour, believes boss Nigel Clough.

Youngster Tyrese Sinclair clearly looked to be bowled over in the box in Monday's 0-0 draw at Exeter City, but man in the middle Carl Brook was unimpressed.

“One thing we are rueing a little bit is that in the last two away games we have had, I think, three good shouts for penalties - a couple of Tranmere and a good one on Tyrese (Sinclair) at Exeter,” said Clough ahead of tonight's visit of Newport County.

“We are not getting a break that way and we could do with a decision going for us at times.


“We do feel there has been an element of us not getting the rub of the green in both penalty areas.

“You do need a bit of luck and a break and sometimes it is a decision rather than the ball dropping at somebody's feet.

“We've not had too many penalties since we have been here.”

However, he admitted: “We don't get the ball in the box enough to feet - that's certainly one of the reasons.”


Nigel Clough to John Lomas, welcoming him back from one year on furlough and asking him what position he plays!:
"if you're a full back and don't make daft back-passes, we'll have you!"


Boss Michael Flynn mulls over Newport changes for Mansfield
By Chris Kirwan argussport

NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn isn't ruling out starting Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou together in a back four at Mansfield tomorrow evening.

The Exiles head to Field Mill in League Two hunting a victory that would lift them to fifth in the table, a point off the automatic promotion spots.

County ended a three-game losing streak on Monday when they beat Bolton Wanderers thanks to a goal by Nicky Maynard, who cannot play against his parent club this weekend.

They protected that lead despite playing with a makeshift back four with Dolan joined in central defence by Scot Bennett, who dropped back from midfield after Priestley Farquharson rolled an ankle.

Flynn had made a tactical change at half-time when he withdrew David Longe-King, who had been playing on the left side of a three in place of the suspended Demetriou.

The veteran returns from his one-game ban for a dismissal at Barrow and his boss would have no qualms about pairing him with fellow left-footer Dolan, insisting the duo are limited to playing in a back three.

"It's quite strange, if there were two right-footers playing centre-back then nobody would say anything," said Flynn.

"Just because most people are right-sided it looks weird with two lefties. If we think it's the right team to play, that's what we will be playing."

Dolan has been County's star of the season since moving from midfield to the heart of a defensive three.

Against a strong Bolton team, the 28-year-old showed that he can also play in a flat four.

"He played there last season against Brighton in the EFL Trophy and I knew that he could do it because he reads the game so well," said Flynn.

"There was less pressure on that game than where we are at now but he can play there.

"The only thing you worry about with 'Benno' and Matty there is getting exposed by pace but the way they read the game gives them a couple of extra yards."


Flynn has given little away in terms of team news, mindful that he gave snippets ahead of Barrow last week before training, when wing-back Ryan Haynes and Farquharson were then not deemed fit enough.

Farquharson returned against Bolton only to roll his ankle in the second half while Haynes hasn't featured since the win at Colchester on March 6.

"I thought that he was ready for Monday but he wasn't quite feeling right. It's a bit frustrating," said Flynn.

County will announce their team at 5pm with Flynn ignoring those who are baffled by recent absence of Luke Gambin.

"I think you read too much Twitter and social media because there is nobody scrutinising my team selection here," said Flynn.

"Obviously players are disappointed when they are not playing or not involved, that's normal.

"But don't get sucked into the trolls who have an opinion on everything and criticise the players who have been selected before a game."



Latest | April 2021