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Archived News from April 2021

17th April 2021 23:59

Let’s take care of safety ourselves - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough says his side need to ‘look after’ achieving Sky Bet League Two safety themselves in their remaining five fixtures of the season.

If results go Mansfield’s way, the amber and blue could earn their Sky Bet League Two status for the 2021/22 campaign by the end of Tuesday’s fixture at home to Scunthorpe United.

Before then, the Stags will travel to Stevenage on Saturday, a side that have shown a resurgence after evading relegation last term.

The boss looked ahead to Saturday’s game, whilst also identifying what is required from his charges in this season’s remaining matches.

“I think they [Stevenage] have really taken the lifeline that was given to them last season - it was probably a wake-up call for them,” Nigel Clough told iFollow Stags.

“They’ve stayed in the league and gone on this 12-game unbeaten run, which in League Two is a brilliant run to go on.


“Alex Revell [Stevenage manager] will be looking forward to building for next season, as they’re safe. They’ve had this great run and they’re a very well-organised, solid League Two side now.

“I don’t see them making too many mistakes - we’ve made too many mistakes and that’s the reason we’re not safe.

“It’s good for the players to understand that as we know how close we are. Nobody goes onto the pitch to make mistakes, but cut those out, and we’d be halfway up the league this season.

“There’s a good mood [in the camp] despite not winning [recently], but we haven’t lost too many. Defeats are what really kills the atmosphere and confidence around a football club.

“The players realise that, without those mistakes, we’d be in a much healthier position.

“A couple of positive results [and we can be safe]. We don’t look at too many other results, but if they do go our way, we could be safe with three games to go.

“I don’t want to get down to the last two or three games and watching just in case someone comes up with a freak run of results. Let’s look after it ourselves in the next two games.”

The manager has been pleased to have an extended period on the training ground with his players, with an eight-day gap between the 1-1 draw with Newport last time out, and the upcoming clash with Stevenage.

“With the weather as well, we’ve had a good couple of days training,” he added. “To be able to practice some shooting and crossing, when you play Saturday-Tuesday, you get so little time.

“It’s a light session on the Monday, recovery on the Wednesday and Friday is another light session preparing for Saturday.

“You don’t get time to work on an awful lot, it’s just recovery and preparation. So having this eight days [without a match] has been good.

“Especially with the weather as well, as you can spend a little bit longer outside and the lads can do the preparation and warm-up outside, so we’re feeling good.

“We have everyone fit apart from Joe Riley, so there’s no one in the treatment room. Oli Sarkic is back at Blackpool doing his rehab, so Tom [Whittamore] the physio is having a pretty quiet time of it!

“Going into the last five games, to have a fully fit squad to choose from, is good news.”

The boss also discussed the recent inclusion of young forward Tyrese Sinclair, who was handed his full debut at Exeter City, and scored in Friday’s clash with Newport at One Call Stadium.

“It [Newport game] was [of] a similar fashion to how we’ve reflected on a lot of results this season,” explained the boss.

“We went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the league, went behind to an individual error, then came back into the game with a very good goal from Tyrese Sinclair.

“We thoroughly deserved the point and it was a game that on another night we could’ve won.

“[With] Oliver Sarkic getting injured, he [Sinclair] is up in the pecking order a little bit.

“It was important for him to back up his performance against Exeter. Sometimes, when you give a young player their debut, you put him in for one [game] then take him back out again.

“But we just felt as though he did so well at Exeter, then to make his home debut four or five days later, if we left him out it would’ve dented his confidence.

“He justified his inclusion again as he played well and he got his goal.”

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


Tyrese Sinclair joy reminds Stags boss of his first senior goal
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Nigel Clough knows the relief and joy that Mansfield Town youngster Tyrese Sinclair will have felt at scoring his first senior goal last weekend as he can still remember his own magic moment.

In only his second start, Sinclair grabbed a crucial late equaliser against Newport in last week's 1-1 draw and the celebrations brought back warm memories for the Stags manager.

“It's brilliant to get that first goal,” said Clough.

“What you don't want is to go is five, six, seven, eight, nine, however many, games before you get one.


“If you can get one in the first couple of starts like he has done, that's brilliant.”

Clough vividly remembers his maiden goal and how dad Brian, Forest boss at the time, kept his feet on the floor afterwards.

“My first goal was after 10 games, that's how I know about it dragging on,” he smiled.

“We drew 1-1 at home to Watford at the City Ground and that was an equaliser as well.

“I felt relief as much as anything and joy that we'd got a point out of the game.

“When I got in the dressing room after the game I was obviously a bit excited.

“The goal had come from a corner where Paul Hart had flicked it on at the near post and the manager at Forest at the time told me I should give half my wages to Paul Hart for making the goal!”

Sinclair's joy at scoring his first goal last weekend was certainly shared by the rest of the squad.

“All the other players were so pleased for him as well. You could sense that in the dressing room,” he said.

“We had Jason Law come into the first team and get his first goal a few weeks ago and now Tyrese doing the same, they will all remember it as do your James Perchs, your Stephen Quinns, your Jordan Bowerys.

“The experienced players remember what it feels like when you do get that first goal. It resonates with them and that's why they are so pleased for him.

“Tyrese has had a spring in his step for the last 10 days since he made his debut at Exeter.

“He will still be disappointed he missed the penalty against Port Vale late on a few weeks back.

“But he scored his first goal in such important circumstances last week.

“It doesn't matter if you're 4-0 up and you miss a penalty. It matters when you're 1-0 down and you get an equaliser.

“It was a good goal as well. He closed their lad down so quickly, he didn't have time to clear it, and then it was a great finish.”


Nigel Clough told Notts TV:
"We want to have a look at James Clarke, we want to have a look at Jaden Charles, and that's still the plan before the end of the season."

Nigel Clough told John Lomas of the CHAD:
"The goalkeeping department will be part of our recruitment in the summer."


Stags boss to give younger players more time to develop
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Nigel Clough said young players at Mansfield Town would be given an extra year or as much time as felt needed if they believed they would blossom into first team talent.

The Stags boss has spoken of his joy seeing Jason Law, 21, and Tyrese Sinclair, 20, finally make full EFL first team debuts in recent weeks at a later age than some might expect.

He is now hoping for mathematical safety to be achieved as soon as possible so more can be given an opportunity.

“Having young players coming through is an important part of any club and you have to give them time,” said Clough.


“Jason Law is a great example. He is 21 but he's been here a long time and been out on loan and everything. You have to give them that time.

“They all develop at different times. At Derby Mason Bennett was in the first team at 15.

“Then we had Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick who were 18 and it was touch and go whether we were going to give them pro contracts at one stage.

“It was a case of giving them another year and seeing how they integrated with the first team.

“Our philosophy is we'll always give them that extra year if we can. Just that extra time to see if they can develop.”

Clough continued: “When you are a young player coming on for the last 10-15 minutes or not getting on you are desperate to play.

“It's good we have finally got Tyrese on for a couple of starts and we're looking to get more in as well.

“That's been one of the frustrating things. We would have hoped to have been safe by now. Bar the late goals and mistakes we would have been.

“That would have given us the opportunity to get or two more involved in games. We want to have a look at James Clarke, we want have a look at Jaden Charles we've signed.”


Mansfield Town in market for new goalkeeper this summer
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Mansfield Town could be in the market for a new goalkeeper next season.

And manager Nigel Clough believes Bradford City may move for on-loan striker Andy Cook.

Neither Marek Stech nor Aidan Stone have convincingly made the keeper's shirt their own this season and Clough said: “Looking at the goalkeeping department will certainly be part of our recruitment.”

On interest from elsewhere in his own players, he added: “We have had no enquires here.


“I think everyone is waiting to get the season out of the way. Then we will take it from there.

“Andy Cook has done well at Bradford and they may well be interested in him.”

Stags also have Nicky Maynard on loan at Newport County who would appear surplus to requirements at the One Call Stadium.


Rivals’ fine wins no shock to boss Nigel Clough as Mansfield Town sink to fourth from bottom
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Mansfield Town dropped to fourth from bottom in League Two as rivals Barrow and Walsall picked up excellent wins last night - but the results were no surprise to Stags boss Nigel Clough.

Stags are still nine points clear of the drop zone with five to play ahead of Saturday's trip to Stevenage.

But Barrow's 2-1 win over play-off chasing Exeter City and Walsall's 1-0 win over high-flying Tranmere raised anxiety levels among some Stags fans.

“That's the stage of the season we're at,” said Clough “We talk about the equality in this league, bottom beating top or whatever.


“I think the only team consistent in this league is us - we get draws! Everything else is up for grabs.

“Exeter get an unbelievable result at Cambridge then go and lose at Barrow. It probably sums the league up. There is nothing to be frightened of in this league.”

“That's why we just want to get safe and avoid this freakish run of results that can happen in football where Grimsby or Southend might just win three out of four or four out of five.

“We just want to make sure that doesn't matter in case they do.

“We want to stay up and then we all start the same next season. That's been the game all along - staying in the league.”

Clough has been chasing a safety target of 50 points and Stags need just four more, but have failed to win any of their last eight games.

“It might well be that 46 enough, but we want to reach that 50 mark,” he said.

“We want to get as many points on the board as we can.

“We always think it's important to try to finish well. Players and supporters go into the summer break in good heart.

“But with this season being such a strange and unusual one I think it will matter less.

“I think it's a season where a lot people will say let's completely put it behind us and completely start afresh in July when we come back.”


No frills Stevenage will be tough nut for Stags to crack
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Mansfield Town will need to see off a solid, no frills Stevenage side, proving grateful for their EFL reprieve, if they want to end a run of eight games without a win at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday.

Despite a nine point cushion, Stags are still not safe from being dragged into the relegation dogfight at the last minute.

And they face a Stevenage side whose proud place in mid-table and recent 12-game unbeaten run show how they have taken full advantage of their relegation reprieve last season when now liquidated Macclesfield Town were given a points deduction for financial misconduct.

Last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Salford City halted that unbeaten run, but Mansfield manager Nigel Clough said: “Stevenage don't make mistakes like we do and are probably as organised and solid as any team in the league, hence their unbeaten run of that length of games.


“You can't have that run if you are making errors. They are just a very organised, solid team - nothing fancy, nothing special.

“To be saved last year as they were, to being halfway up the league, it's been a great turnaround for them.

“They have no frills. They are just good, experienced League Two players who are confident in what they are doing.”

Clough added: “I think they've really appreciated the second chance they got.

“There were quotes at the end of last season when they did escape that 'we don't want to be in this position again'. They have gone on from that this season and had that 12 game unbeaten run.

“Barrow have also shown that spirit and fight, and one or two other teams down there. We are not losing too many games either That's what gets you out of it - character.”

Individual errors continue to cost Mansfield vital points and to come away from Stevenage with any reward, Clough said “We need to avoid making mistakes first and foremost, which might give us a chance, and then someone put in a goal for us. A decision or a bounce of the ball might help.

“We are playing as well as anybody. I know we haven't won for a good few weeks, but you look at the games we could have won in that run - even the two defeats were from mistakes. We just need to concentrate on both penalty areas.

“Getting these mistakes out of the way is part of our development this season.

“They have to learn from them. We can't have this leeway next season if we're going to challenge.

“We could have beaten Newport last week but the performance was once again punctuated by an individual error which possibly cost us the chance of three points.

“But when you are 1-0 down with 15 minutes to go against such a good side, who are know for being tight and difficult to break down when they do go 1-0 ahead, I thought we responded very well.”

Clough knows that another defeat on Saturday combined with more success for their improving rivals around them could pile on the pressure for Tuesday's visit of Scunthorpe United.

“We don't want it to get to that stage,” he said. “The other teams, Southend and Grimsby have tough games as well.

“But we don't want to be looking at them too much. We want to be doing it on our own.

“If we get two positive results Saturday/Tuesday it could see us safe. That is the aim.”

Clough said a rare blank week between games has been a big boost this week.

“It's been lovely doing a bit of crossing and shooting and some finishing which, literally, when you're playing you don't get time for,” he said.

“It's been a welcome boost, though we are back to Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday next week and we must make sure we are on it those three games.

“It's been a mental grind, not being able to get a couple of days break, take a step back and a deep breath and recover from those games.

“We had nine consecutive Tuesday games and it's good we have only lost the two.”

Stevenage keeper Jamie Cumming, who kept four clean sheets from six games in March, an unbeaten month for Alex Revell's men, has been nominated for EFL Player of the Month.


Nigel Clough shocked at Forest Green sacking
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Wednesday 14th April 2021

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough admitted he was shocked to see Mark Cooper sacked this week from League Two rivals and promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers.

Stags held Rovers 0-0 at the One Call Stadium on 23rd March and six games without a win and four consecutive defeats have seen the Gloucestershire club slide from fighting for the title to clinging on to the seventh and final play-off place.

That was enough for Rovers chairman Dale Vince to bring down the axe after almost five years at the club for Cooper, who had led them to promotion to the EFL at the end of his first season with them.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Clough of Cooper's departure.


“ I had a quick chat with him and Richard Dryden, his assistant, when they played at our place a few weeks ago and I think they intimated that if they didn't go up this season then they would probably make a change, though I don't necessarily understand why.

“I know they are desperate to get promoted. But to possibly change your philosophy for what has made them successful for the last four or five years? We'll have to wait and see they are doing.”

Clough continued: “I think they have done an unbelievable job over that time, year after year promotion contenders. It was only a matter of time. I would have stuck with them.

“I don't know whether it's because it's a shortened season or the circumstances, but the trend seems to be, like at Portsmouth, we are in the play-offs or challenging for automatic, but we'll get rid of someone in the hope that we can get some sort of reaction - to do what I don't know?

“There are two or three teams who have done that in the last few weeks when they are in the play-offs. Someone will have to explain that to me.”


Stags rally call by skipper
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 13th April 2021

Mansfield Town skipper Ollie Clarke said Stags aim to end the season with all guns blazing as they look to end a run of eight games without victory at Stevenage on Saturday (12.30pm).

Friday's 1-1 home draw with promotion-chasing Newport County saw frustration grow for Mansfield as they try to find the elusive victory that may all but end worries of being dragged into a relegation battle.

But, even if that win came on Saturday, Clarke assured fans no one would be taking their foot off the gas.

“We won’t rest until we’re mathematically safe,” he said. “But we don’t just want to win one game between now and the end of the season - we’ll look to get as many points on the board as possible in these final five games.


“The aim is to get mathematically safe as soon as possible so we’ll be going out to win every game.

“You look at the remaining games, and they are all winnable fixtures. For us, it’s a case of turning up and performing on the day.”

Clarke continued: “The way the gaffer sets us up, he never sets us up to go out and draw.

“We’re well within games, creating chances. We need that bit of ruthlessness in both boxes to get ourselves ahead in matches and not concede any at the other end.

“The gaffer has increased standards massively (since arriving as manager).

“We’ve turned it around from where we were, struggling quite badly beforehand.

“The way he sets us up and has the players fighting stands us well for the future.”

On the season in general, he said: “We could have done better overall.

“We know in ourselves we’ve let ourselves down on a couple of occasions. But our current form shows you we’re digging in and showing great character in matches, getting points in games where we’ve been behind and hanging on in others.

“These qualities are telling and have contributed to the points tally which will hopefully prove worthy at the end of the season as part of our ambition to secure safety.

“We’ll look to finish the season as strongly as possible.”

Kick-off for Saturday’s game has beeen brought forward to 12.30 to avoid clashing with the 3pm funeral of Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip.

Stags then host Scunthorpe United on Tuesday (7pm).



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