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Stags' run has come from training ground - defender

11 December 2021

Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin says that the team’s recent run of incredible form has come as a result of weeks of hard work on the training ground.

McLaughlin scored Mansfield’s winning goal in their well-battled 2-1 victory over Salford City at One Call Stadium. 

The defender’s goal secured Mansfield’s ninth win from ten games in all competitions as the Stags tightened their grip on a top half league position in Sky Bet League Two. 

The 31-year-old credited Mansfield’s effective training regime as well as key players returning from injury as the core components to their scintillating form. 

When asked what gives the team their confidence, McLaughlin said: “Training. Training every day. It’s the best I’ve been involved with.  

“The intensity, the passing and moving, the talking to each other. It’s a real tight group.  

“The information that we’re getting from the coaches and the gaffer, it’s simple information but effective. [We] just do as we’re asked and this is why we’re on this run right now. 

“We’ve all said ‘once we get our players back and we can field the same eleven week in week out [we’re] going to take off’ and that’s the way it’s gone. It’s been no surprise to be quite honest. 

“We always believed that this was going to happen. Right now we’re on a high.  

“Things are turning [for us] and when we’re getting chances [which] we’re putting them away which is good.” 

Mansfield’s improvement in form has coincided with McLaughlin’s recent upturn in goalscoring form. 

The high-energy full-back scored for the second time in a week, having notched against Carlisle United on Tuesday.  

The Irishman’s winning goal over Salford came via a well-constructed free-kick routine. The defender clipped a shot over the wall and into the bottom corner whilst the Salford defence expected a crossed delivery. 

“It’s about time for myself,” he said. “It’s taken me until Christmas to get a goal. 

“It’s two goals back to back and six points as well. [I’m] really happy on a personal level. 

“Initially I was crossing it because the big lads had come up, Faz [Farrend Rawson] and that. I had just noticed where the ‘keeper was stood, and I just thought if I just get this round here there’s no way he’s getting across [to save it]. 

“I just believed in myself and hit it hard and thankfully it’s gone in.” 

Mansfield face a tough test in their next match as they travel 134 miles south to face league leaders Forest Green Rovers. 

“Every game’s a challenge,” he said. “They’re top of the table and [are] flying. 

“They had a 5-5 today so obviously [they’re] scoring for fun, but we enjoy it.  

“Today was a big game for us. We’ll go on to Forest Green [with] a full clear week ahead and we’ll go there expecting to win. That’s what we want whenever we step out [onto the pitch], we want to win games. 

“Luck is on our side now and we’ve just got to keep riding it.” 

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