Boss Nigel Clough has challenged his players to ‘pick up where they left off’ in tomorrow’s match against Bolton Wanderers, with the Stags aiming for six successive wins in Sky Bet League Two.
The amber and blue have endured an enforced break ahead of Tuesday’s clash at One Call Stadium, with their last two matches – Bolton at home and Walsall away – being postponed due to frozen and waterlogged pitches, respectively.
The manager, speaking ahead of the rearranged match with Ian Evatt’s side, wants to see his men continue to create chances, as they have done so well in the recent run of victories.
“Bolton deserved it [beating Leyton Orient on Saturday]. They created the better chances and the better opportunities throughout the game,” he told iFollow Stags.
“I think they’ll come with a bit more confidence than last week. They have a good selection of players that have played at a higher level. They have quality all over the pitch.
“The game will be about us trying to pick it up again – I didn’t think we were brilliant at Southend, but that’s the only time we’ve played in about two or three weeks now, which is the only concern.
“If we can pick it up where we left off, we want to keep winning and want to keep creating chances. But that’s more difficult when you have these enforced gaps.”
Speaking on the morning of deadline day of the January transfer window, the boss spoke of any potential activity that could occur before the 11pm deadline.
“I think there could be two or three coming in, and maybe a similar number going out,” he added. “There might be one going out later in the week – Aaron O’Driscoll has a chance of going out into the Conference on loan.
“There are a couple of lads in a similar situation. We have everybody fit, so it’s so difficult to get people in [the team].
“We have a settled 12 or 13 outfield players at the moment, and it’s difficult for players to break into that.
“Some lads are happy – not in the wrong way – to stay and take their chances. If there are a couple of knocks and they get their opportunity, they can take their chance. But we understand fully if players come to us and want the chance of starting.
“I think ideally [we want to strengthen the forward positions]. I think if a defender goes out we might try to get another in as cover.
“But forward positions mainly, having lost Cooky. One area we’re very happy with is central midfield.
“We play with a three in there and to have those four that we have - Stephen Quinn, George Lapslie, George Maris, and Ollie Clarke – I think we’re delighted with those four.”
The Stags were set to face Walsall away on Saturday, but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
With Mansfield in such fine form in Sky Bet League Two, the boss says the recent postponements are ‘frustrating.’
“I think to have two games cancelled on the spin is very frustrating – especially when you’re in a good run of form and have everyone fit.
“Sometimes they [postponements] can be good timing and you can use them to get people out of the treatment room, but we didn’t need that.
“We have everybody fit and we’re playing well. We’re winning games and want to play every week.
“But we did see photos of Walsall’s pitch and we do understand that with the water on the pitch, there was no way that we could play. Sometimes the weather just defeats you.
“Darrell Clarke [Walsall manager] gave us an early heads up on the Saturday morning, so we were able to schedule a training session for that morning.
“It was important, as we hadn’t done too much after the cancellation on Tuesday [Bolton] – we had a good session on Wednesday but then you’re preparing for Saturday, so you don’t do much on the Friday.”
The boss also discussed striker Andy Cook’s recent loan move to Bradford City, adding: “Andy [Cook] wanted to have a go at starting, and really it was a case of Jordan Bowery, Jamie Reid and Harry Charsley having played so well.
“It was going to be difficult for people to come in and start. Cooky wanted to play some football and we can perfectly understand that.
“Cooky has done well for us since the time that we’ve come in, and he has an opportunity there [Bradford] and we wish him all the best.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Bolton Wanderers, Nigel Clough revealed that skipper Ollie Clarke is available for the game.
“Ollie [Clarke] is available – he had a really good training session on Saturday with the rest of the lads.
“So he’ll certainly be back in the [matchday] 18 [for the Bolton game].”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.