As the Stags reached the halfway point of their Sky Bet League Two campaign with their win over Oldham on Wednesday night, boss Nigel Clough spoke of the remarkable recent progress that his side have made - and his targets for the second half of the season - in Friday morning’s news conference.
Since the boss’ first league game in charge of the amber and blue, no side have amassed more points in Sky Bet League Two than the Stags, who have also won their last four matches in the division.
Nigel Clough says this type of form is ‘testament’ to how the players have worked under his leadership.
“We’re halfway through the season exactly in terms of league games, and we’ve got ourselves into the top half of the league table,” he told iFollow Stags.
“Let’s just have a think about what we want to do in the next three months now. It [upturn in form] is testament to how the players have reacted and taken things on board.
“We’re making better decisions on the pitch, and as each game goes by, you can see things gradually getting through to the players.
“Without the two daft goals we conceded the other night [against Oldham], we do win that game more comfortably.
“It [form] highlights the players and the potential that we’ve got here, and if we can add two or three [players] to them, that will only help in the second half of the season.
“I think it’s been a brilliant turnaround by the lads and by the staff who have come in and lifted them, so they can achieve those things.
“It [rising up the table] puts pressure in other areas, as people are thinking ‘can we challenge the top seven?’ – which has always been the intention, if we can do that.
“I don’t think we’ve done it fully yet, but when you take that prospect of relegation away, hopefully people can relax and play with a bit more freedom.
“I think we’ve seen that in the last two or three league games, and hopefully that will continue in the second half of the season.
“Let’s get to a position where we are safe as soon as we can, and see where we can go from there.”
The Stags were set to continue their Sky Bet League Two campaign at home to league leaders Carlisle United on Saturday, but the game was postponed due to the Blues informing the EFL that they would be unable to fulfil their next three fixtures due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Despite being disappointed that the game will not go ahead, Nigel Clough and his staff plan to use the weekend productively.
“We would’ve certainly liked the game [to be] on, without a doubt,” added the boss. When you’re on the run that we are at the moment in the league, then you want to play every few days.
“We’re disappointed in lots of ways that the game isn’t on, but it’s understandable with the situation.
“The weather would’ve caused us problems with getting the game on, but we would have done everything in our power to get it on.
“The only upside is that it gives us a few days to get Ollie Clarke and James Perch, and one or two others, back to full fitness. Especially those who are carrying knocks after the last couple of games.
“We’ll have to go on the all-weather [pitch to train] – we’re still going to have a very good session in light of the [Carlisle] game being off.
“Then we’ll have a few days rest before getting ready for the [Southend] game a week on Saturday. It’s not a bad thing to be able to step back and recharge your batteries, physically and mentally.
“I’m actually going to attend Stockport versus Notts County to see Jimmy Knowles, because we’ve not seen him yet. It gives me a chance to see him, because obviously we have a recall [option] on him if we wish.
“All of the other staff will be out watching any opposition that we might have in the next few weeks, or potential targets.”
The manager also touched on any potential incomings, one of which he says is ‘pretty close.’
“We’ve made a couple of offers for loans. One is hopefully pretty close and should get done after the weekend.
“We’ll pursue others over the weekend and at the start of next week. We’re never keen on speculating or talking until the player has actually signed.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the boss’ interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.