Manager Nigel Clough says the ‘potential’ of what the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup could bring to Mansfield Town should be the ‘incentive’ for his players against Cheltenham Town this weekend.
The Stags saw off Sunderland and Dagenham & Redbridge in the earlier rounds of the competition, and head into Sunday’s match against the Robins following three successive league victories.
Despite the amber and blue’s excellent recent form, the boss warned his side of complacency against a strong Cheltenham outfit who currently sit fourth in Sky Bet League Two.
“If it was a league game, you’d be right in saying we are the form side going into the game. But cup games throw up anything,” he told iFollow Stags.
“It will be a different sort of game with no points at stake. There is just a very important place in the fourth round.
“We won’t be mixing the team, we’ll be putting out the strongest team that we can. We’ll do everything we can to get through.
“It’s good to go into the game confident, but we won’t be over-confident. There will certainly be no complacency, as we know how tough it’s going to be.
“When good teams are having a bit of a dip, you know it’s only going to be temporary, so we’ll hope that we’re not on the end of the start of their resurgence.
“I wish we’d been drawn at home. The incentive is the potential of what it [Fourth Round] could bring for either one of the sides.”
Earlier this week it was revealed that the EFL have introduced bi-weekly coronavirus testing for clubs in the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
The latest round of testing at Mansfield Town produced one positive test from 37, attacking midfielder Tyrese Sinclair. The boss added: “I think it [one positive test] is testament to how seriously everyone is taking the protocols and staying safe.
“It’s the emphasis that we keep putting on the players – stay safe, follow the protocols and don’t put anyone at risk.
“To have one positive test – and he [Tyrese Sinclair] is asymptomatic – I think it’s brilliant news for the club.
“We’re on different protocols now [at The RH Academy] in terms of the players can’t come into the changing rooms, they arrive in their kit, and wherever possible they go home in their kit.
“We’re following the rules as strictly as we can. It’s very important we do that. They don’t sit together in the canteen, and take their food away.
“I think it [bi-weekly testing] is very welcome for everybody. We’re seeing the outbreaks at the highest level in the Premier League, and you can imagine the resources that they have, yet they still can’t stop it.
“So we need to know if there is anything serious within our building, and the only way to do that is by testing. We will totally remind the players to do everything they can to stay safe.”
Nigel Clough also reflected on his side’s excellent performance on Tuesday evening, with the Stags securing a 2-1 win at home to Salford City ahead of Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup fixture.
“It was a brilliant three points – apart from the last three minutes of the game, where they scored from a corner then had a chance in the last minute.
“I don’t think we did anything wrong in the rest of the game, it was an all-round, good team performance.
“It was probably reflected in the fact that we couldn’t really name a man of the match afterwards, because everyone was so good.
“It was great in the dressing room afterwards to see the subs as pleased as the lads who played. They understood that we couldn’t put a sub on – they understand and it’s great that they get that.”
The manager says that the currently injured duo of wing-back Kellan Gordon and striker Nicky Maynard will be assessed over the weekend ahead of the trip to Cheltenham.
“Kellan [Gordon] and Nicky [Maynard], not much change really. They’re both coming on, but whether they will be available or not for Sunday, we’re not sure.
“We’ll assess them on Saturday in training to see whether we’ll take them with us [to Cheltenham] or not.
“If not, we would hope that they will be in contention for the Oldham game.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Nigel Clough’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.