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Interviews

Don’t let recent standards drop - boss

31 March 2021

Manager Nigel Clough has challenged his players to maintain the ‘standards’ they have shown in recent performances over the Easter weekend.

The Stags welcome Leyton Orient to One Call Stadium on Good Friday, before making the long trip to St. James Park to face Exeter City on Easter Monday.

The boss says that, with recent performances against Forest Green Rovers and Tranmere Rovers in mind, a fruitful Easter schedule is achievable for his side.

“Their [Leyton Orient’s] front four are a big threat,” he told iFollow Stags ahead of Friday’s game. “They also have a massive incentive that they’re a few points off the play-offs.

“But I think with our home form, once again we’ll be concentrating on ourselves, and saying if we play to the standards that we have been doing at home in recent weeks, then we’ll be okay. Don’t let that standard drop.

“We’re after six [points] over the Easter weekend. That’s our aim. You just want to keep that scoreboard ticking along, and that’s what the draws have done.

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“But we’re extremely disappointed that we haven’t won at least two of the last four games, which we could’ve easily done.

“We’ve generally fared very well against them [teams placed higher in the table], even if our performances haven’t got us a result.

“It’s been a good standard of performance [recently] and we know we’re not too far away.

“Saturday was a really good game again [against Tranmere]. When you think that’s off the back of the Forest Green one, two teams vying for automatic promotion, we’re more than matching them.”

Nigel Clough spoke of an in-house friendly that took place between the first team and the under-18s this week, with the view of ‘topping up’ the fitness of some players.

“We had a game for the lads that needed it against the academy,” he added. “It’s always good for the under-18s to play against the first team players, and everyone came through it.

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“We had an hour, which is enough in the heat we’ve had here this week. It’s good to keep the players topped up.

“Those that needed a game [played], so James Clarke, Ryan Sweeney, Jake Wright, Jaden Charles, George Lapslie, Ollie Clarke, Stephen McLaughlin, Tyrese Sinclair, Josh Scott, Aiden Walker. It was a good exercise.

“We’re more interested in the fitness output of what you get from the 60 minutes [over scoreline], for people like Lapslie and Clarke.

“We all had a good training session today [Wednesday], so it’s been a good week, ready for Friday.”

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There was also an injury update from the boss, who confirmed that on-loan Blackpool forward Oli Sarkic will miss the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury.

“We did our business in January on the basis of a fully-fit squad and the way we were playing and scoring goals.

“Oli Sarkic, who we brought in as cover for Jordan [Bowery] and Reidy [Jamie Reid] is unfortunately out for the season with a hamstring injury.

“He had a couple of thigh niggles, so we didn’t see enough of him.

“I think we’re okay injury-wise at the moment, apart from that [Sarkic injury].”

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


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