Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough says the last ten games of the season will each consist of his side ‘doing whatever is necessary to get a result,’ as the Sky Bet League Two campaign edges towards its conclusion.
The Stags welcome high-flying Forest Green Rovers to One Call Stadium on Tuesday evening for their third successive home fixture.
Nigel Clough expressed his belief that the midweek clash with Rovers will be an ‘open’ game in Nottinghamshire.
Stags have accrued their two most recent victories against sides in the top seven, and when asked why Mansfield have secured results against teams higher up in the division, he said: “It’s very difficult to put your finger on it [Mansfield playing better against teams higher in the division]. It’s not as if they’re made big games by the crowds as there is nobody in there.
“We don’t approach the games any differently – it might be the style of play [from the opposition] and that sort of thing that makes it a little easier.
“Forest Green’s versatility and flexibility in the way they play makes them one of the best – if not the best – team in the league.
“These games [against the top sides] tend to be a little more open, with both sides creating chances.
“We’ll ask them to perform as they have done in the last three home games in terms of scrapping and battling.
“We’ve beaten Cheltenham, drawn with Carlisle and Grimsby – so we want that sort of effort and commitment, and we’ll take our chances from there.
“Forest Green have adapted a little this season, probably more than previous seasons. Sometimes you have to do whatever’s necessary to get a result, and that’s going to be the last ten games for us.
“We ask the players to get results in the last ten games, and I think they [Forest Green] have done that over the course of the season better than anybody.
“We go out and try to play how we want to play. You’ve seen some of the stuff against Cheltenham and even against Cambridge and Bolton when we lost.”
The boss also offered his thoughts on the Stags conceding late goals, following Grimsby’s stoppage time equaliser at the weekend.
“We try to play our stuff, sometimes we can’t, but that’s how we set out. We then deal with the opposition accordingly with whatever teams throw at us,” he added.
“These late goals are killing us at the moment, but we do feel as though we’re being punished by every little thing. Some of it is our own making, without a doubt, but some of it not.
“When you start a season and concede a few late goals, it gets into the player’s psyche and mentality – it’s very difficult to get it out during a season.
“Pre-season is where we’ll really work on it. If you can start the first six games of the season and don’t concede late, get a couple of late goals yourself, then all the players think ‘we’re gonna score late goals’ instead of conceding.”
There was also an injury update from the boss ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Forest Green.
“He [Sarkic] will be assessed this week and will be scanned and everything. But we think we’re looking at around three or four weeks at the moment.
“George Lapslie is back in training this week and we’ll hopefully see him on the pitch at some point.
“We need him back. We have a really congested fixture list and we’ve had a few things [injuries and suspensions] that we can’t really legislate for in that time.
“We’re hoping so [that Ollie Clarke makes the squad for Forest Green]. It’s day-to-day, seeing how he feels physically.
“He’s another one that’s gone from charging around and his running stats being up with the highest in the team, then he’s hit a wall and can hardly raise a leg at the moment.”
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