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Boss to name strongest possible side in Rams cup clash

8 August 2022

Manager Nigel Clough says he will be putting his strongest possible team out tomorrow night but will not be risking any players as his men take on Derby County in the Carabao Cup first round at One Call Stadium.

The Stags welcome the Rams to north Nottinghamshire in a cup contest between two sides strongly affiliated with the boss.

The gaffer’s squad picked up several knocks in the club’s 1-0 victory over Tranmere on Saturday afternoon, but the manager insists he’ll pick his strongest possible XI.

Speaking to the local media at RH Academy in his news conference today, he said: “We’ve got four or five [knocks].

“We used the five substitutes which we will be doing. Oli Hawkins came off with a tight hamstring, Rhys Oates [an] ankle [injury], Hiram Boateng, ankle and hamstring [problems] and one or two others as well.

“We’ll just see how they are.

“We won’t be risking anybody.

“We’ll put the strongest team we can out because we want to progress in the cup.

“In four days’ time we go to Leyton Orient after Derby so we have to have one eye on that as well.

“Even if it was a league game you wouldn’t be risking people this early and the thought of them missing three or four weeks, we can’t afford that.”

Mansfield have deployed a 3-5-2 formation in the team’s opening two matches of the season, though the boss said: “We’ve been talking about trying a back four again.

“There’s a possibility with the players we have available to change it round a bit.

“We’ve only been playing it [3-5-2] for four to six weeks so everything is up for grabs.

“It will depend on positions, personnel available and things like that.”

Saturday’s league win extended Mansfield’s run of just one home league defeat since October 2021. Reflecting on the match, the boss said:  “Win, lose or draw they [Stags’ fans] can still go away with a smile on their face.

“I hope they’re enjoying the way we’re trying to play.

“I think we’ve still got lots to improve on but generally I think it was a good, solid performance.

“The crowd that we saw enjoyed it.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s cup clash, the Stags’ chief gave his thoughts on Derby’s start to the campaign. “I think it’s been steady,” he said.

“It was important for them to win their first game of the season which they did against Oxford.

“[There was] Over 31,000 there I believe.

“They’ve got a lot of experience out there [in the squad].”

Recently relegated from the Championship, Derby is a club the manager spent four-and-a-half years as manager until 2013.

“It was unbelievably difficult to start with [in his tenure at the Rams],” he said.

“We had 39 pro’s, no youngsters in that.

“Eventually, after four years everybody went.

“You’ve only got two transfer windows a season.

“I think we cut the wage bill by 60%, leaving them with a team that was a kick away from getting back into the Premier League."

Nigel lauded the Stags’ ticket pricing for the clash given the current economic climate.

“I think it’s great when the clubs get the pricing right, that’s absolutely vital.

“When you sell your season tickets it’s brilliant, I think they’re well priced, but when you get your cup games and it’s an additional price on top for supporters, I think football has got to be very careful – this season especially.”

Supporters can still purchase tickets for tomorrow evening's encounter by clicking here.

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