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Gaffer: Stags may change approach in away games

27 August 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he might have to change Stags’ approach away from home as his side continue to look for a winning formula on the road.

This afternoon’s 2-1 loss at Sutton is the Stags’ third successive loss away from home in as many games this season.

The manner in which United’s two goals were scored has left the boss pondering the idea of a different approach to get results in away matches.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post match, Nigel said: “The goals we’re conceding [are the reason for our slow start away from home].

“We’ve conceded five [away this season].

“It’s something we have to address whether it’s change formation and personnel away from home - we have to do something.”

Stags have a 100% record at One Call Stadium this campaign but are finding positive away results hard to come by.

“[It was a] Poor result. The performance for a certain amount of the game was okay,” the boss said.

“It’s been our Achilles’ heel in the first three away games conceding poor goals at poor times.

“Certainly, two minutes before half-time [and] straight down the middle of the pitch again is right up there.

“We are certainly nowhere near as confident [away from home].

“We seem almost tentative away from home.

“We get this chance to play like we do at home, that’s what we’re trying to do.

“That’s why we maybe have to change that.”

Despite a disappointing result, the manager believes Stags matched their opponents at VBS Community Stadium.

“There wasn’t [a lot in it].

“There wasn’t at Salford and there was at Orient, it was us that were the better side, and we still managed to lose the game.

“Today for periods it was a very even game.

“We haven’t done enough I don’t think in both penalty areas.”

The Stags’ first away goal of the season came from Oli Hawkins’ powerful header in the second-half - from which Mansfield started to build on.

“I thought we did [kick on after Hawkins’ goal],” Nigel said.

“For 15 minutes or whatever it was all us.

“We were pressing for the winner.

“They isolated us on the [match-winning] free-kick and the minimum you should get from that is a 1-1 and still have an opportunity to try and win it.

“We’re not quite at that stage yet.”

The manager’s side were made to finish the contest without two of their three starting central defenders.

“John-Joe O’Toole had come off injured as had Riley Harbottle - more illness than injury.

“We lost a couple of central defenders so then everybody else had to step up.

“When that ball’s coming into your penalty area, go and head it.

“It’s very, very simple.

“You can talk about formations, you can talk about tactics — if the ball’s come into the penalty area, head it clear.”

Versatile performer Jordan Bowery didn’t feature today due to illness.

“He’s [Bowery] been rough this week - I think a bug,” the manager said.

“Hopefully, he’ll be okay for Tuesday. We missed him on the right-hand side today.”

Another absentee, forward Rhys Oates, had an operation on a ruptured pectoral muscle in the week. Nigel provided the latest on the frontman’s recovery.

“He had an operation on Wednesday,” he said.

“Everything went very well.

“I’m delighted the surgeon helped us out and got him in as early as he did.

“It means that his recovery should be a week earlier.

“The surgeon is very happy with it.

“We’re looking to get him back on the pitch within three months which is a big boost compared to the four to six we were led to believe originally.

“You see away from home you miss him.

“We miss that pace, the directness of his play and of course he was our top goalscorer last season.”

When asked who will feature on Tuesday night in Stags’ Papa Johns Trophy fixture at home to Manchester City U21, Nigel said: “All the subs who were on the bench today including Scott Flinders.

“Christy Pym could probably do with a bit of action. In the three away games we’ve had he’s had very, very little to do.

“He’s pulled the ball out the net five times [through] no fault on any of them whatsoever.”

The gaffer also added the latest on the club’s hunt for a striker.

“We’ve made enquiries.

“We had a deal put to us which involves one of our players going in a swap loan.

“We’re considering that.”

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