Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says the club will step up their search for an additional forward after learning the extent of striker Rhys Oates’ pectoral injury.
Last season’s top scorer ruptured his pectoral muscle in last Tuesday’s 5-2 victory at home to AFC Wimbledon, with the gaffer today confirming the former Hartlepool man will be out for ‘a few months’.
With Lucas Akins and Oli Hawkins also suffering from muscular injuries in recent weeks, Nigel hopes to welcome a new recruit to his playing squad to fill the missing attacking void left by Oates before the end of the window.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy today, the manager said: “He’s [Rhys Oates] got what’s classed as a ruptured pectoral muscle where it’s come away from the bone a little bit.
“He’ll have an operation to repair it.
“We’re not going to put a time limit on how long he’ll be out, but it was better news than we anticipated.
“He’ll have the operation I hope this week if not next week.
“The best guy in the country [is who] we’ve got on it. He was very positive when he saw the scans and said: ‘you’ll be up and playing again in a few months.’”
When asked if the club would enter the transfer market to provide cover for Oates, Nigel said: “We could do with one [forward] coming in now as cover – certainly until Christmas on loan.
“We’ve got another week or so of the window being open so we’ll step up that search and see if we can get some cover.
“We’ve got a squad of 19 that we’re working with so it’s just a sort of temporary replacement for Rhys.”
The weekend’s victory over Stockport marked the boss’ 100th game in charge of Mansfield.
“It’s nice to get 100 [matches in charge],” he said.
“A lot of managers don’t get that.
“It’s been a hell of a ride. We’ve had some ups and downs but, overall, we’ve made a lot of progress, there’s been some positive things and we’ve enjoyed it.”
After almost 25 years as a manager, Nigel provided an insight into the mindset of having vast amounts of experience as a coach.
“I think it [the fire to win] increases and heightens,” said the gaffer.
“When you’re starting out, you’re a little bit more patient.
“Here, you want to do things quicker.
“Certainly, the intensity or the fire increases.
“We’ve been settled [here at Mansfield].
“From the day we walked in, it’s felt comfortable.
“Everybody here has made us feel that way.
“The way the supporters have got on board with us, home and away [has been excellent].
“They seem to be enjoying the way that we’re playing, and we hope that this season we can achieve our aim.”
Saturday’s opponents, Sutton United, were the only team last campaign to beat the Stags home and away.
“It was them and Harrogate last season that we had the most problems with,” said Nigel.
“They’re just a very difficult and awkward team.
“They’ve come up from the Conference and kept the way that they played in the Conference.
“They’re difficult to break down.
“It’s not just us, a lot of teams found that – especially down at their place.
“I hope we have better fortunes this year.”
Ahead of this weekend’s encounter, the gaffer provided the latest on his squad’s injury list.
“Lucas [Akins] should train this week, Hiram Boateng should train this week.
“Stephen Quinn, we hope, was only [out for] sort of a week with his hip.
“Obviously, Rhys Oates is out for a little while and Oli Hawkins came on for five minutes or so.
“As long as he’s [Hawkins] had no reaction, he’ll train this week.
“Lucas was a groin [injury] and Hiram was a hamstring [injury] so we’re a little bit more cautious with them and Oli Hawkins also.
“If they have a good week’s training, they should be available.”
Watch the boss' news conference in full now by clicking here.