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Boss: Stevenage test will be greater than last season

6 December 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says Stevenage will be a ‘completely different proposition’ to the side which Stags faced last season.

The amber and blue did the double over Boro last season with a 2-1 win at The Lamex Stadium in November 2021 followed by a 2-0 victory at One Call Stadium in April.

But the Hertfordshire squad was transformed in the summer and are currently reaping the rewards, sitting second in the Sky Bet League Two table.

And speaking ahead of trip this weekend, Nigel was asked about Stevenage’s form and said: “[They’ve got] 15 [new] players at least [since last season].

“When you sign that many players and a lot of good ones [it’s helped them] get off to a flying start. It’s a completely different proposition [to when we played them last season]. They were at the other end of the table back in April and now they’ve turned it completely around.”

It was confirmed today that Saturday’s match will kick-off at 3pm as originally scheduled though temperatures in Hertfordshire are forecast to drop below zero in the forthcoming days.

“[The weather] is definitely a concern,” said Nigel. “I think if it is sub-zero [temperatures] for two or three nights you can put the frost sheets on and everything [but] if it doesn’t get much above freezing during the day [on Saturday] then that could be a problem.”

Assessing Stags’ latest win against Colchester on Saturday, Nigel said: “[Saturday’s victory has] improved morale. We needed a win and I think to reverse the fortunes and instead of conceding late goals which we’ve done in the previous two games, to score one ourselves and win in that manner certainly won't do [us] any harm.

“To get the three points and win at home for the first time in a few weeks and stop the losing run of games we’ve had, it just made everybody feel good when that winner went in [to the back of the net].”

Ahead of this weekend's fixture against the Boro, Nigel provided an injury update.

“We’re getting there, I think. Stephen McLaughlin played the first [league] game for a few weeks on Saturday. It shows the difference when you get players like him and Rhys Oates back [from injury]. We will see how they are after the weekend.

“JJ [John-Joe O’Toole] will be available after suspension again.

“Lewis Page is still struggling from the kick at Notts County [in the Notts Senior Cup] on his Achilles.

“Apart from that we aren’t too far off [having everyone available].

“[Jimmy Knowles has] had a little set back a couple of weeks ago. He was due to play in the game against Notts County and then he just had a little bit of discomfort at the back of his knee. I think he’s had an injection to settle it down now and we’re hoping to arrange a game before Christmas for the rest of the squad who need games as well as Jimmy.”


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