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Stags will look to build on Stevenage point - gaffer

13 December 2022

Manager Nigel Clough says Saturday’s well-earned point at Stevenage is a ‘good platform to build on’ ahead of his squad’s important spell of festive fixtures.

Stags take on Grimsby Town at One Call Stadium this Saturday, followed by the visit of Northampton on Boxing Day and then a trip to Hartlepool United three days later.

Mansfield were resilient last weekend to earn a clean sheet and claim a good point against Stevenage, who had previously won nine out of their 10 games on home soil in Sky Bet League Two.

And the manager believes that the draw, along with the victory at home to Colchester in the previous fixture, will stand them in good stead as they prepare for a busy Christmas schedule.

“I think everyone did their jobs [and there were] no mistakes,” said the manager, speaking about the draw. “Organisationally, we were very good.”

“We want to be more of a threat but our first priority is to keep the clean sheet.

“We went to Harrogate a few weeks ago and created more chances than we did at Stevenage but we didn’t do our jobs defensively and lost 3-0.

“We have to start somewhere and the clean sheet is a good platform to build on.”

Temperatures have dipped nationwide in recent weeks to sub zero, though it hasn’t affected the squad’s preparations, the manager revealed.

“It’s not too bad today, I don’t think,” he said, speaking on Tuesday morning. “We’ve been out on the far pitch and I think we can get a session on the grass today and we may be on the astro turf tomorrow. We’ll look to get two good sessions in either way and be prepared for Grimsby.”

Nigel provided an injury update ahead of this weekend’s encounter against the Mariners and said: “I think Lewis Page is still troubled by his Achilles. 

“We’ll see if there’s any knocks from Saturday but we seemed to be okay after the game [against Colchester].

“We’ll see how Jordan [Bowery] is after his bout of illness at the weekend.”

Speaking about 14th placed Grimsby, he said: “[They’re] very competitive as you would expect. They’re not far off the play-offs. 

“Paul Hurst has got them playing which we know from our Papa John’s [Trophy] game [against them].

“It’s one of those games where we will have to be at our best on Saturday.

“They’re [an] organised [team].

“[John] McAtee is now back in the starting lineup. He’s a player who can create something out of nothing. 

“We know Otis Khan, we worked with him at Sheffield United. He’s got pace and a goal threat. They are also defensively organised and a side within the next few seasons who will be challenging the top six or seven.”

Finally, ahead of the players’ visit to King’s Mill Hospital this afternoon, where Nigel and a selection of players are to handover gifts to poorly children, he said: “It’s one of the pleasures of the year, being able to take them some gifts and Mansfield memorabilia, not just for the patients but for the staff as well for their morale.

“They always get a boost from seeing the players and everything.”


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