Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he and his squad ‘can’t wait to get going’ ahead of Saturday’s 2022/23 season opener away at Salford.
With the boss’ side taking part in the Play-Off Final last term, and the new season starting earlier than usual, the gaffer believes his squad are prepared for a successful Sky Bet League Two campaign despite the club’s shorter off-season.
Speaking to the local media at his news conference at RH Academy today, Nigel said: “We’ve picked up niggles throughout. It’s been quite a disruptive one [pre-season] in terms of injury.
“After last season’s exploits [, however,] we’re excited and full of optimism [heading into the new campaign] and there’s no reason not to.
“We fell at the final hurdle [at Wembley] but that doesn’t change the season that we had and the achievements within it.
“We can’t wait to get going. It’s been a short break and off-season but we’re here now – let’s get cracking.”
The Stags’ chief has signed five new players so far in the summer transfer window. Goalkeepers Scott Flinders and Christy Pym join outfield trio Hiram Boateng, Will Swan and Riley Harbottle in putting pen to paper for Mansfield ahead of the new season.
“I think they’ve [the new signings] all improved us and that’s the major aim when you’re bringing in new players.
“They have to be better or different than what you already have.
“We’re delighted with the two [goalkeepers] that we’ve got [Flinders and Pym].
“With Owen Mason as back-up, it’s a good balance [in the goalkeeping department].
“I think [Boateng] has been the outstanding performer in pre-season.
“He’s settled in well and he looks a good player.
“He looks very comfortable on the ball. He’s got settled in the area with his girlfriend which is important as well and we’re looking forward to what he’s going to do this season.
“I’m grateful to Forest for letting them [Swan and Harbottle] come to us [on loan] and I think the fact that they’re local will help them settle in quicker.”
Over 4,450 season tickets have been sold at One Call Stadium for the 2022/23 season, beating last campaign’s previous record of 2,838 in recent times.
“It’s absolutely remarkable to sell that many season tickets [over 4,450],” said the boss.
“Someone was telling me that the previous best was around 2,700.
“We haven’t just beaten it by a little bit, we’re getting close to nearly doubling it [the record].
“I hope that we can start the season well and a few more people might be persuaded [to purchase a season ticket].”
One player that won’t feature at Salford this Saturday is Danny Johnson. The striker joined Walsall on loan until January on Saturday with the deal potentially becoming permanent in the winter transfer window.
“Danny was made available. I think that [his move becoming permanent] will happen in January.”
The club are looking to find someone to take Johnson’s place in the squad. Nigel said: “We’re trying to get a loan in now just to bolster our [forward] options.
“It’s difficult getting one [in] because when you look at our three main strikers that we have, we’ve got [Rhys] Oates, [Lucas] Akins and we’ve got [Will] Swan, if you add to that [Jordan] Bowery and if you add to that [Oli] Hawkins, if you add to that [George] Lapslie who can go upfront, if you add to that James Gale who’s in the squad – we’re not too badly off in that area.
“They have to be a good one [forward].
“We’ll go with a squad of 19. We’ve got 18 at the moment so there’s a space opened up there.
“It might not even be a striker [that’s brought in] it might just be a good player that you bring in to improve [the team].
“That will be the biggest test – bringing somebody in to improve the squad.”
The manager also revealed that there has been an enquiry for one of his squad members from another side.
“We’ve had an enquiry for one [player], yes.
“We’ll just see if anything develops with that.”
Nigel provided an update on his squad’s availability for the 2022/23 season opener this Saturday.
“Kieran Wallace, definitely [won’t be available].
“We’ve got a few other doubts after that: James Perch, Jason Law – who came off on Saturday – George Lapslie missed the game [and] Stephen Quinn missed the game, so we’ll check on them this week.”