Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says the club’s ‘brilliant’ support can make a ‘difference’ in matches with a flurry of Sky Bet League Two fixtures against promotion rivals on the horizon.
Last Friday against Exeter, the Stags boasted the most amount supporters inside the home stands at One Call Stadium since promotion from the Conference in 2013.
Speaking in his news conference ahead of this Friday’s game away at Tranmere, the boss expects to be backed by another superb following at Prenton Park.
Already 700 tickets have been snapped up by Stags’ fans for the fixture.
“It makes a difference for us when we have the [superb] travelling support,” the manager said.
“I hope we can keep putting in the [excellent] performances for the rest of the season for them.
“Home or away [the supporters are magnificent]; the One Call was rocking on Friday night with the big support there and I think there’ll be a great support again on Friday night at Tranmere.”
The record number of home fans inside One Call Stadium against Exeter was saw a record-equalling tenth successive home league victory, a feat last achieved in 1949.
“That’s nearly ten years and then 73 (years) for ten straight home league wins as well.
“It’s all good stuff.
“We’ve just got to keep it going.”
The record number of Stags’ supporters at One Call Stadium were treated to a thriller under the lights on Friday. The manager says the clash was worthy of a level above.
“[It was a] Big win and a very, very good game between two good teams,” said the Stags’ chief.
“Having not played Forest Green yet, I thought Exeter – with their performance the other night – were the best [side] we’ve played.
“I thought the game, generally, was of a standard above League Two.
“Both teams, on that showing, could survive in League One.
“It was a very honest, competitive game.”
Mansfield face another promotion rival, Tranmere Rovers, this Friday away at Prenton Park. Rovers haven’t won in their last five league matches.
“[They’re] A very good team and everybody has these sorts of dips,” the manager said.
“It’s a complete reversal of when we played them at home.
“I think they were going very well, and we were struggling.
“A win [in that match] set us off on a good run.
“I remember at the time saying that we thought it was a perfect game for us [with] nothing really expected.
“Tranmere will feel the same. It’s a great opportunity for them to get back on track.
“They mix it up. They changed formation on Saturday.
“We’re not quite sure what they’ll be doing this Friday night.
“We’ve got a number of different formations we can play, but what they’ve got is good forwards.
“I think Kane Hemmings, who Stags’ fans will know well, is as dangerous [a forward] as there is in the league.”
Centre-back Oli Hawkins is eligible to return from his two-game suspension on Friday evening. The boss says he has a difficult decision to make ahead of the match – given the form of Elliott Hewitt and Farrend Rawson in his absence.
“It’s a difficult one because when he was in the team, we were very solid and since he’s come out the team we’ve looked solid as well.
“It’s going to be a difficult decision.
“If he does come back into the [matchday] 18, somebody is dropping out as well.
“We’ll have a good think this week and try and come up with the best team to get a result.”
A number of first team players featured for the under-23s’ side in a 1-1 Premier League Cup draw against Leeds United yesterday.
“James Perch got 90 minutes [under his belt] which was very important, Danny Johnson as well,” the boss said.
“Kieran Wallace played about 80 minutes; Jason Law got 90 minutes.
“We’ve just sort of topped them up with their fitness.
“It was ideal [for them to feature] against a good, young Leeds team.”
Striker Danny Johnson scored the Stags’ only goal of the game as he boosted his match fitness.
“He got a goal. He had two or three chances but put one away.
“He always looks likely to score when he’s on the pitch.”
Ahead of a busy month against promotion-chasing rivals, the manager says it’s important his side makes the most of the club’s games in hand.
“[It’s] Vital that when you do have the games in hand, you’ve got to make them count.
“It doesn’t always work out; people always say I’d rather have the points in the bag and of course you would.
“If you’re a point behind somebody with two games in hand [however,] you’ve got to back yourself that you can make the difference up and more.”
Watch the manager's news conference in full now on iFollow Stags by clicking here.