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Stags head into play-offs in ‘good heart’ – boss

7 May 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side will go into the play-offs in ‘good heart’ and with ‘some momentum’ following this afternoon’s 2-2 draw at home to title clinchers Forest Green Rovers.

The Stags needed a point to achieve a first top seven finish since 2019 and will now face Northampton Town over two legs.

Goals from Matty Longstaff and Jordan Bowery eventually secured the play-off finish for the gaffer’s side, despite being pegged back twice by Rovers.

Speaking to the local media in his post-match interview, the manager said: “That [the 77-points mark achieved today] was the club's best points tally in over 20 years and we've broken a few records along the way this season.

“I think we are going into the play-offs in good heart, with some momentum.

“It was an incredible finish to the [Sky Bet League Two regular season] and [was] absolutely heart-breaking for Northampton, but congratulations to Bristol Rovers [on going up automatically].

“I think the home leg [of the play-offs against Northampton Town] will be where it [the tie] will be decided.

“Our performances at home [this season] have been outstanding.

“We need to make sure we are in with more than a chance after the first leg.”

The boss’ squad were rallied on by a sell-out home crowd at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

“The fans were absolutely brilliant today. We sold every home seat,” Nigel said.

“The owners have put a fortune in over the years and I am sure they sometimes think 'why are we doing this?'

“But on days like today it must seem worthwhile to them.

“This is [getting into the play-offs is] a magnificent achievement by everybody – the whole squad has made a contribution.

“We've extended the season and we are going to give it the best possible shot we can [to get promoted].”

Mansfield now face Northampton Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday, who dropped into the play-off places this afternoon after Bristol Rovers’ 7-0 victory over Scunthorpe saw them leapfrog the Cobblers.

“We are still in with a chance [of promotion] and before kick-off we'd have taken that,” said the boss.

“Our aim at the start of the season was to get in the top seven.

“Obviously we'd have loved automatic [promotion].

“Bristol Rovers were always going to win so it was all about making sure we got that point [against Forest Green this afternoon]. It was tough but we got there.

“They [Forest Green] needed a point to win the league so it couldn't have worked out better for both teams.

“It was important we scored as you don't fancy keeping a clean sheet against Forest Green. They are always going to cut you open at some point.”

Watch the gaffer's interview now by clicking here.

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