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Top seven finish is our only target - boss

3 May 2022

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough says he is proud of how far his squad has come this season, but that it will count for nothing if his charges do not acquire a top seven finish this term.

Mansfield Town face Forest Green Rovers at One Call Stadium this Saturday (3pm kick-off) in a mouthwatering clash for both sides.

In a day of enthralling conundrums, the amber and blue could finish in the automatic positions, play-off places or miss out on a top-seven finish.

After a 2-2 draw against Salford City on Monday, the Stags need a point against title-chasing Forest Green Rovers to secure a play-off place.

Speaking to the local media in his news conference on Tuesday morning, the boss said: “There will be a lot of pride [reflecting on progress made] but I do not want it to dissolve to nothing,” he said.

“We missed an opportunity on Monday at Salford so we do not want to miss another one because these chances do not come very often.

“You have got to work very hard over 45 games to be in this position to have a chance of getting into the play-offs and gaining promotion.

“Two teams have secured automatics and there is another six or seven that are fighting for promotion after that.

“Someone is going to miss out and I hope that it is not us but it is incredibly tight. Three teams can still get automatics with the rest fighting for the play-offs.”

Only a point separates the Stags in fifth place and Northampton Town in the final automatic promotion place as the season reaches its conclusion.

“With Bristol Rovers getting the late winner last Saturday, we needed two wins to get automatics,” Nigel said.

“There is no point in looking back at it now and we are where we are. We need to quickly put whatever behind us from the draw away at Salford and focus on the game against Forest Green.”

Ahead of an exciting final day of the season, the Stags’ manager wants his players to focus on the task in hand.

“It is a very exciting end to the season for everyone. I think with Exeter playing Port Vale, Forest Green needing a win and with us needing a point, it will be an incredibly exciting final day.

“The [other] scores will not matter to us too much. We will have a look at them [the scores] at half-time and we will go from there.

“A point or three will guarantee a play-off spot and that is what we need to focus on.”

The gaffer also provided an update on the injuries to defender James Perch and midfielder Stephen Quinn.

“He [James Perch] is okay,” Nigel said.

“He got a couple of whacks to the side of his head, but he has that protector on which is good.

“When Tom [Whittamore] the physio went on, he did all the protocols and checks, but he was okay, and we gave him a breather in the last five to 10 minutes just in case.

“He [Stephen Quinn] tried to train on Sunday afternoon and he did a little bit, but he was very restricted in what he could do.

“He is only 60% as good as he is. He did not declare himself unfit but deep down he knew that the time was still not right.”


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