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Boss: We’ll take ‘belief’ from previous cup wins

23 November 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side will take the ‘belief’ from producing cup upsets against League One opposition in recent Emirates FA Cup seasons into Saturday as his squad head to Sheffield Wednesday hoping to pull off another scalp.

Over 3,800 Stags supporters will be in attendance at Hillsborough as the club look to progress into the third round of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition for the second successive year.

Mansfield beat Sunderland and Doncaster last season before being edged out by Championship side Middlesbrough in round three.

Speaking to the local media in a news conference on Monday, Nigel said: “[We have] The belief that we can do it [reach the third round].

“When we go and play at [big] stadiums I don’t think it phases us.

“I think the way that we play – we have some big players who can perform at these sorts of venues, but they have to step up and show it on Saturday.

“They have done it at Sunderland a couple of times. At Doncaster was one of our best performances last season and now probably as big as anything is at Hillsborough.

“They’re probably the biggest side left in the competition at this stage so to get them away from home – I’m just glad it’s not too much travelling.

“I’m delighted with the ticket pricing. I think that’s wonderful between the two clubs. A tenner and a fiver to go and see your team at Hillsborough [is fantastic].”

The gaffer continued: “We’ve been up to the Stadium of Light in the last couple of seasons and now it’s another huge League One club and we get the chance to go and play at Hillsborough.

“I think the Stags played there in 2014 or something like that so it wasn’t too long ago [we were last there].

“But still a wonderful experience for the players and the supporters.”

The Stags are looking to bounce back after a 3-0 loss in the league at Harrogate last weekend.

“We’re looking for a point where we can get everybody fit and we can get a settled side and I think we’ll be better for it,” the boss said.

“We’re still in a good position. Saturday was a setback.”

Rhys Oates, the club’s top goalscorer last season, returned to action at EnviroVent Stadium in his first appearance since August after rupturing his pectoral muscle against AFC Wimbledon.

“We didn’t really want to bring him [Oates] on in the context of the game.

“If you’re 2-1 down or 1-0 or something like that then whatever but at 3-0 it was more or less over.

“It was just [about] getting him back on the pitch and for the supporters to get a boost.

“We’re all looking for something to cheer us up a little bit and seeing him back on the pitch was the major one on Saturday.

“You see the influence that Hiram Boateng is having in games now.

“We’ve been without them for a long time – two of our most influential players.

“You miss your captain on Saturday [Ollie Clarke],[Riley] Harbottle and [Elliott] Hewitt.

“It’s no excuses but to achieve the level of consistency [we require] we need a consistent team out there as well.

“It’s been chopping and changing, not through choice, through necessity.”

Nigel added the injury latest ahead of the weekend’s clash.

“We’re hoping that pretty much all of them [recently injured players will train this week],” he said.

“Stephen McLaughlin and Riley Harbottle, I’m not sure about. They’re the main doubts.

“We’re hoping Ollie Clarke’s knock on his knee will be okay.

“Stephen McLaughlin might do a little bit of training this week, but the main thing is that we get him right for the next five months.”

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