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Boss expects ‘different’ Barrow test

31 October 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he expects to face a ‘different’ Barrow to the one Stags beat 1-0 earlier this month when his squad travel to Holker Street in the Emirates FA Cup first round on Saturday.

Jordan Bowery’s match-winner separated the two sides in the league but the boss feels the Bluebirds are a stronger outfit now, having won their previous two in Sky Bet League Two.

An admirer of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition, Nigel hopes his side can return to winning ways in the Cup, following the club’s first home league loss since April against Swindon at the weekend.

Speaking in a news conference today at One Call Stadium, the boss said: “I think they’ve [Barrow] won a couple of games since [we last played them].

“They’re in the midst of [good] a run which can happen in this league easily.

“[They had] A very good victory at home to Crewe on Saturday.

“I think it will be a different Barrow team that we face on Saturday.”

The Stags’ manager provided an injury update ahead of the first-round Cup clash.

“[We will be without Hiram] Boateng [who is] suspended,” he said.

“Rhys Oates [as he continues to recover from his pectoral injury].

“[We have] Another couple of knocks from Saturday.

“Everybody else we hope will be in contention.

“If all the protocols go well and he passes all the tests that you have to [Riley Harbottle will be available].”

Mansfield suffered a rare defeat at One Call Stadium at the weekend with Swindon beating the ten-men Stags 5-2.

Reflecting on the encounter, Nigel said: “[There is] Overall disappointment with how we conceded some of the goals.

“[We’re] Disappointed with the decisions we made.

“[We’re] Disappointed with some of the officials' decisions as well.

“I think we have to certainly go back to how we were a few weeks ago in terms of being much harder to score against.

“We’ve conceded eight goals in the two games [against Crawley and Swindon] in a week.

“It’s been an unbelievably bad week for us.

“When you’re seven games unbeaten and you go into a week with three games and get one point out of nine and concede eight, it’s not too pleasant.

“The first three goals [against Swindon] came from throw-ins which is sloppy to say the least.

“I just thought we made some very poor decisions on the ball which led to the goals.”

The amber and blue will take part in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

“The whole squad [will be involved]. Everybody will go; some who [have] played the vast majority of the games.

“Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] with his knee [injury] probably won't [feature].

“Elliott Hewitt has played all the games [and probably won’t feature].

“[The same applies to] Laps [George Lapslie] and Oli Hawkins who have played the majority of games.

“Everyone else will feature.”

Tomorrow evening, Andy Garner, James Perch and Oli Hawkins will be special guests at the club’s fans forum event at One Call Stadium. When asked if the trio are looking forward to it, Nigel said: “Yeah I think so. I hope the supporters are.

“It’ll be a good night for everybody and provide some relief.

“A very light-hearted sort of evening, I hope.

“You’ve got three interesting characters there.”

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