Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough says Saturday’s opponents Crawley Town are ‘better than their league position suggests’, as Stags aim to earn a fifth successive league victory on the road.
The manager’s men sit in fourth position in Sky Bet League Two and head to 23rd place Crawley Town this weekend.
The Red Devils won their previous outing 2-1 at home to Newport County but the amber and blue’s streak of fine form has helped the gaffer’s side propel up the table to just a point behind the automatic places.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference at RH Academy this morning, Nigel said: “Somebody has got to have a poor start in the league.
“It doesn’t always reflect over the whole season.
“They’ve [Crawley] changed the manager.
“They’ve got a home win [last Saturday] which will give them a big boost. It’s a completely different fixture to what it might have been a week or two ago.
“They’re better than their league position suggests.
“We found that when we played there last year.”
Mansfield extended their unbeaten league form to seven matches with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Walsall at One Call Stadium on Saturday.
“[It was] A brilliant three points,” said the gaffer.
“I don’t think we’ve quite hit our stride yet at times in the last few weeks.
“I thought the last time we played really well was at Gillingham but we’re finding a way to get results.”
Nigel’s squad have now lost just one home league match in 381 days.
“It’s a great return,” he said.
“We have to [continue to] do it for the next six months now.
“That’s what we’ll be telling the players. Just keep it going.”
Mansfield were drawn away at Barrow in the Emirates FA Cup first round last night. Stags won at Holker Street just ten days ago in Sky Bet League Two, courtesy of Jordan Bowery’s match-winner.
“I think that’s the second time in two or three seasons where we’ve been the last ball out.
“You’re thinking ‘please just draw us at home’.
“It’s us and Barrow.
“I think it’s a terrible draw for our supporters.
“We’ve just been up there ten days ago and now we’re going to make the trek again.
“For the supporters it’s another four hours on the bus again. It’s a long old trek.
“It would’ve been nice to be at home.”
The Stags are in Notts Senior Cup second round action tomorrow night away at Selston. The boss gave an update on who will feature in the game.
“Jason Law could do with a game,” Nigel said.
“I think James Gale [and] Owen Mason will play.
“Cody Collins will come back after injury.
“Him and George Cooper will maybe play 45 [minutes] each.
“In terms of other first teamers, I don’t think we can afford to risk any others.
“We don’t want to risk any more injuries.
“It’s good experience for the youngsters.”
The gaffer also provided the latest from the treatment table.
“There’s a few that got knocks from Saturday,” he said.
“There’s a little bit of illness creeping in now.
“There are a few bugs going around so we’ve got George Lapslie and James Perch off with a bug at the moment.
“Kellan Gordon is stepping up his rehab. I would think he’s 50/50 for Saturday.
“Kieran Wallace is doing the same with the protocols coming back from a head injury.
“We know Oatesy is going to be another four or five weeks, something like that.
“Macca has been playing with a sore knee, so we’ll see how he is towards the weekend.
“The illness is the one that’s difficult to control.”