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Boss encouraged by positive display at Grimsby

15 April 2023

Manager Nigel Clough was encouraged by Mansfield’s ‘attacking intent’ away from home in today’s 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town.

The Stags got their noses in front through Jordan Bowery’s 39th minute strike.

The versatile number nine played to the right of frontman Lucas Akins at Blundell Park, having played in a variety of positions throughout the season.  

Results elsewhere ensured the Stags returned to the League Two play-off places with five games remaining. 

Speaking to iFollow Stags after the match, Nigel believed Mansfield could have earned maximum points.

“[It was] a bit frustrating again, having got our noses in front,” he said.

“Over the course of the 95-100 minutes [we had] enough chances and situations to score more than one goal. 

“Hiram [Boateng] had numerous [chances] from the edge of the box.

“Davis Keillor-Dunn [had one] in the penalty area, one over the bar, blocks. The goalie made a couple of good saves and they got some good blocks in without a doubt, but we still have to do better.  

“That’s what we’re trying to do, be positive. I thought we were from the first minute. [With] twenty odd minutes on the clock, they’d been in our penalty area twice, as the home side. Our attacking intent is there.  

“[The fans] couldn’t have asked for a more attacking approach from a team away from home. We’re trying to win games.”  

The boss reserved special praise for goalscorer Jordan Bowery.

“It was good to see him [Bowery] back up there. Absolutely invaluable he’s been in these last few months. I don’t know where we’d be in terms of getting a team out if we hadn’t had him. Left back, left wing-back, [on] the right hand side, up front today and got a goal.  

“[He’s a] very important player for us.” 

The gaffer explained his formational approach: “James Gale has been ill in the week so Callum Johnson came back in and Elliott [Hewitt] moved to left back. [There aren’t] too many options we’ve got at the moment.” 

Mansfield currently occupy seventh place in Sky Bet League Two, with five matches remaining, and travel to 17th placed Newport County on Tuesday night. 

With eight outfield players still sidelined, the boss provided a fitness update: “[Rhys Oates] trained yesterday for ten minutes and felt very stiff. We said ‘come along and do the warm up’. We brought McKeal [Abdullah] just in case. But, there was no way [Oates could play]. He said he couldn’t even do five or ten minutes.  

“Stephen McLaughlin could do ten minutes at maximum today. [It was] good to get him back on the pitch, even in a midfield role.”

Asked if any other players could return, he said: “To start, [is] unlikely, certainly [for] JJ [John-Joe O’Toole], Louis Reed, Anthony Hartigan, George Maris and Ollie Clarke. So it could be pretty much the same lads out there.”  

On whether George Maris may soon return to the side, he added “I don’t think so. He’s doing a certain amount. He just can’t do that final explosive sort of stuff and [whilst] sprinting his Achilles is restricting him. We’ll see how he is. We might take him for the bench but we’ll see.” 

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