Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says he’s ‘heartened’ by Stags’ current league position - in spite of the squad’s injury list – and says his men will ‘give everything’ ahead of the final five matches of the campaign.
Mansfield currently occupy the final play-off position – sitting in seventh – ahead of Salford on goals scored, having played a game less than the Ammies.
Stags head to Newport County tomorrow evening looking to build on a fine sequence of seven matches without defeat.
Speaking to iFollow Stags in a news conference at RH Academy today, Nigel said: “Confidence-wise it’s good to stay unbeaten.
“We’ve not won enough of the games – we’ve had too many draws but you just see the importance of getting that draw [after the match].
“It was a better point at five o’clock than we anticipated at the time. Colchester surprisingly won at Salford and we move back into the play-off places.
“[There’s] Not many to go now but we need to win a few of the games that we’ve got left.
“We are heartened by the fact that we’re still in there, in the mix and in with a shout [of promotion] despite having seven or eight [players] out since late January.
“We thought the squad had improved with the signings that we made and it has.”
The squad’s injury concerns were evident on Saturday as forward Rhys Oates withdrew following the pre-match warm-up at Grimsby.
“Lads are just going to have to keep getting through [games],” said the gaffer.
“Even some of those on the bench aren’t fit enough to come on. Rhys Oates was named on the bench [at Grimsby] and couldn’t complete the warm-up.
“You can see it’s that sort of balancing act at the moment of trying our best to get them back on the pitch but we have to be sensible about it.”
The boss went on to provide a more detailed injury report.
“He’ll [Stephen McLaughlin] be in the squad but he’s just probably not available to start,” he said.
“He [Oates] came in from the warm-up and said he couldn’t even do five or ten minutes. He’s very stiff in the groin, pelvic area so until that eases he’s probably be ruled out.
“It’s totally in his hands and we’ll see how he [Stephen Quinn] feels. Stephen’s 37 and he’ll make that decision on if he’s able to start. If he can start, we’ll start him.
“Not at this stage [are any other players likely to come back]. We’re hoping for Saturday to have one or two back on the bench but I can’t see too many being available for Newport.
“We’re pushing to get him [Will Swan] back. He’s doing some work on the grass now at Forest.
“We’re obviously in their hands and he’s their player but we are pushing to get him back with us as soon as possible. If we can get him involved in the last three or four games [then] we’ll do that.”
Tomorrow night’s opponents were 2-0 winners in their last home outing, defeating relegation-threatened Hartlepool United.
“I think they’ve [Newport] got clear, just about, of relegation now and become more difficult to beat.
“[They’re] A little bit inconsistent, [but] that’s what you get when you go in somewhere until you can put your own squad together.”
When asked what Mansfield will need in the final five fixtures, the boss said: “Keeping that consistency going, trying to stay unbeaten and holding your nerve.
“It might be that in the last two or three games we get two, three or four players back that might make the difference. I hope so.
“If not, we’ll go with what we’ve got and we’ll give it everything.”