Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough described Stags’ week as ‘as good a week as we’ve had for some time’ after his side recorded a third victory in seven days away at Tranmere this afternoon.
After a sequence of wins in matches against Gillingham, Carlisle and Tranmere, Stags sit fifth in Sky Bet League Two - three points off the automatic promotion places with a game in hand.
Goals from Riley Harbottle and Davis Keillor-Dunn at Prenton Park helped stretch Mansfield’s run of unbeaten matches to six.
Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Nigel said: “[It's been] A brilliant week.
“It’s been as good a week as we’ve had for some time.
“[We’ve had a] Tough week with the travelling and the injuries [but] to keep three clean sheets in the week, [get] nine points and [score] eight goals is as good as any other victory this season.
“I don’t think we were sparkling football wise, but it wasn’t about that today.
“It was just about the desire to get a result, the players showed that in abundance.”
On this afternoon’s performance, the boss added: “We looked as though we were still on the coach a little bit in the first ten, fifteen minutes but then we settled down and created three very good chances.
“Riley Harbottle pops up with a goal and that settled us down a little bit.
“You know that Tranmere are going to come out [with intensity] at the start of the second-half.
“It’s a sort of dual problem. You’ve got to deal with it, and you’ve got to get a second goal yourself and we did both of those things.”
Davis Keillor-Dunn impressed again and netted his first goal for the club on 54 minutes.
“Ollie Clarke did brilliantly for it,” the boss said.
“It was only the goalkeeper making a brilliant save tipping it onto the bar that [ensured] he got the rebound for it.
“He’s [Keillor-Dunn] there and he just about got enough on it, it trickled into the net.
“It was lovely for him to get his first goal.
“He’s not played an awful lot in the last two or three months so playing three games in a week, you could tell he felt it late on.”
The squad has had several injuries in recent weeks and the manager provided the latest on the fitness of some of his absentees.
“When you have nine players missing with the quality that we have and we can still get the results that we have done, I think [it shows] they have belief in each other,” he said.
“He [John-Joe O’Toole] felt his foot again.
“He got a whack on it again on Tuesday at Carlisle when he came on. He had an X-ray and he’s got a stress fracture of the metatarsal so he’s in a [protective] boot for four weeks.
“He [Will Swan] was chasing back [in training yesterday] and stood on Hiram Boateng and twisted his ankle.
“He also left the training ground in a boot yesterday, we’re not sure how long he’ll be [out for].
“George Maris came along to see if he could give it a go in the warm-up but he couldn’t.
“We’re hoping in another week he might be in contention.”
Academy trio Taylor Anderson, Darien Wauchope and McKeal Abdullah all made the Mansfield bench this afternoon.
“It was good in some ways to have the three Academy lads on the bench and if we had got the third goal, we might’ve got them on but [it’s still] a great experience for them being here.
“It’s great for Coops [Richard Cooper] and the Academy that they’re stepping up.
“It’s a really long-term thing when you’re bringing your players through as young as eight or nine and we think they’re doing very well.
“They’re improving as well hopefully as the first team is improving. It goes hand-in-hand.”
After a positive week of results, the boss said: “We’d only had back-to-back clean sheets once this season so to have three on the spin with a home game coming up is brilliant.
“Fifteen to go. We keep telling them [the players].
“We’ve put ourselves in a reasonable position to keep going. We’ll see where we end up.”