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Stags displayed character and desire - gaffer

4 February 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough lauded his side’s ‘character and desire’ to come from a goal down and gain a point in stoppage time away at Bradford this afternoon.

Alfie Kilgour’s 91st minute header cancelled out former Stag Andy Cook’s first-half goal.

Despite having to make three substitutions in the opening 35 minutes due to injuries, Mansfield clawed back into the contest and netted a deserved stoppage time leveller to move up one place to sixth in Sky Bet League Two.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Nigel said: “We deserved at least a point today. 

“The character and desire we showed having gone 1-0 down and lost three players in the first 34 minutes of the game [was pleasing].

“[The injuries] Somewhat disrupts your game plan and that’s what the squad’s there for. Credit to every single one of them that was involved today.”

Louis Reed, Rhys Oates and Callum Johnson were withdrawn due to injury in the first-half and the boss provided the latest on the trio’s fitness.

“Reed, knee, with the block tackle he made just in front of the dugout,” he said.

“Oatesy, shoulder, not his pectoral again but his shoulder and Callum Johnson’s is the most straight forward with a slight groin strain we think.

“He [Johnson] won’t be [out] too long. Not sure about the other two. 

“You only get three opportunities to make substitutes and half-time doesn’t count so if we didn’t make substitutions at half-time that was it, we couldn’t have made one bar a concussion sub.”

Alfie Kilgour was impressive on his second start for the club. The towering defender rocketed a header past Bantams’ goalkeeper Harry Lewis to secure a point.

“You’ve got your centre-half up there. 

“He’s got two in two now, hasn’t he?

“I’m delighted for him. He was better again this week than last week, he looked stronger physically.

“He looks a leader. He gets on with his job and leads by example.”

Christy Pym, Stephen McLaughlin and Hiram Boateng missed the contest. When asked about their fitness, Nigel said: “Christy did a little bit of training this week.

“It’s just a bit too tentative and too early with his finger. We’re hoping [to have him fit for] next Saturday but with the way Scott Flinders is playing if he’s right he’s right and if he’s not we won’t risk him. 

“Stephen McLaughlin [will be out] three to four weeks maybe something like that. 

“Hiram should be okay. He was touch and go for today but didn’t want to risk him with it being a hamstring related injury.

“He should be all right for next Saturday.”

With the January transfer window closed, the boss gave his assessment of the club’s business.

“I think [we’ve conducted] good and sensible business. Not just for this season but for next season [too].

“For the second-half of the season and ahead, I think they’re going to be four very good and important players for the club.

“I think our four [Reed, Kilgour, Johnson and Keillor-Dunn] are good, solid signings.”

Over 1,850 Stags’ supporters travelled to the University of Bradford Stadium this afternoon.

When asked about the superb support, the gaffer added: “I think they were encouraged by the way we went and got the equaliser.

“We just need a break in a game somewhere.

“We got one cleared off the line and hit the bar today.

“We deserved the goal.

“I think they understand in the circumstances how good it [the point] was and how well we played.”

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