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Gaffer encouraged by trio’s return to training

23 January 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough is encouraged by the return to training of Ollie Clarke, Riley Harbottle and Lucas Akins ahead of Stags’ league clash at home to Doncaster this weekend.

Mansfield host Rovers following the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled fixture at promotion rivals Northampton Town.

The Stags’ chief hopes the added boost of three first team players edging towards contention for the club’s return to One Call Stadium will help fire his side to a first victory of 2023.

When asked on the injury latest, Nigel said: “Kellan Gordon is still on it [the treatment table] but he’s got a chance of training this week as well.

“Anthony Hartigan has had his operation on Friday [and] everything has gone well. [It was] Successful, just the three months now of rehab for him.

“We’ll see how they [Riley Harbottle, Ollie Clarke and Lucas Akins] train this week and if they come through okay.

“They’re different sorts of injuries: Riley’s knee, Ollie Clarke’s calf and Lucas’ ankle.”

Saturday’s battle with Doncaster comes after a test against League One opposition, Barnsley. The two sides arranged a friendly for last Wednesday with Stags winning 4-1.

“We arranged it to try and give a few people a game who needed 90 minutes and those coming back from injury,” the gaffer said.

“Most of the first team squad went.

“We got a good game in on Oakwell’s surface.

“Danny [Johnson] played the first 45 and then Will [Swan] came on for the second 45 and scored a hat-trick in quite a short space of time.

“Alfie Kilgour played 70 odd minutes. We got another 70 into Kieran Wallace and a few others played 90 who needed it.”

The gaffer then provided the latest on the transfer front.

“It’s been a quiet few days.

“We’ll just wait and see now in terms of outs to see if there are any offers for any of our players.

“I think getting the three in that we’ve got in and Danny returning it’s four new players really.

“We’re quite happy with that. If there’s a wildcard one that crops up, then we’ll look at that.”

When asked about this weekend’s opponents, the boss said: “A new manager came in midway through the season, and they’ve signed two or three good players in the window as well so it’s a bit difficult to know what to expect from them.

“We’ve taken the lead in the last three home games; we’ve scored in them, and we haven’t got the victories.

“It’ll be pretty much the same approach, but we’ll be trying to eradicate the mistakes and going forward, be as positive as we can.

“Both penalty areas is where it’ll be decided – especially in the next 20 games.”

Following a meeting with returning forward Danny Johnson, the gaffer added: “It [the meeting] was fine. Danny understands that we’ve got 20 games to go. If nothing is agreed with another club then he’ll be with us.

“With a week or so to go until the window [closes] it’s a little bit up in the air and out of my hands certainly.”


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