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Saturday’s game promises to be a cracker – Gaffer

30 January 2023

Club News

Saturday’s game promises to be a cracker – Gaffer

30 January 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough expects the ‘crowd’ and ‘atmosphere’ to enhance what promises to be a mouth-watering clash in the hunt for promotion as his side visit Bradford City this Saturday.

The Bantams were 2-1 winners in the previous meeting in November, but the boss’ squad head to the University of Bradford Stadium with encouragement for revenge following a 4-1 rout over Doncaster Rovers at the weekend.

The fixture sees seventh play eighth in Sky Bet League Two as Mansfield look to make it successive away victories over rivals Bradford.

Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy this morning, Nigel said: “The atmosphere and crowd [will be excellent]. We know what the atmosphere was with 8,000 on Saturday and it could be 18 [thousand] there on Saturday against Bradford.

“They’re up there challenging and [are] one of our rivals so it would be nice to get a result.”

Stags are aiming for back-to-back league wins after a fine display versus Doncaster at One Call Stadium on Saturday.

“I would say we didn’t create as many clear-cut chances as we have done in some of the games [recently] but we finished exceptionally well and at good times as well,” the boss said.

“Having watched it back, I thought first-half we were very good indeed.

“We restricted them to just that one opportunity where Louis Reed got a magnificent block in.

“[In the] Second-half, they came out and had their spell for the first sort of 15 minutes and got the goal back but for Lucas to put us 3-1 up straight away really settled everybody down and gave us that two-goal cushion.”

Forward Lucas Akins shone in amber and blue on his return to the side.

“Going forward, I thought it helped having Lucas [Akins] back as a focal point. Everything went through him really,” said Nigel.

“He was involved in the goals. He scored one and made the fourth one.

“It’s just good to have him back in the team.”

When asked about the injury latest, the gaffer said: “Hiram Boateng got a couple of whacks to his glutes area. We’re hoping he’ll be alright for next week.

“We’re not sure about Stephen McLaughlin yet. He’ll go for a scan later on today and we’ll know a bit more after that.

“We just have to see how he comes on this week. He’s still in training doing all the kicking work and everything but we’ll see how he develops. He’ll do some ball work in the middle of the week and we’ll see how comfortable he is with it.”

With the January transfer window deadline of 11pm tomorrow edging closer, Nigel provided the latest on prospective business.

“[There’s] Not a lot to report further than what we did on Saturday,” he said.

“We have interest in two or three of our players. We certainly have interest in bringing in one or two ourselves.

“It depends on Stephen McLaughlin’s situation as well. We’ll see what happens in the next 36 hours.

“A deal has got to be right for us and the player for it to happen. We’ve only got 19 games to go.

“If the squad is reasonably intact injury-wise having Riley Harbottle back, George Maris is back from suspension, there’s only Anthony Hartigan as a long term absentee, then it might be that if we can bring one in then we might get them [O’Toole and Gordon] out to get some football.

“I don’t like players sitting in the stands. They were just outside the [matchday] 18 on Saturday.

“We have bid for a player in the last couple of weeks, it was rejected. We’ll see if we’re going to revisit that and up the bid or not.

“We’ve then also got two loan spaces available which we’re keen to use if necessary.”

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