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Skipper encouraged by new signings

17 January 2023

Mansfield Town captain Ollie Clarke says he has been impressed by Stags’ three new signings, the 30-year-old said at a news conference on Tuesday morning.

The former Bristol Rovers man has once again linked up with new addition Alfie Kilgour following his move from the Gas for an undisclosed fee on Thursday.

Saturday’s man of the match, right-back Callum Johnson, put pen to paper on an 18-month deal on Friday, joining from Ross County.

Central-midfielder Louis Reed became Stags’ third addition of the window on Sunday morning, joining from Swindon Town.

When asked on his thoughts of the amber and blue’s business up until this point, Ollie said: “I know [Alfie from our time together at Bristol Rovers], he’s a big [and] strong boy. He likes to defend and will put his body on the line. Hopefully he can get a good run of games and show everyone what he is about. He’s an all-round athlete and you can probably see that by watching him run around in his warm-up the other day. He’ll be eager to get going.

“As soon as Alf came up and signed I went for dinner with him and made sure he was all right.

“The right-back Callum [Johnson], I’ve played against him. He’s done well, he played well on Saturday and hopefully he can build on that.

“Louis Reed is a tidy midfielder [who] gets on the ball and will keep us ticking. I’ve played against him a few times so it’s great to have him on board.”

Assessing Stags’ displays in his absence, Clarke said: “[We’ve been] a bit unfortunate at times, the goals we’re conceding probably sums up our season in that respect but we’ve been playing well [and] creating chances. 

“On Saturday their [Crewe Alexandra] ‘keeper made a couple of great saves to deny us going a couple of goals ahead. 

“You’ve got to take the positives. We know we aren’t where we want to be but we’re creating the chances and need to just develop that ruthless streak and put the game to bed.”

The Stags’ skipper has been sidelined with a calf injury since Mansfield’s last win, against Hartlepool, before the turn of the year.

Providing an update on his injury status, he said: “I was really enjoying my football. It’s one of those injuries that came out of nowhere. I was fit, I was feeling good and strong, I think just having a bit of an illness before Christmas was frustrating [to know there was another setback].

“It’s good, it’s getting there, I’ve been pushing on the [side of doing more] running this week and the back end of last week. I’m finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve done a lot of strength work and a lot of gym based stuff [including] plyometrics, just basically pushing the calf and trying to get it back to the capacity of being game ready really.

“I was hoping [I would be back] this Saturday but it’s looking more like Doncaster (28 January) now so I’ll be working towards that I guess.”


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