Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has called for Stags to ‘start converting performances into points’ ahead of a much-anticipated fixture away at third place Northampton Town this Saturday.
Mansfield are currently seven points off the Cobblers following after gaining a point from the opening three matches in 2023 – a frustration for the gaffer who feels his side have performed well.
Despite a sequence of indifferent results, Stags have 20 matches to make ground on the automatic promotion places as the club aim for a second successive top seven finish in Sky Bet League Two.
Speaking in a news conference at RH Academy this morning, Nigel said: “It’s incredible. What are we seven points behind them [Northampton]?
“When you think of the run we’ve had and we’re still only seven points off third place.
“We’re just outside the play-offs and it shows you just how tight it [the league] is.
“It’s a huge regret that we’ve missed an opportunity [to get closer to the top three] but we’ve still got 20 games left – 60 points to play for.
“We’re still not far off and we’ve got to start converting our performances into points. That’s the biggest thing.”
Stags could be joined at Sixfields Stadium by new signing Louis Reed from Swindon. A midfielder the manager was eager to recruit.
“He’s somebody that we knew from Sheffield United many years ago,” he said.
“We gave him his debut against Rotherham at 16-years-old and we always liked him.
“He played against Spurs in a semi-final of the League Cup, and we just think he’s a good player.
“He’s gone on since then and played a lot of games for Swindon – I think he’s played about 250 games now [in total] and he’s only 25. We just think he’s very very good in that position.
“We’ve kept an eye on him and chased him over the last year or two and not quite been able to get him but [we’re] delighted we finally have.
“A bit of upheaval at Swindon and all of a sudden, we got a call to say he might be available.
“We paid a small fee and are thrilled and excited by his signing.”
On further additions, Nigel said: “There’s another one that we’ve made strong enquiries for. It’s not looking very likely at this stage.
“The player [in question] is under contract and it would be a fee [involved].
“I’m not sure that will be achievable this window, but we’ve got Danny Johnson back in the building now with us and as far as we’re concerned, he’s back and available for selection on Saturday.
“If something happens prior to that or after that then we’ll look at it but as far as we’re concerned no deal has been done with any other club. He’s back and he’s scoring goals and hopefully he can do that for us.”
When asked about the situation surrounding forward Danny Johnson, the boss went into further detail.
“[In terms of] Enquiries, [we’ve had] quite a few. I would say something like five or six,” said the gaffer.
“We’ve had a couple of bids; nothing meets the valuation but we’re very happy to have Danny back. It’s not a problem for us to have him back in and involved.
“The only slight problem we have in the next two weeks is the three club rule which if he plays for us, or just appears on the pitch then he can only play for us or Walsall for the rest of the season. That rules out anybody coming in and buying him in the next week or so.
“If we reach the decision that Danny is going nowhere, and he’s happy with that as well, that he’s going to help us try and get promoted in the second-half of the season then that becomes irrelevant anyway.
“I think one [bid] was accepted but Danny didn’t want to go to that particular club. You’ve got to look at all angles. The player has got to want to go, the clubs have got to agree and if any one of those three parties can’t make it work then it breaks down.”
The boss also provided an injury update.
“They’re [the injured players] out on the grass which is good and off dog-walking duties for a while.
“Ollie [Clarke] is back on the grass, Lucas [Akins] is. There’s a chance of Lucas training on Friday with a view to being involved on Saturday – probably an outside chance at the moment.
“Ollie Clarke is scheduled hopefully to train next week.”