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Boss: Stags target defensive additions

25 May 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has provided a close-season update as Stags look to strengthen their defensive options.

The boss has seen forward Will Swan sign permanently last week, with midfielder Stephen Quinn extending his stay after penning a new one-year deal with the club yesterday.

Attention has now turned to recruiting defenders, with Nigel also revealing Stags are ‘in negotiations’ with two centre-halves.

Speaking to iFollow Stags yesterday at RH Academy, he said: “We need two or three defenders now.

“We’re getting close with a left-back and then we need a couple of centre-halves which we’re in negotiations with at the moment. We hope to get those sorted.

“You’ve got your first choices [targets], we go for them and then we’ve got the ones just slightly behind them. We’re still chasing our first choices and we’ve not received any definite knock-backs at the moments.”

On experienced midfielder Stephen Quinn signing for another season, the boss added: “I think it’s fair to say he’s [Quinn] established himself as a firm favourite here, especially with the supporters.

“I’m delighted that he’s going to give it a go for another season.

“[He’s] Very influential in not just what you see on the pitch on a Saturday but settings standards in training and that sort of thing.

“Physically, I thought the last three, four months of the season he looked as good as he has done at any point in the last season or two.

“We’ll take care of him in pre-season but he’s that sort of build that I don’t think it’ll make too much difference to do another season.

“He carries no weight whatsoever.”

Quinn joins forward Will Swan in re-signing ahead of 2023/24. The 22-year-old was Stags’ top scorer last campaign (10 goals) and last week put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the option of a further season in a permanent transfer form Nottingham Forest.

“[Talks had been in the offing for] The season really,” said Nigel speaking about Swan’s transfer.

“Between Forest and the owners and David they worked very hard to agree a deal.

“There’s not many 22-year-old strikers out there with the potential that Will’s got and, of course, the great advantage is that we’ve seen him. We’ve worked with him for nine months.

“Usually when you sign that sort of player, you’re looking at him in under-23 football or at another club.

“To have seen him first-hand, and the supporters have, I think everybody realises the potential that he’s got.

“It was his first real ‘proper’ loan and I think he grew into the season and grew over the season.

“Even when he came back from injury, that two or three months he was out, he matured physically and looked as good and as strong when he came back towards the end of the season.

“It’s an exciting one [signing] for everybody to have him permanently and just hopefully stay fit and he’s proved he can score goals.

“He only started fourteen games and he got ten goals. He’s going to be a great asset.”

On discussions with defenders James Perch and George Cooper as well as midfielders Jason Law and Kieran Wallace, Nigel said: “David [Sharpe] is still chatting with those and dealing with them.

“It’s most important at the moment that we get people like Will Swan and Quinny sorted out.”

As preparations continue for next season, the gaffer feels not too many additions will be required with Stags boasting a healthy amount of quality in most areas.

“I don’t think we’ll be taking any loans next season in terms of youngsters like Will Swan now we’ve got him on a permanent and we don’t think the squad needs major surgery,” he added.

“You get Hartigan back, you get Reed back, you get people back fit and it’s a pretty healthy looking squad.

“It’s just those positions defensively that we need to fill in.

“Losing Elliott [Hewitt] is going to be a massive blow for us next season but we’ve got Callum Johnson in.

“Ideally, we need an out-and-out centre-half and another one that can do a little bit of full-back as well.

“That’s the priority now, the two centre-halves and a left-back.”

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