Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has confirmed some of the first team players who will start at Burton Albion tomorrow evening in the final match in Group H of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.
The Stags’ boss returns to the club which he propelled up the football pyramid in an illustrious spell over 16 years.
And the manager is set to field a strong Stags’ side as he targets a win over the League One outfit, which would see Mansfield book their passage into the next round of the competition.
“We were working on it over the weekend, trying to get the right amount of minutes for the right players,” said the manager, when asked about his starting lineup considerations. “Certainly all the subs [from Saturday’s win over Newport] will start.
“Stephen Qunn will start the game. Lucas Akins, Will Swan, James Gale, George Williams, Calum Macdonald will also start as well a couple of first teamers, and then the others will be on the bench and do 45 [minutes] each.
“George Maris and Aaron Lewis can do 45 each, that sort of thing, just to share the load. [We want to make sure] Those who need 90 minutes get it and those who need 45 towards Saturday will get that time as well.
“We want to try and win and go through to the next round.
“[Getting minutes into the players] Is secondary. When you come to the last game of a qualifying stage and you need to win to go through, that’s what you want to do.
“In an ideal world, we tried to beat Everton [U21, in the previous fixture of the competition] and might have gone through and this would have been a dead rubber. And then we could have maybe played a few of the under-19s [in the game against Burton], but we’d like to get through if we can.”
The manager was asked about his best moments whilst boss at Burton and said: “There were many highlights over that time. Our first promotion from the Unibond was incredibly special. Our aim at the time was, could we become a solid Conference side?
“Then we got into the Conference and in the new stadium. Then we stayed in the conference, got the Manchester United game [in the FA Cup] and the replay which paid off the debt on the stadium and gave the club the platform moving forward.
“Leaving them, I think we were about 13-14 points clear at the top of the Conference in the January when we went to Derby. They got over the line and into the Football League.
“We go back and it’s gone on again to a different level, on the verge of the Championship, and we managed to get them in there.
“Staying in the Championship was certainly a highlight of the 14-15 years. No one gave us a cat in hell’s chance of staying in there. We made it with a game to spare and were so close to doing it the season after as well.”