Mansfield Town could be without five players for crucial visit of play-off rivals Swindon Town

Mansfield Town could be without five players for tomorrow night's crucial home clash with fellow play-off hopefuls Swindon Town.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:34 pm
Ryan Stirk in action against Middlesbrough before injuring his toe. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger
Ryan Stirk in action against Middlesbrough before injuring his toe. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger

Stephen McLaughlin, Ryan Stirk and George Lapslie are all nursing knocks from Saturday's titanic 3-2 FA Cup home defeat by Middlesbrough while Tyrese Sinclair and Farrend Rawson still have Covid.

“We have at least three main doubts,” said boss Nigel Clough.

“Stephen McLaughlin has a sore calf, Ryan Stirk, the ball hit him on the end of his toe and he's a doubt, and George Lapslie felt his thigh and he's a doubt for tomorrow night too.

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“The ball hit Ryan right on the end of his toe. Anyone who plays will know it's very painful at the time and it jars your knee area as well. “He is up and around walking but I'd say he was 50-50, as is Stephen McLaughlin.

“We are not too bad with Covid now. Tyrese Sinclair is still off with it and Farrend Rawson is still testing positive. But we'd hope to have him for Saturday.”

Swindon have three players in the division's top 10 scorers, Harry McKirdy putting four past Northampton in their last league outing.

“They do score a lot of goals and are very strong away from home,” said Clough.

“I think they've had 10 wins this season and seven of them have been on the road.

“That's the way they play - with pace on the break.

“It's that quality in the final third. We can play like that and if you have strikers that are finishing a good ratio and percentage of your chances then you don't need to create that many.

“They have attacking threats all over the pitch.”

Clough has stressed to his players that the Swindon game is far more important than the FA Cup.

“It will be a completely different game, playing Swindon at home rather than the glamour of the third round of the FA Cup,” he said.

“But it is more important this one and that was said very early on in the dressing room after the game on Saturday.

“It's been brilliant – we've had a good cup run but we now move on – we have to do everything we can to be right for the 24 remaining league games. Nothing else.”

With Walsall the visitors on Saturday, Clough said Stags had to make these games count with so many away games to come next month.

“We have been brilliant at home and we have a chance this week with two home games,” said the manager.

“Looking at the fixtures after them, they are so heavily weighted away from home, these will be the last two home games in a row for a while and we have to get some points on the board to try to get into those play-off places.

“After all the effort that went in on Saturday a clear week would not have gone amiss, especially as Swindon got an extra night's sleep after their effort on Friday night against Manchester City.

“But I think we are in good enough spirits to recover from that.”